Course time totals
Updated Dec. 16
The total hours follows either the WA Purchasing Guides, national publication for nominal hours, or the hours mentioned in the accredited course (if it mentions total hours). When I register a course with Centrelink, I get these hours and report them. The AQF now also lists volume of learning, but numbers of hours are often too flexible to be useful. There are several kinds of time totals.
General information given to students
The general information given to students mentions only number of semesters and whether part or full-time. Time totals can vary greatly according to amount of RPL, Statements of Attainment, options selected, etc.
ACAS-owned accredited courses
See the relevant qualifications for time totals. These do not include time totals for individual units. These are the total hours for the course, including any practicum, homework, assigned reading, assessments preparation, assessments, etc. These are more than class hours only.
When developing a course I work on the following:
- One semester is 17 weeks
- Students will be doing learning-related activities for 35 hours per week.
- 1,190 hours hours is a full year's study. (35 hours per week over 34 weeks)
Christian Ministry / Theology:
You will need to read the Christian Ministry / Theology Training Product to interpret its time totals.
Endorsed units and Purchasing guides
Purchasing guides are WA government publications, and are available at http://www.vetinfonet.dtwd.wa.gov.au/TrainingProducts/Pages/WANominalHoursGuides.aspx. (The term "Purchasing guides" comes from their usage in determining funding levels.)
- are issued for many training packages.
- give time totals of student contact hours for individual units.
- contain the official statement on student contact hours time totals for WA.
- also list the WA state code, which is useful if you want government funding, otherwise it only affects TAFE colleges.
- can be useful for accredited courses, because lots of accredited courses include endorsed units
- do not necessarily have the same time totals as those of other states.
- do not necessarily include all endorsed units, so there is no official WA guide for some endorsed units.
Centrelink has a policy of a cut-off number of hours for a course to be considered fulltime. According to the current (2015) Centrelink form, full-time study means "If this course is only delivered part time with 20 hrs or more per week, (& NO full time course delivery noted above) the course must be determined as full time under Social Security Law."
I generally stick to the ACAS year (it follows Curtin) and have a nominal 35 hour study week, which includes all course related work (class, private study, set assignments, practicum preparation, and practicum).
Older Centrelink requirements no longer seem to apply, e.g.
- at least 75 per cent of the normal full-time student workload each semester, or
- a study load of 66 per cent of the normal study load if it is the institution's normal requirement for the course, or
- Student was given a specific direction or recommendation in writing by the academic registrar (or equivalent)
- 25 per cent of the normal full-time study load if student has a disability (Centreling asked for medical documentation).