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Curriculum approval monitoring and review

The development and maintenance of OU curriculum, and monitoring of the performance of modules and qualifications, is managed through eighteen Boards of Studies, each reporting to one of five Teaching Committees associated with the University’s five academic areas: four faculties and the Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation unit in the Office of the PVC (Students).

Qualification Approvals

At the Open University, a new undergraduate or taught postgraduate qualification proposal is evaluated using a qualification specification proforma which has been developed with reference to the external regulatory context. All new directly taught qualifications secure institutional approval through the Qualifications and Assessment Committee (also see Partnerships and Research sections)

Qualification Specifications

Institutions are expected to maintain a definitive record of each programme and qualification that they approve (and of subsequent changes to it) in line with the UK Quality Code. At the OU, qualification specifications include the intended outcomes of a qualification in terms of its academic requirements and the knowledge and understanding that a student will be expected to have upon completion, i.e.  

  • Key skills: communication, numeracy, the use of information technology and learning how to learn
  • Cognitive skills, such as an understanding of methodologies or ability in critical analysis  
  • Subject specific skills, such as laboratory skills
  • Practical and/or professional skills.

Qualification specifications form the basis of information about a qualification published on the University’s courses website. 

Module Approvals

Approval of detailed plans for individual modules is a matter that requires subject expertise and is devolved to the relevant academic area.  

Proposals for new modules emerge by a variety of means:  

  • reviews of the external environment, social and demographics trends  
  • the need to replace or update modules to reflect changes to the subject matter of new methods of teaching and assessment  
  • business appraisal, market surveys  
  • the requirements of professional or statutory bodies, or other influences on academic standards  
  • feedback on module presentation.