This handbook is a collection of HTML documents published on the WWW and structured so that the same source is shared by all information users, even if they require it in different contexts. It is our policy that the Handbook should be the single and definitive source for each piece of significant information. Committee decisions, changes in University rules and procedures, etc. are disseminated by amending the Handbook. Brief summaries of these changes are listed in chronological order so all Department members can monitor changes affecting them.
Lists of the subsets of documents that are most often required by particular user groups (e.g. staff, undergraduates, etc.) are also available. Users will find it convenient to make use of the 'Back' and 'Forward' commands of their browser to stay in context. Printed versions of the handbook derive from the WWW. In these, the hypertext links are underlined and, where appropriate, given a page number for the cross-reference.
The disadvantage of this system is that users may occasionally have to skip irrelevant material. Please draw any cases where this significantly detracts from the clarity of the information to the attention of the Handbook Editor by using the 'Questions/Comments' link on the relevant page so that corrective action can be taken. Please also use these links to report instances where the procedures and practices described are not being adhered to.
The html used throughout the handbook is periodically validated, link-checked, and reviewed for accessibility using standards and tools published by W3C. The Editor would particularly welcome any comments on the 'accessibility' from users with disabilities.
The University also publishes a range of Student Information that is general to all disciplines and that students should be familiar with. There should be no conflicts between that inforamtion and this Handbook. However, if you notice apparent inconsistencies please notify the Editor using the Questions/Comments link at the top of the affected page in order that the position can be clarified.
This handbook is central our academic management and therefore its content is tightly controlled. Its Editor will only make changes:
The chronological list of significant changes is regularly scrutinised and approved by the appropriate Education Committee.
Proposed changes should be submitted to the editor by saving the relevant page as a
local HTML source file. Changes should then be indicated with <del> and <ins>
tags. For example <del>
text to be deleted</del> <ins> </ins>. The edited text file should then be emailed
to the Handbook Editor.
Our approach to quality is derived from relevant sections of the ISO 9000 Quality Management system. The QAA's own approach to quality is also strongly influenced by this standard. In essence, ISO 9000 requires that we:
We have written procedures, including detailed role descriptions, for performing the work that affects the quality of our educational provision. Our written procedures are collected together and published in a coherent form on the WWW as the Department Handbook. It is compiled in accordance with the principles of 'single definitive source' information management, and meets the legal requirements associated with accessibility.
We work according to the written procedures in the Department Handbook and College Handbook. All users (staff, students, applicants, accreditors) have access to the same version of the same document. Every page has an automated link in order to report procedures that are not being followed, or to suggest amendments and omissions. All new students and staff receive printed versions of the pages most relevant to them.
We retain records of activities to provide objective evidence of compliance thereby forming an audit trail: The progress of each student is recorded; staff maintain a folder for each module containing copies of the material delivered to students, and evidence of quality and enhancement; minutes are kept of all meetings; records are kept of the various procedures (e.g. peer appraisal) used to monitor and enhance quality. Every change to the Department Handbook, along with who authorised it, is documented in a chronological list published on the WWW so users find it easy to keep up to date with current practice.
We compare what we actually achieve with what was planned and use the information to correct any shortcomings. We have a rigorous system of Programme and Module Monitoring and Review Procedures supplemented by regular scrutiny by external examiners, accrediting bodies, and University Periodic Subject Review Scheme. All Department committees have terms of reference requiring them to develop and enhance our provision and monitor the aspects that lie with their remit. In order to improve, people must change what they do. This process is also facilitated by the Department Handbook because staff and students are accustomed to refer to the relevant pages (e.g. to confirm marking criteria and download assessment pro-forma's) both before and during activities.