A successful partnership between the programme team and the range of different co-producers will support the development of a complete, comprehensive and robust proposal for submission.
The co-production model supports the aim of enabling those responsible for approving proposals to make informed decisions that will enable the institution to respond to market demand and act on academic innovation effectively and efficiently whilst also meeting the minimum expectations of academic quality practice and enabling the institution to meet its obligations in the management of the academic portfolio.
There are a range of stakeholders across the institution who will provide guidance and advice. Information about the individual teams can be found below along with some 'starter for ten' questions to help you get started.
For advice and support on developing or revising the Learning Outcomes of your programme/module proposal, contact the Academic Development Team at email@example.com.
Learning outcomes do’s and don’ts
Learning outcomes define what students should know and be able to do by the end of a learning experience, whether that is a programme, a module or an individual learning event. Assessment should make it clear whether the student has met the learning outcomes and how well they have met them. Therefore, learning outcomes should be observable and assessable. Learning outcomes will be firmly embedded in disciplinary contexts, for the level of study and be related to QAA Benchmark Statements and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
Learning outcomes should:
be Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-limited (SMART)
indicate the learning which should take place and at what SCQF level it will take place
be assessable and define what it is that a student should be able to do when they have completed the programme or module
contain an active verb (what students will be able to do), object and a qualifying phrase to provide a context.
Examples of active words: identify; summarise; predict; discriminate; validate; synthesise
Programme learning outcomes should be written at the level of the exit point of the student, e.g. level 10 (SCQF) for honours programmes and level 11 for taught postgraduate programmes. They should also represent the expectations of the discipline from the QAA benchmark statements and encapsulate the University of Stirling Graduate Attributes
Some examples of effective learning outcomes are provided below;
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
“Critically analyse the impact of sustainability, stakeholder management, ethics, and risk management on organisational decisions and performance”
“Describe the changing demographics, health inequalities, diversity, power and vulnerability in our society and how this can impact on health and health outcomes”
"Evaluate the effectiveness of past, present and planned future strategies for the protection of the historic environment”
Do not use words such as: understand, appreciate, know, be aware of. These do not provide the specificity required to allow students to demonstrate their attainment.
It is advisable that learning outcomes do not directly reference the ways in which a learning outcome will be assessed; this allows for some flexibility in assessment, particularly for students who require adjustments relating to their ARUAA.
Accessibility and Inclusion Service, Student Services Hub, Queen Court Entrance, 2A1 Cottrell Building
What is the Accessibility and Inclusion Service?
The Accessibility and Inclusion Service (A and I) is part of Student Support Services, and exists to facilitate support and recommend adjustments for students which are reasonable and appropriate in line with the Universities responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
It delivers a wide range of advisory, support and training services to disabled applicants, students and staff, and also works in close partnership with academic schools and service areas to promote, support and train in the mainstreaming of accessibility and inclusion throughout the delivery of the curriculum and core student services.
Specialist A and I Advisers discuss with students the extent to which the University’s current arrangements and mainstreamed approaches meet their learning and other needs. As it is recognised that sometimes, students will also require individual adjustments to remove barriers and equalise their access to education, learning and research, accommodation, the institution, and whilst interacting with staff, a mechanism known as an Agreed Record of University Access Adjustments (ARUAA) has been developed.
Identified adjustments are recorded in their ARUAA and shared with permission with academic, professional services and appropriate external partners. This helps students to overcome/manage the effects of their disability/circumstances in order to achieve their academic potential both on campus (e.g. relating to class tests, examinations, coursework, attendance, the learning environment, research, meetings, viva, supervision, access to technology, accommodation and the wider campus), and whilst operating out of the University (e.g. on placement or participating in field work or conferences).
What part do I play in this process?
The University is committed to providing responsive, student-focused support that empowers students to thrive, succeed and achieve their potential.
The University recognises that these outcomes can only be achieved through an approach of shared ownership where everyone in the University community is responsible for creating an inclusive and accessible environment.
Such an environment can be achieved through the embedding of equality, accessibility and inclusion principles within all areas of strategic and operational practice, and proactive consideration of diversity and differential impacts in the design of strategies, policies, regulations, procedures and the curriculum itself.
There will be at least 10% of your student cohort registered with the Accessibility and Inclusion Service because of disability. Some of these students will be able to thrive without any additional support from an ARUAA if we all endeavour to adopt the universities mainstream approaches to teaching and learning.
What are the Universities mainstream approaches to teaching and learning?
What kind of Disabilities should I take into consideration?
You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
A disability might include:
autistic spectrum disorders such as Asperger Syndrome
specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
chronic illnesses such as Crohns Disease and epilepsy
mental health conditions
physical or mobility impairments.
Progressive conditions can also be classed as disabilities even if they are not yet long term. However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis
Module Design Checklist
Have I taken the disabilities listed above into consideration when thinking about delivery?
Have I decided on necessary compulsory elements and why they are compulsory bearing in mind this may have an impact on those whose disability restricts certain activities, attendance or in fact admission to the course?
Are my materials easy to manipulate/caption/record/be interpreted or will adjustments be required for some disabilities?
Have I considered diversifying the range of learning opportunities, approaches and assessment methods?
Are my activities easy to participate in or will adjustments be required for some disabilities?
Have I taken the disabilities listed above into consideration when thinking about learning outcomes and assessment
If an alternative option for assessment is recommended via an ARUAA , what can I offer instead which will still meet the learning outcomes?
If I am unable to provide an alternative, have I documented the reasons why there are no alternatives available which will meet the learning outcomes (e.g. professional body legislation)
Pam Crawford Joint Head of Careers and Employability Service
T: 01786 466089
Over the course of the last few years there has been a move away from seeing employability as purely a ‘bolt-on’ or optional activity towards a much more integrated and embedded approach which accepts and values the place of employability within the curriculum.
Enhancing and developing employability is a key strategic goal for the university. The institution’s Strategic Plan is clear in its intention to provide an excellent student experience and to maintain its strong record on graduate employment. A pivotal part of this is ensuring the institution is developing and improving the employability of its students by equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in a fast-moving world with global opportunities. The strategy also focuses on the necessity of building strong partnerships with business and industry, on the importance of helping individuals identify and use their natural abilities, and on providing for students to fulfil their ambitions. These themes are reflected in the institution’s Employability Strategy that aims to:
Produce confident, aspirational graduates who can successfully compete in a competitive global economy
Significantly enhance the reputation of the University of Stirling as a university of choice for business to find and recruit students and graduates
Position the University of Stirling as a centre of innovation in employability practice
This will only be achieved by effective partnership working across the institution and by building strong relationships externally with business of all sizes and sectors.
These institutional priorities will be reflected in the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. Including careers and employability considerations in the approval process will enable faculties to address clearly the issue of employability in new programmes
The Careers and Employability Service can, throughout the Programme Development and Approval Processes, support Faculties considering the careers and employability make up of new programmes by providing information, advice, best practice, resources and (where possible) external contacts. Initial contact should be made with Lesley Grayburn or Pam Crawford, Joint Heads of Careers and Employability Service. Each Faculty has a dedicated Careers Consultant who can also be part of the process. Information can be found here.
How is the programme connected with business?
In the development of your programme how can you work with key contacts and relevant sectors to ensure you know the answer to the following questions:
What are the target industries for this programme?
What evidence is there of demand for this programme from industry bodies and business?
What is business is looking for in new graduates?
Can the Careers and Employability Service provide contacts to speak to?
If you have an Advisory Board what input and contacts can they provide?
During the Delivery of the Programme
How will students and business be connected during the programme? There are many ways to do this from networking events to guest lectures or mentoring.
Does this programme provide opportunities for work based and/or work related learning?
One of the KPIs of the University’s Employability Strategy is by 2021 to include work based or work related learning opportunities in all of our programmes.
What is work based learning?
The term covers a wide range of opportunities where the student is gaining direct experience of the workplace. It uses the work situation to provide experience, insight and practice, and to encourage reflection on real issues leading to applicable learning. Within a programme this might include undergraduate or postgraduate work based dissertations; placements; internships; individual student or group work-based projects.
Work based learning is important in that it helps to bring together academic learning with workplace practice, connecting the working with the learning. It also enables the student to develop the key personal and professional skills and insight business is looking for.
The Careers and Employability Service can support you in considering how this could look in your programme. There are resources available, including a Work Based Learning Toolkit.
What is work related learning?
Work related learning covers opportunities where the student is gaining indirect experience of the workplace. This might include mentoring, business simulation exercises or guest lecturers from business and industry.
Is there a role for an Advisory Board who could have an ongoing role in supporting curriculum design, offering opportunities for students or inputting to the curriculum?
The Careers and Employability Service can provide information on best practice and resources, such as template letters and information, to support the establishment of an Advisory Board.
Where are career management skills embedded into the programme?
This might include sessions on career planning and job hunting; CV preparation; completing applications; finding work experience, creating a LinkedIn Profile, interview and assessment centre skills.
The Careers and Employability Service has experienced and knowledgeable Careers Consultants who can design and deliver the workshops appropriate to discipline and year groups in the curriculum. They can also share and build on their knowledge of best practice elsewhere. Each Faculty has a dedicated adviser who would be your first point of contact. There are opportunities here to include alumni or business and professional bodies in delivering these types of sessions.
More information can be found here.
Where are the opportunities for student reflection on personal and professional development embedded into the programme?
Graduate recruiters report that students can often struggle with reflecting and articulating on their experiences at university, and in how they have developed personally and professionally.
Are students able to reflect on their personal and professional development and how they have developed knowledge and understanding, and are they able to articulate this verbally (perhaps through presentations) or in written form (for example via blogs or journals)?
The Careers and Employability Service, and colleagues in Academic Development can provide ideas and examples of best practice in this area.
You will find some initial ideas here.
Where and how is it made clear to students the Graduate Attributes and skills that they are developing through their programmes?
Both the institution’s Learning and Teaching Strategy and Employability Strategy seek to embed the University’s graduate attributes within the curriculum
The Stirling Graduate Attributes
Graduate Attributes are the high-level qualities, skills and understandings that a student should gain as a result of the learning and experiences they engage with while at university. This 'graduateness' is what sets them apart from those without a degree, and is the added value graduates offer.
Be the Difference
Through their degree and opportunities at the University of Stirling, graduates of the University will be subject specialists, with in‐depth knowledge, understanding and skills associated with their discipline(s). Our ambition is that they will also be confident, aspirational graduates with the right skills and attitudes to connect; innovate and transform, as they will have opportunities to become:
with their discipline(s) knowledge, understanding and skills with a range of complex real-world issues
with contributions from alumni, private, public and third sector to develop their employability skills
with knowledge, experiences and people providing different perspectives, to understand different cultures, beliefs and traditions
and work with one another as an inclusive learning community and with the wider community
and communicate effectively through digital and other media
through active and ethical research
through using the latest global research and new technologies to develop new understandings and creative solutions
through independent critical and reflective thinking
through identifying opportunities to improve what they do and taking action
through their intellectual, sporting and cultural passion and excellence
through sharing new perspectives and broadening their horizons
through being professional, adaptable and resilient and equipped to succeed in the global marketplace
through being active global citizens who are socially, culturally and environmentally aware
After Delivery of the Programme
How will you stay connected with your alumni and utilise these connections?
The role of Finance in the Programme and Module Development process
The Finance role in the process is to ensure that all new programmes have been costed to identify financial viability (or otherwise) of the programme. This informs management decisions as to whether to progress with a loss-making programme for other non-financial reasons on an informed basis.
The programme structure outlined in the proposal documents will be used to support the financial planning of a new programme or any significant changes
Information about placements, travel etc will also be needed
The answers to the following questions will help your faculty contacts to begin the financial planning process:
What is the structure of the programme?
Who will be delivering it (core or bought-in staff)?
What modules are shared with other programmes?
Library, IT, Digital Learning Technology
Information Services delivers the Library, IT, digital learning technology and other information needs and services to enable all students and staff of the University of Stirling to learn, research and work. We want to help you to make decisions around the Library resources, hardware, software, learning spaces and digital learning technology that you need to support your programmes and modules. We will advise on access to resources (including copyright and licensing), information and digital literacy, and designing effective learning using technology.
The following questions may help you initially consider information needs and services for your proposal:
Library and Information resources – what new material (books/e-books/journals) is required?
Teaching and learning – do you need support in developing multimedia content or help with using collaborative tools?
How will technology support assessment creation, submission, marking and feedback?
What specialist IT resources (hardware/software/lab access) do you require?
Where programmes are run in collaboration with others, which institution is responsible for providing access to library, information and IT resources?
The role of the IPMs in the Programme Development and Approval process
The International Partnership Managers provide support and guidance throughout the development of an international collaborative teaching partnership. These partnerships are governed by the International Collaborative Teaching Policy which covers areas such as due diligence, scoping meetings, approval in-principle, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), preparing a business and academic case, Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) etc. This policy dovetails with the Programme Development and Approval process and at certain points will feed directly into it.
If you are developing a collaborative partnership or extending a new one these questions will help you make a start:
Have you spoken to key people in your Faculty about the proposal? (e.g. Associate Dean for Internationalisation and the International Partnership Manager linked to your Faculty?)
What kind of international collaborative teaching partnership is it? (e.g. Is it a joint degree, a double degree, an articulation, a franchise etc? See the International Collaborative Teaching Policy for definitions and guidance.)
Have you carried out initial light due diligence on the potential partner? (e.g. are they a public or private institution? Does the institution feature in rankings? Is the institution in good standing? Has an internet search been carried out on the institution? Did this search throw up any concerns?)
Are you aware of any requirement for accreditation of the partnership/programme in the country of the partner?
When would the programme start? Is this a reasonable timescale if it needs to pass through various University processes and possibly requires external accreditation in-country?
The role of Market Research in the Programme and Module Development process.
Please complete a market research brief template (ARO 003a3) to commission market research for your proposal during Stage 1 of development.
Common areas that are investigated include the competitor landscape and if the programme is currently offered at these institutions. It is advised that competitor institutions and courses are listed within the market research brief.
Why is there a need for market research?
To achieve the University’s strategic ambition, the University of Stirling needs to offer a market-aligned and sustainable programme and module portfolio that is appealing to both potential and current students. Market research is a key component of the programme development process. For new programmes, the outcomes of market research are presented to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee as part of the Stage 1 Approval Process.
How long should the initial market research report be?
The average report would be 7-8 pages and no more than 10 pages.
Sample Market Research Report:
This section should contain the main summary points that have been made throughout the report. This is typically one page long.
This section should detail the background and rationale for deciding to bring this programme forward.
New programme proposal
This section should detail the elements that will make up the new programme including the modules that will be included and also the credits. If there is a shared module across a faculty this should also be highlighted.
Market size and demand
This section should include key competitor institutions and programmes.
This section should analyse the proportion of programmes that are full-time versus part-time. Consideration should be given in this section whether the proposed programme should be full-time/part-time or both.
This section should give consideration to the title of the programme. Research may be needed within the current cohort of students in their faculty so time should be allowed for this.
This section should analyse the current fees at the University of Stirling and the competitor fees to evaluate if the tuition fees will be competitive.
What market research should I carry out/what questions should I ask?
Who is the audience for this programme and does the proposal fulfil their needs? E.g. is there a skills demand/shortage?
Is there a market for the programme? E.g. size and growth rate, any government funding potential?
What is the competitive intensity like in that market? Is demand high relative to supply? Or is the market saturated?
Who are the key competitors in this market and how does their proposition differ from the University of Stirling?
What can I use to complete the market research at the Idea stage?
An internet search for the programme including google trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=GB),
Job sites for the employment potential (https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes).
Primary research among your current students would be beneficial to ascertain if they would find the programme interesting/would have applied to it. If you have access to alumni of the programme it would be beneficial to ask similar questions.
University data – Requesting the school manager to pull current student numbers on the proposed modules that will make up the programme.
UK data – Requesting that the Policy & Planning team analyse the UK wide data surrounding the new programme to give the current competitor set.
Module Coding Convention
The university uses a 7 character module code: AAABCCC where:
AAA indicates the subject area, such as BIO for Biology, ENG for English, new programmes do not require new “subject” codes.
B indicates the level of study, and should always be U for undergraduate, or P for postgraduate.
CCC gives the module a unique identifier and can be a mix of alpha and numeric characters. Please do not use I or O in a module code as these are too easily confused with 1 and 0. By historical convention, undergraduate modules in semesters 1-4 usually contain the semester number, e.g. BIOU4BD, PSYU911 and honours options usually contain alpha characters e.g. ENVU9GA, SPCU9JA.
Changes to a Module
The following changes to a module will require a new module code:
Change of level
Change of duration
Change of credit count
Change of mark scheme
In this situation a New Module Proposal Form (ARO 035b) should be completed, the Module Descriptor (ARO 035a) will need updating, and a module withdrawal form (ARO 035d) is required for the module being replaced.
Change of Module Coordinator - Faculties update module coordinator via the Single Source of Course (SSoC) function on the portal.
Change of Module Title - Following approval by the Faculty LTC, module titles can be changed via SSoC. Please bear in mind that module titles need to fit on a student transcript so can be no longer than 50 characters. Module titles should describe the module, not the student i.e. they should not contain any reference to location.
Change of Semester – where the module is changing from autumn semester to spring or vice versa and the module is compulsory in a degree programme this results in a Programme Amendment and form ARO 034c should be completed. Where the module is an option please the Module Amendment Form ARO 035c and list all the programmes affected by the change.
Length of Programme: To ensure students admitted to your programme are given the correct completion date, the programme length must align with the degree programme table i.e. if a programme starts in September, and is 12 months long, the last module must finish in summer. If the programme starts in September and is 27 months long, the last module finishes in autumn.
PGT Dissertations: In some programmes, part-time students get longer to complete the dissertation than full-time students. If this is the case, then they are not completing the same dissertation module and a different module code is required.
Degree Programme Tables: When completing a programme amendment form in section G you are required to enter the current degree programme table. Always use the latest published version from the portal at this address: https://portal.stir.ac.uk/calendar/calendar.jsp. Once you go into the correct degree programme, you can click on “printable view” and cut and paste it directly into your form.
Part-time Study: Where a postgraduate programme is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis, the degree programme table must be provided for each mode of study. There is no need to provide a part-time degree programme table for undergraduate programmes.
Multiple Start Dates: Where a postgraduate programme is offered with entry at different points of the year, the degree programme table must be provided for each point of entry.
Final Checks: Before submitting your documentation to Programme Business, please check your new module documentation and programme amendment forms to ensure that both programme and module titles and codes are consistent and correct.
Options in Undergraduate Degree Programme Tables: The University of Stirling undergraduate degree should contain a significant amount of flexibility, and, in years 1 and 2, students are offered most modules running. When making programme amendments, there is no need to list all the options, just enter “Any Module” in the degree programme table. Student Programmes will work out which list to use. In years 3 and 4, or where there is only a short list from which the student can choose, please detail the choices in the programme approval/amendment documentation.
Combined Honours programmes: If you are proposing changes to a compulsory module in your subject and need to apply the same amendment across all the combined degrees, you do not need to complete programme amendment forms for every programme. Instead, you should complete one programme amendment form for the single honours programme and add the combined honours template. Examples of an empty and completed combined honours template can be found below.
Phased Implementation of Changes: Where it is proposed that a change to a programme is phased in over a number of years, it is necessary to provide the degree programme table for each cohort in section K of the Programme Amendment Form (ARO 034c).
ie. Current Year 1 students will follow:…table 1
Current year 2 will follow:…table 2, etc
This information should be provided in the same format as the degree programme table (section G)
Combined Honours Template
Student Programmes create the combined honours degree programme tables by adding together the combined honours template for each subject. It is not necessary to provide a new degree programme table for every combined degree offered, as the compulsory modules will be the same throughout.
The Students' Union is more than happy to provide specific guidance to staff on engaging students within the development of new programmes or modules or when making amendments or planning withdrawals. We would also encourage you to speak with your Faculty Officer for more contextualised guidance.
The information below will also help you engage students in your developments:
The Students' Union
The Students’ Union aims to ‘Make Students’ Lives Better’ this is achieved within the education context by engaging students as active partners in enhancing learning, teaching and the student experience at Stirling
We have significant experience in supporting the University’s quality assurance and enhancement activities and share a joint commitment with the University to enhance the student learning experience
Our work on Education and Quality Assurance is led up by the Vice President Education – an elected sabbatical officer. They are supported by our Democracy and Research Coordinator
The Rationale for Engaging Students
The University of Stirling and University of Stirling Students’ Union share a joint commitment to the ongoing enhancement of the student experience. The development and approval of new programmes and modules and subsequent changes is a vital part of this work, helping to ensure we maintain an innovative and attractive portfolio of programmes
There is a clear expectation for students to be fully involved in both programme design and the processes of programme development and approval, as laid out in Chapters B1 and B5 of the UK Quality Code
Furthermore, there is a growing move within the Scottish and UK Higher Education Sectors to more fully embed student engagement across curricular development and delivery, following publication of a wealth of recent research stating the benefits to institutions of doing so
Our existing arrangements already allow for student engagement within the approval side of the process. Our Faculty Officers are members of each Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee (FLTC) and as such, will receive proposals for review. These officers receive specialised training in how to effectively review and consider such proposals
This is a well-established aspect of the University’s quality arrangements and will take place in all academic faculties
With this in mind, we are keen for colleagues to further increase student engagement in the development side of the process, especially from an early stage
The following questions will help you begin to think about how to engage students in your developments:
Have opportunities been built into the programme development timescale for student engagement?
Does the proposal address prior student feedback on the curriculum?
Do current students feel there is merit in the proposed programme/module?
Have you discussed the proposal with your Faculty Officer?
Some ideas to help engage students
Meet with your Division’s Faculty Officer
As lead student representatives, your division’s appointed Faculty Officer will be able to offer guidance a current student’s perspective on any draft ideas or plans
As a current student, they’ll often be able to utilise their own experience of studying within the division, faculty and university to reflect on the merits of the proposal – identifying any shortcomings and suggesting potential solutions to these
If you don’t know who your division’s appointed Faculty Officer is, you can find their details here.
Good Practice Guide: In 2016/17 the Management School developed a new foundation Maths module in direct response to feedback from students on the Accountancy and Economics programmes. Students were directly involved in identifying the desired content of the module and worked with divisional staff to form the proposal for approval by the Faculty’s learning and teaching committee
Hold a focus group with current students
Often you’ll be able to elicit a lot of high-quality feedback from current students studying in complementary or composite programmes or subject areas. Bringing these students together to discuss proposed programme developments will not only integrate a sense of authentic student engagement within the programmes development but also allow for the proposal’s merits to be critically appraised against true student desires
Staff can decide how formalised they wish the focus group to be, ranging from a quick chat to a formalised meeting reflecting the operation of Faculty Employer Advisory Boards
Good Practice Guide: In 2016/17 the Faculty Officer for Computing Science and Mathematics led a discussion session and issued a survey to current students to garner their thoughts on how their programme could be enhanced through additional elective modules, the results of this survey and the focus groups were fed back to the Faculty and used to support the long-term development of the divisions programmes
Utilise your Staff Student Consultative Committees
Every division will operate Staff Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) Meetings on a regular basis. In addition to providing a forum for staff and student reps to jointly report back on the performance of current modules and courses, these meetings also provide an opportunity to engage staff and students in strategic dialogue.
They provide the perfect platform to gather authentic student opinion about a proposed programme of study from students studying across the division. Speak with your Head of Division or SSCC Chair about getting a slot on the agenda of an upcoming meeting to discuss your proposals.
Good Practice Guide: During the procurement process for a replacement to the ageing Virtual Learning Environment, Succeed, the University and Students’ Union ran a high-impact/low-burden consultation through the Student Rep System. This involved us utilising SSCC Meetings to gather feedback from staff and students on what they liked and disliked about the current system. This feedback was then built into our specification of requirements for a new system, ensuring a system aligned to staff and student desires.