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Quality is like a Box of Chocolates: Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education

Presentation at EdTech 2023 Conference, Irish Learning Technology Association. 2nd June 2023.

1 of 37
Photo by Rae Wallis on Unsplash
Mark Brown
Eamon Costello & Prajakta (Lily) Girme
2nd June 2023
Quality is like a Box of Chocolates:
Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education
“Quality is an elusive term
for which there is a wide
variety of interpretations
depending upon the views of
different stakeholders.”
(Schindler, et al., 2015, p. 4)
Photo by Rae Wallis on Unsplash
Quality is like a Box of Chocolates:
Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education
Insights from OECD study
Development of National QA Guidelines
Lessons for European Standards & Guidelines
Outline
2004
2005
Before we start…
2011 2016
“The overarching paradox is
that online and distance
education systems with their
digital content and the persistent
record of online transactions
provide a rich source of
evidence to enable quality
assurance and audit processes.
https://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2015/10879/pdf/Ossiannilsson_et_al_2015_Qualitymodels.pdf
Before we start…
1. Insights from OECD study
2022
https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/digital-higher-education_f622f257-en

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Quality is like a Box of Chocolates: Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education

  • 1. Photo by Rae Wallis on Unsplash Mark Brown Eamon Costello & Prajakta (Lily) Girme 2nd June 2023 Quality is like a Box of Chocolates: Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education
  • 2. “Quality is an elusive term for which there is a wide variety of interpretations depending upon the views of different stakeholders.” (Schindler, et al., 2015, p. 4) Photo by Rae Wallis on Unsplash Quality is like a Box of Chocolates: Developing National QA Guidelines for Digital Education
  • 3. Insights from OECD study Development of National QA Guidelines Lessons for European Standards & Guidelines Outline
  • 5. “The overarching paradox is that online and distance education systems with their digital content and the persistent record of online transactions provide a rich source of evidence to enable quality assurance and audit processes. https://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2015/10879/pdf/Ossiannilsson_et_al_2015_Qualitymodels.pdf Before we start…
  • 6. 1. Insights from OECD study 2022 https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/digital-higher-education_f622f257-en
  • 7. QA / QE Gap Digital Education - Macro-Level - Meso-Level - Micro-Level - Nano-Level  Multifaced and multifunctional  Highly contextualised  Institutions are central  Owned & distributed across institutions  Conversational, shares experiences and involves feedback loops  Dynamic as part of a living and thriving quality culture 1. Insights from OECD study
  • 8. 1 In 23 OECD jurisdictions, we found no national framework, standards or guidelines for digital higher education, and no evidence of a decision taken on how to approach the quality assurance of digital higher education. 2 In 8 OECD jurisdictions, we found common standards for digital and traditional study modes, with evidence of a decision to apply the standards for the quality assurance of on-campus instruction to digital higher education. 3 In 12 OECD jurisdictions, we identified specific standards or guidelines for digital higher education. These either cover all types of digital education or a specific type (or types) of digital education (e.g., hybrid education). No approach for the quality assurance of digital higher education Common standards and guidance for the quality assurance of digital higher education Specific standards for the quality assurance of digital higher education 1. Insights from OECD study
  • 10. 1. Insights from OECD study
  • 12. • An abundance of QA frameworks • Many common dimensions shared across the different QA frameworks • Absence of output measures of QA • Emergence of new QA considerations • More research needed on how institutions implement QA/QE frameworks Findings… https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08923647.2018.1417658 1. Insights from OECD study
  • 13. What else is missing from current QA frameworks? (Brown, 2022) 1. Insights from OECD study
  • 14. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines 2018 2023
  • 15. What in a single word is the most important quality consideration that you would like to see in the new QQI guidelines? 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 16. Adapted from OECD 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 17. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 18. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 19. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 20. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 21. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 22. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 23. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 25. 2. Development of National QA Guidelines
  • 26. 3. Lessons for European Standards and Guidelines 2018
  • 27. Policy for Quality Assurance • Policies for quality assurance (ESG 1.1) Teaching, Learning and Assessment Learning Resources and Infrastructure • Design and approval of programmes (ESG 1.2) • Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment (ESG 1.3) • Learning resources and student support (ESG 1.6) • Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment (ESG 1.3) • Student admission, progression, recognition and certification (ESG 1.4) • Learning resources and student support (ESG 1.6) Support for Instructors and Students Feedback, Review and Performance Monitoring • Programme design, approval, monitoring and review (ESG 1.2 and 1.9) • Information management (ESG 1.7) • Public information (ESG 1.8) • Cyclical external quality assurance (ESG 1.10) • Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment (ESG 1.3) • Student admission, progression, recognition and certification (ESG 1.4) • Teaching staff (ESG 1.5) • Learning resources and student support (ESG 1.6) Do we need to update ESGs? 3. Lessons for European Standards & Guidelines
  • 28. Adapted from EADTU 2020 3. Lessons for European Standards & Guidelines
  • 29. > What models or approaches to learning design inform the development, delivery and evaluation of programmes? > To what extent are students engaged in active learning through their use of digital tools and resources? > How does digital innovation support assessment for learning and student feedback? > How is teaching, learning and assessment informed by best practice in digital higher education? INDICATOR EVIDENCE > An explicit model of learning design is adopted for programme development. > Student evaluation data and results from national surveys of learner engagement. > Mapping of programme assessment and range and variety of digital tools > Programme development plans implement key lessons from contemporary theory, research and practice TYPE Ways of Measuring and Reporting > Input | Resource > Qualitative > Output > Quantitative > Process > Qualitative > Process > Qualitative 3. Lessons for European Standards & Guidelines
  • 30. Adapted from ENQA 2018 Horizon Indicator 3. Lessons for European Standards and Guidelines
  • 31. > The institution’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is regularly updated and supports a variety of digital tools and learning resources. > Students can access electronic library resources and digital textbooks from wherever they choose to study. > Digital media and Open Educational Resources (OER) are embedded in the curriculum to enhance the student learning experience. INDICATOR EVIDENCE > Explicit VLE development plan and learning analytics data on instructors’ and students’ use of digital tools. > Student evaluation data and results from national surveys of learner engagement. > Mapping the integration of digital media and resources across the curriculum and learning data analytics on instructors’ and students’ level of use. TYPE Ways of Measuring and Reporting > Process | Output > Qualitative | Quantitative > Process |Output > Qualitative | Quantitative > Process |Output > Qualitative | Quantitative 3. Lessons for European Standards and Guidelines
  • 32. Crucial Importance of training and professional development Adapted from ENQA 2018 Adapted from EADTU 2020 3. Lessons for European Standards and Guidelines
  • 33. > Do staff engaged in teaching have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and skills required to promote digital innovation and study flexibility? > What training and professional development activities are available to new instructors and existing staff to harness the potential of digital innovation and the provision of study flexibility? > What expert professional support staff and internal service units are available for digitally enhanced course design, pedagogy and assessment? INDICATOR EVIDENCE > Staff profile, skills and competence assessment for digital innovation and the provision of study flexibility. > Inventory of staff training opportunities and participation data on number of instructors engaging in training and continuing professional development > Number of support staff and description of both the structure and type service units available to promote digital innovation and the design of study flexibility TYPE Ways of Measuring and Reporting > Input | Process > Qualitative | Quantitative > Input | Output > Quantitative > Input | Resource > Qualitative | Quantitative 3. Lessons for European Standards and Guidelines
  • 34. Final comment… Chocolate is always the answer no matter what the question! Quality remains elusive but…
  • 35. Staring, F., Brown, M., Bacsich, P., & Ifenthaler, D. (2022). Digital higher education: Emerging quality standards, practices and supports, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 281, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/f622f257-en. Volungevičienė, A., Brown, M., Greenspon, R., Gaebel, M., & Morrisroe, A. (2021). Developing a High-Performance Digital Education System: Institutional Self-Assessment Instruments. European University Association, Brussels. Ossiannilsson, E., K. Williams, A. Camilleri and M. Brown (2015), Quality models in online and open education around the globe: State of the art and recommendations. International Council for Open and Distance Education, Oslo, Norway. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED557055.pdf Esfijani, A. (2018), “Measuring quality in online education: A metasynthesis”, American Journal of Distance Education, 32/1, pp. 57-73, DOI: 10.1080/08923647.2018.1417658 Brown, M. (2022). The quest for quality in digital higher education: A critical analysis of QA frameworks. Full paper at EDEN Digital Learning Europe Annual Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 20th June. Key references 2022 https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-981-19-0351-9_41-1

Editor's Notes

  1. A similar specific initiative was launched in Ireland in the same year that you will hear more about from Walter