Managing Common Units

Providing a comprehensive management strategy to achieve best practice

Some of the management team
From L-R: Sharon Bridgeman, Greg Williams,
Jenny Silburn, Simon Hobbs & Nicola Rolls

In recognition that the common unit program is designed for students across all undergraduate courses across the university, the program is managed by a group made up of representative from each discipline and chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Teaching and Learning. Although teaching staff are drawn from all university schools, the program is administered through the School of Academic Language and Learning where it makes up one of three programs design to support students’ transition into higher education. The management framework and membership is encompassed in the terms of reference.  Management meetings are held four times each year, unit review meetings at least twice a year.

  • Management Group TORs
  • Guidelines for Common Units Staff

COMMON UNITS COMMITTEE

TERMS OF REFERENCE

TITLE OF COMMITTEE

The Committee shall be known as the Common Units Committee (CUC)

ESTABLISHMENT

The Common Units Committee (CUC) is established as a standing committee of the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee of Academic Board.

PURPOSE

The CUC is responsible for the management, delivery and review of the University’s common units program.

MODUS OPERANDI

  • The CUC reports to Academic Board through the LTC.
  • The CUC will meet at least twice per year and more often as required.
  • The Theme Leader, Common Units will serve as the Executive Officer to CUC.
  • Formal agenda and minutes will be kept.
  • Non ex officio members are appointed by their respective executive manager for a period of two years.  These periods are renewable.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

  1. Determine policy and guidelines for best practice teaching and learning in the common units and ensure these are followed;
  2. Be responsible to the Academic Board through the Learning and Teaching Committee for matters relating to common units, including assessing the implications of learning and teaching policies (such as the Common Course Rules) on the common units and advising accordingly.
  3. Oversee the allocation and responsibilities of teaching  for the common units and ensure these are followed according to best practice;
  4. Be responsible for the development, coordination and quality assurance of common units; including initiating and overseeing the annual review process for each common unit.
  5. Encourage wide inter-faculty collaboration and participation in the development and teaching of common units;
  6. Ensure that all common units are taught in a variety of modes commensurate with student learning needs;
  7. Consider proposals for program and unit strategic review;
  8. Advise on the timetabling of units;
  9. Oversee the common units budgeting and expenditure;
  10. Provide advice on teaching effort for allocation of funds to Faculties and Divisions, in an efficient manner, according to the endorsed model and based on teaching loads as advised by Unit Team Coordinators;
  11. Contract part time staff, where necessary, on the recommendation of Unit Team Coordinators;
  12. Endorse examination results as moderated by SALL;
  13. Oversee exemption and assessment matters and convene a review of these where necessary.
  14. Evaluate the overall common units program on an ongoing basis, including monitoring staff and student satisfaction with the common units and responding accordingly
  15. To respond to other matters as may be referred to it from time to time by the PVCA or Academic Board.

Acronyms

ACIKE.............. Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education

CUC................. Common Units prefix

FEHSE.............. Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and Environment

FLEBA.............. Faculty of Education, Law, Business and Arts

LTC.................. Learning & Teaching Committee

SALL................ School of Academic Language and Learning, FLEBA

Membership

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor -Academic (Chair) ex officio (Martin Carroll)
  • Head of School, Academic Language and Learning ex officio (Douglas Bell)
  • Theme Leader, Common Units ex officio (Nicola Rolls)
  • Learning & Teaching Quality Officer, SALL (Sharon Bridgeman) or delegate
  • Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, FEHSE (Barbara White)
  • Associate Dean Learning & Teaching, FLEBA (Greg Shaw)
  • Representative, ACIKE (Curtis Roman)
  • Representative OLT ( Stefan Popenici)
  • CUC100 Coordinator ex officio (Adelle sefton-Rowston/ Merin Nielsen)
  • CUC106 Coordinator ex officio (Susi Bertei))
  • CUC107 Coordinator ex officio (Sharon Ford/Birut Zemits)
  • Coordinator, Library Liaison and Academic Support (Bernadette Royal)
  • Student Representative (Zoe Carmichal)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor F LEBA ex officio (Professor Peter Kell,)
  • Pro Vice Chancellor, FEHSE ex officio (Associate Professor Steve Shanahan)

Common Unit Coordinators
CUC100

  • Adelle sefton-Rowston (external), School of Academic Language and Learning
  • Merin Nielsen (internal), School of Academic Language and Learning

CUC106

  • Susi Bertei (external), School of IT & Technology

CUC107

  • Sharon Ford (Internal), School of Academic Language and Learning
  • Birut Zemits (External), School of Academic Language and Learning

For general information contact:

  • Nicola Rolls, Common Units Theme Leader - School of Academic Language and Learning
    Email: nicola.rolls@cdu.edu.au
    Tel: (08) 8946 6142

The management group meets a minimum of 2 times a year. The meeting schedules, agenda’s and minutes are found below:

Meeting Schedule for 2017

  • Meeting 1: June 10th
  • Meeting 2: November 4th

 

The theme leader and coordinators of each unit are responsible for the day to day running of the units. The teaching staff include casual and permanent staff from each discipline. Guidelines for coordination and teaching in common units are provided for staff as part of an induction process each semester. These guidelines are underpinned by the common unit program’s commitment to empower students through a supportive, flexible and developmental approach.

Common Units Procedures and Guidelines for Student Matters

In order have a consistent approach to student administrative matters the following Process guidelines are provided.

Student grievances, plagiarism

If you encounter any general problems with your students over assessment grades, plagiarism or any other issue please email the unit coordinator and cc the Theme Leader Common Units and they will support you in managing the issue within guidelines. Following recent faculty policy, if you receive a complaint from a student your response to the complaint should be checked with the theme leader first.

Attendance

Students (Internal) should be told that the expectation for attendance at tutorials is a minimum 80%. However, although an 80% class attendance is encouraged it is not a compulsory university rule.

Changing to external mode

One of the aims of the common units is to provide a range of modes and forums for learning. So, where students find, for timetabling or other reasons, that they prefer to work through materials online they should be allowed to discuss this option with you. If their request is made before census date they should be advised to change their enrolment to external mode. If it is after census date, they can continue to be marked as internal on the roll but participate as an external student.

Moderation

Assignments should be moderated before grades are finalised. As part of fair marking it is important to remember to maintain objectivity by basing your judgment of students' work on the:

  • Standard that can be expected from first year students,
  • Assignment task requirements, and
  • Assessment criteria/rubric

If you grade a students’ work as Fail, you should check in with the coordinator to arrange a double mark before that grade is finalised.

Reporting Plagiarism and Ensuring Academic Integrity

Where a breach of academic integrity or plagiarism is suspected, you should take the matter to the unit coordinator who will work through these steps with you.

1/ Please keep a record of all proof and communications with the student to share with the unit coordinator. Also keep a record of estimated time spent on this process of communicating with the student and identifying and addressing breaches of academic integrity.

2/ Check through the Safe Assignment (or other program) report carefully to see whether “plagiarised texts” are reference lists, personal identifiers and other acceptable copied text. Each assignment will reflect a different ‘average’ % depending on the references, personal identifiers and other acceptable copied text. Check all reports that significantly differ from an average (variable maximum 20-30%) to see whether the highlighted text comes from these acceptable overlaps, or whether it is a case of overlap that should have been referenced.

3/ In the first instance, assume that the student has broken academic integrity because they have not yet fully understood the requirements of paraphrasing and referencing. Contact the student (preferably face to face or by telephone) to determine why they have submitted the assessment in an unacceptable manner.

4/ Offer the student an opportunity to resubmit for a maximum possible grade of a pass, providing guidance on how to do this effectively (see page 4 of http://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/Procedures/pro-092.pdf).

5/ Where an assignment has been “copied”, both parties should be contacted to explore what has occurred and the level of collusion (see page 1 of http://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/Procedures/pro-092.pdf).

6/ If you establish this is a real breach of academic integrity that the student refuses to address under your guidance, let the unit coordinator know. The unit coordinator will inform the Common Units theme leader who may contact the Complaints Officer to request a report on breaches recorded in the Register at: http://www.cdu.edu.au/oloc/. This step is only recommended when efforts fail to assist the student to submit work that meets academic integrity standards.

In keeping with the university policy where the person has a prior registration of plagiarism or where the case cannot be resolved following the steps above, the case should also be referred to the Head of School.

Assignment Turnaround

Assignment turn around for short assignments should be preferably by the next week; for longer ones amaximum2 weeks. All final assignments must be marked by the time the examiners’ meeting is held (except where students have extensions beyond this date).

Extensions

Students need to attempt to follow the due dates however we aim to be flexible with extensions (particularly for external students) within reason. If extensions are requested they should get them without penalty. If they are not requested then the students, lose 5% a day for the first If the assignment is submitted more than a week late without an extension they can only get a maximum of a pass and no resubmission.

Resubmission

The common unit’s principle aim is to ensure students acquire a foundation in skills and knowledge which they apply and refine throughout their degree studies. Because the approach to assessment in common units is formative, it is important that they are given the opportunity to learn from assignment feedback and utilise this to improve the skills required in that particular assignment.

As a general rule, resubmission of assignments should be offered to students. The resubmission is allowed on the proviso that they:

  • Can only achieve a pass grade
  • Must resubmit within an agreed time frame.

Where they have made every effort to complete the task correctly but have either misunderstood a fundamental requirement of the task or not quite met the standard their resubmission should be marked as normal.

A marker is not expected to mark the faulty submission in detail – just sufficiently to ascertain the major flaws.

If you are uncertain about whether a student should be offered resubmission discuss this with the coordinator.

Guidelines for Coordinators of Common Units

The following provides guidelines regarding general organisational issues and those relating to: curriculum, students, teaching staff, and the Common Unit Committee.

Common Unit Coordinators will be responsible for the following:

General organisation of unit

Overseeing the organisation of the team:

  • Allocating lecturing and tutorial tasks to members of the team
  • Ensuring all members of the team are familiar with the unit organisation, content, assessment
  • Ensuring regular meetings (weekly) of the teaching team are held

Overseeing the organisation of tutorials:

  • Allocating students to tutorial groups, ensuring a maximum of 20 and minimum of 5 in each group
  • Reporting to Common Units Academic Consultant of the need for more tutorials if necessary
  • Organising and enrolling students in groups online

Overseeing the organisation of materials:

  • Ensuring the Learnline interface and learning material is presented in a consistent manner according to common unit teaching and learning guidelines
  • Updating the all learning materials components (Unit Information, Learnline, etc) in consultation with the Unit Teaching Team by the beginning of each semester
  • Enrolling students in online discussion groups and overseeing the moderation of these
  • Updating Learnline and associated materials (Unit Information, Learning Resource, Reading, etc) to by the designated cut-off date
  • Distributing internal material to students and insuring external students receive their materials in a timely fashion
  • Liaising with OLTCE and Information Skills Coordinator as necessary
  • Ensuring Access Services are informed of any staff changes (i.e. external Coordinators, tutors, etc.)
  • Ensuring examination results are entered onto Callista by the central administration unit, including any changes

Staffing Matters

  • With the theme leader, ensuring teaching staff are suitably qualified and experienced and have appropriate induction to the teaching and learning policies for Common Units and training in using Learnline before the semester starts. Prosepective staff should provide a CV.

Teaching and Learning Matters

  • In consultation with the theme leader and the Unit Review Team (URT), reviewing and updating, the lecture, tutorial, and assessment tasks at the end of each semester
  • Meeting/communicating each week with the Unit Teaching Team (UTT) to discuss and plan the weekly teaching activities
  • Ensuring members of the UTT comply with teaching and learning guidelines for Common Units. See Guidelines for Tutors (pdf 567kb)
  • Ensuring all major assignments are moderated before students are given grades. See also Moderating Assignments in Common Units (pdf 111kb)
  • Ensuring the unit is evaluated each semester using an approved evaluation tool (SELT)
  •  Incorporating feedback from evaluations in future curriculum planning and updating of content and materials in consultation with the UTT and Theme Leader.
  • With the Theme-leader and review team conducting a review of the unit at the end of the year. See also Ongoing Review.

Student Matters

  • Being available for consultation and advice during enrolment period
  • Authorising enrolments post Week 3
  • Liaising with individual students whenever necessary.
  • Authorising exemptions from the unit. See also Guidelines to RPL
  • Ensuring students receive the Unit Information by Week 2 of semester. (Internal Coordinators)
  • Ensuring students receive a covering letter with materials and appropriate information for getting started and using Learnline. (External Coordinators)

Common Unit Management Group Matters

  • Liaising with the Common Units Management Group
  • Attending management meetings
  • Providing a verbal report at the end of each semester and a written one at  the end of the year about the unit (Student numbers, Student satisfaction, Staffing, T&L matters etc)
  • Discussing proposals for revisions to the unit with the management group
  • Reporting any problems regarding teaching, students issues etc
  • Collating examination results and presenting them at the School of Academic Language and Learning  Examinations Meeting
  • Providing the Common Units Management Group with details of staffing effort in order for funds to be distributed.

Internal Teaching staff will be responsible for:

  • providing well-prepared and interesting tutorials
  • following the curriculum and weekly teaching plan agreed on by the team
  • marking assessment tasks
  • providing students with prompt and informative feedback and support on their academic progress
  • engaging students intellectually in the consideration of major issues as set out in the unit outline
  • conducting interactive tutorials, which value and encourage student participation
  • providing academic guidance and support to individual students
  • responding to student learning needs and styles
  • attending team meetings and actively contributing to the management and development of the unit
  • participating in moderation of assignments to insure consistent marking across tutors
  • promptly providing the Unit Teaching Team Coordinator with final assessment results at the end of semester.

External teaching staff will be responsible for:

  • Being proactive in communicating with students each (weekly emails) and responing to students enquiries promptly (within 24 hours)
  • Maintaining an approach to external students that is supportive, emphathetic and respectful
  • Being prepared with a good understanding of the unit organisation, assessments and purpose so as to be able to assist students in their enquiries,
  • Being prepared and  familiar with each weeks learning material content and readings in order to support students when required
  • Marking assessment tasks within a maximum 2 week turnaround
  • Providing individual students with prompt and informative feedback and support on their academic progress
  • Responding to student learning needs and styles
  • Participating in team meetings and actively contributing to the management and development of the unit
  • Participating in moderation of assignments to insure consistent marking across tutors
  • Promptly providing the Unit Teaching Team Coordinator with final assessment results at the end of semester.

Click on the guidelines link below for details of administrative responsibilities and teaching and learning guidelines for common units:

 

 

 

Handy info

 

Contact us

Nicola Rolls - Theme Leader
Tel: (08) 8946 6142
Email: nicola.rolls@cdu.edu.au

Merin Neilsen - CUC100 Internal Students
Tel: (08) 8946 7733
Email: merin.neilsen@cdu.edu.au

Adelle Sefton-Rowston - CUC100 External Students
Tel: (08) 8946 6753
Email: adelle.sefton-rowston@cdu.edu.au

Sharon Ford - CUC107 Internal Students
Tel: (08) 8946 6376
Email: sharon.ford@cdu.edu.au

Birut Zemits - CUC107 External Students
Tel: (08) 8946 6995
Email: birut.zemits@cdu.edu.au

Susi Bertei - CUC106 External Students
Tel: (08) 8946 6009
Email: susi.bertei@cdu.edu.au