E-xcellence methodology: lessons learned over ten years of development and implementation

Rosewell, Jon; Kear, Karen; Williams, Keith; Rodrigo, Covadonga and Sánchez-Elvira, Angeles (2017). E-xcellence methodology: lessons learned over ten years of development and implementation. In: The Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference: Higher Education for the Future: Accelerating and Strengthening Innovation, 25-27 Oct 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes.


The E xcellence methodology for quality assurance of e learning in higher education has developed into a flexible and effective approach to quality assurance. It has proved suitable to meet the needs of a diverse range of institutions and national quality assurance regimes, and is applicable to both distance and blended modes. The E xcellence resources (http://e-xcellencelabel.eadtu.eu/) include a quality manual, guidance for institutions and assessors, and an online Quick Scan self-evaluation tool. The manual was updated in 2012 and 2016 to reflect evolving changes in practice.

The E-xcellence methodology provides 35 benchmark statements, grouped under six headings: Strategic Management, Curriculum Design, Course Design, Course Delivery, Staff Support and Student Support. Higher education institutions self-assess their capabilities against each of the benchmark statements on a four-point scale. They also prepare a roadmap of future actions which can be mapped to benchmark statements. A visit by external reviewers enriches and complements the self-assessment.

This study is based on an analysis of E xcellence self-evaluations and roadmaps at twenty higher education institutions. Tabulating those benchmarks that are rated as not yet adequate, and those which attract the most planned actions, highlights the aspects that institutions have found most challenging as they develop and implement online and blended learning programmes.

This profiling exercise indicates that institutions regard issues of strategy, curriculum design and staff support as presenting the greatest challenges. Particular problems include staff workload and developing an online academic community for students. In contrast, the provision of reliable IT systems and hardware is unproblematic.

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