Preparing for the validation event

Devolved validations
Arrangements for all devolved validations are the
responsibility of the faculty. Both the programme leader and
the validation servicing officer should work closely with the
faculty Head of Quality in the preparations for validation.
The faculty Head of Quality will take responsibility for
securing a validation panel and for identifying a date for the
validation event, as part of the overall preparation of the
faculty’s validation schedule.
For devolved validations, it is normal to assume that the
validation servicing officer will take responsibility for making
the practical arrangements for the validation. In practice,
however, the approach may vary from faculty to faculty. With
overall responsibility for the management of the validation
schedule, the faculty Head of Quality should identify who
should make the arrangements, be it the validation servicing
officer, programme management board or quality assurance
administrator or the programme leader.
Non-devolved validations
Arrangements for non-devolved validations are co-ordinated
by the Department of Academic Quality (DAQ). DAQ will
pay for all travel and accommodation costs associated with
the panel members, with the exception of the external
subject advisor. The relevant faculty must cover the costs of
the external’s travel and accommodation, as well as their
daily fee (please contact DAQ for current rates).
If the programme to be validated is not intended for delivery
entirely by DMU staff on DMU premises, and you are
unsure as to who is responsible for co-ordinating the
validation arrangements, you should contact DAQ.
Establishing the validation panel
It is the responsibility of the programme leader to nominate
an external advisor. Once an individual has been identified,
the Nomination of External Panel Member form (available
from the DAQ intranet site: intranet.dmu.ac.uk/qa/) must be
completed and submitted for approval first by the Dean and
then by the Head of Department of Academic Quality,
acting on behalf of the Academic Quality and Standards
Committee (AQSC). Criteria for external panel members are
provided in the section on The validation panel – authority
and constitution (page 6).
Programme
At an early stage in the preparation process, a programme
should be drawn up in consultation with the faculty Head of
Quality and the identified validation chair. You should take
into account the travel needs of your external advisor when
establishing a start time. A suggested programme for a
validation follows. Please note, however, that this is only a
guide and that the requirements will vary according to the
nature and location of the validation. For advice and
guidance on drafting a validation programme, contact DAQ.Preparation of documentation
Should you have any concerns about the documentation
you are required to prepare, you are encouraged to
contact DAQ.
General advice on preparing documentation
Work closely with your programme team to ensure that all
the documentation is:
• Accurate – you could use your team to proof-read the
documentation and make sure that any special
arrangements are clearly documented. Too many
validation panels pick up typographical and grammatical
errors and basic errors of fact.
• Clearly presented – with page numbers, contents lists
and clear signposting. You might also wish to consider
colour coding or numbering each separate document, to
assist panel members when considering and crossreferencing
the paperwork.
• Prepared in plenty of time for the validation – the panel
should have good time to read it thoroughly before the
event. Most panels ask at least one question for which
the answer is hidden in the documentation.
Please note that it is not acceptable to submit the
document to the panel in electronic format.
Documentary requirements
A comprehensive list of documentation required for
validation is given below. A summary checklist, to help panel
members and programme teams check for completeness, is
available from the DAQ intranet site
(intranet.dmu.ac.uk/qa/). Whilst all DMU validations are
based on the same principles and therefore the
documentary requirements are basically the same, there
may be some variations according to the type of validation
being held, eg distance learning validation, revalidation, or
validation linked to Professional Statutory and Regulatory
Body (PSRB) (re)accreditation. The documentary
requirements for the main variations are detailed below.
Prior to submission, the documentation must be approved
by the Dean, with written confirmation of such approval
being submitted with the documentation.
In summary, the validation panel must receive:
• Validation document
• Student/programme handbook
• Programme/course and module templates
• Validation programme
• Panel membership details
• DAQ Validation Briefing Guide for Panel Members.*
* The panel chair and external advisor should receive the full DAQ Guide to
Validations. The remaining panel members should receive the Brief Guide.
Both can be obtained from DAQ or downloaded from the DAQ intranet site
intranet.dmu.ac.uk/qa/
In addition, external advisors must receive a campus map,
travel documents (if appropriate) and an expenses claim form.
Validation document
This is the main submission document and you should ensure
that it answers all the questions set out in Section 4 below
(Core guidelines against which judgements are made). As a
minimum, you should include the following information:
Programme details
• Award, levels, modes and modules to be considered
• Rationale for the programme (strategic context; subject
context; market demand – include projected cohort
numbers for first three years of operation and a statement
identifying action to be taken should projected numbers not
be reached; competition)
• Programme structure
• Fit with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject
Benchmark Statement(s), if appropriate
• Match with Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
(FHEQ) descriptors
• Top down mapping document, mapping the outcomes of
the modules against the intended outcomes for the
programme as a whole, to demonstrate overall
completeness and coherence
• Assessment matrix, mapping assessment to learning
outcomes across all levels
• Adherence to the requirements of any relevant PSRBs
• Any programme specific regulations (avoid if at all possible).
Resources
• Programme team, including technical and support staff
(with full staff CVs appended for non-devolved and
summary CVs for devolved)
• Human resources including staff development to support
delivery
• Physical resources (classrooms, laboratories, performance
space)
• Learning resources (books, journals, electronic and media).Programme management
• Arrangements for programme management* – programme
leader, year tutors, personal tutors, programme meetings,
etc.
• Roles and responsibilities of senior staff and the
programme team
• Student support and guidance (including support for nonstandard
entrants and students with learning
disabilities/differences)
• QA mechanisms (self-evaluation, review and monitoring,
programme management board management, external
examiners**, etc.)
* This is particularly important for programmes involving cross-site delivery.
** If this is a specialist area, what thought has been given to identifying an
external examiner
Endorsements
• Evidence of external input into the development of the
programme, including statements of support from external
examiners, external peers, employers, industry, etc.
• Any agreement with external agent/training agency who is
involved with the provision
• E-learning development checklist (available on the DAQ
intranet site: intranet.dmu.ac.uk/qa/), to demonstrate how
learning opportunities and learner-support will be
provided through e-learning
• New Programme Planning and Approval Form*
• Approval of New Module Form**
* This form is maintained by the programme leader and is required for
tracking the development of the programme. The form must be completed
up to the signature of the Dean before the validation and submitted as part
of the formal validation submission. The outcome of the validation is
recorded here, and the signature of the chair of the validation panel is
needed. After validation, the form should be updated by the validation
servicing officer. For devolved validations, it should then be passed to the
Head of Studies, for signature and forwarding to the Curriculum Planning
Office and DAQ.
** A single form can be used for all new modules, for ease of completeness.
Student/programme handbook
A student/programme handbook should describe, in a
user-friendly format:
• The programme of study available to students
• The services, facilities, support and procedures relevant
to students studying the programme at the University or
their college
• Details of institutional publications to which students may
wish to refer during their studies.
The information you provide for students must be consistent
with the programme and module templates. You are
encouraged to follow the following structure for your
handbook:
• Welcome to students – statement and contents page
• Programme information
• Structures
• Module descriptors
• Assessment
• Programme management information
• Services and facilities.
This information may either be included in the
student/programme handbook or presented as separate
publications or on the web. If information is contained in
separate publications, for example a guide to student
services, the handbook must give the title of the publication
and details about its availability. For validation events and
for the benefit of the panel it would be useful and necessary
to make sure that the other publications are available.
The University guide which details what should be included
in the programme handbook can be obtained from DAQ or
downloaded from the DAQ intranet site:
intranet.dmu.ac.uk/qa/.
Templates
• Programme/course template
• Module templates for all modules – new and existing – on
the programme.
The templates must be provided for all validations, including
franchise validations. The outcomes for each qualification
should be specified clearly on the programme template,
including the lower qualification where there is one. For
further guidance on writing module templates, you should
consult the Programme Developer’s Guide.
Documentary variations
In all variations detailed below, the material identified
must be provided in addition to the core set of
documentation detailed above. For validations of University
Certificates of Professional Development (UCPDs), you
should refer instead to the Curriculum Planning Office
Guide to the University Certificate of Professional
Development (UCPD) Scheme.Distance learning programme
Programme teams are normally required to complete at
least 50% of the first year of delivery for circulation, or 60
credits, whichever is the greatest, to ensure validation
panels can inspect sufficient distance learning material
upon which to base a judgement. If the programme team
already has a well established track record of using
Blackboard or distance learning materials, this requirement
can be relaxed at the discretion of the panel chair, following
consultation with DAQ. It must, however, be clear that
there is a planned programme of development work which
can be implemented realistically on time for the first intake
of students.
Programme developers need to have a test site for modules
under development that are supported by Blackboard.
Faculty scrutiny of the proposal should include an
evaluation of the Blackboard sites prior to the proposal
going forward to validation and prior to the first intake. It is
not expected that the whole programme will have
Blackboard sites fully developed, or distance learning
material prepared, at the time of validation. For panels to
have confidence that distance learning approaches are
suitable, however, a proportion of modules will need to be
fully prepared with distance learning materials.
In all cases, a development plan and timetable for the
production of programme material must be produced for the
validation event.
Revalidation
For revalidations, teams are additionally required to produce:
• A critical appraisal document, including an action plan
• Information on action taken in response to the conditions
and recommendations identified at the initial validation
• External examiners’ reports, evidence of programme
monitoring (to cover the last three years)
• A statement clarifying what impact, if any, the new
programme will have on existing students on the existing
version of the programme. If there is an impact, this
statement must clarify what the impact will be, from when
it is to be applied, and how the students have been or will
be consulted. Evidence of consultation with the students
and with Academic Registry must also be provided.

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