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Course Proposal Guidelines

How to Propose a New Course 

Those wishing to make a course proposal to the Board of Studies must submit the Course Proposal Template to the Academic Secretary in advance of the meeting.

Your proposal documents will be published on the Agenda and printed by the ITO prior to the Board of Studies meeting.  After the meeting you will be given the opportunity to make any necessary changes, before resubmitting a final 'approved' version to the ITO.  The ITO will then use this information to create the formal course record on EUCLID, uploading your case for support etc.  Note that, once on EUCLID, this will be the only working version of your course, the original proposal information will not be maintained by the ITO.  Any subsequent changes to an approved course must be requested via the Board of Studies, and will be manually handled (in EUCLID) by the ITO.

Further guidance on how to complete the course proposal documentation is available below:

The Approval Process

The BoS is responsible for all curriculum matters, in particular, all course proposals must be brought to the Board.  The Board will consider all internal academic and resourcing issues, as well as any possible external issues (combined programmes, core non-honours courses), consulting College where necessary.  After BoS approval, we forward the proposal to the College Teaching & Learning Committee (CLTC) for final approval.

Note: When considering a proposal, all resource implications must be taken into account and described clearly in the case for support.  In particular it is strongly recommended that before proceeding with a course proposal, the matter is first discussed with the BoS Convenor, or the Academic Secretary.  Approval by the BoS of such courses does not mean that they will be taught; the decision on resourcing remains with the the Head of School.

Distinguishing Between Levels

Many of our existing courses are offered at both levels 10 and 11. If you decide to follow this pattern it is important that your proposal distinguishes carefully between the what will be expected and required at each level.  The minimal approach is for the levels to share the same syllabus (and hence lectures), but to have distinct Intended Learning Outcomes (typically those for the level 10 course being a subset of those for the level 11 course), and correspondingly different assessment (in order to be able to check the distinct outcomes). You can find out more about the definitions of SCQF levels through the document listed below under Useful Documentation.

Tutorial / Lab Group Provision

The School policy on the resourcing of tutorial groups clearly states that UG1/2/3 courses can have tutorials without having to make a special case (the norm for a 10 point course would be 8 hours of tutorials).  Similarly for labs (although labs are 1, 2 or even 3 hours per week for each student), courses usually only have tutorials or labs (with the exception of some non-honours courses).  If you are making a proposal for a UG4 or an MSc course, you have to convince the BoS that tutorials are academically necessary, as well as convincing the ITO budget holder (Director of Teaching) and/or the Head of School that this is a sensible use of resources.  Please make this argument in your Case for Support document.

Exam / Coursework Weightings

Courses may use both exam results and designated coursework to assess student performance and assign final marks. The weighting between these should be fixed, and must be justified in the case for support. In particular, this should consider which learning outcomes can be assessed by examination and which only by coursework.

  • Exam/coursework weightings of 100/0 and 75/25 are standard; beyond 70/30 requires special justification.
  • Coursework that is not used to assign final marks is less constrained, and may take whatever form best supports student learning.

Timing of Proposals

Because of the need to refer matters upwards for final approval, proposals for courses must be made early in the academic year.  College ask that all proposals for the following session be with them by the February prior to the start of that session (i.e. a course for 2013/14 must be with College by February 2013).  It is expected that most proposals will first be put forward for discussion.  Indeed, for major course changes this would normally consist of widespread consultation and several iterations.  This means you should try to plan at least one year ahead.

A very important function of the BoS is to coordinate discussion and ensure adequate consultation before decisions are taken.  For some items this might involve one or more reports from a working party and several discussions before a formal decision is taken.  Most items will not involve such a lengthy process.

Proposal Requirements

Our BoS can reject proposals either outright or on the basis that they need more work before they can be considered.  In order to help everybody to focus on the content of a proposal, and to think about it ahead of time, an online course proposal must be supplied.  This form allows you to provide the essential facts about your proposed course and an opportunity to justify your proposal, and to anticipate likely questions.

 

NOTE:  No item will be placed on the Agenda unless all of the necessary information has been included on the proposal form (and highlighted to the Administrative Secretary) at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.  The BoS normally meets on a Wednesday afternoon, proposals must therefore be received by the Monday of the preceding week.  This ensures that the Agenda will not undergo sudden changes near the meeting, giving staff sufficient time to become familiar with the topics for discussion and also provides an opportunity for the Convenor and Academic Secretary to look over any proposals with a view to suggesting possible changes or clarifications. The sooner documentation is received the better.

Minor Changes to Existing Courses

It is quite common for staff to slightly revise an existing course.  If the lecturer is reasonably confident that these changes won't significantly change the format of the course (e.g. changing a couple of lectures in a level 10 course that isn't a pre-requsitie for something else) then they should contact the Academic Secretary to arrange for off-line approval.  Once approved, the Administrative Secretary will make any necessary changes to the EUCLID record.  If the proposed change is of a more significant nature (e.g. a change in the assessment weightings) then then it should be added to the Agenda ensuring that it is fully discussed at the next meeting.  In this situation an online proposal form should be presented to the meeting, including a revised course syllabus (demonstrating the impact of the proposed changes) and justification for these revisions.

Useful Documentation

The following web pages should come in useful when you are preparing a course proposal, please consult the Academic Secretary if you need further guidance: