The Distributed Expertise Model offers a way for universities to provide evidence that graduates have achieved threshold standards required for communication skills.
- Responsibility is shared by stakeholders who understand what is required for students to achieve minimum standards.
- University leaders, generally the DVC Academic or DVC (or PVC) Learning and Teaching, oversee policy compliance, hence there is institutional ownership.
- Through their engagement on advisory groups, industry bodies and professional associations have confidence in graduates’ communications skills.
- Program teams are involved via mapping of skills, establishing where development of oral and written communication occurs, and devising assessment tasks for appropriate units within the program. As this takes place across the program, strategies and tasks are sustainable and scalable. They are visible to students within weeks of enrolment and, as a result of feedback, remain so during their study.
- Threshold standards are clearly detailed in program documents and specific unit outlines, along with actions required if the standards are not attained. There are implications if students fail to meet minimum threshold standards. Generally, students will fail the unit and cannot progress until a pass is achieved.
- As the development and assessment of communication skills is integrated within the program of study, all learning and teaching is contextualised to their program. This is regarded as best practice.
- A range of contextualised strategies and support measures are available for all students, some of which are linked directly to assessment tasks.
- Assessment tasks and marking are moderated both internally and externally.
- There is a strong evidence-base of students’ achievement of the required communication skills because it is mandatory that they meet minimum threshold standards at key points throughout their program.