The primary reference for teams developing a new course and preparing for validation is the relevant University course validation procedure:
- For University courses: procedure for the validation of new courses
- For partner institution courses: procedure for the validation of new courses at partner institutions
- For Pearson Higher National awards delivered by partners: Delivery of Pearson Higher National Awards at the University of Suffolk (with the first stage of the approval process being completion of a Higher National course proposal form)
- For credit-bearing short courses of up to 60 credits: procedure for the approval of new credit-bearing short courses (the first stage of which is completion of the short course proposal form)
- For non credit-bearing courses: procedure for the approval of new non credit-bearing courses (the first stage of which is the completion of a course proposal form for non-credit bearing provision)
Further information and guidance on course validation, including documentation templates, is available below.
Initial proposals for new courses go through agreed planning and consultation procedures prior to being presented to the University's Quality Committee for final approval to proceed to more detailed course design and development. The purpose of this initial approval stage is to allow the University to be assured of the quality and viability of the proposed new course before it proceeds to the next stage in the validation process and to permit initial publicity relating to the award. The Quality Committee acts under delegated authority from the University Senate in granting permission to proceed to publicity and full validation, reporting to Senate on any decisions made.
Proposals for new courses within the University and regional partner colleges (East Coast College, Suffolk New College and West Suffolk College) are submitted for consideration using the course proposal form with accompanying website information form, costing model (produced in liaison with the Finance and Planning team) and market research statement (produced by the Market Research and Development team in External Relations).
The partner course proposal form should be used for other partnership arrangements.
Once initial approval to proceed has been granted, course teams engage in detailed course design and development work in preparation for a validation event. This is a crucial stage in the process, and course teams are expected to allocate sufficient time and resource to enable the development of a high quality, coherent course. The course team is expected to consult widely to inform the design and development of the course, for example inviting input from industrial, business or community stakeholders and experts. This work will result in the production of documents for submission to the validation panel.
Guidance for staff
- Course validation guidelines
- Supplementary guidance on developing a higher or degree apprenticeship programme (see also Higher and Degree Apprenticeship Framework)
- Preparing course handbooks
- Communicating your learning, teaching and assessment strategy to students
- Writing module specifications
- Generic marking criteria
- Guidance on the implications of consumer protection law
- Validation document template
- Proposal document template for conversion of an existing course into a higher or degree apprenticeship
- Definitive course record template: undergraduate Honours degree
- Definitive course record template: undergraduate Foundation degree
- Definitive course record template: higher or degree apprenticeship (undergraduate)
- Definitive course record template: degree apprenticeship (postgraduate)
- Definitive course record template: Higher National programme
- Definitive course record template: taught postgraduate
- Course handbook template for 2019-20 academic year
- Course handbook template for 2019-20 academic year (higher/degree apprenticeships)
- Module specification template
- Employer handbook template (higher/degree apprenticeships)
- Initial needs assessment template (higher/degree apprenticeships) (see also INA process summary)
- Learning outcome mapping template
- Academic staff CV template
- Assessment regulations variation request form (if the proposed course is intended to depart from the University's standard assessment regulations as outlined in the Framework and Regulations for the relevant type of award)
The process culminates in a validation event, where the course proposal is subject to detailed scrutiny by an acknowledged group of experienced peers including internal and external academics, employer representatives and a student representative. During the event, the validation panel meets with students currently studying related local provision (where possible) and with the course team (including further employer representatives where appropriate). A tour of facilities and resources may also be provided. At the end of the validation event, the validation panel makes a decision on whether the course has been approved for delivery. Approval may be conditional upon certain points being satisfactorily addressed, either before the course commences or by a subsequent agreed deadline.
A report on the validation event is submitted to the Quality Committee for information. The Quality Committee reports to Senate on all courses that have been successfully validated, including confirmation of the agreed period of validation (which is normally five years).