Faculty of Medicine_ Nursing and Health Sciences

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					Date: 20/06/02 Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Policy on charging on-campus undergraduate students for course materials
Both Federal Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) policy and University policy make it clear that undergraduate students may not be charged for course materials such as course manuals. DEST policy applies only to HECS students but University policy extends this to all classes of undergraduate students. In Semester 1, 2002, I attempted to ensure that this policy was applied consistently across the Faculty. The outcome was that by and large the Faculty is adhering to the policy. A few particular problem areas remain, however, and debate arose about what could and could not be charged for. Following discussions with various people in the Faculty and with the deputy university solicitor – Amanda Lazar – I propose that the following guidelines should be adopted as policy. We need to take action in two areas:  Define which materials students may be charged for and what must provided for free. This will be difficult and there will always be grey areas.  Courses, Schools and Departments must take much greater care in the way in which they identify material provided to or sold to students. 1. A useful way to identify material that must be provided free of charge is to decide whether it is “essential” to the student. In other words, do you as a teacher, expect the student to possess or come to class with the material? For example, a unit or course manual that contains all essential information – objectives, timetable, specific requirements, contact details etc. – this is essential. Also a practical manual that you expect the student to bring to a practical class is essential. Tutorial notes that you expect the student to bring to a tutorial is essential. Material that includes formative assessment tasks is considered essential. In the case of undergraduate Distributed Learning students, the Centre for Learning and Teaching Support supplies all materials free. In practice, this is generally printed material, but students may receive some resources on floppy disk, CD-ROM, audiotape or videotape. All of these formats are provided free. Material that may be charged is in the category of “nice to have” or supporting material. For example, lecture notes can be charged for as the University expects students to attend lectures and take their own notes. (Exception: there was a case where a lecturer indicated to the class that he expected the students to print the notes from the web and bring them to the lecture – this is not allowed.) A set of readings can be charged for – but only if the readings are also available to the students free of charge in the library or through the school or department. Contents All administrative and other essential information  Objectives  Timetable  Specific requirements  Contact details Prac exercises/instructions Tutorial content Formative assessment exercises/instructions Status Essential Price to students Free



Publication Unit manual OR Course manual

Practical manual Tutorial notes Formative assessment tasks

Lecture notes

Essential: Required in class/to own Essential: Required in class/to own Essential/required for successful completion of unit Non-essential: Students are expected under University policy to take their own notes

Free Free Free


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Date: 20/06/02

Reading Pack

Unit readings supplementary to the textbook(s)

Non-essential: supplementary to the textbook(s)

Free (may be charged only if loan copies are made available free in the library or School/Department)

4. a) b) c)

Charging for materials includes Selling material through the bookshop Selling material through the department. Material on the web is by definition charged, as students may have to pay their ISP to access it and incur additional costs to print it. For this reason, it is not permissible to put all the material on the web and expect students to download and print “essential” components.


Courses, Schools and Departments should take particular care in the way they identify materials. It may well be appropriate to divide print material that is presently provided to students as a single entity into what is “essential” and what is not essential. In other words material that is really optional resource material and in the “nice-to-have” category should not be called a “unit/subject/course manual”. In addition staff should seriously reconsider how much additional material is provided for students – there would seem to be little advantage in providing the equivalent of a textbook. The University and Faculty are very supportive of electronic support for teaching and learning through WebCT. But it should be just that, “support” – it should be seen as an alternative and adjunct to everything else.


While this policy is largely prescriptive, it cannot cover every variation that may exist. The best strategy to adopt is to identify “essential” material as described above and provide it free in hard copy. If there is doubt as to the classification of the material, it is simpler to err on the side of caution and provide it free. A final note – the Deputy Solicitor has indicated that a new approach will be made to DEST on this matter – particularly as the original policy was determined before the web came into widespread use as a means of making learning materials available to students. Tony Luff Associate Dean (Teaching) Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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