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Quality Assurance Issues for Online Universities

Quality Assurance Issues for Online Universities
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Author(s): Floriana Grasso (Liverpool University, UK) and Paul Leng (Liverpool University, UK)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch508

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Abstract

Online delivery of degree-level programmes is an attractive option, especially for working professionals and others who are unable to contemplate full-time residential university attendance. If such programmes are to be accepted, however, it is essential that they attain the same standards and quality as conventionally delivered degrees. The key challenge is to find ways to ensure that the qualities that make university education attractive are preserved in the context of a new and quite different model of delivery. Many systems have been developed to support online learning (see, e.g., Anderson & Kanuka, 1997; Davies, 1998; Persico & Manca, 2000; Suthers & Jones, 1997; Yaskin & Everhart, 2002). These systems may or may not mimic conventional lecture-room teaching, but will necessarily involve major differences in the ways in which teaching and student support are organised. Furthermore, the Internet lends itself naturally to an internationalisation of education delivery, but this also poses challenges for universities that have developed their structures within the framework of national education systems. To address these issues, it may be desirable for the university to work in partnership with other agencies, for example to provide local support services for students. This too, however, may introduce new problems of quality control and management. We will discuss here what structures are required to ensure the quality of the education provided and the standards of the degrees offered in this context.

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