As part of a suite of measures developed to respond to both the widening participation agenda, internal quality assurance and regulatory requirements from the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Authority (TEQSA), the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic and Student Life (DVC:ASL) and the Dean of Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement developed and implemented the James Cook University English Language and Numeracy Policy. This policy, framed around the English Language Standards for Higher Education (DEEWR, 2010), built upon previous work of the JCU Literacy and Numeracy project and the JCU First Year Experience project.
The policy identifies the requirements for, and expectations of, students’ English language proficiency and numeracy on enrolment, during their course of study and on graduation.
University’s whole-of-institution retention strategy includes initiatives to integrate the development and assessment of communication skills within curriculum.
PELA has been conducted in postgraduate courses since 2014.
PELA is now simply one aspect of curriculum design. It is included in a first year core unit and forms part of QA processes. It is run on-campus and in the online mode. Online completion rates have generally been significantly lower than on-campus.
In 2016, the lack of full completion has been addressed and there are now implications for students who do not complete the PELA. This is still in the trial phase.
By 2013, three courses have integrated the task into the unit’s initial assessment task. Integrated learning support is linked to the task and the feedback utilised for assessment task that follows.
Results are provided to all stakeholders every semester. They are used to provide targeted academic and language support, analyse entry pathways, and students receive early feedback on their written communication skills.
AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) requires Business Schools seeking accreditation to have Assurance of Learning processes in place to demonstrate that students achieve learning expectations for the degree programs in which they participate.
Assurance of Learning in the five Business discipline groups at UTS is focused on programs. It involves making expectations for what a student can do on completion of a program explicit, setting criteria and standards and systematically gathering, analysing and interpreting the evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations.
In 2013-14, the university-wide Graduate Attributes (GAs) Project ensured that the development and assessment of the GAs in every faculty were mapped within the programs of study. In the Faculty of Science, as part of the mapping process, the communication skills graduate attribute (GA 6) and the professional skills GA (GA3) were aligned with the Program learning outcomes.
The core first year subjects Principles of Scientific Practice (PSP) and Biocomplexity were identified as the communication skills (CS) milestone subjects to develop and assess CS in the first year of study.
These subjects establish foundational threshold communication standards for the students, including: developing strategies for reading and evaluating the scientific literature; writing scientific reports; using appropriate paraphrasing and referencing skills and practising oral communication skills.
These foundational communication and professional skills are discipline specific and embedded into the core subjects.
The Science Faculty at The University of Melbourne has introduced three credit-bearing units designed to develop and enhance communication skills at the undergraduate and graduate level. The development of the communication specific curricula was stimulated by funding from an internal Learning and Teaching grant in 2009 to develop and enhance the communication skills of Science graduates at the University.