By Christine Voelker, K-12 Program Director for Quality Matters
It started with a call
It’s crazy to think that it was about a year ago this time that we were preparing to send out the call for nominations for dynamic individuals interested in serving on the committee that would mold the next editions of the K-12 Secondary and K-12 Publisher Rubrics. The response was overwhelming, and with only twelve slots, we had to turn away many worthy educators. In the end, we were confident that we had chosen the right mix of teachers and instructional designers to help us in this endeavor. The stakes were high, as hundreds of schools and districts who use the QM Rubrics as a guide to improving and developing their online and blended courses were counting on us to make updates that not only reflected the latest in online and blended research, but also current best practice. This year’s K-12 Rubric Revision Committee was composed of educators from all over the globe.
The seminar on the European dimension of quality assurance will take place in Brussels at the University Foundation on 3-4 November 2016. The seminar hopes to gather new staff of QA agencies or those who are interested in learning more about the context of quality assurance at the European level.
The programme aims to inform participants about relevant topics such as the Bologna Process, the European Commission’s priorities concerning quality assurance and higher education, the role of the main stakeholder bodies (including the E4 and EQAR) in the European Higher Education Area, and the purpose of the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Participation is open to ENQA members, affiliates, and other interested stakeholders.
Daniel, J. (2016) Combatting Corruption and Enhancing Integrity: A Contemporary Challenge for the Quality and Integrity of Higher Education: Advisory Statement for Effective International Practice: Washington DC/Paris: CHEA/UNESCO
Daniel, J. (2016) Lutter contre la corruption et renforcer l’intégrité : un défi contemporain pour la qualité et la crédibilité de l’enseignement supérieur: Déclaration consultative pour des pratiques internationales efficaces Washington DC/Paris: CHEA/UNESCO
Those of us working in online learning are often berated by academic colleagues about the possible lack of integrity in online learning due to issues such as plagiarism, diploma mills, or ‘easy’ qualifications lacking rigorous academic process. Such cases do occur, but having read this document, it seems that the more traditional areas of higher education are prone to far more egregious forms of corruption.
The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) provides a platform for discussion, professional development and exchange of experiences among the main stakeholders in quality assurance (QA). Specifically, the Forum will be of interest to rectors and vice-rectors responsible for QA, QA officers in higher education institutions, students, QA agency staff and researchers working on higher education or the QA field.
The 11th European Quality Assurance Forum, organised by ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE, will take place on 17-19 November 2016, hosted by the Slovenian Student Union and the University of Ljubljana, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Our Quality Framework Quality is a key driver for us in online education. To help institutions identify goals and measure progress towards them, we’ve embraced the Five Pillars of Quality Online Education, building blocks providing the support for successful online learning.
Following the launch of the QACHE Toolkit 'Cooperation in Cross-Border Higher Education', which we reported on in November last year, the final report of the Erasmus Mundus funded project Quality Assurance of Cross border Higher Education (QACHE) has now been published. Fabrizio Trifiro' from the UK's Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) provides an overview of the key findings and outcomes of the project, including policy recommendations to national and European policy makers.
Informed choice? How the United Kingdom’s key information set fails to represent pedagogy to potential students
DOI: 10.1080/13538322.2016.1153899 (Paywalled)
Helen Barefoot, Martin Oliver & Harvey Mellar
This paper explores the ways in which information about course pedagogy has been represented to potential students through national descriptors and specifications such as the United Kingdom’s Key Information Set. It examines the extent to which such descriptors provide helpful information about pedagogy, for example innovative uses of technology. The paper starts by exploring the wider context within which these descriptors have been developed, including a comparison of similar descriptions internationally. This is followed by a comparative analysis, in which two courses (one single honours undergraduate degree, one Massive Open Online Course) are classified and compared. This serves to illustrate the blind spots in classifications such as the Key Information Set. The paper concludes by arguing that further work is needed to develop classification schemes that both address explicitly the interests of potential students and are able to represent the pedagogic decisions that differentiate teaching in contemporary higher education.
As open education and eLearning mature and become mainstream across the world, the discussion on quality assurance emerges with a renewed importance, strength and impact in our field of practice. Although there are significant variations in how this topic is addressed in each regional context, there's an underlying feeling which is shared by all stakeholders. It relates to the urgency of establishing effective processes that positively discriminate appropriate practices in online learning, as not all that glitters is gold, to use the famous Shakespearian quote.
EDEN has always paid close attention to this discussion and has contributed throughout the years to the development of an European expertise in this topic. Most notably, the EDEN 2003 annual conference, held in Rhodes, and the EDEN RW6, which took place in Budapest, in 2010, both focusing specifically on the topic of quality assurance in open, distance and eLearning, were major milestones in the consolidation process of a European quality culture in open, distance and digital education.
In the current context and given the strategic importance of this discussion, EDEN has been called by the professional community to play an even more active and leading role in this discussion. We recognise the relevance of this movement and as a consequence, new significant initiatives related to the topic of quality will be announced in the coming months.
In today's post, I've invited my good friend Ebba Ossiannilsson, who is also a member of the Executive Committee and an EDEN Fellow to share with us her views on this very important discussion. Ebba is a well-known expert in the topic of quality assurance in open education and eLearning and has a large experience world-wide.
In her post, Ebba identifies the current trends and future challenges for quality assurance in our field and presents a brief conclusion of the study on quality models conducted in the framework of an initiative lead by our partner ICDE.
Education, deterrence, detection: how to tackle the problem of essay mills
Cheating through the use of custom essay writing services is a worldwide problem with no single solution for combatting this form of plagiarism, finds a new report from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Also known as 'essay mills', the report finds that these services are rife and often blatant in their offer to students. There is no specific legislation on their activity, and limited legal precedent on challenging the sites themselves or the students that use them.
OK, now you’ve looked at most of the pros and cons of online learning, you’re now ready to start. But you want to make sure that if you are going to do online learning, you are going to do it well. What will that entail? First, let me define by what I mean by ‘doing online learning well.’ I define a high quality online course in the following way: teaching methods that successfully help learners develop the knowledge and skills they will require in a digital age. Now of course that could equally define a high quality face-to-face or classroom course. Chickering and Gamson (1987), based on an analysis of 50 years of research into best practices in teaching, argue that good practice in undergraduate education: 1. Encourages contact between students and faculty. 2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students. 3. Encourages active learning. 4. Gives prompt feedback. 5. Emphasizes time on task. 6. Communicates high expectations. 7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning. These guidelines apply just as well to online learning as to face-to-face teaching. At the end of the day, the best guarantees of quality in teaching and learning fit for a digital age are: * well-qualified subject experts also well trained in both teaching methods and the use of technology for teaching; * highly qualified and professional learning technology support staff; * adequate resources, including appropriate teacher/student ratios; * appropriate methods of working (teamwork, project management); * systematic evaluation leading to continuous improvement.
"Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have emerged as an educational innovation with the potential to increase access to and improve the quality of education. Different stakeholders in education view MOOCs from different perspectives.
Online proctoring was a hot-button topic at Questionmark’s annual Users Conference. And though we’ve discussed the pros and cons in this blog and even offered an infographic highlighting online versus test-center proctoring, many interesting questions arose during the Ensuring Exam Integrity with Online Proctoring session I presented with Steve Lay at Questionmark Conference 2016. I’ve compiled a few of those questions and offered answers to them. For context and additional information, make sure to check out a shortened version of our presentation. If you have any questions you’d like to add to the list, comment below!
When talking about the quality assurance (QA) processes in higher education, specifically those taking part in the conventional universities, there is no doubt that quality assurance agencies have built a reliable and consistent framework, which includes ex-ante, follow up and ex-post assessment processes. Consequently, the mission to assure and to safeguard the interests of society in the quality of higher education is guaranteed. However, when this issue is transferred to the e-learning sector (online and blended learning) the situation is slightly different and the QA is still seen as a challenge.
It is evident that e-learning has gained popularity over the years and has become a key issue among QA agencies and institutions in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). All the efforts are directed to put all the provisions at the same level and to obtain the same outcomes in the conventional degree programmes as in their virtual equivalents.
Up to today, a variety of different quality models in online education has been used around the globe: ACDE, ACODE, CALED, CHEA, E-xcellence, OpenupEd, UNIQUe, eMM, ELQ, etc. These models share common features and are designed to suit all kind of contexts via certifications, benchmarking, accreditations and advisory frameworks. In this same field, AQU Catalunya (work package 4 leader) carried out a Pre-European Higher Education Area Degrees , called virtual programme, (See AQU virtual programme) that provides guides to evaluate distance learning degrees and institutions. These international practices and the recently reviewed European Standards and Guidelines (2015) can be used as a backbone to develop the methodology in the framework of the TeSLA project.
By now, these are some of the elements to be considered during the assessment of TeSLA pilots: * Policy for quality assurance of e-assessment * Learning assessment * E-assessment security and authenticity * Learning resources and student support * Teaching staff * Learning analytics * Public information
RRHEAL has commissioned a Quality Assurance Toolkit for distributed education delivery. The toolkit can be used to self assess or peer review the quality of the educational intervention developed. The aim is to provide advice and support for quality assuring education within a remote and rural setting.
The organisations representing quality assurance agencies as part of TeSLA project consortium have conducted an analysis of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) from the online teaching and learning perspective. The ESG are the basis for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). They have …
A UK-wide, co-regulatory system is pitched by the QAA at its annual conference while Hefce focuses on changes needed for England's market regime
The higher education sector and politicians back a continued UK-wide quality system, the Quality Assurance Agency's chief executive has claimed in a speech to its annual conference.
The future of the QAA, which held its conference at the University of Birmingham last week, has been placed in question by a new operating model for quality assurance set in motion by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Hefce has put elements of work currently undertaken by the QAA out to competitive tender, with private firms such as Tribal and Capita said to have been approached to see if they would bid.
Speeches at the QAA conference from Douglas Blackstock, the QAA chief executive, and Susan Lapworth, Hefce director for regulation and assurance, considered future scenarios.
The third edition of the E-xcellence manual has been launched on 13 April 2016. This new edition includes additional material reflecting on new and recent trends: the rapid rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a surge of interest in learning analytics, and an increasing use of learning design in a more systematic approach to the development of e-learning courses. A number of other topics that are not yet widespread have also been included, such as an increased focus on personalisation, flipped approaches to teaching, virtual and remote laboratories, digital badges and e-portfolios. The new manual can be downloaded here.
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