Learning design - the quality of teaching materials, assessment strategies and workload - offers the most significant contribution to overall student satisfaction, research concludes.
A study among 60,000 Open University students, combined with interviews with academic staff, found that students who were 'more satisfied with the quality of teaching materials, assessment strategies and workload were significantly more satisfied with the overall learning experience.
The long-term goals of learners and the relevance of the qualifications or modules to their professional careers was also an important factor influencing student learning satisfaction.
However, researchers from the Open University, commissioned by QAA to explore how student satisfaction data is used to improve quality assurance and enhancement, identified five challenges including:
* how to provide feedback to staff in a format that can be easily understood
* how to ensure that academics act upon the students' voices
* how to provide synthesized feedback to senior management.
A second, complementary piece of research, undertaken by researchers at the University of Kent and also published by QAA, gives examples of practical changes put in place by universities as a result of considering National Student Survey (NSS) data.
Senior staff at four UK universities, with responsibility for teaching and learning and/or the student experience, revealed that universities have 'revisited and improved timetabling systems', 'renewed their focus on teaching and learning' and 'replaced subjects and, at times, personnel whose NSS scores keep falling'.
Ian Kimber, QAA's Director of Quality Development, said: 'The introduction of tuition fees, financed by student loans, has heightened the significance of students' satisfaction and the importance of using data, whether it is from the NSS or gathered by the universities themselves, to inform practice. This type of data is also being considered as a metric for the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework, and the links between learning design and student satisfaction identified in this research could add a further dimension to its application in this context.
'What is interesting is that the findings suggest that success in NSS ratings is achieved when institutions prioritise improving the student experience and let the NSS take care of itself, rather than employing various tactics to promote the surveys.
'For those wanting to drive up the quality of their students’ experience, these twin research projects offer a new perspective on how student satisfaction data can be used to effect change.'
By Dale Frost - With the growth of blended and online learning models comes the need to improve quality assurance systems across K–12.
State policy recommendations
* Require transparency and accountability for the quality of online learning providers, using outcomes-based student learning performance metrics for full-time and supplemental providers.
* Shut down schools and discontinue course providers that persistently fail to achieve positive outcomes for students.
* Adopt an objective quality review process to ensure that online programs and courses offered in the state adhere to state academic standards and iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Online Teacher, and Online Programs.
* Create a student performance-based funding model with the primary purposes of motivating programs to provide world-class instruction and to maximize student gains—not to drive cost savings. Performance incentives should reward attainment of competencies and student growth along a learning trajectory, based on objective, externally validated learning metrics.
For one of our last events for the year we turning our attention to quality assurance aspects of e-learning and Open Educational Resources. This seminar is led by Ephraim Mhlanga from the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE).
On Wednesday 2 December at 1 pm Ephraim Mhlanga will host a live online session
From our presenter we have received the following abstract:
The advent of educationally technologies has profoundly changed the way people learn and how education is generally delivered. In higher education in particular teaching and learning is now heavily supported by education technologies which make it more cost-effective to support learners in a virtual space. Educational technologies free education from the constraints of time and space that go with face-to-face teaching, and that offers great flexibility in terms of when, where and how to learn. Whilst this is a positive development that many higher education institutions are investing in, there are major challenges that are associated with the quality of such delivery. Particularly in the Third World, the comparative quality of online programmes is still a moot point.
This presentation gives hints on quality aspects that should be considered in using technology in teaching and learning. It draws from previous work done with African universities and from Gilly Salmon’s work on how learners learn online, and builds some quality benchmarks worth considering in the design and delivery of online courses.
A new report Online Charter School Study 2015 from Mathematica Policy Research, CREDO at Stanford University and the Center on Reinventing Public Education was released today–providing new data on the academic performance of online charter schools in 18 states across the country. The report contends that:
1. Online charter schools may be a good fit for many students, but that evidence is suggesting they need to improve in providing services to many existing students;
2. Current oversight and policies may not be sufficient for online charter schools; and
3. States should examine the performance of existing full-time online charter schools before allowing for the expansion of these types of schools.
The report signals the need for online schools and state oversight agencies, such as charter authorizers, to adopt improved performance metrics based on student-learning outcomes to evaluate the relationship between inputs, outcomes and quality assurance to ensure that only high-quality educational options are available for students.
The Need for Better Performance Metrics and Improved Oversight: In 2012, iNACOL released a ground-breaking report on outcomes-driven quality assurance for online learning calling for transparent reporting of performance metrics and student learning outcomes of online schools. This year, Iowa was the first state to adopt these performance metrics in state policy.
What does “quality” in higher education look like? That’s the top-of-mind question for higher-ed leaders as the US Department of Education dangles the prospect of making financial aid available to students engaged in nontraditional academic programs, designed in partnership with third parties—inc
In cooperation with AQU Catalunya, hosted by the Open University of Catalunya
Fee: € 220
The implementation of new technologies in the sector of higher education is a growing phenomenon in Europe. More and more programmes are delivered entirely, or in part, through e-learning. The use of modern technologies in teaching and learning creates new opportunities, opens up new challenges, and may pose new kinds of risks – some of these yet unknown or under-explored.
The impacts and benefits of the use of IT in teaching and learning and the consequences for the quality of the student experience are not simple to determine and measure, and the adaptability of the current quality assurance measures and criteria of programmes delivered entirely or in part via online methods, for example, are questions that QA agencies need to think about and find innovative solutions to.
Thus, the growth of e-learning in higher education opens new debates, which are of great relevance to QA agencies: management of diversity, competition and internationalisation, the concepts of quality, and even the sustainability of the existing structures in higher education. The ENQA workshop aims to stimulate an observation to this new environment with cooperation from the stakeholders.
The aim of this seminar is:
1. To start a discussion on QA of e-learning in the ENQA community
2. To present good practice
3. To encourage QA agencies to reflect on their future plans for QA on e-learning
4. To reflect on the challenges of an open education that is provided beyond national borders and how national QA agencies should deal with the quality of this provision?
The event will be composed of plenary sessions and working groups, to ensure high degree of interactivity. The event is targeted mainly to European QA agencies, though institutional representatives, e-learning experts, and students are also welcome to participate and will be invited to contribute to the event.
EQTeL aims to improve the quality and relevance of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) at Jordanian higher education institutions in order to decrease the level of unemployment of young people and to enable the country’s easier inclusion into European Higher Education Area. The main project objective is to improve, develop and implement accreditation standards, guidelines and procedures for quality assurance of TEL courses and study programs at a national level. The new standards will assimilate the quality of TEL courses offered by higher education institutions in Jordan, and would consequently be incorporated into existing legal acts and regulatory documents at both institutional and national levels.
Higher education must be protected by quality assurance that embraces all parts of the UK, is internationally recognised, fully co-regulated and able to align with national priorities including the developing Teaching Excellence Framework in England.
This is the view of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), which today publishes its response (PDF, 448KB) to the Quality Assessment Review being carried out by the higher education funding bodies of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Alongside its consultation response, QAA has published its own thinking and ideas for a strong system that protects student interests while being much more tailored, proportionate and responsive to the needs of providers.
QAA Chief Executive Anthony McClaran said: 'UK higher education enjoys an excellent international reputation, enhanced by independent external review of universities and colleges by academics and students. We must take care not to lose that expertise as quality assessment is reformed.'
'Together, we need to hold on to those elements of our current system that work. We should leave behind those that, collectively, we agree are not serving us well. Above all, we must be prepared to adopt new approaches and innovate.'
'We need quality checks and balances that are fit for the future, proportionate and flexible, protecting the interests of students wherever and however they study.'
Ian Kimber, QAA's Director of Quality Development, said: ‘Our proposals reflect the increasing consensus that we cannot have two systems in England developed in isolation. We must bring together and align the best of the Quality Assessment Review proposals and the sector's ideas for change with the ambitions of the Teaching Excellence Framework.’
Open education and open learning resources are key thematic areas in the educational agenda of the EU. Open educational resources (OERs) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open licence.
The Erasmus Plus European Standards for Open Education and Open Learning Resources project takes up the challenge of developing an open quality assurance mechanism for OERs and OEPs.
The project consortium includes the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (Romania) as leading partner; University of Paderborn (Germany); Università Degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy); University of Malta (Faculty of Education); Ingenious Knowledge (Germany); European Learning Network Ltd (UK); and Meath Partnership (Ireland).
What design components should a high-quality online or blended course have? How can instructional design and pedagogical best practices be applied to online courses for course review and improvement?
A team of Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence staff and campus stakeholders set out to answer those questions. The result is a course review and enhancement model that is campus driven and builds on current research and best practices to offer a team approach to the continuous improvement of online courses.
There are two components of the model: the customizable OSCQR Rubric, which has 37 basic standards and an additional accessibility rubric that has nine groupings of 37 more standards, and the OSCQR Process, which is a collaborative, flexible approach to improving the instructional design of an online or blended course. It is campus driven and focused on continuous improvement, and is not intended to be an instructor or course evaluation. The review for Open SUNY + courses is designed to be conducted by a team on your campus that comprises a variety of perspectives. These can include those of the faculty member who teaches the course, an instructional designer, multimedia/technologist, librarian, faculty colleague or subject matter expert, or student, depending upon the campus preference. Additionally, an individual faculty member, instructional designer, or peer teams can use the OSCQR Rubric to review a course.
Student satisfaction scores should not be used to measure teaching quality because they have no discernible link with exam performance, a leading University of Oxford academic has claimed.
While results from the National Student Survey are likely to be used as a key indicator in the government’s proposed teaching excellence framework, a study by Tim Lancaster, director of clinical studies at Oxford, concludes that they have “little or no value as a quality metric” .
Dr Lancaster compared the NSS results of 28 UK medical schools with the average pass rates achieved by their students in exams sat by all trainee doctors two years after graduation.
There was no correlation between good results in the NSS and performance in the exams set by the General Medical Council, according to the study “Assessing the quality of UK medical schools: what is the validity of student satisfaction ratings as an outcome measure?”, which is due to be published shortly by Dr Lancaster.
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.
Keynote Panel: Becoming Competent in Competency Based Education: What is it and What Is Driving this Growing Movement?
Experts will address competency-based education (CBE), including the universal design principles quality programs share. The panel will discuss key features of various institutional models and approaches to program design, instructional technology and delivery, pedagogy, and faculty roles. A policy expert will update participants on competency-based education-related federal regulation and policy including the HEA Reauthorization, Experimental Sites, and financial aid.
Much more needs to be done to harmonise Europe’s higher education system, according to a new report into the state of implementation of the Bologna Process across the European Higher Education Area, or EHEA.
This report provides strong evidence that quality assurance continues to be an area of dynamic evolution that has been spurred on through the Bologna Process and the development of the EHEA.
There is also evidence of progress in implementation of the European credit transfer and accumulation system, or ECTS, since 2012.
But in almost every other sphere the record of progress in the EHEA is patchy, the report found, with particularly disappointing lack of progress on widening access for under-represented groups within the population.
For ODL to be successful and credible, and for learners to gain maximum benefit from it, it must be recognised as delivering consistently high-standard teaching and learning. That requires quality assurance (QA) and policies that lay out the standards to which an institution will adhere. This volume reflects the passion and expertise of a diverse range of people from different contexts, each of whom brought a unique perspective to the project. It expands COL’s repertoire of QA publications by adding the Open Schooling dimension. We hope that it will contribute substantially to enriching the quality of teaching and learning for the hundreds of thousands of current and potential learners throughout the Commonwealth.
Many of the programs now offered outside of traditional higher education are of high quality and many earn learners access to new knowledge, new skills, and new opportunities. Some, however, are not. That’s not the problem, though. The problem is that we have few tools to differentiate the high-quality programs from the poor-quality ones. The normal mechanism we use to assess quality in higher education, accreditation, was not built to assess these kinds of providers. Moreover, even if they were, even the best programs and those serving low-income students would not, under current rules, be certified to receive federal financial aid because they are “programs” or “courses,” and not “institutions.”
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is interested in accelerating and focusing the ongoing conversations about what quality assurance might look like in the era of rapidly expanding educational options that are not traditional institutions of higher education. We are particularly interested in thinking about quality assurance through the lens of measurable student outcomes and competencies. We have no stake in supporting one or another specific set of learning outcomes. Rather, we are interested in the fact that outcomes matter and ought to be the centerpiece of any kind of quality assurance. Outcomes, in this vision of the future, are clear claims for student learning, move beyond mere statements of knowledge to what students can do with that knowledge, and are measurable.
The main phases of online course development cycle, in majority of instructional design models, follow ADDIE model. In the framework presented here, the course development happens in five Phases including Planning, Design/Development, Production, Implementation, and Evaluation (PDPIE). In each phase basic steps are illustrated and key/promising elements and required documents for a quality course are shared. The goals of this resource are to assist you to:
* Build on your current instructional design skills/strategies and learn about online course development cycle.
* Improve the quality of your online course.
* Investigate and identify various effective promising practices and checklists for online course development and delivery.
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