DEHub/Research Themes/Quality Assurance

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

DEHub web banner 4.jpg

Home (DEHub Node)  |  DEHub website  |  Research themes  |  Research Portfolio |  Open Resources  |  Research Network
Research themes
1. Theories and models
2. Globalisation of education and cross-cultural aspects
3. Access, equity, social inclusion and ethics
4. Professional Development & Faculty Support
5. Learner support and development approaches
6. Curriculum design
7. Interaction and communication in learning communities
8. Distance teaching systems and institutions)
9. Research methods in distance education and knowledge transfer
10. Quality assurance
11. Innovation and change
12. Costs and benefits
13. Management and organization
14. Educational technology
15. Learner characteristics
16. Open Education Resources (OERs)

Quality assurance

Research in this area will investigate the issues surrounding accreditation and quality standards in distance education to determine the impact of quality assurance and learner support on enrolments and retention rates, as well as on reputation and the acceptance of distance education as a valid form of educational provision.

Guiding question

How can large distance higher education institutions restructure their overall operation and underlying premises in order to exploit effectively the potential advantages/ affordances of digital technologies?

Research Questions

  • What are effective quality assurance mechanisms suitable for distance education providers in national, and local contexts?
  • What is the importance of work placement/ clinical placement/ professional experience to the effective learning of students? Is there a difference for those involved in face:face learning modes, and those involved in off-campus learning modes ? (is this related to no-significance debate?)
  • What kind of effective quality assurance mechanisms should be used by distance education providers in global, national, and local contexts?
  • What is the student view? How do digital natives wish to learn?

Highly Recommended Priority Links


Quality tracking at Ravensbourne, June 2009, by Roger Rees, Cathryn Smith, & Miles Metcalfe. The project set out to demonstrate how Web @.0 technologies could:
support the effective use of, and access to, administrative information and increase the efficiency of administrative processes by eliminating duplicate activities, and streamlining progress monitoring.

Institutional Innovation Programme.
This programme represents a £13.08m investment aimed at supporting existing institutional strategies by providing solutions to institution-wide problems, based upon proven practices, technologies, standards and services. The solutions will act as exemplars to other institutions by demonstrating innovation and good practice, and building knowledge and experience, which can be shared across institutions.

There are 40 project descriptions available from the site and is woth watching of time as each project mature and develop final reports.

Effective feedback to improve fair admissions, may 2009 by Geoff Ramshaw.
The project objectives were to investigate the provision of high-quality feedback to applicants on their application to Higher Education, including types of applicant other than the typical 18-year-old; to consider transferability to other types of admission system; and to consider how aggregated anonymous feedback could be used for quality assurance purposes.

Quality Assurance search accesses a range of reports on quality assurance.

Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Results-Based Monitoring and Evalutation at the Commonwealth of Learning (1009). The ffollowing description taken from the Introduction outline the approach of (RBM):

RBM is an approach to programme planning and management that integrates strategy, people, resources, processes and measurements to improve decision-making, transparency and accountability.

Quality Assurance Micro-Site This provides an entry point to the existing COL quality assurance resources. topics covered are:

  • Quality assurance basic
  • QA in ODL institutions
  • QA in dual mode universities
  • QA for e-learning

Access is provided to an extisive range of sites specialising in qualitily assurance Best Practice Repository. Also of importance is the 2006 publication in the Perspectives on Distance Education: Towards a Culture of Quality, which provides case studies from arounfd the world.

Journal of The Unitied States Distance education Association (USDLA)

Higher Ed, Inc: The Rise of the For-Profit University, 2002, Vol. 16 : No. 2 by Richard S. Ruch. The author sets out his original ideas and beliefs concerning "for-profit" universities from his experiences from within the "not-for-profit" and comes to realises and describesin this book that:
... I reexamine this sector of American higher education, shattering some of the myths and clarifying the realities of the for-profit sector of the higher-education industry, from its early roots in the evening schools of colonial America to the rapid growth in the 1990s of the large, publicly held, corporate-run universities. What I have learned, and what I hope to substantiate here, is that many of the for-profit providers are actually doing a creditable and even laudable job of addressing educational needs that are in high demand.

OECD Observer

Breaking ranks, OECD Observer No 269 October 2008. This short article questions the assumptions and data collected to create the major university performance league tables.

University league tables are fashionable, but should not be taken as accurate measures of the quality of education. The OECD is investigating other tools to measure performance, policymakers and educators heard at a recent conference.

Rumour has it that the two biggest fans of university league tables are vice-chancellors and mothers in China. Do league tables accurately measure what they claim to measure? Or are they, as their critics claim, simplistic and damaging?

European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities (ESMU)

University-Enterprise Cooperation: building new challenges on past experience, Socrates Accompanying Measure project N° 130023-AM-06-EMC, 2007. This is the project report and as stated in the Executive Summary:
The aim of the project was to analyze the place of University7 -Enterprise8 cooperation in EU education and training policies, to assess how universities have integrated this dimension in their strategic developments and activities, and to formulate recommendations on how the University-Enterprise dimension could be further stimulated.

Available from the same site is a Key Issues document that outlines the projects approach, results and findings of an online survey of institutions, Concluding comments and directions on foreseeable recommendation on University-Enterprise Cooperation.

Mapping the Higher Education Landscape, HIGHER EDUCATION DYNAMICS VOLUME 28, 2009, Peter Maassen and Johan Muller editors.
This book is the result of a project focused on the development of an instrument able to create useful and effective transparency in the diversity of European higher education. The project has been undertaken by an international team of experts and has been sponsored by the European Commission. The book offers the conceptual, empirical and methodological frameworks relevant for the development of the transparency instrument.
Benchmarking in European Higher Education (Phase 1: 2006-2008, Phase 2: 2008-2010). This project:

supports HEIs with benchmarking as a modern management tool to progress with institutional reforms, increased operational efficiency and the capacity for innovative changes in order to adapt to new challenges in their environment.

The site provides Online tools, a Practical guide and Guidelines.


SCOP: the role of the university, innovation and quality. The 2009 ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents 2009.

Introducing the meeting, Frits Pannekoek, ICDE President, noted that the goal would be to help define the future of the massification of learning in the context of the financial crisis; “How we manage the challenges today will dictate the future of open and distance education”.

Final report from the ICDE Task Force on Open Educational Resources December 2008 by Fred Mulder and Jos Rikers.
This final report of the ICDE Global Task Force on Open Educational Resources addresses the relevance of the worldwide OER movement to educational institutions - such as ICDE member institutions - engaged in the field of open, flexible and distance learning.
This paper traces the history and features of the benchmarking methodology Pick&Mix (used throughout the UK programme on benchmarking e-learning in universities). Pick&Mix has drawn on and influenced work from the US, Australia, New Zealand and EU projects. The paper concludes by suggesting how other countries can use Pick&Mix.
This paper explores prevention and detection of academic misconduct in PLAR in distance education. It contrasts procedures used to authenticate student learning claims at three North American post-secondary institutions. In addition, the paper presents preliminary research concerning student perceptions of these procedures and acceptance of awarded PLAR credits by other institutions and employers.

Other sites to explore

Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

A Prospective Vision for Universities: The role of the technology transfer units and distance education, July 2008. Luis Miguel Romero, the rector of the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, takes a hard and critical look at the state of South American universities and finds a great deal wanting. He puts forward a range of recommendations to bring these universities into the 21 century. The concerns he expresses about South American universities are common amongst many third worlds countries.

That leadership has been practised in a remote corner of Ecuador but has relevance throughout the developing world. Rector Romero made his first visit to Africa only recently and was struck by the great similarities between the challenges facing universities there and the psychological and systemic obstacles that he has overcome in Loja.

Sir John Daniel, page V, from the Forward to this paper.

First Monday

Public lives and private communities: The terms of service agreement and life in virtual worlds, Volume 14, Number 12 - 7 December 2009 by Debora J. Halbert. Quoting from the Abstract:
This paper argues that the terms of service (TOS) agreements, also sometimes referred to as end user license agreements (EULAs), governing virtual worlds have important implications for the political and legal structures under which our virtual selves will function.
Toward global measurement of the information society: a U.S.-China comparison of national government surveys, Volume 14, Number 10 - 5 October 2009 by Kate Williams, Hui Yan. Quoting from the Abstract:
To be global, digital and inclusive, we need comparable measures of ICT use around the world. To contribute to this, this research note analyzes what questions the Chinese and the U.S. governments ask in their large, long-running surveys on the topic of computer and internet use. The process and content of these surveys point up agreements, differences, and silences. Based on this, we propose nine basic questions that can be standardized and used in all country surveys of ICT use to create a coherent global dataset.


Online, distance education and globalisation: Its impact on educational access, inequality and exclusion, 2008 by Dimitris Zondiros.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss Online and Distance Education as a product and a producer of globalisation. It analyses the varied nature of educational access, inequality and exclusion all over the world and describes how does globalisation affect them now and how might it in the future. It also examines the challenges and opportunities offered by globalised Online and Distance Learning to institutions and societies.


Openness, Dynamic Specialization, and the Disaggregated Future of Higher Education, Vol 10, No 5 (2009) by David Wiley, John Hilton III. This article is replicated in other research themes, however is relevant for this research question in that it places the question of open education and OERs as an issue confronting higher education.

Meta-Analysis: The preferred method of choice for the assessment of distance learning quality factors, Vol 9, No 3 (2008) by Mickey Shachar.
Current comparative research literature, although abundant in scope, is inconclusive in its findings, as to the quality and effectiveness of distance education versus face-to-face methods of delivery. Educational research produces contradictory results due to differences among studies in treatments, settings, measurement instruments, and research methods. The purpose of this paper is to advocate the use of a meta-analytic approach by researchers, in which they synthesize the singular results of these comparative studies, by introducing the reader to the concept, procedures, and issues underlying this method.

The Practice of a Quality Assurance System in Open and Distance Learning: A case study at Universitas Terbuka Indonesia (The Indonesia Open University), Vol 8, No 1 (2007) by Tian Belawati and Amin Zuhairi. Quoting from the Abstract:
Quality assurance for distance higher education is one of the main concerns among institutions and stakeholders today. This paper examines the experiences of Universitas Terbuka (UT), which has initiated and implemented an innovative strategy of quality assurance (QA) for continuous improvement.

Distance Education and Corporate Training in Brazil: Regulations and Interrelationships, Vol 9, No 2 (2008) by Stella C. S. Porto and Zane L. Berge. The end of the abstract states that:
This paper analyzes the evolution of distance education in Brazil. It explores interrelationship between the nation’s corporate and publicly-funded higher-education sectors, and the influences Brazil’s highly regulated distance education practices has on the corporate environment. The paper concludes with a broad-brushed overview of ‘success stories’ of Brazil’s corporate universities.

In addition the paper illistrates the slow development of distance education in Brazil due to a "highly centralized bureaucracy and strict control has resulted in tremendous hurdles that work to thwart the adoption, provision, and diffusion of distance education."

The Observatory on borderless higher education

International Collaborative Provision in Higher Education: Codes of Practice, Guidelines and Reports, 2007. The site provides access to a number of reports on quality and guidelines in best practice for cross border higher education.

Borderless Higher Education ‘Down Under’: Quality Assurance of Australian Cross-Border Initiatives, July 2007 by David Woodhouse, Antony Stella - Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). This report is available for £350.00.

This report explains AUQA’s procedural frameworks for monitoring the quality of Australian borderless educational activities, as well as presents the practical advice learned through the experience of completing one cycle of auditing of all Australian universities.


More related sites can be found at the DE Hub Delicious site.

Alan Wylie 01:23, 16 November 2009 (UTC)