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Curriculum Management FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
The Syllabus Team provide assistance with curriculum related queries, however sometimes there are technical issues such as access and poor performance. These technical issues are dealt with by ISS via the ISS Service desk and fall into the following categories;
- Akari Curriculum Manager site is inaccessible or unavailable
- User account issue. This would be more common with new users.
- Akari Curriculum Manager site has slow response times and is generally not performing well.
If you are experiencing any of the issues above please log them with the ISS Service Desk using the categories above.
It is also a good idea to look at the FAQs first as the answer could already be there!
The Syllabus team provide help and support with curriculum and syllabus issues. Please log your query by clicking 'Submit Syllabus Appeal' which is located on the Syllabus website
Training documents, videos and resources are available on the Syllabus website.
Click Training Documents to access the most recent training resources.
Click Curriculum Manager to access the service. You should automatically be able to access the system using your Campus Account credentials to login. If you have never used Akari CM in the past, then you will need to log in order to generate a profile. Once you have done this, you can be given access to modules and programmes as required.
If you have tried to log in and can't get access then that is a technical issue and should be logged with the ISS service desk. This can happen with new staff in the University.
Users should be able to access the system using your 8 digit staff Id (e.g. 0123456s). If you have tried this and still cannot gain access then log this with the ISS Service Desk.
Curriculum Manager is available on campus and off campus from a Wired and Wireless connection. Please check that you can access other websites.
If Curriculum Manager is the only website that you can't access. Then you need to Log a Service Desk ticket
Performance can be affected by your browser, or broadband if you are accessing the system remotely. Several users attempting to access the system at peak times can also impact on performance.
Trying a different browser sometimes improves matters. If not then log a ticket with ISS Service Desk.
Quercus is the student records system currently in use in NUI, Galway. As such it plays a central role in the student journey through the University.
All updates to curriculum are entered into Curriculum Manager each year. This includes all new programmes and modules as well as updates to existing programmes and modules. These updates are then transferred to Quercus in preparation for the next academic year.
Rules of programme are added to all new curriculum by the Syllabus Team. This is entered onto Quercus after the curriculum has been integrated each year. These rules are available in the University Marks and Standards.
All student data are still held on Quercus. Central Services such as Admissions, Registration, Examinations and Conferring access the syllabus and student record information on Quercus as the basis for their services. For this reason accuracy in curriculum entry is crucial for the success of these services and to ensure that the student experiences a smooth transition through each step of their programme.
To make changes to existing course information you need to create a new version of the module or the course instance on Akari CM.
Once you make the changes you submit them for approval.
There are 3 steps to be followed by disciplines/schools/colleges in updating curricular information
- Editor/Owner: Make the changes to the module and when you are happy with them submit for approval. The new version of the module can be saved in draft a number of times before it is submitted for approval
- Coordinator: Once the Editor/owner submits the changes for approval the module goes to a coordinator. This role is one of review/proof reading the module. The coordinator has read only status and cannot make changes. If (s)he is not happy with the changes (s)he can revert the module to draft. (s)he will get the opportunity to give some feedback and once saved the module will go back to the Owner editor for correction. If the coordinator is happy with the changes then they can submit to the next level for approval.*
- Approver: this is the final approval stage. The approver cannot make changes to the module if they are not happy but can revert it back to draft. If they are happy then the changes will be submitted for dispatch to Quercus.
*There are just 2 steps involved in approving courses. The coordinator step is skipped
4. A fourth step is completed once the module has received final approval in the College and has been approved on Akari
Once the College approve the changes to module/course the changes will be sent over to Quercus by the syllabus team. The modules/courses will have a status of awaiting processing until that final transfer takes place.
Once the curriculum is successfully transferred to Quercus, the Syllabus team will change the status to Approved before reopening the system for the following year.
The deadlines for Curriculum entry usually occur in late March/Early April annually.
While this may appear early it is required so that the curriculum can be integrated in time for Registration and other downstream services
- This is in line with the deadline for approving new courses at Academic Standing Committee each year
- Integration of the curriculum to Quercus is a complex and detailed operation. Once the deadline is reached, the Syllabus team complete a number of rounds of data validation testing and data correction before releasing the system to ISS
- Integration of the curriculum takes a number of weeks due to the complexity of the data and the level of available resources to check the data and ensure its correct transfer to Quercus
- Once transferred to Quercus the curriculum is checked by disciplines/schools/colleges and
- In some cases updates are requested via the syllabus appeals process which is for emergency measure only, to support Registration and Exams. All other changes will not be approved and must wait until the following year.
- If appeals are approved then updates are made directly to Quercus by the Syllabus team.
- Syllabus team configure the syllabus on Quercus in preparation for handover to the Registration team
- The Registration team set up registration and test that all is in order.
All of the above activity happens after the March/April deadline and before Registration commences in mid-August each year. This is a period of 4 months. During that time the Syllabus team and ISS also support Exams queries and boards.
Once the deadline has passed no new courses or modules can be added to the system so it is very important to ensure that all new curriculum is entered via Akari CM by the deadline each year. The deadlines must be adhered to in order to successfully transfer of all the Curriculum Manager data to Quercus in advance of the new Academic Year. It is the responsibility of the discipline/college/school to thoroughly check all data entered into Curriculum Manager to ensure validity and accuracy.
When a module is first created on Curriculum manager the system automatically assigns that user Owner status because they created the module. Editors can be added and they can make updates to the module for that year, however the owner remains unchanged.
Where a new version of the module is created, the person who created that new version is now assigned as the owner and remains the owner until a new version of the module is created in a subsequent academic year.
This is a form of version control so that it is clear who created a new version of a module with the purpose of updating it. It also facilitates transparency as the person who made the change is always identifiable. Akari CM stores all versions of the module.
This is separate from Academic ownership. It does not mean that the academic who wrote the module no longer ‘owns’ their module. It just indicates who last adjusted the module on the system.
Where the requirement is for the academics name to appear as the owner, then each new version of the modules would need to be created by them rather than someone else.
Modules are added to the year of study, which are held in the course stream on Akari CM.
To add modules to a year of student you go into the relevant Stream and click on the Modules tab. This gives you access to each year of study on the programme. So you can add modules to the relevant year. For more details on this check the training resources on the syllabus website via the following link Training Documents
Once you log into Akari CM and generate a profile, you need to get access to your modules. This is not automatic. The system has no way of knowing which curriculum you need access to and what level of access you require.
Level of access
First you need to indicate the college to which you need access and what level of access. There are different levels of access e.g. editor, approver. See question on How do I update the curriculum? above.
Once you know what access you need you need to log a ticket with Curriculum Manager Support. to request that this be added to your profile.
There are 2 ways to get access to modules
- Ask someone in your unit who already has access to the module to add you as an editor
- If that is not possible then log a ticket with the helpdesk.
Adding users to module is a very manual process so where possible tis should be completed locally. This can sometimes be quicker than logging a ticket, particularly at busy times when the Syllabus team are handling queries for all of the University.
Once you submit your module for approval it will move from draft to pending. You should see a pending tab on your dashboard and once you click in there you will see any modules pending approval.
NB All fully approved changes will appear as Awaiting Processing until they are successfully sent to Quercus.
Yes you do.
Modules behave differently on different programmes. A module might be core on one and optional on another. For this reason the module needs to be added to each course individually.
Once added however changes to the module should be adopted globally on all courses on which it appears. So if delivery is changed from Semester 1 to 2 on the module, that information will be updated wherever the module appears.
Curriculum Manager is open for a number of months each year. It usually opens in August /September and remains open until March/April. All changes to the curriculum for the coming academic year must be completed by the deadline each year. Once the system closes to changes in March/April it is not reopened for edits again until the next academic year.
There is a process by which emergency changes can be made to the curriculum. These are made directly to Quercus and must be approved by the Syllabus Appeals committee. Changes that can be made post deadline are limited and colleges/schools and disciplines are responsible for updating Akari CM with these changes for the following year.
No new modules or courses can be created post deadline and must wait until the system reopens for changes to the following year.
Akari CM feeds a number of systems such as Quercus, Blackboard, the web, library and processes such as marks return. All of these are automated and any manual intervention post integration has downstream effects on these automated processes.
Yes. There is a feature on Akari CM called ‘make unrelated copy’. Similar to the Save as function in MS Word it enables the user to make a copy of a module which is then a separate entity to the original.
To make an unrelated copy of the module, Click on the module title and choose Create an unrelated module copy.
This will create an exact duplicate of your module.
You will need to
- Give it a new code and
- Make the relevant changes
- Save and approve changes
- Ensure that you add it to the relevant programme
My module appears on several programmes. If I change the semester in which is taught do I need to go into every programme to do this?
No. Once the module has been added to your programmes, already, any change you make to assessment information on the module will automatically update that information everywhere the module occurs.
The Syllabus team enter the rules of programme onto all new programmes in line with University Marks and Standards. This is done directly onto Quercus.
Akari CM hold the curriculum information only.
Quercus holds the rules of programme including pass marks, compensation rules, derogations and grade schemes.
No. Learning outcomes are part of the curriculum and are stored in Akari CM. They are not transferred to Quercus.
Learning outcomes are required on all modules on Akari CM. They are absent on a number of older modules which have not been updated since 2015/2016 when the University first started using Akari CM. Where a new version is created of a module that has no Learning outcomes, they must be added before that new version can be approved.
A 1 Level course refers to a programme where there are modules only and no subjects.
A 2 Level course has subjects which contain modules.
The majority of courses in the University follow the one level structure. The 2 level structure is only used in the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies on their undergraduate programmes.
In all cases marks are returned for modules.
In a 1 level structure module results are calculated to return an overall year result
In the 2 level structure the marks are used to calculate the overall subject result. Subject results are then used to calculate the overall year result. So there is an additional calculation
You may not have the access rights to see programmes as well as modules on Akari CM.
Log a ticket with Curriculum Manager Support to request a change to your access.
A course is the top level, usually it is represented by initials only e.g. BAA Course stream is a variation of the programme. The full time variation of the programme might be BB1 and the part time programme might be BB2. They have different codes on the system because they differ in structure and usually in credit weightings and duration.
A course instance is a year of the programme. So a Stream may have 4 instances or 4 years of study. In the current example the course instances for the full time programme would be as follows
- 1BB1, Year1 of the programme
- 2BB1, Year 2 of the programme
- 3BB1, Year 3 of the programme
- 4BB1 Year 4 of the programme
In a similar way the instances for the part time version would be 1BB2, 2BB2, 3BB2 and 4BB2.
The number of years of study can vary between different streams of the same programme. So a full time masters might be 1 year long while the part time stream is 2 years long. The number of instances are added when you create the stream.
All written exams are timetabled using Quercus and thus information relating to them must be entered correctly in Curriculum Manager.
You need to fill in the correct assessment and semester details in the Assessment tab.
- If the semester is incorrect then the module will not appear on the correct timetable.
- Similarly if the assessment type is incorrect (i.e. departmental or continuous) the module will not appear on the exam timetable.
- Please ensure you choose Written as the Assessment Category and Paper 1 written (or paper 2 written etc.) as the Assessment type.
Taught semester must also be correct and must correspond with the assessment. So if the module sis taught in semester 1 then it should have an assessment of semester1. etc. Where these values do not correspond there will be problems when marks are being returned. For more details on taught semester please go to the Guidelines for assigning teaching and assessment periods for modules on CMS on the syllabus website
FTE information is entered on the Main tab when you are editing a module. .
If one discipline is delivering the whole module then the discipline name is entered and 100% as the FTE.
Where 2 or more disciplines are delivering the content, more than 1 discipline can be added with the relevant % that they will be delivering
FTES are important for resource allocation and distribution of budget so it’s important to enter the information correctly
Bonding occurs in cases where there are written papers involved which are timetabled by the Examinations Office, when two or more assessments have to be examined at the same time. This usually means an examination by written paper, computer-based lab assignment, or audio-visual lab assignment. It also has implications for the management of examination papers and scripts.
There are three types of different assessment bonds:
- Shared Material – Some material in module A is the same as that in module B. This is where some questions on written paper A are also used on written paper B. The bonded modules will be in different course instances, and/or mutually exclusive options in the same course instance. There will be two physical papers to be uploaded.
- Common Paper – two or more modules are examined using the same physical paper i.e. one paper is handed out to students. A given student can only ever take one of a set of modules bonded in this way. One physical paper is uploaded.
- Combined Paper – where two or more distinct modules are represented as different sections on the one physical paper. That is to say, where paper 1 of module ‘A’ and paper 1 of module ‘B’ are examined separately on the same physical paper. In this scenario, the different modules will not share any content, although they will almost always deal with the same basic subject matter. In other words, you would not expect an Accountancy and a Marketing assessment to be combined in this way, but two or more French assessments could be combined in this way. A very important point about combined papers is that the different modules are usually directed at the same students. One physical paper is uploaded.
Further details, click How to Add Bonds
Requisites are used to control access to a module. This happens at the programme level because the access a student should have to a module may vary depending on the programme on which they are registered.
There are 3 types of requisites
- A Co Requisite is where if a student selects module X they must also choose module Y
- A Pre Requisite is where if a student wants to take module X they must have completed module Y or module Y and Z in the previous year
- An Exclusion Requisite is where if a student chooses module X they cannot then choose module Y or module Y and Z (whatever they are not permitted to take along with module X)
Up until now requisites were added to courses by the syllabus team, however from 2016 they must be added by the disciplines/schools/colleges using Curriculum Manager
There is a coding convention which needs to be followed for all new subjects, courses and modules.
New Subjects will be coded as follows: 2 alphabetic characters followed by 4 digits. The digits will be made up of the year of study followed by zero and the credits of the subject e.g.
- EN2030: where English is the subject, the year of study is 2 and it carries 30 credits
- EN2025: where English is the subject, the year of study is 2 and it carries 25 credits
- EN2060: where English is the subject, the year of study is 2 and it carries 60 credits
- If the subject were in 3rd year the codes depending on the credits would be would be EN3030, EN3025 and EN3060.
- If the subject were in 1st year the codes, depending on the credits, would be would be EN1030, EN1025 and EN1060.
New Modules will be coded as follows 2 alphabetic characters followed by 4 digits.
Given the Subject coding which includes credits etc. the numbers up to 99 are used so modules will start from 100.
- E.g.: Archaeology Year 2: AR2100 would be the first module to be coded under the new convention. There are lots of numbers available as this can run from AR2100-AR2999
- EN1100-EN1999 for first year English modules where EN is English 1 is year of study.
- EN2100-EN2999 for second year English modules
- EN3100 EN3999 for the third year English module.
The 3rd year abroad codes are a special case and a slightly different convention can be used:
2 alphabetic characters followed by 4 digits. The digits will be made up of the year of study followed by the number 5, followed by the credits of the subject
- Archaeology in 3BA4 would be AR3530
- Psychology in 3BA9 would be PS3560 (the only subject in the course structure)
More information from the Syllabus Team
A new course will be coded as follows; 3 alphabetic characters
- E.g. BCS Bachelor of Arts with Children’s Studies
- BEE Bachelor of Engineering (Sports and Exercise)
These will be derived from the Course Code. A stream is a version of the programme. It would be necessary to create a second stream if there was a part time (as well as a full time) version of the programme
- BCS1: might be the stream for the full time version of the programme
- BCS2 might be the stream for the part time version of the programme
A course instance is a year of the programme stream (or year of study)
- 1BCS1 would be year 1 of the full time BCS above
- 2BCS1 would be year 2 of the full time programme etc.
The part time version of this would have instance codes as follows
- 1BCS2: would be year 1
- 2BCS2: would be year 2 etc.
As the Instance codes are always derived from the stream, this will be automatically entered when an instance is created on Akari.*