The handbook is designed to provide guidance and information on the impact of e-learning and other aspects of application of ICT in higher education on the design and its integration within insitutional and national of quality assurance processes. It distills information and experience of the operation of the e-learning quality assurance labels designed by the project partners and the outcomes of discussions and surveys conducted with institutions and agencies during the project that are presented in greater detail in the accompanying case study documents. These studies have indicated that there has been significant progress at institutional level in the development and adaptation of their quality systems but that there is limited evidence of specific processes or requirements being defined within national quality assurance systems.
Universities face having to navigate two quality frameworks as Jo Johnson makes teaching excellence framework a priority amid Hefce reforms
Introducing a teaching excellence framework alongside a new quality assurance method may create a dual system of quality checks and audits, senior sector figures have warned.
In his first major policy speech as universities and science minister, Jo Johnson said that his priority is to “make sure students get the teaching they deserve…by introducing the teaching excellence framework we promised in our manifesto”.
However, it remains unclear how plans for the TEF will fit with proposed changes to the quality assurance landscape unveiled by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on 29 June.
Under these proposals, universities will no longer face regular institutional reviews from the Quality Assurance Agency every six years – with governing bodies instead required to vouch for academic standards, while Hefce monitors trends in student outcomes, such as student satisfaction scores.
On 10 June 2015, the Flemish Parliament discussed and approved a law amending the Codex Higher Education thus revising the system of quality assurance and accreditation in higher education. The approved law transforms the system of quality assurance in Flemish higher education.
In the previous system of quality assurance, each programme was assessed and accredited regularly. By now, all programmes have been externally assessed several times over the last three decades (some programmes even six times) and the enhancement perspective that was originally a strong element of the system, lost its vigour. Programme accreditation also brought about a substantial administrative and financial burden and these no longer outweighed the potential benefits.
The revised system of quality assurance is based on trust and autonomy and places the responsibility for ensuring and enhancing the quality of education more fully in the hands of the institutions. Universities and university colleges (18 in total) can now request to be assessed at the level of the institution and this assessment includes a review of the way institutions ensure quality at programme level.
ENQA will organise a conference on QA of cross-border higher education on 5-6 November 2015 in Paris, France, hosted by ENQA’s member agency the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES).
The event targets quality assurance and higher education professionals from Europe and other regions and will discuss the most current issues on the rapidly expanding phenomenon of cross-border higher education and its quality assurance. The event is the final conference of the Erasmus Mundus-supported, ENQA-led project “Quality Assurance of Cross-Border Higher Education (QACHE)“.
The 6th ENQA General Assembly will take place at the Dublin Castle Conference Center in Dublin, Ireland, on 22-23 October 2015 and will be hosted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).
The themes of the GA Seminar, which will take place on the first day of the meeting, include the outcomes of the “Quality Assurance of Cross-border Higher Education” (QACHE) project, trends in quality assurance in the USA, and understanding the revised ESG as ENQA membership criteria. The second day, reserved for members and affiliates only, will be dedicated to formal organisational and administrative proceedings.
Paul Bacsich, with assistance from George Ubachs, Giles Pepler, Keith Williams
This report was originally Appendices A, C and R to Deliverable 2.2 within Workpackage 2 of the SEQUENT project. The aim of WP2 was to gather examples of good implementation of QA in educational institutions.
The SEQUENT project aimed to promote excellence in the use of ICT in higher education, with a clear goal to prepare European Universities in line with the European Modernisation Agenda and to make higher education in Europe fit better to cross-border collaboration initiatives in the implementation of innovative and ICT-enhanced partnerships. To this end, the project based itself on models that had been developed by previous EU-funded projects and other internationally recognised models that enhance the quality of ICT in higher education. The project raised awareness within the European higher education community on the importance of a mainstreamed ICT uptake through project events and the partners large memberships.
Pakistani law enforcement officials raided the headquarters of IT software firm Axact in the port city of Karachi last Wednesday and arrested its owner Shoaib Shaikh and five directors of the company for allegedly running a huge global fake degree empire.
Allegedly the business included the production of hundreds of thousands of certificates from bogus institutions, as well as the establishment of fictitious accreditation bodies as part of an elaborate scheme to dupe students.
Ministry of Higher Education ensures standards and quality
Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has approved the list of e-learning universities to ensure the quality of higher education opportunities available to students in the UAE.
A list of 105 higher education institutions, which use the e-learning (non-traditional) teaching method, has been announced as recommended institutions for students in the UAE.
The list includes five universities in New Zealand, 46 in the UK, 34 in the US and 20 in Australia.
“The new e-learning programmes were not accredited before in the UAE; however, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, issued a resolution earlier regarding the regulation of electronic higher education,” Saif Al Mazroui, assistant undersecretary of institutional and support services at the ministry, told Gulf News.
The resolution’s regulations depend on the management of the educational process interactively through the use of various modern technologies and the learner’s participation and interaction with the teacher and the course content.
“The students who are willing to undertake undergraduate or postgraduate studies online at one of these universities should make sure that they follow the interactive e-learning teaching method, but not distance education including open education, affiliation or correspondence,” he added.
The ministry has also affirmed that the higher education institution should be recognised by the ministry, the curriculum must be accredited by accreditation authorities in the country of study, and the minimum duration of study in the electronic e-learning programme is not less than the period spent in traditional education programmes. The programme cannot be specifically designed for a particular category.
“A pre-approval from the ministry should also be obtained by students before enrolling to guarantee the ministry’s accreditation,” Al Mazroui said.
Several years of negotiations between Quality Matters and a leading Chinese higher education institution, Fudan University, culminated in a series of meetings in Shanghai held May 12 – 16 between senior administrators and faculty at Fudan and QM representatives to sign a cooperative agreement and inaugurate a long-term relationship. The agreement aims to develop a rubric for online and blended course design, based on the QM Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition, but adapted to Chinese pedagogy and culture, and to disseminate the co-owned Adapted Rubric throughout China’s higher education community.
This paper describes the E-xcellence methodology for the quality assurance of e learning.
Authors: Kear, Karen; Williams, Keith and Rosewell, Jonathan
It outlines the E-xcellence process, and describes the main supporting resources: a set of 35 benchmarks, a quality manual and the ‘Quickscan’ self-assessment tool. The manual expands on the 35 benchmark statements, offering performance indicators and supporting discussion.
The Quickscan is available online and is intended for use as an initial self-assessment. A key part of the E-xcellence approach is the ‘local seminar’. This is a collaborative workshop where an interdisciplinary team of staff from a higher education institution discuss the quality of their e learning with visiting expert assessors.
The paper describes the processes involved in the local seminars and discusses their value to participants. We conclude that the E-xcellence methodology, and in particular the local seminars, provide valuable opportunities for reflection and discussion among staff with different roles, supported by visiting experts. This collaborative approach helps higher education institutions to review their e learning and plan for improvement.
Your Questions is based on the enquiries that QAA has received, between 2013-15, about the Quality Code and the topics that it covers.
p. 45 - Online learning Relevant components of the Quality Code: Chapter B3: Learning and Teaching
1 I'm a higher education researcher and would like to know whether there is any specific reference material within the Quality Code relating to online learning.
The Quality Code does not single out particular forms of learning or delivery on which to provide specific guidance, but operates at a higher level of principle.
Learning and teaching in general, including e-learning, is covered by Chapter B3; but other chapters would also be relevant (for example, Chapter B6: Assessment of Students and the Recognition of Prior Learning).
Location: San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie Street, San Antonio,
The 7th Annual QM Conference features inspired discussions and the sharing of best practices. The QM community collaborates to shape education's future. This conference is a place to learn, connect, and share. Together, we are continuously improving experiences for learners.
Here's a sneak peek at what's in store for this year's event. We'll add presentation sessions, pre-conference workshops, and other information here in the months leading up to the conference; please check back for updates. You can also sign up for e-mail communications related to the conference.
The funding bodies for higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of their statutory responsibilities, are consulting on a new approach to quality assessment to meet the future needs of students, employers and the sector.
The consultation sets out proposals for a quality assessment system that secures an excellent student academic experience and maintains confidence in degree standards. The proposals recognise the increasing diversity and dynamism of the sector, uphold its outstanding international reputation, and seek to foster excellence and innovation in learning and teaching in the particular context of individual universities and colleges.
The consultation marks the second stage of a review of quality assessment which began earlier this year with a wide-ranging discussion with the sector and other stakeholders.
The proposals build on three key elements of arrangements already in place:
A shift from process-driven assurance to analysis of student academic outcomes. A number of respondents to the first phase of the review wished to see this shift. It builds on existing institutional activity to drive excellence and innovation in learning and teaching in the context of an institution’s own mission, location and modes of delivery, and the nature of their student body.
Strengthening the existing external examining system to protect the integrity of academic standards. There was strong support in the first phase of the review for the external examining system, but recognition of the need for further modernisation and professionalisation.
An enhanced role for universities’ and colleges’ own assurance systems. Governing bodies would confirm that their senates or academic boards were reviewing the quality of their students’ academic experience and (for institutions with degree awarding powers) academic output standards, and provide assurance that there were appropriate action plans in place where necessary.
The QAA Annual Conference 2015 took place at New Dock Hall and The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Thursday 11 June. This Conference provided an unique opportunity for quality professionals from QAA subscribing institutions to discuss current issues and strategy relating to the development of quality assurance policy and practice, and to work with colleagues from across the sector to discuss practical solutions and share good practice.
Harvey Mellar's insight:
This site contains links to the conference resources and presentations.
Hosted by the Quality Assurance Agency / UCL Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom
19-21 November 2015
The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) provides a unique platform for the higher education and quality assurance (QA) communities to monitor, shape and anticipate developments in the field. The main purpose of the Forum is to foster a dialogue on QA that bridges national boundaries and leads to a truly European discussion on QA in higher education, and to create a common European understanding of QA through discussions and networking among different stakeholder groups.
The project is based on the expertise of the Grundtvig Learning Partnership 2009-1-IT2-GRU06-06438. Blended Learning (bLearning) was recognized as a teaching method of high potentials.
Contrary to the widely approved e-Learning, which is scientifically documented and indicated certain standards of quality, bLearning is self-explanatory, while it is one of the main issues in various case studies. Nevertheless, ther are barely precise quality standards so far. This is our main goal; to define and set quality standards as well as tools to evaluate the quality of bLearning.
Discussing the article: Klemenčič, M. and Ashwin, P. (2015) What’s next for Europe? Inside Higher Ed, May 26
Tony Bates writes:
The third objective is to improve the quality of teaching and learning in universities and colleges. The authors note that it is surprising that it has taken so long for this to emerge as a priority for this first time at the Armenia conference:
..the quality of teaching and learning is far from satisfactory and varies significantly across European systems and institutions…the majority of countries do not have a strategy for the advancement of teaching and learning or specific structures to support it. At best, higher education institutions are developing their own units for supporting excellence in teaching and learning or funding teaching development programs. At worse, higher education teachers are left to their own devices to improve their teaching (or not) when alerted by the outcomes of student satisfaction surveys.
Authors: Ebba Ossiannilsson, Keith Williams, Anthony F. Camilleri, and Mark Brown
State of the art and recommendations
This study carried out on behalf of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) is for: institutional leaders responsible for quality in online, open and flexible higher education faculty wanting to have an overview of the field newcomers that want to develop...
At a Ministerial meeting today in Yerevan, Armenia, the European Higher Education Area adopted the revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) (opens in new window).
Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of QAA, is part of the UK delegation. He said: ‘The Yerevan Communique sets out a renewed vision for higher education in the 47 countries of the EHEA, and the future of the Bologna process through which compatibility of quality and standards in higher education across the EHEA is being embedded.
‘The Communique adopts the new standards and guidelines which shape quality assurance across higher education in Europe. They are clearer and better structured, and the section on providers’ own internal quality assurance makes a more explicit link to learning and teaching. There is also more definition on how quality assurance relates to developments in qualifications frameworks and learning outcomes.
'For quality assurance agencies, there is more emphasis on involving stakeholders in agencies’ governance and also in the design of review methods. QAA was the only agency judged to be fully compliant with the previous ESG, and we look forward to engaging fully with the new guidelines from now on.’
EUA has launched the Trends 2015 report, which presents the universities’ perceptions of the changes that have taken place in European higher education over the past five years, particularly in relation to learning and teaching. Based on survey responses of 451 higher education institutions from 46 countries (48 higher education systems), the report outlines the changing context in which higher education institutions operate.
The quality of learning and teaching is receiving increased attention and support by the academic staff and the institutional leadership. As examples, 60% have a centralised unit for pedagogical staff development, and 63% have institution-wide quality assurance policies and processes. The implementation of learning outcomes has continued to progress since 2010, with 64% of institutions responding that these have been introduced for all courses. Institutions are generally positive about the benefits of learning outcomes. It is clear, however, that in many institutions their implementation appears to have taken place without changing in radical ways how curricula, including examinations, are developed. Therefore this area is still a work in progress.
The Centre for Justice is suing Mälardalen University College on behalf of a US student whose course allegedly did not match the level of quality promised.
It is the first case of its kind since tuition fees were brought in for university students from outside of the European Union in 2011.
The student, Connie Dickinson, is seeking repayment of SEK182,500 (US$22,000) for tuition fees paid for MA studies in Analytical Finance in 2011-12.
The course was taught in English for Swedish and international students and marketed as being of “very high quality”.
But, according to Dickinson, the professors had poor English skills making communication difficult, there were not enough computers for parts of the course, the room was too crowded and the professors were not very helpful in their contact with the student. Several times she raised these issues with the college, but to no avail.
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