Providing Effective Programme and Module Information for Students

Background and Context

Although the UK Quality Code has undergone some recent changes in its focus there remains a distinct requirement for higher education providers to ensure that information they provide to students about their provision is valid, reliable, useful and accessible.  Following significant review of the processes used across Colleges in providing module and programme information, some broad general principles for providing effective information were introduced in September 2017 which focused on the following:

The University approach to providing effective information contends that there should be flexibility (across programmes, disciplines & colleges) in the way information is provided but that the general principles of providing effective programme and module information within the context of course resources should apply.

Overview of Process

Almost all information for current students about the programmes they are studying on can be located in one of three distinct categories:

Module Information is information that applies to the unit of delivery i.e. the module.  There is a MINIMUM expectation that specific detail in this category of information (further expanded detail of which is included within the Guidance Notes on Formulating Programme and Module Information) should focus on;

  • Details about teaching team:
  • Contact details / availability:
  • Module Specifications:
  • Description of the module which will include;
    • A schedule of delivery
    • What connections exist with other modules:
    • Narratives on You Said It We Did It / Overviews of Listening to the Student Voice
  • Information about Assessment (to include)
    • Descriptions of what is required in completing the assessment
    • Detail on when information about assessment will be provided
    • Submission and associated dates
    • Descriptions of date of return of feedback
  • Information about external examiner 

The prime responsibility for formulating module level information lies with the module leader and should be formulated so that there is broad consistency with information presented across other modules on programmes.

Programme Level Information can be simply thought of as information that generally applies to all modules that make up a programme. There is a MINIMUM expectation about the specific detail included in this category of information (further expanded detail is included within the Guidance Notes on Formulating Programme and Module Information).  This information should include the following: 

  • Introduction & general welcome to programme
  • Overviews of College, School or Subject
  • Rationale & Aims & Objectives of Programme
  • Summaries of Stages / Years
  • Narratives that describe;
    • The programme approach to Teaching & Learning
    • The programme approach to Assessment
    • How the student voice is heard within the programme
    • The general arrangements for Student Support & Guidance

 The prime responsibility for formulating programme level information lies with the Programme Leader.

Reference Level Information can be defined as information (that sits above programme level information) which provides a context for the ways in which the programme exists / operates. The formulation of such information is primarily the responsibility of the programme leader and can be conveniently located into one of two main sub-categories: 

  1. EXTERNAL reference level information (typical examples would be Professional Standards; PSRB accreditation / recognition frameworks; Subject Benchmark Statements e.g.)
  2. INTERNAL reference level information (Relates e.g. to Assessment regulations; Personal Tutor Process; T&L Strategy; Graduate Attributes; Employability Initiatives; EEC Process; eSubmission; Grading Scales etc.

Reference level information provides a useful context for students to help them understand why the programme is the way it is and how its operation may be dependent on both external and internal contexts. The examples shown above are far from exhaustive but in formulating what reference level information might be appropriate to a particular programme, programme leaders SHOULD:

  • Always refer to the “one source of truth” in order to overcome any problems of duplicating information
  • Provide direct hyperlinks together with a short description of the importance of the reference point to the programme / student 

Some examples of commonly used reference level information (along with their associated hyperlinks) can be found within the The Role of Reference Point Information document.

Some General Pointers in Providing Information

As a guide to formulating helpful and useful guidance about programmes or modules, it might be helpful to consider a few overall pointers for providing effective information: 

Further Information

In preparation for the arrangements for the academic year 2018/19 a range of staff development sessions were held across sites which focused on specifics of providing effective information.  A PDF of the slides used in these sessions is available below, as well as a screencast (distilled version of the staff developments sessions). 

For further information about the process for providing effective programme and module information for students please contact Dr Doug Carr on ext. 3040.