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Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of this Policy and its associated procedures is to ensure that VU's learning and teaching activities:

  1. serve the interests and meet the needs of the current and future student body, industries and communities;
  2. are aligned with the vision, mission, values and behaviours expressed in Victoria University's (VU) Strategic Plan 2022-2028 Start Well, Finish Brilliantly;
  3. are aligned with all requirements of unit(s) of competency from National Training Package qualifications or other externally accredited Vocational Education (VE) courses;
  4. reflect the Core Principles of the VU Block Model;
  5. comply with relevant regulatory frameworks, including the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (Cth), the Australian Qualifications Framework and the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth); and,
  6. are congruent with all related university policies and procedures.

(2) The principles underpin the design, conduct and evaluation of learning and teaching quality and standards. Courses also need to meet any relevant external regulatory and accreditation requirements.

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(3) HESF: Standard 3.1 Course Design; 3.2 Staffing; 5.4 Course Approval and Accreditation; 5.3 Monitoring and Improvement; 6.3 Academic Governance.

(4) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth): Standard 1

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Policy applies to all areas of the University learning and teaching activity, including the delivery of Higher, Vocational and Further education; award and non-award courses; and micro-credential offerings.

(6) In undertaking a holistic approach to quality assurance and standards, this policy applies to all areas of the University that provide the environment for learning and teaching, as well as those directly involved in course delivery. This includes all corporate services functions that support the delivery of learning and teaching activities.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(7) Nil.

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Section 5 - Policy Statement

Part A - Overview

(8) Victoria University (VU) values learning and recognises that learning occurs in many settings, both formal and informal.

(9) The University facilitates learning for vocational, social and personal purposes in a wide range of disciplines at all levels. Victoria University provides quality programs for students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds in a wide variety of learning contexts.

(10) In all its activities, the University aspires to be a learning organisation in which all members, students and staff, are committed to their own learning and to that of others.

(11) VU designs its learning and teaching environment and practice to:

  1. enhance the ability of its students to think critically, to apply their skills and knowledge, to behave ethically and to make informed decisions both as professionals and citizens;
  2. provide learning and teaching activities that actively engage students in learning. These activities will involve both autonomous learning and collaborative learning;
  3. enable access to education by a wide range of students;
  4. provide a wide range of programs that both enhance career opportunities and provide learning pathways to other programs
  5. help students to make learning choices that are appropriate to their career direction;
  6. deliver its programs in a way that is responsive to the needs of its students and consistent with the VU Block Model;
  7. recognise prior learning where this is educationally appropriate;
  8. enhance both employability, employment outcomes and lifelong learning; and
  9. reflect the Core Principles of the VU Block Model in course development, course delivery, assessment design and classroom practices.

(12) As part of its mission, VU is committed to ensuring that it systematically undertakes quality assurance and quality improvement strategies in relation to course delivery and the student learning experience for its diverse student cohorts.

(13) For this purpose, the University specifies in its procedures and guidelines the key quality measures that will be used to:

  1. judge success;
  2. identify student cohorts whose success will be monitored via those measures; and
  3. identify the learning & teaching instruments which will be used to carry out quality monitoring.

Part B - Key Principles

(14) Learning and teaching quality and standards are an intrinsic and central focus for the University.

(15) The University insists on excellence for the quality of learning and teaching experiences, particularly that high quality curriculum, materials, environments, courses and services and teaching practice support student learning.

(16) VU utilises a Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards Framework to:

  1. assure quality and standards in learning and teaching;
  2. provide guidance on decisions about the alignment of quality assurance mechanisms and systems; and,
  3. provide staff and students with robust and transparent mechanisms for both feedback and evaluation.

(17) The Framework prescribes four pillars:

  1. Course design standards
  2. Support (student and teacher) standards
  3. Course delivery standards
  4. Evidence of Impact of standards on quality and outcomes

    The four pillars work together to provide an optimised student experience with measurable quality outcomes.

(18) In line with this framework, the university follows these quality and standards guiding principles:

  1. Quality and standards are holistic, comprehensive and focused on the overall student experience. This means that:
    1. All aspects of the student experience are taken into account in the evaluation of courses and learning and teaching quality, including matters such as infrastructure and support quality.
    2. Course design, delivery and support mechanisms are mutually reinforcing and aligned with standards and desired outcomes.
    3. All practices and processes assure the equivalence of design, delivery and support of learning and teaching quality for all modes of delivery and locations, including partnered and third party arrangements.
    4. Ongoing quality assurance is supported by a coherent set of development and management activities, governance roles and accountabilities.
  2. Learning and Teaching quality assurance is evidence-based. This means that:
    1. Robust and appropriate data is provided regarding course and unit performance, supported by analysis of trends and identified points for review or commendation.
    2. Course design and delivery meet appropriate reference points such as national standards and expected graduate capabilities.
    3. Continuous improvement processes take account of a comprehensive and robust range of data sources, including student feedback and complaints, peer review, external benchmarking and industry/professional body feedback.
    4. Data reporting is fit-for-purpose and streamlined and targeted to College and staff needs.
  3. Quality assurance is an inherent, visible and continuous part of all learning and teaching activities. This means that:
    1. Appropriate policy and delivery mechanisms are in place for the academic review of learning and teaching quality, including new course proposals, course management and governance (see Courses Lifecycle Policy and Procedures), assessment, and other matters impacting the quality of student experience.
    2. Moderation, validation, external review and benchmarking activities are a consistent component of all courses, including the use of program advisory groups with external membership to inform course evaluation and development (see Assessment for Learning Policy and Courses Lifecycle Policy).
    3. Regular, local, evidence-based review of student experience and outcomes takes place for all courses, incorporating key student experience and graduate outcomes metrics, and external benchmarks.
    4. All teaching staff have regular opportunities to engage in learning and teaching professional development regardless of their location or contract status.
    5. Staff are provided guidance and support on quality and standards assurance processes, including learning and teaching principles and approaches to evidence-based enhancement.
    6. Processes are sufficiently flexible to ensure that staff can highlight areas of strong performance and engage in conversations about potential improvement areas.
    7. Consistent, reliable quality assured information is provided to students about their courses and units, along with information about improvements made as the result of student feedback and continuous improvement strategies.
  4. Quality and standards evaluation is effective, streamlined and empowers staff to engage in continuous improvement. This means that:
    1. Periodic in-depth review of courses builds on Final Friday end-of-block review, semester review where applicable, and annual course monitoring and improvement processes, and is utilised to inform internal reaccreditation and professional accreditation submissions. (See Courses Lifecycle Policy and Procedures).
    2. Course approval processes empower staff to undertake timely and continuous improvement of units and courses, while assuring the overall coherence and quality of the course experience.
    3. Academic management and governance bodies monitor academic standards, taking account of all domains of the quality and standards framework.
    4. Achievement and accountability are clear and supported by both review and reporting processes.
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Section 6 - Procedures

(19) Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards - Minimum Standards for Online Presence Procedure

(20) Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards - Learner Feedback Procedure (VET)

(21) Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards - Equivalence of Professional Experience to Qualifications (Staff) Procedure

(22) Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards - Professional Development of Academic Staff Procedure

(23) Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards - Teacher Qualifications and Competency Procedure (VET)