Good Practice Report : Postgraduate Research and Coursework Degrees

Hamilton, Jillian, Thomas, Mandy, Carson, Susan J., & Ellison, Elizabeth (2014) Good Practice Report : Postgraduate Research and Coursework Degrees. Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, N.S.W.

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Over the past decade, enrolments in postgraduate courses in Australian universities have risen by 34% (or from 258,164 in 2004 to 347,363 in 2013) (uCube, 2014). This substantial growth can be attributed to increased demand for postgraduate coursework as continuing professional education, the expansion of Higher Degrees Research (HDR) intakes, and the development of postgraduate research and coursework degrees in new fields. At the same time, the establishment of the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) and national Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), as well as the internationalisation of postgraduate education, have brought challenges and opportunities to the sector.

During the past five years, the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) and its predecessor bodies have funded a number of projects and Fellowships on postgraduate coursework and research degrees. They span diverse topics–from entry pathways and research training to supporting international and Indigenous students, examination, scoping studies of new and emergent programs, and effective supervision.

In 2014 the OLT commissioned this good practice report to review the grants and fellowships conducted between 2009 and 2014. Encompassing twenty-seven learning and teaching projects and fellowships, the aims of this report include providing universities and academics with an overview of the current state of postgraduate study in Australia and the major influences upon it; a coherent overview of funded projects’ findings and outcomes; and a central point to access good practices, resources and tools in summary form. The objectives of this good practice report are to provide:

• A literature review, which contextualises the projects within the Australian and international Higher Education environment, emphasises factors that currently influence postgraduate programs, and highlights challenges and opportunities for the sector. It also explains variations in postgraduate course types and definitions within the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), and identifies key learning and teaching issues as well as good practices identified in scholarly research and position papers.

• A collated overview of the twenty-seven national learning and teaching projects and fellowships on postgraduate coursework and research, including a summary of each project’s aims and objectives, methodologies, outcomes and resources.

• A summative index of project characteristics (topics, themes and approaches) and inventory of scholarly research outcomes of the completed projects (publications, reports) as well as resources produced (tools, methods, good practice case studies), and their location (URL Links, references, etc.).

• A summary of good practices that have been identified from the literature and the findings of completed projects.

• A set of recommendations to address remaining gaps in the field and areas in which further work or development are appropriate.

Bringing this work together will help enable university course teams to improve the delivery and development of existing postgraduate courses and to develop new ones, and it will provide academics with an overview of good practices and resources for teaching, supervising and supporting postgraduate students.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 78920
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Postgraduate, Higher Education, PhDs, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
  • OLT/SP13-3265
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Australian Government
Copyright Statement: With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this document is provided under Creative Commons Attribution‐ ShareAlike 4.0 International License‐sa/4.0/. The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the Creative Commons Attribution‐ShareAlike 4.0 International License‐sa/4.0/legalcode.
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2014 22:41
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2015 05:11

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