Module Approval, Revision and Withdrawal

The majority of the University's programmes are made up of multiple modules. Each module is normally specific to a subject or programme and a level of study (linked to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications). Modules have a number of credits allocated to them and are designated as 'core', 'optional' or as 'electives'. By successfully completing a prescribed collection of modules, students build up sufficient credit to be given an award at the end of their studies.

Updating the modules that are offered is an important way that schools and programme teams can ensure that the curriculum delivered to students remains current and keeps pace with the developments in their discipline. Beyond that, where possible, in offering a range of modules, students are given the opportunity to play an active part in their learning by tailoring parts of their degree programme towards their own interests.

Importantly, Keele's process of module approval and revision allows for:

  • Schools and programme teams to act on student feedback
  • The assurance of the quality and standards of the provision sanctioned by the University
  • A level of scrutiny consistent with the extent and implications of the changes being proposed
  • A system that is led by and responsive to the needs of the academic community

These pages are intended to guide colleagues through the process of proposing new and revising existing modules. There is also a section on how to withdraw a module that is no longer required. 

For information on how to use the eVision module approval system please refer to the ‌Guidance Notes for the Module Proposal system, which have been updated for the new system introduced in November 2016. This document provides staff with detailed guidance on how to complete the various sections of the eVision Module Specification form. For any queries please contact either Sarah Roberts or Ed McCauley in Quality Assurance.

Creating new modules

There is a broad, three stage process involved in creating and gaining approval for a new module. The sections below provide some detail on what happens at each stage. However, it is important to remember that this process applies to creating modules for programmes that have already been validated. Modules for new programmes are created in the same way, but are approved according to the process for Programme Approval.

 

Creating the module specification

New modules can be created by any member of academic staff. The starting point is to log onto evision and use the tool on the module administration screen.

The module specification is divided into sections:

  • Section A, Main Details: contains the module title, module code, level of study, School that hosts/owns the module and the module's credit value. NB: this section cannot be edited for module revisions.
  • Section B, Module Rationale: is to set out the rationale for the module proposal or revision and when it is to be introduced.
  • Section C, Further Details: includes module leader, subject area, the status of the module (e.g. compulsory core, optional core or elective) and module rules.
  • Section D, Aims and ILOs: includes a statement of the aims of the module and a list of the intended learning outcomes.
  • Section E, Assessment: relates to the assessments to be used on a module.
  • Section F, Learning and Teaching: contains a description of the indicative module content and activities, the marketing description and the study hours.
  • Section G, Actions and Status: contains the action buttons to submit a proposal and provides an audit history.

At any point a module specification can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking on the 'Create Proposal Summary' button.

 

School Education Committee (SEC) scrutiny

Once the draft module specification is completed and submitted via eVision it is automatically sent to members of SEC for scrutiny. It is reviewed and can be approved, approved subject to amendment or rejected. In each case, an email is sent to the staff member who proposed the module, giving the SEC decision and, if necessary, a brief explanation.

If a module is approved subject to amendment, the programme team will need to make the amendments required to the satisfaction of SEC and re-submit the module for approval.

Once supported by SEC, the proposal is sent to Faculty Education Committee.

Discussions of SEC meetings demonstrating consideration of modules according to the relevant criteria should be recorded in the minutes of the meetings and in the ‘comments’ box of the module proposal form (section G).

 

Faculty Education Committee (FEC) scrutiny

Once the draft of a new module is submitted by SEC for approval, it is passed to FEC for final consideration.

FEC members will receive a copy of a new module proposal in the papers for FEC meetings circulated by Quality Assurance. FEC is at liberty to determine how to scrutinise modules, for example via the use of sub-groups tasked with this role.

FEC can decide to refer the module back for further revisions, approve the module or cancel the proposal. If a module requires revision, the programme team will need to make the amendments required to the satisfaction of FEC and re-submit the module for approval.

As at the SEC stage, the module owner who first proposed the new module will receive an email outlining the decision.

Revising an existing module

It is good practice for schools and programme teams to reflect on their module offerings and revise them as appropriate. The University anticipates that the content of modules will be considered regularly and, when appropriate, changes proposed based on:

  • Reflections during the annual review process
  • Comments gathered from students as a result of the usual module/programme evaluation processes
  • Comments from the External Examiners
  • Changes to University policy and procedures

Keele's process is designed to support colleagues in making changes to the content that they already deliver whilst ensuring adequate scrutiny. The intention is that the main focus of review for revised modules will be at school-level where subject experts and students closest to the discipline can make speedy but informed decisions on the appropriateness of the proposals being made.

FEC delegates responsibility for approving revisions to existing modules to SEC. In order to retain the authority to approve amendments to existing modules, SEC must ensure that its deliberations are properly documented and the minutes of meetings are submitted to FEC promptly.

 

Revising the module specification

Existing modules can be revised by any member of academic staff. The module specification is divided into sections. These sections will be populated with the data that was entered when the module was either first created or last revised:

  • Section A, Main Details: contains the module title, module code, level of study, School that hosts/owns the module and the module's credit value. NB: this section cannot be edited for module revisions.
  • Section B, Module Rationale: requires the rationale for the module proposal or revision and when it is to be introduced.
  • Section C, Further Details: includes module leader, subject area, the status of the module (e.g. compulsory core, optional core or elective) and module rules.
  • Section D, Aims and ILOs: includes a statement of the aims of the module and a list of the intended learning outcomes.
  • Section E, Assessment: relates to the assessments to be used on a module.
  • Section F, Learning and Teaching: contains a description of the indicative module content and activities, the marketing description and the study hours.
  • Section G, Actions and Status: contains the action buttons to submit a proposal and provides an audit history.

At any point a module specification can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking on the 'Create Proposal Summary' button.

It is very important that before a revised module is submitted for consideration by SEC, the rationale for revision is completed in as much detail as possible. Providing detail in this section will help to focus the committee's discussions on the areas that are being put forward for amendment.

 

SEC scrutiny

Once the amendments to the module specification have completed, it is automatically sent to members of SEC for scrutiny.

SEC has delegated authority to approve revisions to modules. It is therefore required that module proposals are scrutinised by SEC members, normally at a meeting, although electronic scrutiny may be used in order to expedite proposals. A representative from the course team making the proposal who is able to answer questions may be invited to attend the meeting, if appropriate.

The module is reviewed by SEC and can be approved, approved subject to amendment or rejected. In each case, an email is sent to the staff member who proposed the module, giving the SEC decision and, if necessary, a brief explanation. Discussions of SEC meetings demonstrating consideration of modules according to the relevant criteria should be recorded in the minutes of the meetings and in the ‘comments’ box of the module proposal form.

If a module is approved subject to amendment, the programme team will need to make the amendments required to the satisfaction of SEC and re-submit the module for approval.

Withdrawal of modules

As schools and programme teams come to update their curricula, it might become prudent to withdraw a module from use. There is usually little advantage to holding an unused module in reserve for a prolonged period. If a module has been unused for a long period of time (more than a couple of years) is ever brought back into use, it would generally need such substantial revision that it would be better to create a new module anyway.

The process to be followed to withdraw a module varies slightly depending on the type of module being withdrawn. The sections below give some brief guidance.

 

Reasons for withdrawing a module

Some examples of when it might be better to withdraw a module from use include:

  • When changes or innovations in the subject discipline are so profound that the content of a module becomes out of date.
  • When significant changes are proposed, such as to the intended learning outcomes, module aims and the assessments on an existing module.

 

Withdrawn, not deleted

Applying to have a module withdrawn does not delete it from the University's records. Although the normal expectation is that a withdrawn module will not be brought back into use, it is possible to do this when there is a clear academic rationale for doing so.

Withdrawal of modules needs to be approved by the Faculty Education Committee. Please contact Quality Assurance and provide a brief explanation for the withdrawal. Withdrawals are not usually discussed in committee, but are reported along with the rationale given.