Social networking and open educational resources: updating quality assurance for e-learning excellence

Kear, Karen; Rosewell, Jonathan and Williams, Keith (2012). Social networking and open educational resources: updating quality assurance for e-learning excellence. In: EADTU 25th Anniversity Conference: The Role of Open and Flexible Education in European Higher Education Systems for 2020: New Models, New Markets, New Media, 27-28 Sep 2012, Paphos, Cyprus.



Quality assurance approaches in higher education are well-established, but it is important to develop methods which are applicable to the domain of e-learning. The E-xcellence methodology (EADTU, 2009a) was therefore designed to assess the quality of e-learning in distance learning and blended learning contexts. The methodology is based around a set of benchmarks, supported by a practitioner handbook and a web-based ‘QuickScan’ self-evaluation tool. Experience shows that the E-xcellence methodology is particularly valuable for the process of improvement through collaborative internal review.

E-learning has evolved since the E-xcellence methodology was first developed. In particular, there is increasing awareness and use of open education resources (OERs) and social networking. However, these aspects were not explicit in the original E-xcellence resources. The E-xcellence Next project was therefore established to update the resources, incorporating these developments. To begin this process, a consultation was carried out among E-xcellence Next project members, followed by a participatory workshop on the themes of social networking and OERs. The E-xcellence resources were also used in a series of self-evaluation seminars held at European higher education institutions. Experience and feedback from these activities has been used to update the manual, the benchmarks and the QuickScan tool. The result is a set of quality assurance resources which encompass social networking, OERs and other recent developments in e-learning.

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