June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.178.1 - 14.178.14
An Application of Customer Satisfaction Standards in Engineering Management Courses Abstract
This paper discusses the use of two international standards for quality management in engineering education, more specifically in teaching four engineering management courses. However, neither one of these standards is the commonly-recognized ISO 9001. Rather, they are the still widely-unknown, but quickly-applicable, ISO 10001 and ISO 10002. The respective guidelines for codes of conduct and complaint handling were deployed to establish and follow three codes for student satisfaction and quality assurance, as well as to setup and use a simple system for handling unsolicited student feedback and improving course delivery based upon it. Illustrations of the use of the codes, together with sample results of code performance tracking and student surveys on the usability of these codes, are provided. Examples of the feedback received from the students and its processing through a standardized system are also displayed.
The applicability of ISO 9001 as the most widely-known generic quality assurance standard in engineering education has been fairly well researched, although ISO 9001-based quality management systems themselves are still not commonly used in engineering courses or programs. Examples of the related studies and applications can be found in Cheng et al. (2004)1, Shariff (2006)2, Sakhtivel and Raju (2006)3, Heitmann (2000)4 and other similar papers. However, a number of new standards now exist that can be deployed for the same purpose of providing quality assurance to students, professors, administrators and other stakeholders, but can be much more easily applied than ISO 9001. Such efficient application is possible due to their streamlined and effective focus on a single component of a quality management system, for instance complaint handling and internal auditing5. Examples of these standards coming from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) include the four guidelines for customer satisfaction, namely ISO 10001: 2007 for codes of conduct, ISO 10002: 2004 for complaints handling, ISO 10003: 2007 for dispute resolution, and the upcoming ISO 10004 technical specification for monitoring and measurement, as well as the ISO 19011: 2002 guideline for auditing.
Customer satisfaction standards from the ISO 10000 series are especially interesting for application in engineering teaching, as they can be targeted on different “customers”, for example, engineering students, course instructors, teaching assistants, support staff, accreditation bodies, professional associations and industry. In addition, they are usable at various levels of educational delivery, from individual lectures and labs, through courses to programs and beyond. For instance, codes designed and implemented according to the ISO 10001 standard can be used by professors to guarantee prompt responses to student questions, adequate coverage of prerequisite material to fellow instructors, equitable distribution of marking duties to assistants, on-time delivery of grades to registrars, compliance of course components with the established criteria to accreditation bodies, appropriately-set technical exams to engineering associations or sufficient skills of course graduates to the industry. ISO 10002 can be implemented to setup a system for handling feedback from these and other “customers”, and consequently improve
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