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Micro-credentials Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy sets out the principles and procedures for quality assurance of the University’s micro-credentials including but not limited to design, approval, delivery, monitoring, and review.

Scope

(2) This Policy applies to participants and prospective participants in a Macquarie University (University) micro- credential offering.

(3) This Policy applies to all staff of the University and its controlled entities (including directors), involved in the design, approval, delivery, monitoring, and review of the University’s micro-credentials.

(4) A University micro-credential that is designed and delivered with a third party must adhere to this Policy.

(5) This Policy does not apply to award courses of the University or units of study undertaken as part of an award course.

Note: For information pertaining to units of study, including a unit of study with a volume of learning less than 10 credit points, refer to the Curriculum Architecture Policy.

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Section 2 - Policy

(6) A micro-credential is a certification of an individual’s discrete learning and achievements. Micro-credentials are often aligned to industry or other professional needs and, in some instances, may be used to provide credit towards formal qualifications.

(7) All Micro-credentials must have stipulated learning outcomes and/or achievements that can be assured.

(8) A micro-program is a structured compilation of micro-credentials with stipulated micro-program learning outcomes. The attainment of these micro-program learning outcomes can be assured through the associated micro-credential assessments and/or specific micro-program assessment/s.

(9) Micro-credentials are certified through assignment of a digital credential and associated metadata.

(10) Micro-credentials must be designed, approved, delivered, and governed according to the Procedures specified in Section 3 of this Policy and in alignment with the University’s Micro-credential Framework (refer Appendix A Micro-Credential Framework).

(11) Micro-credentials will usually be an open “public” offering. However, in some circumstances, micro- credentials will have restricted entry, for example an industry partner offering, or specific entry requirements.

(12) A micro-credential that is designed and / or delivered through a Third-Party Arrangement must comply with University policies and procedures.

(13) All micro-credentials and micro-programs (herein collectively referred to as credentialled offering) must be registered and approved within the University’s Curriculum Management System.

(14) Credentialled offering are subject to review and monitoring in alignment with the University’s Quality Assurance Framework Policy and Quality and Standards Monitoring and Reporting Procedure.

(15) A credentialled offering can be designed as an articulation pathway to a specific award course. Applications for admission to an award course will be assessed in alignment with the Admission Policy.

(16) Credit arrangements for credentialled offering to count towards formal credit in an award course may be established. Eligibility for formal credit will be assessed according to the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

(17) For the purposes of institutional and governmental reporting obligations, a participant undertaking a University micro-credential does not meet the definition of an award student.

(18) A micro-credential must be delivered and administered in accordance with the requirements of the University’s Micro-Credential Terms and Conditions or other contract.

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Section 3 - Procedures

Part A - Approval of Credentialled Offerings

(19) The Designated Authority proposing the credentialled offering is responsible for administration of the approval process within the Curriculum Management System.

(20) The Designated Authority proposing the credentialled offering is responsible for ensuring that appropriate consultation with all key and potentially impacted stakeholders is undertaken.

(21) All applicable fields for the credentialled offering proposal must be completed in the Curriculum Management System before submission.

(22) New credentialled offerings must have a business case endorsed by the relevant Faculty Authority, or equivalent, prior to approval by the relevant Faculty Board or equivalent.

Part B - Design and Delivery

(23) All credentialled offerings must have a Micro-credential or Micro-Program Authority (herein referred to as the Designated Authority) who is responsible for design and delivery.

(24) When designing and delivering credentialled offerings, the following principles must be adhered to:

  1. credentialled offerings must align with the strategic directions of the University and the relevant Faculty / Department / School / Office;
  2. credentialled offerings must be financially viable, with due consideration given to design and delivery costs and other factors as appropriate to the Faculty / Department / School / Office;
  3. admission requirements to a credentialled offering will be determined as part of the approval process specified in Part A of this Section;
  4. any learning that will be recognised as formal credit in an award course must be consistent with the requirements of the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy;
  5. the status of participants must be considered when designing a micro-credential. For example, the University Library's subscribed resources are only available to current University staff and students. This is a license condition of these resources. As a result, micro-credential participants will not have the same access to Library eResources as current Macquarie students. Consequently, the use of open access resources to support unrestricted access to information for micro-credentials is advisable;
  6. staff must ensure their compliance with copyright law and University licensing agreements when using material (text, image, video, sound recordings); and
  7. if credit is to be awarded, learning outcomes aligned to the relevant Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level must be developed; task(s) must be set to assure the attainment of the learning outcomes; and credit must be based on the principle of the number of indicative hours it will take for participants to successfully complete the micro-credential. The basis for the assignment of credit is fifteen (15) indicative hours of learning equals one (1) credit point.

(25) Details of the types of micro-credentials that may be offered are provided in Appendix A Micro-Credential Framework. This framework will guide the design and delivery of all micro-credentials.

Part C - Representation and Marketing

(26) The credentialled offering title must be used in all enrolment and marketing material.

(27) Articulations into, or formal credit in, award courses will only be available if a credit arrangement has been approved in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy. Unless a credit arrangement has been established and approved, marketing materials must state credit articulation as only a potential opportunity that may be available where relevant.

(28) The Designated Authority is responsible for ensuring that marketing material accurately reflects the designed and approved credentialled offering.

Part D - Timing of Offering

(29) A credentialled offering may be offered at any time following approval by the relevant Faculty Board or equivalent.

(30) The anticipated timing and duration of the credentialled offering will be documented as part of the approval process.

(31) Amendments to credentialled offering availability and offerings, unless otherwise stated in the legal contract for a Third-Party Arrangement, may be made with approval of the Executive Dean, or the Designated Authority.

Part E - Credentialing

(32) Participants in a micro-credential will receive a digital credential upon successful completion of the micro- credential.

(33) Each digital credential must contain sufficient information to ensure that the learning the participant has achieved is appropriately described.

Part F - Amendments to credentialled offerings

(34) A proposal to amend a credentialled offering must be completed by the relevant Designated Authority within the Curriculum Management System.

(35) The Designated Authority is responsible for ensuring that appropriate consultation with all key stakeholders is undertaken prior to an amendment being submitted within the Curriculum Management System.

(36) All applicable fields in the amendment proposal must be completed in the Curriculum Management System before submission.

(37) The relevant Faculty Board, or equivalent, is responsible for approving any amendments to credentialled offerings, aside from changes to availability and offerings as specified in clause 14.

Part G - Monitoring and Review

(38) The monitoring and review processes for credentialled offerings reflects the diversity in the way credentialled offerings are designed, delivered, offered, and evaluated. The processes specified within this Procedure reflect the minimal requirements for monitoring and review.

(39) Faculties will conduct an annual review of all credentialled offerings delivered since the last review.

(40) At any stage a more rigorous or frequent review of one or more credentialled offerings may be requested by the respective Delegate or relevant Faculty Board.

(41) A Faculty Micro-credential Report detailing the outcomes and recommendations of the Faculty review of credentialled offerings will be submitted to the Faculty Executive Dean for noting and Faculty Board for approval. This report will then be submitted to the Academic Standards and Quality Committee for noting.

Part H - Discontinuation

(42) As specified within the University’s Micro-Credential Terms and Conditions the University may discontinue a credentialled offering subject to the terms or contract governing the credentialled offering.

(43) The discontinuation of a credentialled offering may occur for a variety of reasons, including academic and/or business considerations, and may occur within a review cycle.

(44) The discontinuation of a credentialled offering must be proposed within the Curriculum Management System.

(45) The discontinuation of a credentialled offering must be endorsed by the relevant Faculty Executive Group, or equivalent, prior to approval by the relevant Faculty Board or equivalent.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(46) Appendix A Micro-Credential Framework.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(47) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.
  2. Articulation arrangements enable those who have completed a micro-credential to progress from the micro- credential into an award course in accordance with the Admission Policy and the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.
  3. Assessment is a process to determine a participant’s achievement of expected learning outcomes and may include a range of written and oral methods and practice or demonstration.
  4. Award student is a student who is enrolled in a specific course that upon successful completion will result in aqualification.
  5. Course / Award Course refers to a sequence of study which leads to a higher education award.
  6. Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and/or learning outcomes between different types of learning and / or Awards.
  7. Credit arrangements are formal negotiated arrangements within and between issuing organisations or accrediting authorities and are about student entitlement to credit (AQF Glossary of Terminology).
  8. Digital credentials are digital insignia that can be stored and shared virtually to show accomplishment of learning,skills and knowledge.
  9. Formal learning is the learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the fullor partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification (AQF Glossary of Terminology).
  10. Informal learning is learning gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support (AQF Glossary of Terminology).
  11. Learning outcomes are the expression of the set of knowledge and skills, and the application of the knowledgeand skills a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning (AQF Glossary of Terminology).
  12. Non-formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does notlead to an officially accredited qualification (AQF Glossary of Terminology).
  13. Qualification is the result of an accredited complete program of learning that leads to formal certification that agraduate has achieved learning outcomes as described in the AQF.
  14. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes ofan individual application for credit.
  15. Third-Party Arrangement is an arrangement made with another party (in Australia or overseas) in the provision of higher education, including placements and joint award of qualifications.
  16. Volume of learning is a measure which identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes specified for a particular micro-credential. For micro-credentials, it is expressed in hours.