Course Development Policy

Status


Next review
Mon, 08 December 2025

This policy describes the requirements and principles governing the College’s accredited coursework courses.

This policy:

  • Provides a framework to guide decisions regarding the (re)development of the College’s coursework courses;
  • Sets clear responsibilities and accountabilities for approvals and management of the (re)development of academic courses; and
  • Ensures that academic course structures, rules and approval processes are transparent, consistent and...

Public
visibility
Approved on: 08 Dec 2022
Review cycle: 3 Years
Owned by

Learning, Teaching and Research Committee

Approved by

Academic Board

Policy Contact: 
Secretary, Learning Teaching and Research Committee
Background: 

The College is committed to innovation and quality in all aspects of college life. A crucial element in the development of the College is its ability to respond to governmental requirements as well as the shifting community and workplace needs without abandoning the values of academic excellence and theological integrity.

Purpose: 

This policy describes the requirements and principles governing the College’s accredited coursework courses.

This policy:

  • Provides a framework to guide decisions regarding the (re)development of the College’s coursework courses;
  • Sets clear responsibilities and accountabilities for approvals and management of the (re)development of academic courses; and
  • Ensures that academic course structures, rules and approval processes are transparent, consistent and fair.
Scope: 

This policy applies to all accredited Higher Education courses.

Definitions: 
Primary developer
The person leading the (re)development of the course and the preparation of the course documentation for (re)accreditation. 
 
The Regulator: Any external government and/or professional body or bodies required to approve the course as meeting required standards. 
 
Stakeholder/s 
Parties who have interests in the course or can be beneficiaries of the course outcomes including schools, students, teachers, parents, organisations, churches, missions, investors, benefactors. 
Statement: 

1 Coursework Courses Approval Principles

When designing and approving coursework courses or making changes to courses the College shall be guided by the principles of:

  • Course design that supports strategic directions of the College as well as its vision, mission and values;
  • Course design informed by scholarship, industry requirements and external reference points, including relevant academic standards;
  • Course design that aligns learning outcomes, assessment disciplines and graduate attributes;
  • Compliance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements;
  • Course entry requirements that are set to allow the College to admit a course applicant who can undertake the course with a reasonable prospect of success;
  • Course structures and rules that provide clear and consistent completion requirements; and
  • Regular evidence-based reviews, benchmarking and continuous improvement.
  • As relevant to the course learning outcomes the integration of material relevant to sexual assault and sexual harassment so that graduates of the College are both aware and informed of issues related to, and skills in supporting those who experience sexual assault or sexual harassment, as per the SASH policy. 

2 Protocols for the Proposal of New Courses

As the College is not self-accrediting, the College must seek (re)accreditation from the relevant regulator and/or professional authorities for all course accreditations. All new courses must undergo a clear and rigorous developmental and review process, seeking approval from the Academic Board and Governing Board before submission to the regulator(s).

2.1 Establishment of Need for New Course

The need for a new course must be established on a broad base involving:

  • Integration with the mission, vision and values of the College;
  • Market research covering documented discussions with a range of stakeholders including employers and interested individuals and organisations (such as churches, counselling centres, schools) if applicable;
  • Documented discussions with relevant accrediting and governing bodies (such as Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) or Christian Counsellors Association of Australia (CCAA));
  • Demonstrated lack in current the College offerings; and
  • Discussions at relevant College Committees or working groups.

Minor extensions to existing courses (such as new qualifications embedded within an existing one) shall be approved by the Academic Board for submission for accreditation on the basis of a developed rationale and Course Business Plan, without the following the new course development procedure in full.

2.2 Establishment of Market for New Course and Impact upon College

The proposal must include a Course Business Plan following the template provided by the College.

2.3 Presentation of Concept to Relevant Bodies for Approval

Before any work commences on the detail of a new course the concept of the new course must be presented to the following bodies for approval in this sequence:

  1. The Learning, Teaching and Research Committee who will assess the concept and create a Course Development Panel consisting of:

    • Staff for the relevant course,
    • interested Academic Staff; and
    • the Dean of Studies or delegate
  2. The Learning, Teaching and Research Committee will advise the Academic Board, who will inform the Governing Board.
  3. The Course Development Panel will provide an initial outline of the course and seek approval of the draft Course Business Plan from the Academic Board.

Flowchart showing the approval steps of a new course from concept, to development stagesRevisions to concept may be required at any point in this sequence.

2.4 Writing of New Course

When the Course Business Plan has been approved by the Academic Board,drafting of the new course can commence.

  1. The primary developer is a representative from the School who will deliver the course. The primary developer will facilitate the consultation, writing and development of the course. In certain cases such as when the School lacks the requisite expertise or knowledge, a suitable consultant may be appointed the primary developer of the course.
  2. The Dean of Studies must be consulted on matters pertaining to academic standards to ensure all government regulations are being met.
  3. Academic staff and sessional lecturers will be consulted as necessary and may be requested to write specific sections of the documentation.
  4. The Dean of Studies will ensure the course design and and documentation will support quality teaching and learning.
  5. The Executive Principal will receive updates including documentation and briefings on the progress of the course development at nominated checkpoints usually at the end of course design, at the end of course proposal documentation and prior to submission to the Governing Board.
  6. When the course documentation is completed, it will be reviewed internally and then by one or more expert(s) in the field for external expert review.
  7. Course documentation will include the following:
    • A course title, and abbreviation (in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework);
    • The purpose of the course and expected graduate or career outcomes;
    • Reason(s) to include or exclude reference points to determine course, major or minor outcomes; 
    • Course learning outcomes and a demonstration of how these align with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework;
    • When the course includes majors and/or minors, major and minor learning outcomes and a demonstration of how these align with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework;
    • External validation of course, major or minor outcomes by stakeholder/industry feedback and/or external expert review;
    • Details of total volume of learning expressed as credit points and/or hours of delivery and EFTSL, and total duration of the course;
    • Demonstration of how the course matches any professional accrediting body requirements;
    • Demonstration of meeting the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework and College admission requirements
    • Benchmarking of the course against any professional accrediting body requirements;
    • Benchmarking of the course against any reference points other than the Australian Qualifications Framework;
    • Benchmarking of the course learning outcomes against comparable courses;
    • Benchmarking of the course units against units in comparable courses;
    • Course structures and progression rules;
    • Details of units of study including unit learning outcomes, assessment tasks for formative and summative assessment, learning resources, requisites, content and assessment structures;
    • Minimum entry requirements including English Language Proficiency;
    • Detail of the integration of material relevant to sexual assault and sexual harassment so that graduates of the College are both aware and informed of issues related to, and skills in supporting those who experience sexual assault or sexual harassment, as per the SASH policy.
    • Details of academic staffing and any special facility requirements; and
    • Mode of delivery: face-to-face, online, blended.
  8. Upon review of the completed course by an external expert the Course Development Panel will discuss any suggested changes and submit documentation to the Learning, Teaching and and Research Committee for approval
  9. The Learning Teaching and Research Committee will assess the proposal and if endorsed recommend it to the Academic Board for approval.
  10. Academic Board will assess the proposal and if endorsed recommend it to the College Governing Board.
  11. The College Governing Board will assess the recommendation in light of adherence to both the vision and plan of the College and before granting approval for the course.

2.5 Operational Considerations in the Writing of a New Course

The Dean of Faculty, the Dean of Studies, and the General Manager shall satisfy themselves that:

  • the Business plan is up to date and sound;
  • Course assurance discussions with another Higher Education provider have been initiated
  • the staff and resources needed (including library and online resources) to teach the course effectively are identified and that the General Manager is aware of these needs so that they can be included in planning; and that any impact of the new course on existing courses is noted and where possible quantified.

2.6 Changes during the Accreditation Process

It is recognised that accrediting agencies or the regulator may request clarifications or changes to the courses before granting accreditation. The Dean of Studies in consultation with the relevant School, will oversee and coordinate the necessary responses to those requests. Where the changes to the course affect the course outcomes, structure, or Christian Ethos of the course, those changes must be approved by the Academic Board. Where the changes call in to questions the viability of the course, those changes must be approved by the Board. Other changes can be subsequently ratified by the Academic Board after being agreed upon by the accrediting agency or regulator.

3 Accreditation of Courses

Courses are formally accredited when notified by the regulator and where accreditation is required by an accrediting agency, the accrediting agency. 

4 Post-Accreditation of Course

4.1 Implementation of Course

The implementation of the course is the responsibility of the relevant School or Schools. In this phase, the employment of qualified Academic staff, the production of unit guides, and the provision of adequate resources must be done in accordance with the respective College policies.

The School will ensure all relevant staff are briefed on the new course.

4.1 Administration of Course

The College will ensure the following occur:

  • The College Application form is updated
  • Enrolment forms are updated
  • The College website is updated
  • Tuition Protection Service arrangements are in place.
  • Course Assurance arrangements with partner institutions are confirmed
  • Centrelink updated with course information
  • Commonwealth HELP notified.

​5 Re-Accreditation of Course

5.1. Ongoing Need for Course

Ongoing need of the course must be demonstrated by

  • Statistical data provided by the Dean of Studies showing for the period since the last accreditation

    • intake by year
    • uptake of units
    • uptake of majors and minors (where offered)
    • completions
  • Ongoing match with the College’s mission and vision
  • Stakeholder feedback including course suitability for industry requirements

5.2. Review and Development Process

The Learning, Teaching and Research Committee will assess the ongoing need for the course, majors and minors, incorporating guidance on the viability of the course from the executive.
Where ongoing need for a course, major or minor is not demonstrated the College will either:

  • manage the teaching out of a course, major or minor according to the Course Transition and Teaching Out Policy.
  • develop a new course, major or minor as specified by this policy, for affected students to transition to according to the Course Transition and Teaching Out Policy

Where there is ongoing need the Learning, Teaching and Research Committee will create a Course Development Panel consisting of:

  • Staff for the relevant course,
  • interested Academic Staff; and
  • the Dean of Studies, or delegate.

The Course Development Panel will review and update as necessary:

  • development notes already logged in course profile system (UGBOOT)
  • course structure (core units, majors, minors)
  • course entry requirements
  • course outcomes
  • enrolment in units or the previous period of accreditation
  • individual units - outcomes, content, textbook, mode of delivery
  • benchmarks against other institutions
  • benchmarks against the AQF
  • the fit of the majors/minors into the course as a whole
  • learning outcomes and rationale of the majors and minors and their relationship to the course rationale and outcomes
  • the alignment of the course to the AQF

The Course Development Panel will present a report of their findings and recommendations including proposed course documentation 
Where necessary to meet industry need or the aims of new majors or minors the Course Development Panel will create:

  • New majors
  • New minors
  • New units

Completed documentation for the reaccredited course must meet the same requirements as those for a New Course (2.4.7).

External peer review of the reaccredited course must occur as for a New Course (2.4.9).

Final Approval for the reaccredited course will be be recommended by the Learning and Teaching Committee to the Academic Board (2.6).

Changes to the reaccredited course during its accreditation process will be the same as a new course (2.7)

6 Validation of Course, Major or Minor Outcomes

External validation of the course, including its major or minor outcomes, should occur to inform the relevance of currency of, and the need for the course, and should include stakeholder feedback.

6.1 Validation Questions

The questions asked at validation will be:

  1. Does the course, major or minor outcomes meet the AQF requirements for its AQF level?
  2. Are the course, major or minor outcomes coherent?
  3. Are the course entry requirements suitable?
  4. Is there a justified need for the course, major or minor?
  5. Overall, do you feel this is a course, major or minor that should be moved forward in the internal accreditation process? If not why not?

6.2 Stakeholder Feedback

The questions asked of stakeholders will be:

  1. Are the course, major or minor outcomes coherent?
  2. Is there a justified need for the course, major or minor?
  3. Would people with this award be suitable for your organisations need? Or would you want changes?

External Peer Review of Course, Major or Minor Outcomes

  • The questions asked of external expert reviewers of courses, majors or minors will be:

    1. Do you believe there is a need for a course such as this? Why or why not?
    2. Do you believe there is a student demand for a course such as this? Why or why not?
    3. Do you believe this course meets the requirements of the AQF? Why or why not?
    4. Are the entry requirements appropriate? Why or why not?
    5. Are the articulation and exit pathways appropriate? Why or why not?
    6. What could this course emphasise more to improve it?
    7. What should be removed from this course to improve it?
    8. Is the staffing for the course sufficient?
    9. Are the overall assessment requirements similar to similar courses?
    10. For each of the units:
      • Are the unit learning outcomes appropriate? Why or why not?
      • Is the unit at the right AQF level? Why or why not?
      • Will the assessment tasks assess the unit learning outcomes?
      • Are the resources up to date?
      • Are there resources that should be added? Why?
      • Are there resources that should be removed? Why?
    11. Overall, do you feel this is a course that should be moved forward for accreditation? If not why not?

Where the course is subject to external professional accreditation bodies such as VIT or CCAA, additional questions relevant to the accreditation shall be developed by the primary developer.