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Work Integrated Learning Policy (HE)

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objective

(1) The purpose of this Policy and its associated Procedure is to ensure that Work Integrated Learning (WIL):

  1. Aligns with the vision, mission, values and behaviours expressed in the University’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020, and with the University Learning and Teaching Quality Standards Framework, to ensure work /community engagement and theory /practice links are integrated in course design;
  2. Complies with relevant regulatory frameworks, including the Higher Education Standards framework (Threshold Standards) 2015, the Australian Qualifications Framework, requirements of professional bodies and industry regulators with regard to accreditation and professional registration; and
  3. Is congruent with all related University policies and procedures.

(2) The WIL principles outlined below underpin the design, conduct and evaluation of Work Integrated Learning.  Courses also need to meet relevant external regulatory and accreditation requirements.

(3) Adherence to the Procedure associated with this Policy is expected.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application 

(4) This Policy applies to:

  1. Higher education coursework assessment at all levels, including postgraduate coursework courses; and
  2. Higher Degrees by Research dissertations or research projects.

(5) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. National Training Package or other externally accredited VET courses at all levels; and
  2. Non-award and preparatory courses.
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Section 3 - Definitions

(6) Work Integrated Learning: activities which engage students in authentic professional practice, to build disciplinary knowledge, skills and understanding, and which are embedded in curriculum that integrates such activities with disciplinary theory.  Within this single definition, the University recognises three  broad types of WIL: 

  1. Curricula WIL: supported placement or partnered project activities, embedded in the curriculum of credit bearing units of study, according to the principles of constructive alignment.   Where applicable, any professional practice or industry standards that have accreditation or registration requirements will be satisfied by these activities.
  2. Co-curricula WIL: refers to supported or partnered placement or project activities that may prepare or support students to achieve learning outcomes in curricula Work Integrated Learning.  These may be formally assessed, but are not fully embedded in a unit of study.
  3. Extra-curricula WIL: unsupported, non-assessed, non-university auspiced Work Integrated Learning activity undertaken by students outside of a course of study, but which may enhance disciplinary WIL or skills development. 

(7) Onsite WIL: occurs in a Victoria University setting, such as a university clinic, laboratory, or within the ‘students as staff’ program.

(8) Offsite WIL: occurs predominantly outside of any Victoria University institutional setting.

(9) Substantial partner involvement:

  1. Offsite student learning that occurs at a host's premises, for one or more standard working days per week, over any period of one week or greater in a given semester.  An external supervisor will be allocated and will contribute to student assessment.
  2. Onsite activity in which partnered projects or other activities have aims and outcomes wholly or mainly determined or validated by an external partner or industry group in consultation with staff of Victoria University. 

(10) Validation of the aims and outcomes of an onsite WIL activity by a partner or industry group: having conducted a formal joint review of the projects in these respects. 

(11) Authenticity: the degree to which WIL activities genuinely reflect current professional practice.

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Section 4 - Policy statement

Key principles of Work Integrated Learning

(12) WIL enhances graduate employability and student readiness for professional practice.

(13) In addition to the principles of WIL inhering in relevant regulatory frameworks, Victoria University applies the following key principles to the design, conduct and evaluation of WIL.  

(14) Authentic WIL genuinely reflects current professional practice. This means that supported placements and partnered projects will:

  1. Afford students  opportunities for autonomy, as appropriate to current level of achievement or scope of practice.
  2. Allow students to take responsibility for the consequences of acting on that autonomy.   
  3. Provide access to activities that have meaningful outcomes for the partner, clients or for others in a practice setting.
  4. Involve students’ in a variety of differing activities, reflective of the full range of tasks and the diversity of circumstances for the conduct of these.

(15) Curricula WIL is embedded in integrative curriculum and is scaffolded vertically and horizontally.  This means that:

  1. The relative contributions of mandatory, preparatory, consolidation, and capstone WIL activities to progress against course and unit learning outcomes, graduate capabilities and professional capabilities are mapped at the course level; and
  2. WIL activities undertaken as part of a unit and any associated assessment are both clearly aligned with the unit learning outcomes; and
  3. A variety of WIL activities are offered across a course, that focus on different facets of practice or skills, as appropriate to year level and to student progression.
  4. WIL activities are referenced in both theory and practice focused units of study within a sequence.

(16) WIL is inclusive and accessible.  This means that:

  1. The design and delivery of WIL activities will as far as possible enable the participation of all students, without breaching the requirements laid out in relevant external regulatory frameworks, or adversely impacting quality.
  2. Reasonable attempts will be made by Unit Convenors to accommodate student diversity by negotiating alternative WIL activities, without breaching the requirements laid out in relevant external regulatory frameworks, or adversely impacting quality.
  3. Disability Services should be contacted for advice in circumstances where a student’s disability requires a reasonable adjustment (s) to be considered.

(17)  WIL partnerships are formed with regard for ability to ensure students' wellbeing, and are ideally both reciprocal and multi-layered.  This means that:

  1. Offsite WIL activities are conducted in facilities that are fit for purpose in supporting learning, including through provision of adequate external supervision.
  2. Safeguarding of student wellbeing and safety when ‘off site’ is assured.
  3. Staff will build relationships with partners that support multiple points of exchange and reciprocal value creation across teaching, learning and research.
  4. Commercial third party providers of WIL experiences will only be engaged by staff when those providers meet the standards laid out for partners in this Policy, and can provide a high quality experience that the university does not have in-house capacity to provide.   

(18) WIL activities are monitored for quality assurance and enhancement purposes.  This means that:

  1. Valid data on WIL activity is entered into the Course Approvals and Management system at unit level. 
  2. Regular gathering of stakeholder feedback from staff, students and partners as captured in the WIL Support System is fed into iterative program evaluation and design; and
  3. Where curricular WIL involves an external partner, then:
    1. Formative assessment involves collaboration between academic staff and external supervisors; and
    2. External supervisors are supported to conduct formative assessment in accordance with Victoria University’s Assessment for Learning Policy; and
    3. Summative assessment is primarily conducted by academic staff, but may be conducted in conjunction with staff of partner organisations, especially where that is a requirement of a professional association or other accrediting body.