June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.367.1 - 2.367.13
Some Underestimated Aspects of Quality Assessment in Engineering Education Andrzej Krasniewski, Roman Z. Morawski, Jerzy Woznicki Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology Warsaw University of Technology
1. INTRODUCTION Over the last decade, systems of external quality assessment and accreditation have been developed in many countries1,2,5,6,7,9,10,14,15,16,18,21,22,23,24,25. These systems take into account many aspects of higher education, including curriculum objectives and requirements, teaching methods and techniques, training of student's skills through laboratory and design experience, use of computers, oral and written communication, qualifications and teaching load of academic staff, facilities and their availability, administration procedures, information system and counseling, admission procedures, internationalization of the curriculum, student performance, competence of graduates, and internal quality assurance procedures. There are, however, some features of the system of study, namely, diversity and flexibility, which - in our opinion - have an essential impact on the quality of education, but are rather rarely brought into discussions on quality assessment. In this paper, we define diversity and flexibility of the system of study and show a strong relationship between these features and the quality of education. A flexible system of study at our institution - the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology, Warsaw University of Technology - is used as a vehicle to illustrate the existence of this relationship. It is quite difficult to represent the diversity and flexibility using quantitative indicators. Nevertheless, we formulate a number of criteria that could be used to decide whether a system of study is sufficiently flexible. Additional criteria that do not directly affect flexibility of the system, but either constitute necessary conditions for effective functioning of a flexible system of study or are associated with flexibility-dependent mechanisms of quality assurance, are also formulated. We believe that such criteria should be included into procedures of internal and external quality assessment - existing ones and those under development.
2. DIVERSITY AND FLEXIBILITY OF THE SYSTEM OF STUDY In this paper, we consider an institution of higher education (university, college, faculty, school, department) which is fully autonomous in defining curricula and is primarily responsible for the organization and management of the education process. A system of study at such an institution is characterized by a number of features, including degree programs, major field of study and areas of concentration for each degree program, courses offered, curriculum requirements (degree requirements), and academic regulations and procedures. Flexibility of a system of study means, in general, that each student has a lot of freedom in design of his/her education path. As higher education institutions, following the trend in the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy, start to move from "mass production" to "mass customization"17, flexibility should be considered as a primary feature which make it possible to customize the studies, i.e. "to deliver education as it is needed by the individual".
Morawski, R. Z., & Woznicki, J., & Krasniewski, A. (1997, June), Some Underestimated Aspects Of Quality Assessment In Engineering Education Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6790
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