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Course Reviews

The review process is an integral part of the University's quality assurance system. This is reflected in the Coursework Academic Programs Policy, which states that "All courses must be reviewed in accordance with the process specified by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) or relevant Executive Dean" (Clause 33).

The responsibility for ensuring the quality and standards of individual courses lies with the faculties. On 9 March 2011, the University Learning and Teaching Committee, in consultation with the Executive Deans, endorsed a common approach with some flexibility for all course reviews across all faculties to maximise the benefits derived from such reviews. This two-tiered approach enables faculties to use an in-depth approach or a light-touch approach when reviewing courses.

It was agreed that Executive Deans will:

  1. Ensure that course reviews are conducted and that the recommendations from these reviews are implemented.
  2. Develop a schedule for course reviews, determining which courses require an in-depth review.
  3. Ensure that courses are reviewed every three to five years and that consideration is given to course performance, assessment outcomes, topics taught and quality of materials.
  4. Provide an annual report of course reviews conducted and the key outcomes of these reviews to the DVC&VP(A).
  5. Ensure that feedback on the course review is provided to students.


An annual schedule of course reviews as well as the review approach to be used for each course will be determined at faculty level. In planning a schedule of course reviews the Grade Monitoring Exception Recommendations should be taken into account. Consideration will also need to be given to the timing of external accreditation processes. In addition to core courses, faculties may wish to consider other courses—e.g. those courses identified through High Fail Rate reports—that will require an in-depth review. These in-depth reviews could include: SELT data, curriculum reviews, program and accreditation reviews, poor enrolments, high attrition and outcomes of previous course reviews.

Course Review Procedures

  • Identify courses to be reviewed

    Every course taught by a school must be reviewed every three to five years.

      • Faculty/School establish processes to identify courses to be reviewed each year.
        Possible approaches could be to:
        • focus on particular level courses;
        • review courses offered at a particular location;
        • identify courses forming a major sequence within a program;
        • use SELT reports to detect under-performing courses.

    Course performance measures should guide the choice of courses for review.
    (Particularly refer to the High Fail Rate reports – email for assistance.)

  • Identify the type of review

    Faculty/School to decide if an in-depth or light-touch review is required.

    • In-depth reviews are indicated for:
      • Core courses
      • Courses appearing in the High Fail Rate report
      • Course being offered for the first time.
    • Other possible factors to consider when deciding if an in-depth review is desirable:
      • Program and accreditation review outcomes
      • Low or decreasing enrolments
      • High attrition rates
      • Previous review outcomes (follow-up investigation may be desirable).

    The following Course Review Templates may be used for guidance:

  • Convene a Course Review Committee

    Each school needs to convene a committee to undertake course reviews. This can be on an ad hoc basis, be added to the work of an existing standing committee or a new standing committee may be established. The review convenor could be the Course Coordinator.

    This committee undertakes the review. (The Course Review Guidelines can provide assistance.)

    The committee submits the outcomes of the review to the Head of School for approval.

  • Gather material for the review

    For each course to be reviewed compile the following information (print or electronic):

    • Course outline (see Course Outlines website)
    • SELT results (if available)
    • Relevant page from the teaching school's Course Review Book. (Staff-only access)
      • Remember to choose the relevant half year.
      • Individual course titles appear in the table of contents and link to the relevant course page.
      • Print only the page for the course under review.
      • Fill in the details for 'Use of MyUni/Online' and 'Course Offerings' on this page.

    Note: Course Review Book and Course Summary & Results files are updated annually on the website as follows.

    • First half year - from August of the current year
    • Second half year - from January of the following year
  • School Reporting

    Schools need to provide an annual overview to their faculty Executive Dean.

    • A Course Review School Overview Template is provided as an example.
    • If not using the template provided, the report should contain:
      • Course name
      • Catalogue number
      • Recommendations / Actions identified (these require implementation by the school)
      • Approach (in-depth / light-touch)
      • Date of review.
  • Faculty Reporting

    Executive Deans are responsible for providing an annual report to the DVC&VP(A) of course reviews conducted, and for ensuring that identified recommendations are implemented. These reports should be sent to Learning & Quality Support, email A reminder will be sent in March each year.

    • A Course Review Faculty Summary Template is provided for the annual report, although existing faculty documentation may be used.
    • If not using the template provided, the report should contain the same information as for the school overview above.
    • Each school in the faculty needs to be listed separately in the faculty summary.
  • Feedback to students

    Feedback on the outcomes of course reviews should be provided to students.

    • This feedback should be incorporated in the course outline or other general course information so it is available to current and future students.
    • Feedback can identify the key actions identified in a review and the implementation plan for these.


Division of Academic and Student Engagement

The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

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