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Student Workload Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) There should be proportionality between credit points and workload including assessment, without the necessity for a direct mathematical linkage. The Student Workload Policy provides guidance to staff and students on workload and assessment requirements related to subject credit points and year level of study to assist in achieving equitable and manageable student workloads. 

(2) These Procedures are intended as a guide for administrative matters. Guidance on equivalences for word lengths in non-essay assessment can be found in the Student Assessment Workload Guidelines.

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) Applies to:

  1. All campuses 
  2. All undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs 
  3. All staff developing assessment and learning tasks for students
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) There should be proportionality between credit points and workload without the necessity for a direct mathematical linkage. An indicative student workload combining contact and non-contact study is 10 hours per credit point over the period in which the subject is taught.

(5) For full time students the total combined contact and non-contact study workload should not exceed 55 hours per week, or equivalent for other delivery modes. Possible exceptions are practicum and clinical, field or industry experience.

(6) At the undergraduate level, the total assessment load for essay based assessment is 250-300 essay words per credit point. For a 15 credit point subject this would be a total of 3750-4500 essay words or equivalent, which may be achieved through aggregation of a number of assessment items.

(7) At the postgraduate level, for a 15 credit point subject the essay based assessment load is 4500-6500 words or an equivalent combination of essay and non-essay assessment. 

(8) As not all assessment items will be essay based, broad equivalences for other means of assessment should be applied in achieving the total essay word requirements above. In establishing relativities between different styles of assessment consideration should be given to:

  1. the complexity of the assignment; 
  2. the estimated amount of time required to think about, sort and structure the response;
  3. the proportion of the response that will require creative, reflective, analytical thought and evidence of deep learning that is not able to be routinely drawn from texts and lecture notes.

(9) Suggested equivalences to 1000 essay words may be found in the Student Assessment Workload Guidelines but these may vary according to the three criteria above.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Part A - Establishing Equivalences

(10) The equivalences given in the Guidelines are indicative. The application of professional expertise and/or consultation with other discipline experts should be used to establish equivalent workload and assessment requirements.

Part B - Advice to Students

(11) As indicated in the Assessment Policy, students should be advised in the Subject Learning Guide of the nature, extent and timing of feedback they can expect for each assessment task.

(12) The Subject Learning Guide should also include information about contact hours, expected non-contact hours and expectations of preparation and research time related to assessment tasks.

(13) Students should also be fully informed of assessment criteria, their relationship to intended learning outcomes and the standards of performance expected on which grading is based.

Part C - Concerns About Workload

(14) A student who feels that assessment or workload requirements for a subject are not compliant with the Policy and the Guidelines for equivalence should initially discuss their concerns with the member of the teaching staff they deal with most closely.

Part D - Disputes Over Workload 

(15) After discussion as indicated in Part C, students who continue to feel that there is a problem with the expected workload should approach the Subject Coordinator for assistance.

(16) If the Subject Coordinator cannot resolve the dispute, the Course Coordinator should be approached for a determination on the matter.

Part E - Assessment in Languages Other than English

(17) When assigning a task to be completed in a language other than English, consideration needs to be given to the additional difficulty posed by the foreign language requirement, in relation to the intended learning outcomes; ie an essay may be assigned of shorter than usual word length.

Part F - Assessment of a Student Whose Primary Language is Not English

(18) In subjects where the language of instruction is English (most LTU subjects) and a student whose first language is not English requests a reduction in assignment length, this would not normally be granted. Instead, the student should be advised that the Academic Language and Literacy Unit may be able to provide assistance in completing the assignment.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(19) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Contact workload: Teacher guided activity including lectures, tutorials, studios, seminars, workshops, laboratory classes, fieldwork, clinical experience, computer managed learning, summative assessment and some formative assessment
  2. Non-contact workload: Learner activity including study, readings, research, assignments and other formative assessment, computer managed learning
  3. Assessment tasks: Examples include examinations, essays or other forms of writing, verbal presentations, clinical practicum performance, multi media or digital presentations, performance, portfolio development
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Section 6 - Stakeholders

Responsibility for implementation – Heads of School; Heads of Department; Course Coordinators; Subject Coordinators.
Responsibility for monitoring implementation and compliance – Education Committee; College Pro Vice-Chancellors; Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors (Coursework), Heads of School.