Open University MARCH Institutional audit

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1 Open University MARCH 2004 Institutional audit

2 Published by Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Southgate House Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UB Tel Fax Web Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2004 ISBN All the Agency's publications are available on our web site Printed copies are available from: Linney Direct Adamsway Mansfield Nottinghamshire NG18 4FN Tel Fax

3 Preface The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (the Agency) exists to safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education (HE) qualifications and to encourage continuous improvement in the management of the quality of HE. To do this the Agency carries out reviews of individual HE institutions (universities and colleges of HE). In England and Northern Ireland this process is known as institutional audit. The Agency operates similar but separate processes in Scotland and Wales. The purpose of institutional audit The aims of institutional audit are to meet the public interest in knowing that universities and colleges are: providing HE, awards and qualifications of an acceptable quality and an appropriate academic standard; and exercising their legal powers to award degrees in a proper manner. Judgements Institutional audit results in judgements about the institutions being reviewed. Judgements are made about: the confidence that can reasonably be placed in the soundness of the institution's present and likely future management of the quality of its programmes and the academic standards of its awards; the reliance that can reasonably be placed on the accuracy, integrity, completeness and frankness of the information that the institution publishes, and about the quality of its programmes and the standards of its awards. These judgements are expressed as either broad confidence, limited confidence or no confidence and are accompanied by examples of good practice and recommendations for improvement. Nationally agreed standards Institutional audit uses a set of nationally agreed reference points, known as the 'academic infrastructure', to consider an institution's standards and quality. These are published by the Agency and consist of: The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), which include descriptions of different HE qualifications; The Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education; subject benchmark statements, which describe the characteristics of degrees in different subjects; guidelines for preparing programme specifications, which are descriptions of the what is on offer to students in individual programmes of study. They outline the intended knowledge, skills, understanding and attributes of a student completing that programme. They also give details of teaching and assessment methods and link the programme to the FHEQ. The audit process Institutional audits are carried out by teams of academics who review the way in which institutions oversee their academic quality and standards. Because they are evaluating their equals, the process is called 'peer review'. The main elements of institutional audit are: a preliminary visit by the Agency to the institution nine months before the audit visit; a self-evaluation document submitted by the institution four months before the audit visit; a written submission by the student representative body, if they have chosen to do so, four months before the audit visit; a detailed briefing visit to the institution by the audit team five weeks before the audit visit; the audit visit, which lasts five days; the publication of a report on the audit team's judgements and findings 20 weeks after the audit visit. The evidence for the audit In order to obtain the evidence for its judgement, the audit team carries out a number of activities, including: reviewing the institution's own internal procedures and documents, such as regulations, policy statements, codes of practice, recruitment publications and minutes of relevant meetings, as well as the self-evaluation document itself; reviewing the written submission from students; asking questions of relevant staff; talking to students about their experiences; exploring how the institution uses the academic infrastructure. The audit team also gathers evidence by focusing on examples of the institution's internal quality assurance processes at work using 'audit trails'. These trails may focus on a particular programme or programmes offered at that institution, when they are known as a 'discipline audit trail'. In addition, the audit team may focus on a particular theme that runs throughout the institution's management of its standards and quality. This is known as a 'thematic enquiry'. From 2004, institutions will be required to publish information about the quality and standards of their programmes and awards in a format recommended in document 02/15 Information on quality and standards in higher education published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The audit team reviews progress towards meeting this requirement.

4 Contents Summary Introduction 1 Outcome of the audit 1 Features of good practice 1 Recommendations for action 1 Programmes leading to the named awards of BA (Hons) Language Studies (with a focus on Spanish and German elements); BSc (Hons) IT and Computing; BEng and MEng; MBA 1 National reference points 2 Main report 4 Section 1: Introduction: the Open University 4 Mission statement 5 Collaborative provision 5 Background information 5 The audit process 6 Developments since the previous academic audit 6 Section 2: The audit investigations: institutional processes 7 The institution's view as expressed in the SED 7 The institution's framework for managing quality and standards 8 The institution's intentions for the enhancement of quality and standards 10 Internal approval, monitoring and review processes 11 External participation in internal review processes 14 External examiners and their reports 14 External reference points 15 Programme-level review and accreditation by external agencies 16 Student representation at operational and institutional level 17 Feedback from students, graduates and employers 17 Progression and completion statistics 18 Assurance of the quality of teaching staff, appointment, appraisal and reward 18 Assurance of the quality of teaching through staff support and development 19 Assurance of the quality of teaching delivered through distributed and distance methods 20 Learning support resources 20 Academic guidance, support and supervision 21 Personal support and guidance 23 Section 3: The audit investigations: discipline trails 24 Discipline audit trails 24 Section 4: The audit investigations: published information 30 The students' experience of published information and other information available to them 30 Reliability, accuracy and completeness of published information 31 Findings 34 The effectiveness of institutional procedures for assuring the quality of programmes 34 The effectiveness of institutional procedures for securing the standards of awards 35 The use made by the institution of the academic infrastructure 36 The effectiveness of institutional procedures for supporting learning 36 Outcomes of discipline audit trails 36 The utility of the SED as an illustration of the institution's capacity to reflect upon its own strengths and limitations, and to act on these to enhance quality and standards 37 Commentary on the institution's intentions for the enhancement of quality and standards 38 Reliability of information 38 Features of good practice 38 Recommendations for action 38 Appendix 40 The Open University's response to the audit report 40

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6 Institutional Audit Report: summary Summary Introduction A team of auditors from the Quality Assurance Agency for higher education (the Agency) visited the Open University (the University) from 22 to 26 March 2004 to carry out an institutional audit. The purpose of the audit was to provide public information on the quality of the opportunities available to students and on the academic standards of the awards that the University offers. To arrive at its conclusions the audit team spoke to members of staff and current students, at the University's main campus and at four regional centres, and read a wide range of documents relating to the way the University manages the academic aspects of its provision. The words 'academic standards' are used to describe the level of achievement that a student has to reach to gain an academic award (for example, a degree). It should be at a similar level across the UK. Academic quality is a way of describing how well the learning opportunities available to students help them to achieve their award. It is about making sure that appropriate teaching, support, assessment and learning opportunities are provided for them. In institutional audit, both academic standards and academic quality are reviewed. Outcome of the audit As a result of its investigations, the audit team's view of the University is that: broad confidence can be placed in the soundness of the University's current and likely future management of the quality of its programmes and the academic standards of awards. Features of good practice The audit team identified the following areas as being good practice: the way that the University monitors the security of its academic standards through the Results Ratification and Awards Classification Panel; the systematic and comprehensive collection and use of feedback from students; the arrangements for appointing, monitoring and supporting associate lecturers; the proactive stance taken by the University in giving academic guidance and support to students; and the third-party monitoring system for research students. Recommendations for action The audit team also recommends that the University should consider further action in a number of areas to ensure that the academic quality and standards of the awards it offers are maintained. The team advises the University to: take the opportunity offered by the governance review to articulate more clearly, for the benefit of the University community as a whole, the University's approach to assuring and enhancing the quality of provision; review the effectiveness of its procedures for determining whether intended programme learning outcomes will be met through all pathways leading to named awards; systematically include external subject expertise in the procedures for approving programmes leading to named degrees; consider the effectiveness of its present system for gaining a University-level overview of annual review activity at course and programme levels; and reflect on the possible consequences of using different versions of programme specifications for different audiences. The University may also wish to consider the desirability of enhancing its quality management arrangements by: ensuring that research students have clear information about their financial entitlements. Programmes leading to the named awards of BA (Hons) Language Studies (with a focus on Spanish and German elements); BSc (Hons) IT and Computing; BEng and MEng; MBA To arrive at these conclusions, the audit team spoke to staff and students, and was given information about the University as a whole. The team also looked in detail at the programmes listed above to find out how well the University's systems and procedures were working at programme level. The University provided the team with documents, including student work and, here too, the team spoke to staff and students. As well as supporting the overall confidence statement given above, the team was able to state that the standard of student achievement in these programmes was appropriate to the titles of their awards and their place in The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The team considered that the quality of learning opportunities available to students in each of the programmes was suitable for a programme of study leading to the named award. page 1

7 Open University National reference points To provide further evidence to support its findings, the audit team also investigated the use made by the University of the academic infrastructure which the Agency has developed on behalf of the whole of UK higher education. The academic infrastructure is a set of nationally agreed reference points that help to define both good practice and academic standards. The audit found that the University was making effective use of the academic infrastructure to inform its framework for the management of quality and standards. From autumn 2004 the Agency's audit teams will comment on the reliability of the information about academic quality and standards that institutions will be required to publish, and which is listed in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's document 03/51, Information on quality and standards in higher education: Final guidance. The audit found that the University was preparing appropriately for the publication of the required information. page 2

8 Main report

9 Open University Main report 1 An institutional audit of the Open University (the University, or the OU) was undertaken during the period 22 to 26 March The purpose of the audit was to provide public information on the quality of the University's programmes of study and on the discharge of its responsibility as an awarding body. 2 The audit was carried out using a process developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (the Agency) in partnership with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP) and Universities UK (UUK), and has been endorsed by the Department for Education and Skills. For institutions in England, it replaces the previous processes of continuation audit, undertaken by the Agency at the request of UUK and SCOP, and universal subject review, undertaken by the Agency on behalf of HEFCE, as part of the latter's statutory responsibility for assessing the quality of education that it funds. 3 The audit checked the effectiveness of the University's procedures for establishing and maintaining the standards of academic awards; for reviewing and enhancing the quality of the programmes of study leading to those awards; for publishing reliable information; and for the discharge of its responsibility as an awarding body. As part of the audit process, according to protocols agreed with HEFCE, SCOP and UUK, the audit included consideration of examples of institutional processes at work at the level of the programme, through four discipline audit trails (DATs), together with examples of those processes operating at the level of the institution as a whole. The audit did not include the University's collaborative provision. Section 1: Introduction: the Open University 4 The University was founded by Royal Charter in 1969, and began teaching students in Its administrative headquarters are at Walton Hall in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, and it has 13 regional centres located throughout the United Kingdom (UK). The University was established specifically and distinctively to provide supported open learning opportunities for students to study with the University from a distance on a part-time basis while continuing with other commitments. The University has an extensive geographical reach, operating through out the European Union, Switzerland and Slovenia. It also offers some on-line learning globally. 5 The University has full degree-awarding powers. Undergraduate and most postgraduate taught study is fully modular, and students register for creditrated courses (modules), and accumulate credit via completion of courses towards qualifications. About 600 or so courses, many of which are interdisciplinary, are available across a wide range of subjects. There is an open admission policy for undergraduate taught programmes, and students, the majority of whom are mature and in employment, enter the University with a wide range of study goals and previous educational and general experience. There is an active research community, and the University also offers full-time masters degrees in research methods, and full and part-time external research degrees. 6 The University states that it is the UK's largest university, with some 20 per cent of the UK's parttime higher education (HE) students. In , over 178,000 undergraduate students registered for courses with the University, of whom nearly 24,000 where studying at postgraduate level. However, because students can, and do, study for more than one course in any one year, course registrations totalled around 240,000. Some 5,500 of the total registered students live in Continental and Western Europe, and there are a further 12,000 students studying with other institutions on approved programmes leading to the University's awards. There are over 250 research students studying full-time at Walton Hall, about 475 directly registered research students studying part-time, and nearly 500 research students studying at sponsoring establishments. 7 The University has nine faculties, schools or institutes (in this report the term 'faculty' will be taken to refer generically to these academic units). They are: Arts; Education and Language Studies; Educational Technology; Health and Social Welfare; Management; Mathematics and Computing; Science; Social Sciences; and Technology. Most faculty members are based at Walton Hall. Full-time regional managers and staff tutors based in the regional centres are also members of a relevant faculty, and participate fully in their academic activities. 8 Regional centres provide the services and functions to support course delivery and students' learning. The centres deal with enquiries from applicants and students; arrange tutorial provision and support; manage local study centres; and appoint, develop and support the 7,000 or so part time associate lecturers (ALs) who act as course tutors. Regional centres act as an interface between the University and local and regional institutions and government agencies, helping to develop partnerships page 4

10 Institutional Audit Report: main report and collaborations. The OU in Scotland is Scotland's largest single provider of part-time HE. Although the University receives funding from the HEFCE, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) funds the teaching of OU students living in Scotland, and the activity in Scotland is subject to SHEFC policy directives. The North region also has particular responsibility for supporting students based in continental western Europe, and has a network of country coordinators in major European cities. 9 The University has established itself as the dominant provider of open and supported learning in the UK, and it is distinctive in that this form of learning is the basis on which the OU was founded. In its SED, the University defined 'supported open learning' as an integrated 'system of distance learning providing carefully designed, high quality, multimedia teaching materials and services, together with personalised learning and support'. The core component of the study materials is normally a series of specially written course texts augmented by a range of other learning resources and support, including on-line, and via the regional centres. The traditional model of study leads to the University's BA or BSc Open degrees, allowing students to design their own programmes of study to suit their own purposes. In 2000, the University introduced a range of single and joint subjects named degrees whose content is more closely prescribed. Mission statement 10 At the time of the audit visit, the University had just revised its Mission, with the aim of achieving a clearer sense of direction and purpose for those within and outside the University. The revised Mission Statement was not available to the audit team until the end of its visit. The revised Mission affirms the philosophy and values enunciated at the time of the University's inauguration in 1969, in that 'The Open University is open to people, places, methods and ideas'. It 'promotes educational opportunity and social justice by providing highquality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential'. The Mission goes on to state that 'through academic research, pedagogic innovation and collaborative partnership, (the University) seeks to be a world leader in the design, content and delivery of supported open and distance learning'. Collaborative provision 11 OU Validation Services, established in 1993, oversees the University's collaborative provision. This provision does not form part of this institutional audit because the Agency has agreed with the University that there will be a separate audit of the University's collaborative provision in Background information 12 The published information available for this audit included: statistical data provided via the Higher Education Statistics Agency, HEFCE, UCAS, Higher Education Research Opportunities and the OU web sites; the information on the University's web site, including its degree prospectuses and course catalogues; the report of the continuation audit undertaken by the Agency, published in January 1999; reports of reviews by the Agency of provision at subject level, published since the 1998 continuation audit; a wide range of information relating to the management of standards and quality; the reports, confidential to the University and HEFCE, of the developmental engagements undertaken by the Agency in March The University provided the Agency with: an institutional self-evaluation document (SED); prospectuses and course catalogues; a discipline self-evaluation document (DSED) for each of the four areas selected for DATs, and which included the programme specifications for the courses and supporting documentation; the University's Corporate Plan, Plans for Change: The University's Strategic Plan for 2002 to 2012; statistical information, which included a demographic analysis of the student population over three years, student progress and achievement at course and award level and student feedback against key institutional indicators. 14 During the briefing and audit visits, the audit team was given ready access to a range of the University's internal documents in hard copy and on a CD-Rom accompanying the SED. It was also able to access the University's intranet and the documents, committee minutes, systems and material held there. During the audit visit the University provided the team with a range of documentation relating to the selected DATs, including examples of students' assessed work, teaching materials and reports of professional and statutory bodies (PSBs) where relevant. The team also had access to, and was given copies of, internal page 5

11 Open University documents and committee minutes at regional centres. The information included additional published material about the OU in Scotland, and a copy of 'The OU in Scotland's' strategic and development plans 2002 to The audit process 15 Following a preliminary meeting at the University in May 2003 between an Agency officer and representatives of the University and students, the Agency confirmed that four DATs would be conducted during the audit visit. On the basis of the SED and other published information, the audit team confirmed that the DATs would focus on programmes leading to the awards of: BA (Hons) Language Studies (with a focus on Spanish and German elements); BSc (Hons) Information Technology (IT) and Computing; BEng and MEng; MBA. 16 The University provided the Agency with DSEDs in January By agreement with the University, members of the audit team visited four of the University's regional centres to meet staff and students. Each regional visit focused on one of the DATs as follows: North Region - BA (Hons) Language Studies; London Region - BSc (Hons) IT and Computing; Scottish Region - BEng and Meng; South-West Region - MBA. 17 At the preliminary meeting for the audit, the students of the University were invited, through the Open University Students' Association (OUSA), to submit a written submission to the audit expressing views on the student experience at the University, and identifying any matters of concern or commendation with respect to the quality of courses and programmes and the academic standards of awards. They were also invited to give their views on the level of representation afforded to them, and the extent to which their views were noted and acted upon. The OUSA generated a document which was submitted to the Agency, and to the University, in November It was drafted with input from a specially established steering group, and drew on consultation with the student body via the University's on-line conferencing system, a training event for student activists, and articles in the OUSA bulletin and newspaper. The students' written submission (SWS) did not contain any matters which required the audit team to treat them with confidentiality greater than that normally applying to the audit process. The team is grateful to the students of the University for preparing the substantial and helpful written submission. The resolutions of the 2003 OUSA Conference were also made available to the team. 18 The audit team visited the University on 16 and 17 February 2004 for the purpose of exploring with the Vice-Chancellor, senior members of staff of the University and student representatives matters of institutional-level management of quality and standards raised by the University's SED, the SWS, and published documentation. At the close of this briefing visit, a programme of meetings for the audit visit was agreed with the University. The team did not select any area for a thematic enquiry. 19 The audit visit took place from 22 to 26 March Meetings were held during the visit with groups of staff and students based at Walton Hall. In view of the distinctive nature of the University, and the significance of its regional centres, members of the audit team visited four regional centres (see above, paragraph 16) in the period between the briefing and audit visits. During these regional visits, team members met regional directors and other members of full-time University staff based in the centres, some ALs, including those with particular interest in the DATs, and representative students studying courses in the DAT subject areas. The team is grateful to all those staff and students who participated in meetings at the regional centres and at Walton Hall. 20 The audit team comprised Professor D G Bonner, Mr C E J Griffiths, Mrs C Penna; Professor N Pratt; Professor D Timms, Dr M Wing, auditors, and Ms G Simpson, audit secretary. The audit was coordinated for the Agency by Dr D J Buckingham, Assistant Director, Reviews Group. Developments since the previous academic audit 21 The Agency conducted an academic quality continuation audit in May 1998, the report of which was published in January The report commended the University for a number of aspects of its work including the progress made in integrating regional activities with the centre through the creation of the student services structure; the extent to which its staff have a shared commitment to the University's quality ethos; its approach to course design; its approach to considering the implications of the development of named degree programmes; page 6

12 Institutional Audit Report: main report the strengthening of the links between strategic and academic planning through the unit planning process; the work of the Institute for Educational Technology; the use made of feedback from students and staff; its sensitive approach to the development and use of IT-based learning materials; and the quality of its promotional and course materials. 22 Points for further consideration included the necessity of reviewing the approval processes for new courses to ensure regulations are approved before courses/programmes start. The University was also advised to consider continuing to review the effectiveness of deliberative and management structures; increasing external involvement at programme level; ensuring, where practicable, that published materials remain current; keeping the operation of the Career Development and Staff Appraisal Scheme under review; developing a formal complaints procedure; and reviewing the portfolios of the Pro-Vice-Chancellors (PVCs), the Academic Board Committee structures to accord more closely with these. It was suggested that the University may wish to consider the desirability of continuing to review the nature and scope of the internal review process; providing further clarification of the process for approving research projects and supervisors are allocated; introducing formal research methods training for research students; continuing to review the impact of the student support arrangements in the regions; clarifying staff management roles in faculties; evaluating the effectiveness of the Guide to Quality Assurance; and providing induction courses for new committee members. 23 The SED detailed the positive action taken by the University in response to the 1999 Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC) report to implement the requirements and recommendations. New and changed processes and systems were introduced where relevant. These included a new Academic Board substructure, later further defined when PVCs' portfolios changed; a strengthening of the internal review process and new processes for the review of non-course based services at regional level; an evaluation of the Guide to Quality Assurance; and the establishment of a Research School. 24 Since the continuation audit, academic developments have included a stronger focus on programmes, and the introduction of new areas of academic provision; a range of 'named' degrees at undergraduate level (the first awards being made in 2000); the establishment of the University's own qualifications and levels frameworks; and the development of programme specifications. A review of course models is currently under way. Learning support developments include the 'Knowledge Network' and extensive development of on-line teaching, learning and support services to fulfil the requirements for all ALs to be on-line in 2004, and students in The implementation of progress files has also been developed. The University has undertaken major reviews of some of its services, with some organisational changes resulting. 25 There have been some important initiatives to enhance activity and support student learning and respond to external changes. The curriculum and awards strategy, Size and Shape , sets out changes to the curriculum to encourage innovation to respond to growing competition. An institutionwide retention project has been set up alongside the development of the widening participation strategy and partnerships and collaborations at regional level via Partnerships for Progression initiatives. At the time of the audit, the University was in the process of revising its corporate plan to respond to the changing external environment and issues it had identified as impacting upon its activity and future direction, and as part of the change in leadership following the appointment of the current Vice- Chancellor two years ago. 26 The introduction of named awards has presented a new focus for quality management arrangements, and a change in their emphasis and operation. The audit team explored aspects of these developments in relation to their impact on the quality, standards and enhancement of the student experience. It gave particular attention to the integration of named awards, and to the appropriateness of the quality management and enhancement processes for outcomes-focused provision of this type in relation to those for the University's traditional course-based model. Section 2: The audit investigations: institutional processes The institution's view as expressed in the SED 27 The SED referred to the University's Guide to Quality and Standards in the Open University when describing its approach to managing the quality its programmes and the academic standards of its awards. That approach makes use of the University's framework for qualifications and its constituent parts, course approval processes, annual, interim monitoring and periodic review processes, assessment and awards frameworks, and arrangements for student support and guidance. Responsibility for the institutional management of quality and standards is page 7

13 Open University discharged through the University's governance, committee and management structures. In its discussions with staff and students during the briefing and audit visits, the audit team explored how the approaches outlined in the SED for assuring the quality of academic activity and academic standards of awards operated in practice. The institution's framework for managing quality and standards 28 The University's committee structure is strongly participative. The academic authority in the University is its Senate, a body of some 1,300 members. An Academic Board with some 60 members formulates and reviews the academic policies of the University on behalf of the Senate. The SED described the structure of committees, implemented since the last audit, through which the Academic Board formulates the academic policies of the University for approval by the Senate, acting on behalf of its parent body to determine academic priorities and coordinate the development of courses and programmes. The Academic Board is served by six sub-boards, each with its own committee substructure. 29 The SED explained that the primary committee for the oversight of quality assurance processes themselves is the Quality and Standards Board (QSB), which is also responsible for arrangements for setting and reviewing standards, annual review of courses, periodic review of programmes, and maintaining oversight of the University's engagements with external organisations such as the Agency and PSBs. The University explained that QSB is also responsible for the design of quality assurance procedures, and the other boards are accountable to it for their implementation. Other key groups in matters of quality management are: the Curriculum and Awards Board (CAB), which either directly or through its subcommittees is responsible for course and programme approval, annual programme review, and assessment; the Student Policy Board (SPB), which takes oversight of arrangements for student support, including relationships with the ALs who assess and provide face-to-face tuition at regional level; and the Learning and Teaching Board (LTB), which takes oversight of learning resources. The audit team was informed during its visit that this structure was currently under review. 30 The boards that report direct to the University's Academic Board broadly reflect the organisational structure of the University and the responsibilities of the PVCs. There are offices for Learning and Teaching, Curriculum and Awards, and Student Policy. The QSB and the LTB both fall within the remit of the PVC (Learning and Teaching), and the CAB is chaired by the PVC (Curriculum and Awards). The functional area of Student Services is currently being reviewed and restructured to make more effective use of available resources, but it is intended that a senior manager with status similar to that of a PVC will soon take over this area. 31 Each of the nine faculties (where 'faculty' is taken to refer also to 'school' and 'institute', see above, paragraph 7) has a board, structurally equivalent to the Academic Board at the University level, and headed by a dean or director. Some faculties have departments with departmental heads or heads of disciplinary areas. Course team chairs have academic responsibility for courses, and report to their various deans or directors. Until 2000, the University offered the degrees of BA and BSc without subject descriptors, but it has recently devoted considerable effort to 'linking' courses into named awards, and to developing courses in the contexts of named awards. For each such award a 'named award board' is designated. In some instances, groups of named awards are collected together for some academic management purposes into 'programmes', and in such cases a 'programme board' is established to fulfil the collective responsibilities relating to the set of named awards for which it is responsible. For ease of reference in this report, 'programme board' will be understood to refer either to a named degree board or to a programme board. Course and programme teams oversee courses and programmes respectively, and report to their faculty boards. 32 The SED listed a comprehensive collection of printed and internet-based materials detailing the formal policies and procedures of the University with regard to quality management. It also pointed to much of the deliberative material derived from committee and other papers that supports policy and procedure and provides guidance on the practical operation of policy and procedure. Part of this documentation is the Guide to Quality and Standards in the Open University, which takes the form of 'factsheets', covering key aspects of the University's arrangements for managing the quality of provision and the standards of awards, from Governance and Planning (Factsheet 1) through to Accountability to Stakeholders (Factsheet 8). The regional dimension 33 Regions produce their own strategic plans setting out the scope of their activities and their approach. Each of the 13 regions has a regional director, responsible for a group of staff tutors who page 8

14 Institutional Audit Report: main report have affiliations to faculties and to individual courses and programmes. Funding comes to the regions from various sources - some is formula driven, some is open to a bidding process, and some is specific to the region, as in the case of Scotland where government-funded schemes such as the Scottish quality enhancement development apply. There is flexibility and autonomy to vary provision, especially tutorial support, where particular circumstances warrant this. An example of such variation is in the North Region which receives additional funding to support students and staff in continental and western Europe. The Business School has established three 'hubs' and three 'associate hubs', each serving the MBA programmes in more than one region. 34 Regions have regional committees and a substructure of committees that support their work. Regional committees deal with a range of business including: commenting on University strategies feeding views to the University strategic planning committee; the performance of students with a view to identifying any trends which might have relevance to student support and act as pointers for action; operational aspects of the student support arrangements and regional and national policy developments. Regional committees also receive papers of relevant University committees and staff from regional centres are members of relevant University committees. Framework for assessment 35 The University's policy framework for assessment is established by CAB and its Assessment Policy Committee. Both are chaired by the PVC (Curriculum and Awards). Management of assessments submitted by students, and the recording of all matters to do with marks, is the responsibility of the Head of Assessment, Credits and Awards, who reports to the Director of Student Services. 36 The University's approach to assessment is strongly modular or course-based (the University uses the word 'course' to refer to a module of study, and this terminology is used in this report). The overall credit framework is similar to that in UK HE generally, and levels are calibrated to The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), published by the Agency. The University is aware of the Bologna declaration and is working to reflect its requirements in the academic provision. Students highlighted in their SWS that there are some difficulties with recognition of the OU degree in parts of Europe, which remain to be resolved. 37 Every course, of whatever size, has at least one designated external examiner. The classification of degrees is based exclusively on students' results in their several courses, and an individual classification is generated by algorithm. Assessment tasks are determined by course teams, and for any one course these tasks may consist of a combination of continuous assessment and examinations. Continuous assessment may include computermarked assessments (CMAs), but tutor-marked assessments (TMAs) remain a very important element of the University's assessment practices. Marking of TMAs is mainly done by the ALs who are employed by the University to provide learning support for courses. The SED described a comprehensive system for training ALs in assessment, and for monitoring the standards to which they mark, mainly using the staff tutors based in the regions. The University's arrangements for monitoring depend on a sophisticated infrastructure for managing and recording assessment items. 38 Responsibility for determining marks rests with examination and assessment boards, within guidelines established with the Senate's authority. Ratification of results is undertaken by a Results Ratification and Awards Classification Panel (RRACP) reporting direct to the Senate, which may require an examination board to revisit its results-list when it appears statistically anomalous, or where there is any other cause for concern. RRACP also undertakes the longitudinal monitoring of results. The arrangements for assessment are explained in several University documents, including one of its factsheets. The arrangements described there in outline are expanded in documentation for individual courses, and in various other documents, both paper-based and electronic. 39 The SED suggested that the University has made a significant re-assessment of its offerings in its strategic document Plans for Change and the associated document on 'Size and shape '. An important element in the development of the University's curriculum and, therefore, in its management of quality and standards, is a general move towards increased provision of named awards, or programmes as opposed to courses. The SED described several new quality assurance practices that had accompanied this shift. For instance, in addition to the annual process for the review of each course, there is now an annual process for the review of programmes. 40 The University indicated that the distinction between the boards for Quality and Standards on the one hand, and for Curriculum and Awards, Learning and Teaching and Student Policy on the other, was that QSB oversaw the development and page 9

15 Open University implementation of the quality management activities of the other three committees. However, the audit team noted that this distinction did not always apply: Faculty reports on annual course monitoring come directly to QSB, for instance, although annual reports on programmes are the business of CAB. The University later emphasised that faculty reports also 'feed into programme board reports'. The team concluded that it may be that the distinction between the work of the committees was not completely explicit in practice. The consequences of the move towards programmes rather than courses might be considered in relation to the context of the quality assurance system and committee responsibilities as a whole. 41 Overall, it appeared to the audit team that, in its move toward adding programme-based provision to its established course-based provision, the University had tended to add new quality management processes to those that already existed. The result was what the SED itself suggested may be 'too much review', perhaps deriving from a laudable wish to be thorough, without considering how the introduction of a new process affects the totality of processes already in place. Nevertheless, the team considered the University's arrangements for assuring the standards of assessments to be thorough and robust, especially in the context of the very large number of individual assessments, and the dispersed locations of those who mark assessments. The team considered that, at all levels, the University takes great pains to assure the standards of student performance, right up to the level of the RRACP, and the University's mechanism for ensuring the reliability of its results through RRACP seemed to the audit team to be a feature of good practice. The institution's intentions for the enhancement of quality and standards 42 The SED stated that 'the University's intentions for the enhancement of quality and standards at institutional level are encapsulated in a number of institutional strategies, in particular: Curriculum and Awards (Size and Shape ); Learning and Teaching; Human Resources; Student Support; Research; Widening Participation; Improved Student Retention; Equal Opportunities; Race Equality; Disabled Students; and Research'. These reflect and feed into the University's overall strategic and development plan, Plans for Change, and translate high-level institutional objectives into development priorities. Academic and administrative units develop operational plans from these and other academic and pedagogical and enabling strategies and planning data. 43 The SED went on to state that 'institutional strategic aims dictate development activities and priorities'. The University's strategic plan is revised every two years in the context of a thorough re-appraisal of the University's recent performance (The Institutional Performance Review report) and an assessment of the impact of the external environment and internal capabilities. The University had identified a levelling of registration rates, a fall or status quo in completion rates, and a decline in progression rates as concerns. It identified three interrelated main challenges for the future: maintaining the quality and vitality of the teaching provision and of the support for students; understanding the future and ensuring the capacity to respond to change; and improving operations in key business areas in the context of the rise in online activity generally in the sector, widening participation, retention and cost effective operation. 44 The University had signalled the need to monitor the external environment, to refresh its mission, and to revise its corporate plan in response. It also targeted improving communication, realigning its Human Resources Strategy and revision of its elearning strategy. To this extent, the SED gave a clear picture of what the University saw as the way forward and its strengths and weaknesses. It also stressed that planning is an iterative process, and that planning underpins the quality assurance processes and influences enhancement. At its meeting with senior staff, the audit team learnt about the challenges perceived to be facing the University, the rationale for change and the benefits of the scenario planning process adopted for the first time in the University. This had identified 'a number of key driving forces' which shaped and influenced the revised strategic plan. The team gained the impression of a significant level of activity, with change as a clear agenda and an understanding of the multiplicity of tasks to be undertaken. 45 Senior staff who met the audit team spoke of quality strategy as aiming to ensure that the processes for evaluating the operations of all services and boards are carried out in an effective and reflective manner, and that they reflect national requirements. However, this was not explicitly stated in the University's documentation and, given that it stated in the SED that a more critical appraisal of activities' cost effectiveness is needed, the University may wish to consider the need for a clearer articulation of its quality strategy. The team also explored with staff the impact of the move to named degrees, and the need to assess the whole learning experience and outputs page 10

16 Institutional Audit Report: main report as a defined programme. With the shift in emphasis from course-based to programme-based provision, it would be reasonable to expect that some adjustments to the frameworks and strategies for quality management and enhancement, including those for quality of learning and teaching, would be required. Given that the University is entering a new phase of its strategic development, it may wish to reflect on the fitness for purpose and cost effectiveness of the frameworks for the enhancement of quality and standards. 46 While it was clear to the audit team that forward planning in the University is a reflective and well-informed process, it was less clear how the priorities for enhancement were determined in practice and how they underpinned University objectives. The University's approach to enhancing quality and standards was stated as being encapsulated in the various institutional strategies. While all of these are important, it was not clear to the team which were of key significance, nor was it clear, in the context of the major challenges identified, where the priorities lay. The team would therefore encourage the University to underpin its approach to quality enhancement with a more explicit sense of priority, and to state its strategy for quality enhancement as clearly as possible. Internal approval, monitoring and review processes Approval of courses and programmes 47 University policy for the approval of courses is determined principally by the CAB, LTB and SPB. All their decisions are subject to the approval of the Senate. The University stated that this arrangement ensures that the Senate retains its statutory authority over the development of the curriculum, and that the curriculum as a whole remains consistent with the University's agreed objectives. The University's fact sheet on its qualifications framework and its Course Management Guide explain arrangements for course approval, including the ways in which they match the requirements of the Agency's academic infrastructure. CAB approves courses in the context of the overall University Curriculum Plan while LTB and SPB determine policy relating to the delivery and presentation of courses. Approval of the detailed plans for individual courses is devolved to faculties after outline approval is granted. One of the key responsibilities of the course team, appointed to undertake the detailed planning, is the design of the course materials that are fundamental to the University's system of supported open learning. The University requires that for each course an external assessor is appointed who reports to the head of the academic unit concerned on the progress of course design, and also on the progress of the course after the first time that it is 'presented'. 48 The approval of programmes leading to named awards has a somewhat different set of requirements. There is a standard pro forma for new award proposals which also forms the basis of a programme specification (including learning outcomes) for awards that are approved. Each award must conform to the University's curriculum strategy and its general guidelines on credit. A new programme of studies leading to an award is sponsored by an academic unit through its faculty board, and is approved by the Academic Board acting on behalf of the Senate, although the audit team noted that some new proposals had required a full Senate discussion. Policy on named awards is considered at University level by the Awards Committee. The academic standard for each degree is overseen by a programme board responsible both to its faculty and to the Awards Committee. After a new programme is approved an 'external adviser' is appointed to the programme board. 49 In general, the audit team found that the procedures for course development and approval were tried and tested, and worked well. The course team, a project team set up expressly for the development and management of a course, is a unit of operation that is well understood within the University, and course team chairs are key individuals in matters of quality management. For understandable reasons to do with the University's history of modular provision and the scale of investment in the establishment of a new course, the University lays great stress on the development of the course materials that form the foundation of its system of supported open learning. The team noted, however, that it was not a rare occurrence for course teams to find that volume of the assessment tasks set for a new course had not been fully estimated in advance, making it necessary to take in-course remedial action, such as varying assessment requirements in number or in timing, in order to respond to students' difficulties. It appeared to the audit team that course teams may sometimes be more alive to the content of courses than to the intended learning outcomes and the challenge that their achievement presents to students. 50 In other matters concerning design and approval, it appeared to the audit team the University had not yet fully come to terms with the challenge of designing programmes as a structured set of courses leading to clear programme outcomes, as opposed to the individual courses page 11

17 Open University themselves. Despite an extensive University-wide project entitled Learning Outcomes and their Assessment, intended to develop tools for mapping intended learning outcomes and how they are assessed, evidence from some of the DATs suggested to the team that there was still much work to do in following through the consequences of a learningoutcomes design approach rather than a contentdriven approach to provision. In some of the programmes covered by the DATs, not all intended learning outcomes could in fact be mapped on to all potential pathways for the designed award (see below, paragraphs 137, 146). These programmes had been approved despite these limitations. 51 The audit team noted that the external adviser is appointed only after approval is granted for the establishment of an award. This means that there is no involvement external to the University equivalent to that performed by external assessors in the early development of courses. The external assessor might provide an effective check where a new course is proposed for linkage to an existing award, but not when the programme is approved for the first time. The University is advised to review its use of external advice in programme approval, to ensure that it can systematically include external subject expertise in the procedures for approving programmes leading to named degrees. Annual monitoring 52 QSB determines and reviews strategy for monitoring and review as a whole, and addresses matters which require attention at University level. In its Internal Review Sub-Group developed the basis of a University-wide pro forma for annual course reports. For a course lasting a year, completion of a standard course report is required annually. The report combines an overview of quantitative information for example, about student registrations, progress and completion rates, with qualitative information about the feedback received and the action taken by the course team, significant changes to the course or the performance of students. The forms are available to course teams electronically, with some sections precompleted with student data held on the University's record systems. Arrangements for consideration of annual course report forms vary slightly between faculties, but in general, the course team chair sends the completed report to the sub-dean with responsibility for quality in teaching and learning, who considers it on behalf of the faculty. The sub-dean prepares a summary report for the faculty confirming that annual reports have been completed, drawing out issues for attention at unit level and, in particular, identifying high and low-performing courses (or those which have changed from year to year in these respects) in relation to student feedback and student performance. In the case of courses that are 'core' to awards, the report is forwarded to the programme board(s) of which the course is a core component. The sub-dean also completes a report on the process and key findings for the QSB at University level. 53 Pre-dating the requirement for annual course review, the University had a process under which a course was reviewed at specified stages in its lifecycle of (normally) eight years: end of first year; mid-life (i.e. usually after six years); and review before extension. This process continues, and has been brought together with annual monitoring, so that in the years in which the 'lifecycle' reviews occur these reports subsume and replace the annual report. The end of first-year review is effectively an enhanced version of the standard annual review. Mid-life review is more comprehensive and involves formal consideration by a panel appointed by the faculty; it may include an external member. Review to extend the life of a course beyond ten years, that is, any further review beyond the mid-life review, is also done by a formally constituted panel, which includes an external member and also a member from the University but outside the faculty. The panel reports to the faculty board or equivalent, which is empowered by the Senate to take action on its recommendations. This practice is longestablished in the University and the audit team saw evidence that it worked effectively. 54 For programmes leading to named awards, programme boards review the performance of students against previous cohorts and a range of feedback on the constituent courses. In addition to the course reports on core courses, programme boards receive information on a range of standards matters, including information from relevant examination boards. Programme boards are required to complete annual reports for consideration at the level of the academic unit and by the University's Awards Committee. These reports take into account course reports and external examiners' reports for compulsory and core courses. The University stated that in their annual reports programme boards are required to comment on a range of matters including the currency of the courses in the award(s) and how the award(s) relates to external reference points such as the FHEQ, subject benchmark statements, relevance to the requirements of PSBs, and so on. Programme boards are also encouraged to identify any features of good practice. 55 The audit team noted that in annual monitoring of both courses and programmes, as much as in other page 12

18 Institutional Audit Report: main report areas, the statistical data made available to those compiling reports was comprehensive. However, commentary on the statistical evidence and on qualitative indicators is variable between course teams' reports, so that some reports are less effective than others in consistently providing information on the health of the course in question. The 'perfunctory' quality of some course reports had also been noted in the report of at least one external subject review. The pattern of variability was also evident in the reports to the QSB, which took faculty overview reports for the first time in May 2003, and had not at the time of the audit visit taken them for the subsequent year. Some overview reports explicitly state that the author had not yet seen all course reports. The minutes of the relevant meeting of the QSB do not indicate whether action was intended to supply the deficiency. The contents of some reports appeared to give insufficient information to enable QSB to take an overview of the performance of faculty courses overall. It was therefore not clear to the team that this final link in the reporting chain was capable reliably of enabling QSB to assure itself that quality assurance policy had been fulfilled at other levels, or to provide it with information to enable it to make University-level judgements on the health of courses. Neither could the team follow the logic for making so complete a separation between QSB and CAB in the process of taking a University-level overview of programmes and courses. The University is advised to consider the effectiveness of its present system for gaining University-level overview of annual review activity at course and programme levels whether it has the most effective mechanism for making an annual assessment at University level of its academic offerings. 56 A separate internal review concerned primarily with performance in the regions is carried out under the authority of SPB. The shape of the resultant reports is much more determined by a template than reports on courses and programmes, and is strongly oriented towards perceived strengths, weaknesses and action. The audit team considered the reports to be an effective means for the University to keep itself informed on key regional activity, and also an effective means for regions to share good practice. The regional dimension 57 Regional staff are involved in institutional academic matters through their full and active membership of course teams. ALs, appointed and supported by the regional staff, and regional staff themselves, deliver courses according to the guidelines established by course teams. The annual process through which course teams monitor academic standards of attainment is also used by regional centres to assess the impact that their support services may have on outcomes. Periodic review 58 The University has recently introduced an additional procedure for periodic review, focusing on programmes leading to named awards. The intention is that the process will be carried out over a six-year cycle, with all taught provision in two or three Joint Academic Coding System subject areas being reviewed each year. At the time of the audit visit one review had been completed, in October 2003, focusing on law. The law review was conducted according to a carefully designed process that had been discussed in various University-level forums. The procedure is clearly documented, and its aims, objectives and outcomes clearly stated. The method is audit-based, and focuses on the ability of the area under review to manage the quality and standards of its awards. The evidence base is a self-evaluation by the area concerned, programme specifications and handbooks, the various documentation generated by routine quality assurance processes including external examiners' reports, annual course review, etc, and meetings with staff and students. The review team includes, and in the case of the law review was chaired by, a senior member, of academic staff of the University outside the faculty engaged in the review, and also at least one senior academic member external to the University, familiar with the subject area under review. In the case of the law review a single external member met this requirement. Those conducting the review and those reviewed had been provided with comprehensive briefing documentation on the process itself, including guidelines for the self-evaluation, for the report, and even for the kinds of questions that review-team members might ask. The guidelines for the SED included a requirement that the area's approach to key aspects of the academic infrastructure should be described. The review report was a comprehensive document, which the audit team considered to be valuable both to the law team and to the University as an instrument for assuring itself of the continuing health of the law programme. 59 The review had been followed up by a detailed consideration not only of the report itself, but of the process, including written comments by both the Chair of the review panel and the external member. The audit team considered that the University, and particularly QSB, had shown considerable care in implementing the process, documenting its requirements, and considering it thoroughly afterwards. The team noted, however, that the final, page 13

19 Open University University-level, recipient of reports from periodic review was, and would normally be, QSB. It is clear that, given its remit and its own description of its function, QSB is the appropriate forum for development and discussion of the process, and the team formed the view that it discharged that function well. However, QSB is not the University-level destination for most routine quality assurance information about programmes, and it seemed to the team that in this matter, as in some others, the University had not achieved the most productive distribution of responsibilities between its key committees. External participation in internal review processes 60 For each course, the University appoints an external assessor who is a senior academic experienced in the relevant field. The external assessor is proposed by the course team after the course outline has been accepted by the University, and is approved by the relevant faculty board on behalf of the Senate. The initial role of the external assessor is to assist with design, and to provide informal advice to the course team throughout the development of the course on overall structure as well as drafts of course units or other aspects of the teaching material. The assessor also provides the faculty with a full and detailed interim report, six to nine months before the first time the course is offered, covering all aspects of the course, including all the material available (in all media). The faculty uses this report as key evidence in deciding whether to proceed with the course as planned. Finally, the assessor supplies a final report at, or near the end of, the design process to confirm satisfaction with all the course/pack materials. The University's arrangements for the involvement of external experts in course design are well-established, and seemed to the audit team to provide views from outside at all points where they might be most effective, particularly at the design stage, where their impact and value for students is likely to be greatest. 61 When a course is reviewed at mid-cycle, or at later points, to consider whether or not it should continue to be offered, the University again makes use of senior external academic expertise, and includes an external member on the panel appointed by a faculty to make an assessment of a course and its currency. This practice, too, is well established and appeared to the audit team to be working for the effective management of quality and standards. 62 At programme/named award level the role of external adviser has been developed to provide appropriate assurances of standards in the context of an external examiner system that operates at course level only. The external adviser does not scrutinise student work or consider individual student marks, but may attend meetings of the programme board (note that 'programme board' is taken here also to include 'named award board', see above, paragraph 31), and advise on the requirements for the award and for the classification of the degree. 63 The only periodic review in the University's new style of review that had been conducted at the time of the audit visit had included as a panel member a senior academic external to the University. The audit team formed the view that the University had used this external member to good effect, not only to undertake the review, but also to comment on the review process. The team also noted that the procedure on paper provided for 'at least one (normally two) senior member of academic or academic-related staff external to the University'. No doubt the focus of the pilot review, narrower than most of those planned for the future, meant that one rather than two external reviewers was sufficient in this instance. The team noted that the Chair of the review, commenting to QSB, suggested that more than one external member would be appropriate to the general run of reviews. The team considered this to be good advice. 64 It appeared to the audit team, therefore, that the University had made strong and scrupulous use of its external member in the single periodic review conducted so far, and that its plans for the future indicated that this would continue to be the case. External examiners and their reports 65 The University has a strong focus on quality assurance and standards at course level, and appoints external examiners for each course. External examiners are appointed by the PVC (Curriculum and Awards) on the recommendation of the University's Assessment Policy Committee, and the criteria for nomination and appointment are monitored by the Assessment Policy Office which issues guidelines on the appointment process and role. External examiners have a written role description and are briefed by the course examination and assessment board. For each course during the development stage an external assessor is appointed who provides advice to the course team and produces an interim and a final report to confirm satisfaction with the quality of the course materials. 66 At the end of each awarding period, external examiners submit a report to the Vice-Chancellor with comments on the appropriateness of the course materials, the course assessment strategy, the administration of the examination process, the page 14

20 Institutional Audit Report: main report quality of the candidates and whether previous issues raised have been addressed by the University. All external examiners' reports are responded to individually by the University's Head of Assessment, Credit and Awards, and the reports are copied to the relevant academic units. Two standard pro formas are used to follow them up. The first requires the course team to comment on the external examiner's report, to state the actions they have taken in relation to each issue and to confirm that the external examiner is satisfied with the outcome of any issue raised in previous reports. The second is completed at faculty level, and includes a number of sections requiring confirmation that the process of considering reports has been fully completed, a summary of issues, actions taken at academic unit level, and the identification of any general issues for the attention of the Assessment Policy Committee. 67 The 1999 report of the HEQC continuation audit advised the University to consider increasing external involvement at the programme level and whether there was a need to separate more clearly the roles of the external assessor and external examiner. Both of these recommendations have been considered, and since 2000, award boards have been established for each named award, and the new role of the external adviser has been developed. The policy to allow an external assessor to become an external examiner was reconsidered, but it is still regarded as an appropriate option. 68 An external adviser is appointed for each named award. The external adviser sees the external examiners' reports for the relevant courses, and has a role which includes advising the University on the requirements for the award and the classification of the degree, and jointly with the degree board evaluating the achievement of courses in contributing to the overall objectives of the named award. External advisers submit annually to the Vice-Chancellor a pro forma-based report on the maintenance of standards and the continued validity of the named award. External advisers are not involved in considering the eligibility of individual students for the award of the degree because external examiners have already determined the student's eligibility for the award of each course they have taken. Reports from external advisers are considered by the award boards at a meeting at which the adviser is normally present. These reports then form part of the report from the award board to the University's Awards Committee. 69 In November 2002, the Awards Committee noted that the reports were mostly encouraging, but the SED identified two examples where the external adviser disagreed with the present policy in relation to the BA Humanities. Any disagreement between external advisers and an award board is logged with the Awards Committee. From the MBA DAT the audit team noted that, while in other named programmes the external adviser process was already in operation, the MBA award board had yet to be set up and the two proposed external advisers to be appointed, although documentation confirmed that this would take place shortly. 70 The audit team was able to study a sample of reports of external examiners for the courses and reports from external advisers on some of the named programmes of the DATs. None of the reports seen by the team raised concerns about the quality of the provision or the academic standards of the named awards. The team saw evidence that the process for dealing with issues raised by external examiners and advisers at course and programme level is effective, and that monitoring takes place at faculty and University level. The team formed the view that the addition of the external adviser to report on named programmes has strengthened the robustness of the external examining process. External reference points 71 The University's approach to the Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education (Code of practice), published by the Agency, as outlined in the SED, was to amend its own procedures and guidelines, as deemed appropriate, as each section of the Code was published. The process used to achieve this was for the Quality Assurance Office, on behalf of QSB, to request the relevant committee or business area for a commentary on the extent to which its current policy and practice matched the precepts, and to a lesser extent the guidance, in the relevant section of the Code. A statement on each section of the Code was prepared for QSB to satisfy it that there was broad alignment with the precepts or there were in place appropriate alternative arrangements for the management of quality and standards. In the case of the section of the Code for collaborative provision, QSB was not satisfied and initiated a review. Current position statements in relation to sections of the Code are periodically revisited and kept up to date by the Quality Assurance Office, and are available on the University's intranet. The requirements of the sections of the Code for providing information to students, for example, on careers advice, research degree supervision and student support and guidance, are met by providing statements of service on the University's web site. While the University does not expect academic staff to use the page 15

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