If you are a first year at ANU, and you are trying to figure out how to work out your course guide, fear not! This blog should assist in regards to what you should keep an eye out for when you read through your course guide! Be sure to get a copy of the ANUSA diary from the ANUSA office so that you are able to mark down important dates from your course guide in there.
What is a course guide/course outline?
As the name suggest, a course guide is a document provided to guide you through the course. It is usually several pages long and has a lot of information in it. Typically it would have an outline of what topics you’d be learning each week of the semester. It will help you prepare for your classes ahead of time. Apart from the course content, here are some important things to look out for when you are reviewing your course guide.
1. Contact Details
In the first few pages of the course guide there should be a page with the Contact Details of the academics running the course. Usually, the page would list the name, email and office extension of the course convenor and lecturer (if they are not the same person), the tutor, and in some cases; the Teaching Assistant. It is also common for them to list their office hours on the details page as well, so students can drop in or book in for a consultation with them.
Take note of this information, because if you have any issues regarding the course, this should be your first port of call. The course convenor is usually the person who runs and oversees the course. In some cases, they are also the lecturer. The lecturer is the one that presents the lectures every week in a lecture theatre, and the tutor is the person who teaches you in your tutorials. There are usually only one or two lecturers, but there might be quite a few tutors in a single course, depending on how big the course is. Not all courses have tutorials, but in the ones that do, in your first tutorial, take note of who your tutor is so that you know who to contact if you have an issue with your tutorials.
2. Lecture and Tutorial Details
This should also be in the first few pages of the course guide. The lecture time and venue for the course should be the same course-wide. The only thing that might differ between each students in the course would be the tutorials. You would have to sign up for a tutorial slot at the start of the semester. The sign-up time for tutorials are usually posted on Wattle in the first few weeks of the semester. Make sure you take note of this time, as tutorial slots usually fill up in the first minute or so of the sign-ups being open. You may be able to apply for priority enrolments for tutorials if you work or have clashes. You would submit a priority enrolment form prior to the tutorial sign-ups to be guaranteed a spot on your preferred tutorial slot. You would usually only apply for priority enrolments if you can only make tutorial time due to clashes. Priority enrolments are very competitive, so it might be best to just sign up when it opens.
It is helpful to write the tutorial location and time down in your ANUSA diary to make sure you know when it is, as the tutorials within the same course may not be at the same venue.
Lectures are recorded and are non-compulsory whereas some tutorials may be compulsory. Make sure you check your course guide in regards to your tutorial attendance. If you have issues in regards to the availability of your lectures (ie. Not being recorded) feel free to chat to a Student Assistance Officer at ANUSA.
3. Assessment types
The course guide also has information regarding your assessments for the course. It has the dates and type of assessment. A few things you need to keep in mind in regards to assessments:
1. How much is it worth?
2. Is it a hurdle course?
A course is said to contain hurdle assessments when:
Student needs to pass the final exam to pass the course.
The student needs to achieve a minimum/pass mark in a particular assessment item to pass the course.
A student need to attempt all assessment items to pass the course.
Hence, it would be detrimental if you missed or didn’t attend one assessment, even if it is not worth much.
3. Can you apply for a deferred assessment?
If you are unable to sit for an assessment, or can’t submit an assessment on time, you can request an extension or a deferred assessment. It is best to chat with your course convenor in regards to getting an extension for an assessment piece. This way you are able to work on it for a few more days without being penalised for it.
4. Will I be able to hand in my assignment late with a penalty?
If you did not apply for an extension, you can be penalised 5% per working day on your assessment. Typically, an assessment will not be accepted if it has been more than 10 working days past the due date (without an extension) and/or if the assessment piece has been returned to students.
Some assessments do not allow for extensions. For example, you cannot submit a take-home assessment late.
5. What kind of assessment is it? (an online quiz? An exam?)
A course assessment can be in many forms such as a quiz, an exam in an examination hall, an essay, a lab report or a music recital. Be sure to check in your course guide what forms of assessments you will be having in the course, and note it down in your diary. Most exams will have an examination timetable released closer to the exam date to let students know of the exact time and venue of an exam.
4. Assessment Submission
Your course guide should also tell you how you can submit your course assessments. For assessments that require online submission you may have to submit it via Turnitin. Turnitin is an originality checking system and plagiarism prevention service. There should be information regarding Turnitin and how to use it on Wattle.
If your assessment requires you to utilise Turnitin, be sure to submit it ahead of time so that you are able to get an originality report and amend your essay in time.
Some courses require you to hand in a hard copy of the assignment to a submission box on campus. Be sure to take note of where this location is, because it may not be a building that you are familiar with. You don’t want to be looking for an unfamiliar building a few minutes before your assignment is due!
5. Assessment timing
As well as the number and kinds of assessment you need to be aware of when your assessments are. They are usually located under “assessments” in your course guide. It is helpful to note when they are, and mark them down in your diary as soon as you know, so that you can plan your semester accordingly.
Keep in mind - if your course convenor decides to change the type or timing of an assessment, it is meant to be done before 10% of the teaching period (as per the Student assessment (coursework) policy). If your course assessment changes after 10% of the teaching period has passed, feel free to talk to a Student Assistance Officer at ANUSA, and they will be able to assist you. The ANU Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy can be found here: https://policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_004603
The ANU takes academic integrity very seriously and it is your responsibility to make sure that you are familiar with the policies surrounding academic integrity. The course guide (usually right at the end) would have a list of policies that you should be acquainted with, especially when sitting for an assessment. To start, it is good to have a look at the ANU Academic Misconduct Rule 2015: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L02025/Html/Text#_Toc436841161
The course guide may also list out a number of policies regarding assessments and penalties, so make sure you read them to ensure you don’t lose marks unnecessarily.
If you are confused about your course guide and would like more assistance, or if you’d like to know more about the policies in your course guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Student Assistance Officer at ANUSA. You could email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6125 2444.