Academic Regulatory Framework Changes /Pt 1
From 2nd January 2020 OCA is introducing a revised Academic Regulatory Framework. This document, which forms part of the Student Regulations, underpins and governs how all of OCAs degree programmes work, from the credits that are earnt on completion of a unit to the length of time available to complete a unit, level, and degree.
The new changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework, introduced from January 2020, mainly affect how timeframes work at OCA. Overall timeframes for a degree remain at 12 years, but the changes relate to unit and level timeframes.
What are the changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework?
Unit timeframes will vary depending upon the number of unit credits. A 40 credit unit will now have a maximum timeframe of 12 months, 18 months for a 60 credit unit, and 24 months for an 80 credit unit.
Each level will need to be completed within three years from the point of enrolment to the first unit. For example three 40 credit level one units will take a maximum of three years, same for two 60 credit level two units.
To support students’ changing circumstances, students will be able to defer their studies both in between units, and within units. We’ll cover this in more detail in the next blog post.
Non completion of a core unit will result in withdrawal from the degree. Students will be formally notified unless a student has applied for an extension or deferral through the mitigating circumstances process.
To enrol to the same degree after withdrawal you will need to wait 12 months before enrolling as a new student.
Engagement with studies, how often, and what it is, is covered in a new Active Study Policy. This also covers a withdrawal process due to non-engagement which is a legal obligation on OCA from Student Loans Company and Office for Students. Students not actively engaged in study for 60 days will be contacted and provided with support in study planning. If there is still no engagement, the withdrawal process starts.
A new stipulation on degree pathways, that students undertake units in the order laid out in the programme specifications.
Lastly, there is clarification to ‘deferral’ and ‘withdrawal’ within the glossary, clarification that re-assessment does not lead to an extension of the overall timeframes, and assessment criteria for Interior Design, and Garden Design have been added.
Why are we doing this?
Research by OCA shows that pace of study is an important factor in the likelihood of someone completing a unit, level, and degree. It is important for students to get into good study habits early and maintain regular study. To support this we will be providing additional guidance and tools to assist and encourage student progression.
In addition the way in which timeframes have been structured in the Academic Regulatory Framework has been confusing. This has led to large numbers of students running out of time on their level.
The Office for Students and the Student Loans Company require us to monitor engagement, and ensure student retention. We are using these statutory requirements to make positive changes and better support our student body.
Specified degree pathways will mean that students build through their degree, gaining the skills they need to be successful. Some units need skill development and enhanced knowledge before taking them. This change will ensure that students have more support in taking subjects when ready for them. Students will have more choice within units in assignment tasks and unit structure.
These changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework reflect all of these things. We hope that these changes will mean students remain more engaged with studies throughout, can more readily understand the timeframes, and above all, to complete studies!
That last point is key for us at OCA. Through opening access to the arts we want to see people complete their studies and become successful practicing artists.
What will this mean for me?
All of these changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework will come into effect from the 2nd January 2020.
If you are a new student, these changes apply when you enrol, as part of the Student Regulations and Conditions of Enrolment.
If you are an existing student, the changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework will not take effect until you start your next unit following the 2nd January 2020.