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March 15, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Paper points perplex punters

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Vic varies values

Students are upset over changes to course points that will result in higher course-related costs to complete their degrees.

Recent changes to the points structure mean that some students have to complete more papers to satisfy degree requirements.

The university has decided to move to a common points system across the university. All undergrad papers are now either 15 or 20 points. BCA and BSc degrees have generally moved to 15 points, and the BA degree has moved to 20 points.

While the total number of points required for a degree has remained the same, the only change is that students will need to do more papers of smaller size to complete their degree.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic) David Crabbe says the moves are to follow the international trend towards simplifying degree structures and to ensure graduates have built up the right attributes.

Crabbe says the wide variety in points values made it confusing for students and academic advisers, and made it more difficult to design degrees.

“The university as a whole has become more focused on designing its programmes to help students achieve the Victoria University graduate attributes.

“These include subject-specific knowledge and skills, as well as critical and creative thinking, communication and leadership skills, and having a global and multicultural perspective.

“In addition to ensuring the right content is included in the core courses, the focus on graduate attributes has required a change in how material is taught so that students have opportunities to develop and be assessed on these attributes as well.”

Students have raised concerns about the costs and extra workload involved with the point changes.

“I support the change in theory, but in practice the lecturers have not dropped the course work as they should have,” a third-year Vic Psychology student says.

“It all just seems like a big mess at the moment.”

Crabbe says that these issues have been addressed.

“Fees are charged per point, so the fee per paper is proportionally reduced in line with the lower points value.

“This means that the cost will essentially be no different than the previous year. It is difficult to say what the current cost is for a student to do a BCA—as fees are set each year, we are unable to provide an exact figure.

“However, on-balance students will not be disadvantaged by the change in the points system.

“Assessment and contact hours have been adjusted. Keeping to the prescribed average student workload per point has been paramount among criteria for such change.”

VUWSA President Max Hardy says VUWSA is concerned that the university has not factored in the extra costs in time and textbooks.

“Despite there apparently being the same amount of material to cover, for commerce students there will likely be more assessment, more admin tasks and more textbooks.”

The changes have meant that some students have to take an extra paper to qualify for a living cost loan from StudyLink.

“By in large students do not want to have to do more papers to complete their degrees,” says Hardy.

“We will be monitoring the changes carefully to make sure that students are not adversely affected.”

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  1. Po Po Mo Fo says:

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    Now look at me.

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