Review of Academic Programs Green Paper

This a draft copy of my initial response to the Graduate Capabilities and principles outlined in the ‘Review of Academic Programs Green Paper’.
Any comments would be appreciated before I hit the send button next week.
On the contribution of academic programs to Capabilities
I see the advantage of retaining the units currently made available by SCMP and Humanities and grouping some of these into People and Planet electives. However, it may be equally plausible to develop a single introductory unit that is compulsory for all students. This compulsory unit could provide essential material drawn from Cultural Anthropology, Critical thinking and Ethics. Maybe a unit in Critical thinking that draws examples from Cultural Anthropology and Ethics. Regardless of a student’s chosen field, Business Ethics and Workplace Ethics would seem to be essential components. Students of the introductory module would be given the task of contemplating, from time to time throughout their degree studies, the lessons they have learnt in this module.

I propose that such a unit could be assessed in the normal fashion. It would provide students with references and awareness of the opportunities for further study at MQ in these fields.
Most importantly it would prepare students for a capstone module (or something similar).

The capstone module would require students to demonstrate that they have developed the capabilities desired of them. Students might keep a journal or maintain a blog during the course of their studies. They might undertake independent research, or they might add SCMP and Humanities units to their stream. Whatever the method, they would aim to demonstrate at the completion of their degree the graduate capabilities of a Macquarie University student.

This proposal would still permit for students to take one or two electives from the “People” and “Planet” designations, including Languages.

On Academic Program Delivery – Technologies and Modes
From my perspective as a mature aged student, the availability of on-line resources is a necessity. While I much prefer the face to face contact of lectures and tutorials, the reality of paying a mortgage and sustaining a family life will force me to undertake the remainder of my degree externally while working full-time. Every opportunity for social interaction, knowledge creation and knowledge consumption is well worth the effort.

In line with the Principles set out in this section of the green paper, I would recommend adding the following principle:
– Respect the needs and capitalise on the strengths of the external students of Macquarie University.

I note that SCMP and Mitch Parsell have given support for an Undergraduate conference at the end of 2008. This conference does place the external and OUA students at the forefront. I hope that this event becomes a regular part of the MQ committment to its students.

On Academic Program Delivery: Structure and Shape
I am among those who find the current system of coherencies and study patterns confusing. The 100,200,300 level divisions seem straight forward though. In any case, it is currently a confusing task to decide upon a course of study. Any system that introduces clarity is an improvement on the current system.

Elimination of the hard copy handbook has one disadvantage. Students are held to the rules and systems in place upon entry to their degree. Keeping an electronic copy from the year of entry would therefore be necessary. Does MQ plan to provide a CD version?


4 Responses to “Review of Academic Programs Green Paper”

  1. 1 Nathan April 8, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I especially like your recommendation: “Respect the needs and capitalise on the strengths of the external students of Macquarie University.”

  2. 2 Simon April 8, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Looks pretty good Brad.

    The study patterns are a bit of a hassle, particularly as they focus only upon MQ expected outcomes. While this isn’t such a bad thing, for external students interstate (I’m being selfish and thinking of myself here) when we look at Honours and Graduate study we need to take further (expensive) courses from our local institutions to fill the gaps that MQ left.

  3. 3 waz 1 April 9, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Not sure if this is directly related to the topic but….

    I have been thinking along similar lines Simon, I keep starting units with OUA to fill out my level 1 commitment to completing a philosophy degree, but, they are boring and there is not enough philosophy.

    I will pick up some expensive units via other universities, so I can participate in further philosophy study, especially at the introductory end, I feel that I need more if I am to continue with post-grad studies later on.


  1. 1 Maekitso’s Café Trackback on April 11, 2008 at 8:31 pm

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