Types of course units
Definitions of SCD Modes of Study
While it is common for multiple (blended) methods of delivery and types of technology to be utilised in teaching a single unit, the following definitions are helpful in categorising units for the purpose of interpreting student feedback and analysing particular demographics.
Where multiple methods of teaching and learning are employed in a single unit, mode of delivery can be assigned according to the way in which the majority of teaching and learning is facilitated.
This applies when most of the teaching and learning occurs synchronously in real time, in a physical teaching space. The lecturer may be either physically or virtually present. Students may be either physically or virtually present.
This may include weekly classes, extensive or intensive offerings and online live streaming. Teaching and learning resources may be delivered either electronically or printed.
This applies when most of the teaching and learning occurs asynchronously (independently). Students and lecturers may meet and interact at times, either in virtual spaces or face-to-face, formally or informally, as a part of the students’ coursework.
This may include online courses involving periodical virtual classroom sessions or short residential intensives. Teaching and learning resources may be delivered either electronically or printed.
As required under the ESOS Act, the SCD will permit overseas students to be taught by distance mode only up to 25% of their total program with at least one face-to-face unit in each of the teaching periods.
Types of Units
Within these modes, there are various types of units:
- Independent guided study
- Research Project
- Research Essay
Those units which are delivered face-to-face and require weekly attendance throughout a semester.
The usual semester-length course unit is offered over a one or two week period, either during term or in the summer and/or winter academic breaks. It is still a semester course and the student has the same time-frame of a normal semester-long program to complete assessment tasks. Faculty are available for consultation following the intensive.
The usual semester-length course unit is offered over a number of days spread across a semester, e.g. five individual days (say, Mondays) or two to three weekends. It is still a
semester course and the student has the same time-frame of a normal semester-long program to complete assessment tasks. Faculty are available for consultation following the extensive.
Independent Study mode
When a unit, from the SCD Schedule of Units of Study, is not offered in the semester in which the candidate wishes to take it, the candidate, by arrangement with the lecturer, may study the unit in independent reading mode. It is essentially a reading course with some individual, face-to-face contact with the lecturer arranged for mutually convenient times. Fewer students now pursue units by independent study mode because of the large number of units available by distance and online.
Independent Guided Study mode
This course unit enables students with initiative and creativity to pursue ideas and areas of interest in the subject area. It affords the student an opportunity to continue to develop independent research and study skills. The student, in consultation with the Teaching Body Registrar/Academic Dean, arranges with a suitably qualified supervisor/ lecturer a course unit outline including content, outcomes, assessment and reading list and completes the unit in the normal timeframe. The IGS should not be confused with units studied as Independent Study mode (see above). Up to 18 credit points may be taken in this mode.
The Research Project builds on the theological background, capacity and interests of a student and enables her or him to pursue broad research, often of a survey nature, into an area or topic within a discipline or across disciplines. This research cannot usually be done within the structures of individual coursework units or the focused study of a particular topic.
The Research Essay is worth 18 credit points and is 10,000 – 12,000 words in length. The student is assisted in the preparation of the essay by a supervisor appointed by the Teaching Body in which the student is enrolled. Approval for the research long essay topic is obtained from the Research Committee and, where applicable, may require clearance by the Ethics Committee. The Research Essay is examined by two examiners one of whom is normally from outside the Teaching Body where the student is enrolled. The supervisor is not eligible to be an examiner.