Thursday, June 22, 2023

What is One University's Course Equivalent to Another?

There is some comfort in being an "honorary" lecturer at a university. As you are not getting paid a salary, you feel no obligation to go to administrative meetings. You just take on the teaching, or research, you want to do. Some prefer to avoid the stress of grading student work, and just do some mentoring. I have been formally trained in how to mark students so don't find it too stressful. One thing I have avoided, for decades, is an administrative role at a university. But recently I was asked to help process applicants for credit from studnts for study done elsewhere. In a way this is an extension of assessment. But in another way it is a very tedious administrative process, involving many rules, and use of precedents. As a former bureaucrat, I can cope with rules, but even so it is a tedious process. 

Processing applications for credit for Australia courses is not so hard. First of all all Australian universities are real universities, federally accredited. In some countries anyone can call something a university, but in Australia that is illegal. 

Next of all Australian universities professors borrow heavily from each other. Often courses at different institutions have the same titles, descriptions, learning objectives and assessment. Also degrees are accredited by the Australian Computer Society and Engineers Australia, and have much the same content. 

Checking out an institution in another country is a little more difficult. First of all is it real? Australian universities employ staff to carry out forensic analysis of documents presented by students. Then there is the problem of the quantity of learning in courses, and the form of assessment. This becomes a particular issue for practically orientated skills: can a student learn to program in a few weeks, and be assessed with multiple choice questions on their coding ability? Can a student learn project management, without actually being a member of a project team? How much does workplace experience count, be it as part of a formal internship program, or concurrently with study, count? Ultimately these things come down to judgement.

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