Section 10 - Responsibilities of the Awarding Institute
The awarding institution must ensure it has effective control over the accuracy of all public information, publicity and promotional activity relating to its collaborative provision. The awarding institution must ensure that all publically available information complies with QAA guidelines, as well as Consumer Protection and CMA guidelines (or equivalent).
An up-to-date and authoritative record of AU’s collaborative partnerships and agents and a listing of its collaborative programmes operated through those partnerships or agencies will form part of the University’s publicly available information.
Once a collaborative partnership arrangement has been approved by CPB, it is the responsibility of the Academic Partnership Programme Leader within the relevant Faculty to implement the agreement governing the arrangement within 12 months of the MOA being signed. It is not the responsibility of the CPB to do this. For University wide agreements, or those spanning more than one Faculty, the lead contact identified on the proposal will have overall responsibility for ensuring the agreement is implemented according to its terms. Where the collaborative arrangement has not been implemented within 12 months, permission to implement at a later date must be sought by CPB and the business case must be reviewed by either the Director of Finance or the University Executive (as appropriate).
Degree-awarding bodies take ultimate responsibility for the academic standards and quality of learning opportunities delivered irrespective of where these take place or who provides them. The University is directly responsible for the academic standards of all awards granted in its name. The academic standards of all awards made under a collaborative partnership arrangement should meet the expectations of the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education.
The awarding institution is ultimately responsible for ensuring the quality of learning opportunities offered through a collaborative arrangement is adequate to enable a student to achieve the academic standard required for its award.
Responsibility for the quality and academic standards of the course will rest with the Faculty Academic Affairs Committee and the Collaborative Provision Board.
The academic standards of all awards made under a collaborative arrangement, including collaborative degrees, must meet the expectations of the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales and the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education.
The University’s policies and procedures must ensure there are adequate safeguards against financial or other temptations that might compromise academic standards or the quality of learning opportunities
The University must satisfy itself that staff engaged in delivering or supporting a collaborative programme are appropriately qualified for their role, and that the partner organisation has effective measures to monitor and assure [or insure?] the proficiency of such staff and agents acting on its behalf.
It shall be the responsibility of the Faculty concerned to verify annually that all members of the partner institution team who are engaged in delivering or supporting a collaborative programme are suitably qualified and fully conversant with the operational details of the programme(s) of study, including assessment requirements, syllabi, timetables, facilities and the style and level of teaching and learning expected on the programme(s). An up-to-date list of staff approved to teach on the approved programme will be maintained by the University Department/Faculty. No member of staff may teach on the programme unless approved and formally listed.
The Recruitment and Admission of Students
Admissions requirements and application procedures will be defined in the programme documentation and follow recognised national and University procedures as defined in the Admissions and related policies and procedures.
Admissions arrangements including those for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), must comply with relevant policies and procedures of the University. The admissions procedure shall be conducted in accordance with the criteria set out in the Programme Specification.
The University can only admit students who meet the required standards of English and Welsh Language Proficiency.
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Responsibilities towards Students
Prospective students must receive a clear and realistic explanation of the expectations placed upon them for study, including the nature and extent of autonomous, collaborative and supported aspects of learning, and the commitments of the awarding institution and the support provider (if appropriate) for the support of a programme or element of study.
The awarding institution must monitor regularly the information given by the partner organisation or agent to prospective students and those registered on the collaborative programme.
Students must have access to descriptions of the component units or modules of a programme or element of study, to show the intended learning outcomes and teaching, learning and assessment methods of the unit or module and a clear schedule for the delivery of their study materials and for assessment of their work.
The awarding institution must ensure students can be confident that:
a) support for learners, whether delivered through staff of a support provider or through web-based or other distribution channels, meets the specified expectations of the awarding institution for the quality of learner support for a programme of study leading to one of its awards;
b) any programme or element offered for study has had the reliability of its delivery system tested, and that contingency plans exist in the event of the failure of the designed modes of delivery;
c) the delivery system of a programme or element of study delivered through e-learning methods is fit for its purpose, and has an appropriate availability and life expectancy;
d) the delivery of any study materials direct to students remotely through, for example, eLearning methods or correspondence, is secure and reliable, and that there is a means of confirming its safe receipt.
Students must have access to:
a) a schedule for any learner support available to them through timetabled activities, for example tutorial sessions or web-based conferences;
b) clear and up-to-date information about the learning support available to them locally and remotely for their programme or elements of study;
c) an identified contact, either local or remote through email, telephone, fax or post, who can give them constructive feedback on academic performance and authoritative guidance on their academic progression;
d) regular opportunities for sharing experiences of the programme with other students, both to facilitate collaborative learning and to provide a basis for facilitating their participation in the quality assurance of the programme;
e) appropriate opportunities to give formal feedback on their experience of the programme.
The Assessment of Students on Taught Programmes
The scope, coverage and assessment strategy of a collaborative programme must be described in the Programme Specification. In addition to the programme documentation, the Committee will consider the report of the Visit Team.
In the case of collaborative degrees: joint, double or dual awards, any credit transfer arrangements must ensure those courses or modules taken in the partner that contribute to the Aberystwyth award are at the appropriate level, and ultimately that students attain the required number of credits and all the programme learning outcomes, In all cases, ‘credits’ rather than marks are transferred. Double counting of marks shall not be permitted.
The awarding institution is responsible for ensuring that the outcomes of assessment for a programme provided under a collaborative arrangement meet the specified academic level of the award as defined in the FHEQ in the context of the relevant subject benchmark statement(s).
The regulations applicable to each Programme will be set out in the relevant Programme Specification.
For taught programmes, other than for credit gained at a partner organisation in dual awards, all forms of assessment will be conducted in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures relating to assessment.
Staff from the relevant University Faculty must undertake regular scrutiny of examination questions, students’ work and marking by partner staff, especially during the initial stages of a new partnership.
Procedures for Examining Boards will be in accordance with the University’s regulations. All assessment results for progression at Level 4 and Level 5 must be submitted to the relevant University level Examination Board for approval. All assessment results for final awards at Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 should be reported to, and considered by, the University Department/Faculty Examination Board for conferment of award.
Examining boards for collaborative degrees will be established as defined by the University’s regulations, and compliant with the relevant chapter in the QAA Code.
The awarding institution must ensure that partner organisations involved in the assessment of students understand and follow the requisite standards, which themselves should be referenced to the UK QAA Quality Code for Higher Education.
External examining procedures for programmes offered through collaborative arrangements must be consistent with the awarding institution’s normal practices. The awarding institution must retain ultimate responsibility for the appointment and role of external examiners. The recruitment and selection of external examiners should be undertaken with reference to UK QAA Quality Code for Higher Education.
The University’s external examiner will be present at the Finalists Examination Board. External examiners of collaborative programmes must receive briefing and guidance approved by the awarding institution sufficient for them to fulfil their role effectively. The Committee will consider a summary of external examiners comments as part of the review of the Annual Monitoring of Taught Scheme reports each year.
Students must have access to:
a) information on the ways in which their achievements will be judged, and the relative weighting of units, modules or elements of the programme in respect of assessment;
b) timely formative assessment on their academic performance to provide a basis for individual constructive feedback and guidance, and to illustrate the awarding institution’s expectations for summative assessment.
Students must be confident that:
a) their assessed work is properly attributed to them, particularly in cases where the assessment is conducted through remote methods that might be vulnerable to interception or other interference;
b) those with responsibility for assessment are capable of confirming that a student’s assessed work is the original work of that student only, particularly in cases where the assessment is conducted through remote methods;
c) any mechanisms, such as web-based methods or correspondence, for the transfer of their work directly to assessors, are secure and reliable, and that there is a means of proving or confirming the safe receipt of their work.
Appeals, Complaints and Academic Misconduct
Prospective students and those registered on a collaborative programme must be informed of the appropriate channels for voicing concerns, complaints and appeals, making clear the channels through which they can contact the awarding institution directly. These procedures may vary according to nature of the collaboration. Students should consult their Blackboard page for specific guidance on how to raise any complaints or appeals.
An appeal by a student against any assessment of work must be decided in all cases by the appeals procedure of the University as set out in the rules and regulations.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the complaint will either need to be raised formally with the University or with the collaborative partner. The University will have oversight of complaints relating the course, standard of teaching, facilities or any other relevant matter. This will be processed according to the Complaints Procedure in force in the University at the time that a complaint is registered. The reference to the role played by the Head of Department in the Complaints Procedure here refers to the Programme Leader of the relevant Partner department in consultation with the AU Academic Partnership Programme Leader. If the complaint relates to the quality of the Programme and if, having pursued the complaint within the partner institution, the student feels that it has not been dealt with satisfactorily, the student is entitled to request a final review to be undertaken by a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University. Due to the nature of collaborations, the University investigating the complaint may need to liaise with the collaborative partner in investigating the complaint. Complaints will at all times be treated in the strictest confidence.
The partner institution and the University must maintain a record of all appeals and complaints made by students, and of the outcome of each complaint that are to be reported annually to the Academic Board.
Responsibilities of the Partner Institution
Responsibilities of the partner institution vary according to the type of collaborative activity and specific details outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement governing the collaboratio
Certification and Transcripts
The University will have sole authority for awarding certificates and transcripts relating to the programmes of study delivered through collaborative programmes.
The certificate and/or transcript records:
a) The principal language of instruction where this was not English,
b) The language of assessment if that was not English (except for awards for programmes or their elements relating to the study of a foreign language where the principal language of assessment is also the language of study). Where this information is recorded on the transcript only, the certificate should refer to the existence of the transcript. References here to ‘a foreign language’ and ‘a language that is not English’ do not include programmes provided and assessed by Welsh institutions in the Welsh language.
c) Details of the collaborative model under which the qualification was completed.
Subject to discussion with the partner institution and subject to any overriding statutory or other legal provision in any relevant jurisdiction, the University will ensure the certificate and/or the transcript (including HEAR where appropriate) records the name and location of the partner organisation engaged in the delivery of the programme of study.
- Where applicable, the Partner may make such arrangements as it may consider fit and proper for a ceremony at which certificates for awards of the University are presented or decide that students may attend Aberystwyth University’s graduation ceremony.
- Such arrangements will be subject to approval of the University.
- Reasonable costs incurred by the University for such ceremonies and the participation of necessary University staff will be incorporated into the Business Case.
- Graduates of the Programme shall, for Aberystwyth University awards, be entitled to wear the appropriate academic dress in accordance with the University’s Policies and Regulations.
- Students to whom a degree of the University is awarded shall become members of the University Alumni.
The Memorandum of Agreement will specify the duration of the collaboration. Collaborative Partnerships can however be renewed in accordance with the processes outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement and/or through exchange of a renewal agreement. Renewal should ordinarily take place at least 12 months prior to expiry to maximise recruitment potential. Renewal may only be permitted following a full PPE review with Collaborative Provision Board and Senate (where appropriate) approval and a full review of the business case, approved by the University executive.
Where renewal is sought, CPB should review the aims and requirements of the collaboration as set out in the original documentation to ensure that the collaboration continues to meet those stated aims and requirements.
- The Collaborative Provision Board or Pro-Vice Chancellor reserves the right to terminate any collaborative arrangement that does not continue conform to the parameters contained in the Memorandum of Agreement.
- The Memorandum of Agreement must specify the conditions under which termination can occur and the steps necessary to safeguard the interests of existing students including offering alternative programmes where appropriate.
These may include but is not be limited to:
- if either Partner commits a material breach of the provisions of the legal Agreement which is not capable of remedy
- if either Partner ceases or threatens to cease to carry on the operations customarily carried on by it or if either Partner loses its licence or accreditation to deliver the Programme
- if either Partner party engages in behaviour or activities which causes damage or could cause damage to the reputation or goodwill of the other
- repeated failure by a Partner to deliver the Programme at a level which satisfies AU
- if continuation of the Partnership Agreement would represent a demonstrable reputational risk to AU
- if the Partnership is not re-approved by one or both of the Partners
- if there is a material change in the operations, management or structure of the Partner which would substantially impair the performance of its obligations
- a review by an external agency or body concludes that that one or both Partners cannot/does not provide a satisfactory environment for the conduct of the Programme
- if reasonable concerns regarding the financial standing of the Partner are raised/evidenced
- if a Programme fails an AU Partnership Performance Evaluation Review
- if the Programme is no longer viable, which shall include but not be limited to failing to meet projected Student numbers and/or failing to meet financial requirements
- In the event of termination of an agreement, the University and the Partner will, where necessary, enter into a Termination Agreement which shall set out the responsibilities and rights of both institutions and of students enrolled on programmes