ECTS was developed in order to ensure mutual recognition, transfer and accumulation of learning outcomes and learning processes as well as the international recognition of degrees within the European Higher Education Area. ECTS regulates the student mobility as well as the admission to further studies. The quantitative recognition of the learning outcomes and learning processes is carried out by the allocation of ECTS credits.
The use of ECTS supports the quality assurance of degree programmes by providing better comparability of learning outcomes and learning processes and thus increasing the transparency of teaching and learning. ECTS informs on the curriculum design and provides a description of the fostering of competences in the curricula.
The facilitated transfer and recognition of learning outcomes and learning processes provides incentives for mobility during the studies. The academic recognition of gained qualifications and degrees facilitates the internationalization of students´careers.
The main focus of ECTS is the studies progress from the student’s point of view. The learning process is considered as the center of the curriculum design and implementation.
The ECTS comprises formal, non-formal as well as informal learning. The credits gained in another learning context or time frame are recognized after successful assessment or validation respectively by the authority in charge. The ECTS users´guide recommends a flexible approach for the recognition of credits gained in another context.
ECTS credits are based on the workload students need in order to achieve expected learning outcomes on a certain level. Workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all learning activities (such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, self-study as well as preparation for and attendance of examinations) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes. Precondition for subsequently awarding credits is the assessment of the achieved learning outcomes (what a learner is expected to know, understand or be able to do having completed the learning process). The credits confirm that the students have fulfilled the requirements of the relevant component of the degree programme.
Calculation of ECTS credits in Austria:
According to the agreement 60 ECTS are attached to the workload of a full-time student during a typical academic year in a formal study programme. The workload ranges from 1.500 to 1.800 hours within the European Higher Education Area. Accordingly one ECTS credit is allocated to 25 to 30 hours. In Austria the workload of full-time students at Universities of Applied Sciences amounts to 1.500 hours per year, one ECTS credit is allocated to 25 hours of workload (see § 3 para. 2 clause 4 of the Universities of Applied Sciences Studies Act).
Key documents facilitate the use of ECTS. The key documents include mainly the Information Package (course catalogue and detailed course description); Learning Agreement, Training Agreement, Teaching Agreement when completing a period of study abroad; the Transcript of Records as well as the Diploma Supplement after completion of the study programme.
Students planning to study abroad should consider the following:
- get information on the study and course programme of the selected institution of higher education or the work placements
- prior to the period of study abroad: arrange a Learning Agreement between the host and the home institution for the study programme or work placement programme
- upon return: get recognition of the learning outcomes and learning processes confirmed by the host institution
- after successful recognition, the Transcript of Records documents all activities as well as the ECTS credits awarded
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05.09.13 - 06.09.13