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Course Organiser Role Description

While the Learning Outcomes and general syllabus of a course are defined by the Board of Studies, the Course Organiser (CO) is repsonsible for ensuring those descriptions are manifested in an appropriately challenging, rewarding, well organised course that is operated in line with School, College and University policy.  

The CO should be actively enhancing the course by making improvements in procedure or recommending changes to appropriate colleagues or committees and is responsible also for QA reporting on the course and for ensuring documentation is up to date. The Course Organiser thus has an important role in ensuring and enhancing the quality of our provision.

There is always a "course team" involved in delivery and teaching and the CO leads this, ensuring everyone is well-informed about what they are doing and ensuring a consistent, excellent experience for the class.   The CO is often the only lecturer on the course and may be the onty tutor too in which case the CO and Course Secretary will be the entire team.   Some aspects of the role description will therefore not be relevant in these cases.

Key points

  • All essential information should be provided to students by the first week of teaching at the latest.  This includes assessment deadlines and dates by which feedback will be provided, which must comply with the "15 working days or in time to be useful in future assessment" rule.   The CO should ensure deadlines are adhered to. 
  • The CO is responsible for ensuring consistent, high standards of marking and feedback on the course. 
  • Each course must have a formative feedback opportunity.
  • Mid-semester feedback must be in place (and feedback on it discussed with the class).  Also CEQ (the instrument formerly known as EVASYS) towards the end of the course.
  • The CO is responsible for ensuring Learning Adjustments (including mainstreamed ones) are implemented.  (See separate page)
  • The CO is repsonsible for ensuring attendance is taken using TopHat in each workshop or weekly in a lecture. (See separate page)

Organisational arrangements and communications

Adminstrative organisation is carried out in collaboration with the Course Secretary, with whom the CO should be in regular communication.

  • Check when timetables are announced that they are appropriate, that rooms are suitable and suitably equipped.
  • Consult with the Course Secretary on allocating students and tutors to workshop and/or lab sessions.
  • Agree a timetable with the Course Secretary for managing hand-in work and the content of folders for tutors and check that tutors and lecturers adhere to it. 
  • Plan the assessment schedule for the course.  Set hand-in deadlines and specify return dates for feedback, always within 15 working days of hand-in and in time to be of use for later assessments.
    • For regular hand-ins, ensure if possible, that students receive feedback on one before the next is due.
    • Students should be allowed a reasonable time to do hand-in work. Remember that they will have work from other classes also.
  • Check that there is a formative feedback opportunity in the course. This is a UoE requirement. If one has 5%CA, then a hand-in could count as this.
  • Agree and sign off the "structure" of the course (percentages for different components, number of hand-ins, marks per hand-in, etc).  This will be entered into Euclid by the Course Secretary and cannot normally be changed subsequently.   
  • Set up Learn page for the course. COs should ensure that relevant materials appear on Learn. For consistency, and to maintain a complete archive, alternative platforms for course information (eg personal web pages) should not be used. 
  • The CO should hold an initial meeting of the Course Team. Marking policy and guidelines should be explained as should procedure around hand-ins such as late submission rules. 
  • Be aware of the Learning Profiles that students on your course may have. You can access them from the Euclid "Students" screen.   Take any necessary steps to implement them. 
  • Check TopHat (which will have been set up by MTO unless you choose to do so yourself). Decide whether you will take attendance in each workshop or weekly in  a lecture and ensure the class are informed of the schedule. 

Learning adjustments

See separate page for full details. Note particularly the requirement to use a microphone when teaching whenever one is provided, independent of perceived need. 

The teaching of the course

  • Alternative sources where the material of the course is discussed should be provided.  (This was a particular request of School Council.)
  • If you will be teaching in equipped rooms, consider whether you are going to use Lecture capture via "MediaHopper Replay" - see http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/lecture-recording for support information.  (George Kinnear is the "local champion" for this technology and will assist if he can.) 

 

Setting and monitoring standards of marking and feedback

The following issues are both academically important and also of understandable concern to students.

  • The CO should set policy and standards for marking and ensure that students are aware of them and that markers are aware of them and follow them.
    • In particular, it is important that marking is consistent between different markers.
    • COs should monitor marking and where guidelines are not being followed, interpretations are not as intended or the marking out of line in any other way, talk to the relevant tutor(s).
  • The CO should remind tutors that useful, constructive feedback is essential for student learning.
    • COs should monitor the quality and quantity of feedback being provided and if it does not reach appropriate standards, talk to the relevant tutor(s).
    • Bear in mind that there can be too much feedback as well as too little.  If work is returned dense with detailed criticisms and improvements, the feedback may be too intimidating to read. It is not unreasonable to expect students to obtain routine feedback to some extent from model solutions.  
  • One way of promoting uniformly high standards is to have a "marking party" whereby the first assessment is marked and discussed by the course team, together in a room.

Late hand-ins

  • It is important to have a consistent and firm approach to late hand-ins.  See late hand-in policy.  

Other academic arrangements

  • COs should ensure that, averaged over the Semester, markers are having to mark only as much material as can be done reasonably in the time allocated.  (In general, the allowance is one hour of "marking and preparation" per contact hour of tutoring.)  See separate page
  • Formats for exams should not be changed without consultation. Ensure that the class is familiar with the format of the exam.
  • Provide at least one sample exam of a similar style and nature to what you imagine you will be setting.  This can be a past exam, but if you are changing the emphasis or style, or if the course is new, you will need to create a sample.  (Saying "the exam will be like the tutorial questions" is not enough.)
  • Consider the use of Week 11.  In Semester 1 in particular, introducing substantial new work in Week 11 should be avoided because of the very limited time until exams. 
  • It is recommended to have a revision lecture or similar synoptic even during the final week of Semester 1 and at some appropriate time in the case of Semester 2.
  • Consider how students may get help between the end of teaching and exams.  Possibilities include Office Hours, MathsBase, Piazza or email; the best solution will depend on class size and level. 

Feedback from the class

  • In accordance with UoE regulations, mid-semester feedback should be obtained from all classes at some time during Weeks 3--5. See Mid-semester feedback.
  • The CO should ensure that CEQ feeedback is obtained from the class.  Every effort should be taken to ensure a good response rate.   The survey should normally be completed in class.

QA and enhancement

  • The CO should complete the course monitoring form.
  • The CO should report any recommended changes or improvements to the course to TPC.

Examinations

Examining should be carried out in accordance with the School guidelines.

  • The CO should be available for scrutiny and for the relevant Board of Examiners. 
  • The CO should ensure that the SoM examination guidelines are followed.
Last direct edit: 16:45, Sunday 17 September 2017, by Toby Bailey. (Feedback? Please contact the page owners)

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