Quality enhancement and e-learning

Quality enhancement is about systemic approaches and ‘deliberate steps’ towards improving the way that learning is managed and how students are supported. The Delivery projects are taking this forward-looking view by piloting new approaches and uses of technology to enhance learning. A challenge will be to ‘argue the case’ for promoting, sustaining and embedding these enhancements within their institutions to ensure that innovation and good practice is celebrated in audit processes. It is remarkable how few institutions maximise and celebrate their achievements!

Dr Judith Kuit, Academic Development Director of Sunderland University is involved in the Higher Education Academy’s QA-QE special interest group (speaking at the same Elluminate seminar as Peter Findlay from the QAA) talked about the work of this “practitioner-led group aimed at invigorating quality enhancement practice with HE in the UK with an emphasis on the enhancement of teaching, learning and assessment through technology.” There is a strong emphasis on e-learning and the group has been asked by the QAA to critique section 2 of the the current Code of Practice: “Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including e-learning) (2004)”. The SIG has consulted with the sector through a survey and workshops and will use this feedback to inform the development of a toolkit for practitioners due to be launched this summer.

One of the main concerns is that e-learning should not be ‘lumped in’ to just one area of the Code of Practice but rather embedded across all elements. A dedicated section on teaching and learning would also help refocus the out-dated definitions of ‘e-learning’ (using terms such as ‘technology-enhanced learning’ or better still ‘learning enhanced by technology’) and acknowledge the embedding of blended learning approaches. The QAA acknowledges that, although changes are unlikely to happen immediately, there is a need for updating.

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