Quality Assessment for E-learning: a Benchmarking Approach (2nd ed.)

Williams, Keith; Kear, Karen and Rosewell, Jon (2012). Quality Assessment for E-learning: a Benchmarking Approach (2nd ed.). Heerlen, The Netherlands: European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU).

URL: http://www.eadtu.eu/


The European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) is Europe’s leading association for Lifelong Open and Flexible (LOF) learning in distance Higher Education (HE) (www.eadtu.nl). As well as e-learning, the model of LOF learning embraces a range of other characteristics such as open learning, distance learning, online learning, open accessibility, multimedia support, virtual mobility, learning communities, and dual mode (earn & learn) approaches.

This manual is the main product of a suite of EU funded projects undertaken under the auspices of EADTU: E-xcellence (2005-2006), E-xcellence plus (2008-2009) and E-xcellence Next (2011-2012). The overall aim of these projects has been to develop a methodology and supporting resources for the quality assurance of e-learning in higher education. The E-xcellence projects involve a core pool of experts from six European Universities with a stake in e-learning developments (see below), and an extended group drawn from a total of 50 institutions during the course of the projects.

The tools produced in the E-xcellence project have been used by institutions involved in the E-xcellence Plus and E-xcellence Next projects, and the outcomes of these exercises shared with respective national Quality Assurance Agencies in discussion events. This edition is based on the manual developed during the initial E-xcellence project but updated to reflect both the experience gained through engagement with institutions and agencies and the extensive changes in e-learning practice in the period since 2005. The most significant developments over this period have been the user friendly suites of communication services packaged and made available in consumer markets as social networking sites, and the growth of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement in the higher education sector. The E-xcellence Next project has reviewed the impact of these developments and their quality assurance implications. Reports and publications on the process and analyses are available.

In our engagement with institutions, the E-xcellence team have reviewed a broad spectrum of uses of e-learning in institutions operating in both face-to-face and distance teaching modes. We have observed many common challenges in managing the integration of e-learning into pre-existing modes of delivery indicative of a convergence in teaching modes between two formerly distinct sectors.

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