Course design, development and approval
The Office for Students requires registered higher education providers to deliver well-designed programmes of study that meet national degree standards, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students, and prepare them for employment or further study.
At Edge Hill, new programmes go through a formal planning process before entering detailed design and development. Once written, course documents are approved through an internal validation process where curriculum content (modules), teaching, assessment, student support, staffing and resources are scrutinised thoroughly before the courses can be advertised, and students recruited. The following pages summarise these processes with more information contained in chapter 4 of our Quality Management Handbook. The processes take account of the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Advice and Guidance on Course Design and Development which supports the UK Quality Code for higher education.
Validation and Audit Standing Panel
The Validation and Audit Standing Panel (VASP) is responsible to Edge Hill’s Academic Quality Enhancement Committee for the development, operation and evaluation of the University’s validation, periodic review and internal audit processes. The Panel consists of qualified and experienced academic and academic-related support staff who are assigned to individual validation, review and audit panels. Panel members ensure that new and existing provision meets nationally-defined standards, complies with the University’s own regulations, and provides an appropriate quality of learning opportunities for students.
Edge Hill staff can find more information regarding VASP membership on the internal wiki pages.
As a recognised degree-awarding body Edge Hill has the authority to approve (validate) new programmes of study. Trained members of our Validation and Audit Standing Panel, supplemented by expertise from other UK higher education providers as well as employers and professional bodies, receive detailed documentation and ensure that course content is current and relevant, that standards have been set appropriately and that students will have the teaching and support to achieve them. Validation reports are formally approved by the Academic Quality Enhancement Committee which enables programme recruitment and delivery to begin.
Once validated, programmes will normally remain in approval until their next scheduled periodic review. For information on the modification of validated programmes please visit the programme modifications page of this site. For information on the standalone validation and modification of modules please review the module approval section of this page.
Additional information on validation is included in the Quality Management Handbook, especially chapter 4.
Programme Specifications describe the content (modules), teaching and assessment of each Edge Hill University degree, and the knowledge, understanding, subject skills and other attributes that students will have developed on successful completion. Programme Specifications are available upon request via email to [email protected] or by phone on 01695 657489, however, an overview of the content of each programme is available online.
In addition to module changes, other types of programme modification such as revised entry requirements or changes to assessment require formal approval, either at university level (Major Modification) or by Faculties (Minor Modification). Panels ensure that any material changes have been consulted on with students and that in all cases, validated programme learning outcomes, standards and awards remain intact.
A full description of the approval process for minor and major modifications is contained in chapter 4 of the Quality Management Handbook.
Programmes of study normally consist of modules, individual smaller units of learning with their own learning outcomes that contribute to students’ full degree awards. Modules are validated at the same time as programmes but may also be approved separately by Faculty panels which review their content, teaching and assessment, and the resources required to deliver them. For more information, please refer to chapter 4 of the Quality Management Handbook.
Before any new course can be added to the prospectus the University first establishes its fit with our curriculum strategy and that the likely student demand will make it sustainable into the future. The Academic Planning Committee (APC) reviews all new course proposals, supported by business information and market research and evidence of the staffing and resources required to support them. Once approved by APC, programmes then enter a detailed design and development phase that culminates in formal Institutional validation.
More information about the academic planning process may be found in chapter 3 of the Quality Management Handbook.
An accredited course is one that has been approved or endorsed by a professional body. Such accreditation ensures that graduates of a programme meet a certain industry standard and may provide exemption from professional examinations or provide registration with a professional body. Edge Hill University has a strong track record in developing degree programmes that integrate academic study with professional competencies resulting in registered practitioner status in teaching, health and social care. However, accreditation is also available in several other degree subjects, for example Law (recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board) and Psychology (accredited by the British Psychological Society).
The Professional Accreditations Register provides details of the programmes that are currently accredited.See the register
Taught Degrees Framework (TDF)
When designing programmes of study, course teams consider the whole ‘student journey’ and how students will be supported from admission to completion. Edge Hill’s TDF consists of the following lenses:
- Recruitment/Why this programme?
- Induction and transitions
- Learning and teaching
- Assessment and feedback
- Personal development
- Employability and professional development
Course teams are expected to engage with the lenses and the underpinning values of ‘Society’ and ‘Inclusion’ when designing curriculum. It also signposts available guidance and best practice for effective curriculum design. In addition, graduate attributes are also a key element of the TDF with course teams required to map these attributes across the curriculum. Course developer teams and validation panels use these lenses to ensure that all students receive the support they need to benefit from higher education.