Course reviews are an integral part of the University's continuous quality enhancement and assurance framework.
Course review is an academic activity that supports staff to evidence and enhance the quality of course curriculum and student learning, as part of a systematic Plan, Implement, Review and Improve cycle. A review involves gathering and analysing information from multiple data sources and perspectives to inform future curriculum design and delivery and assure the ongoing alignment of courses with programs and wider frameworks.
Course reviews contribute to:
- Monitoring and assuring the educational quality and strategic alignment of courses with institutional and externally defined frameworks and standards.
- Evidencing excellence in learning and teaching (for example, demonstrating the positive impact of a teaching approach to support an academic's teaching portfolio, award or fellowship application).
- Empowering Program Directors and Course Coordinators to make informed, evidence-based decisions in the design, re-design and delivery of course and program curriculum to enhance student learning.
- Fostering a culture of continuous improvement, inquiry, and evidence-based innovation in teaching and learning.
Course Reviews at the University of Adelaide
The regular, comprehensive review of courses is required by the University's Coursework Academic Programs Policy (CAPP), and supports our commitment to meeting Standard 5.3.3 of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.
CAPP requires every course to be reviewed at least once every three to five years, however, a more regular review cycle is both commonplace and best practice. Every course should be reviewed regularly, ideally no less than once per year (if taught). This should take place before the course is next taught to allow recommendations raised from the review process to be implemented in the next course delivery, where feasible.
A course review may take a reviewer as little as an hour, in which they reflect on the available course information and plan for a future course delivery, or it may involve a team of internal and/or external peers working collaboratively over a lengthier period to investigate some aspect of a course in detail. The result of a course review is a documented plan of actions which is disseminated to the relevant Program Director(s) and Head of School.
Core - regular or baseline reviews
All course reviews should consider a common set of elements or domains (the Core). This facilitates Course Coordinators to collect baseline information to inform decision making and for comparison across deliveries. This process can reveal opportunities for incremental improvement and innovation or highlight trends to monitor across future deliveries of the course.
Core Plus - focused reviews
In practice, course reviews are undertaken for a range of different purposes, depending on the context of the learners, the course, program, and discipline, as well as emerging strategic priorities, opportunities or risks.
Course reviews can be used to focus in detail on one or more of the core domains or some other, self defined element. This is termed a Core Plus review. For example, opportunities or issues may have emerged during teaching, or identified prior to the review from feedback by students, peers or accreditation panels, which need further detailed consideration.
A Core Plus review may also be requested by the Head or School. Approved third parties (Program Director, Associate Head L&T, Associate Dean, Deputy Dean L&T, Executive Dean) may also make request for a Core Plus review of a course, via the Head of School.
If approved by the Head of School, the Course Coordinator will be requested to investigate the nominated focus/core domains at the next review of the course.
Course Review Process
Undertaking any course review involves the following steps (see procedures and resources below for more details):
- Determine purpose and scope of review
- Collate material for the review
- Analyse and reflect
- Develop recommendations and plan actions
- Document and report
- Close the loop
See Course Review Process for detailed advice and resources on carrying out these steps.
The resulting plan of actions from the review can be documented and disseminated to the relevant Program Director(s) and Head of School via the online Course Review Reporting Tool. All Course Coordinators will receive regular reminders that a course is available for review and reporting via the online platform.
The Course Review Reporting Tool facilitates sharing of the course report and other data uploaded by the reviewer, for later viewing by the Course Coordinator and other staff with permission to access reviews of the course.
The platform provides additional functionality at the School and Faculty level for institutional reporting of the number, type and focus areas of reviews.
Roles and Responsibilities
The responsibility for ensuring the quality and standards of individual courses lies with the faculties. Faculties are required to annually report a summary of course reviews undertaken in the previous year to University Education Committee.
Responsibility for the review of courses and ensuring that recommendations are being addressed rests with the Head of School including determination of which courses may be nominated for Core Plus review.
The Course Coordinator, under the direction of the Head of School, has responsibility for ensuring that a review is undertaken of their course, typically every time it is delivered and at least annually (if taught).
Please contact Education Quality for all queries.