EQUIP focus groups attempt to address implementation challenges with the ESG 2015

In the framework of the “Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy and Practice” (EQUIP) project, in which ENQA is a partner, a series of focus groups are being organised. The focus groups will verify and further consolidate the evidence collected through previous project activities about implementation challenges with the ESG 2015 and aim to share good practice and discuss the proposed approaches to solving these challenges and their applicability in different contexts. Each of the focus groups addresses six different stakeholder groups: 1) universities, 2) universities of applied sciences and university colleges (professional higher education), 3) academics, 4) QA agencies, 5) students, and 6) ministries. Three of the focus groups have taken place already – for students, universities, and academics – and have provided insight for those remaining.

ENQA is in charge of organising the focus group addressed to QA agencies. The ENQA focus group will take place in conjunction with the Members’ Forum, on 3-4 May 2017 in Oslo, Norway. It will focus on current issues in quality assurance and the concepts of quality, impact, and innovative solutions related to the ESG 2015. Participation is limited to 20 individuals representing QA agencies who have extensive experience working with the ESG 2015. Individuals who are interested in attending the free event are requested to kindly contact Anaïs Gourdin at the ENQA Secretariat.

EQAF 2017 call for contributions is now open

The 12th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF), hosted by the University of Latvia, will take place in Riga, Latvia, on 23-25 November 2017. The Forum organisers, ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE, are seeking proposals for papers and workshops from quality assurance practitioners from higher education institutions and QA agencies, students, and researchers in the field.

Under the title “Responsible QA – committing to impact”, this year’s Forum will focus on the need for quality assurance, whether aiming at accountability or enhancement, to be carried out in a transparent and responsible manner. EQAF 2017 will explore how this can be done in practice, examining issues such as communication, ethics, and the concept of change in quality assurance. During the Forum, paper sessions and workshops will provide space for more detailed discussions about research, policy initiatives, and practical case examples related to current developments in quality assurance. Selected contributions will also receive one reduced fee for attending the Forum. For more information about the call, please consult the EQAF website. The deadline to submit contributions is 24 July 2017.

Note from the President – 3 March 2017

The “Note from the President” is sent in order to update the membership on decisions and activities from recent Board meetings and events. The aim of these notes is to keep the agencies informed about the work of ENQA throughout the year and to enhance communication between agencies and the Board.

Please find the Note from the President of 3 March 2017 here.

FIBAA shares practices for assessing student-centred learning

In 2015, the ministers responsible for higher education of the Bologna states adopted three documents in which student-centred learning (SCL) – a method of teaching in which students engage as active participants in their own learning, fostering transferable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and reflective thinking – is addressed: the Yerevan Communiqué, the ECTS Users’ Guide (2015) and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG 2015). It is evident by these documents that student-centred learning has gained importance in the context of higher education policy, and it is therefore given greater significance in quality assurance procedures.

The Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA, Germany) has reacted to this shift and presents advantages and examples of SCL in a recent factory article from August 2016. The article suggests institutions could offer options such as specialisations, elective subjects, and optional subjects in the curriculum, as they can have motivating effects on students, since parts of the subject matter are engaged with by choice, or students could be allowed to choose topics for projects and group work. The author explains that, according to FIBAA’s assessment guides for accreditation procedures, experts assess the extent to which an institution has implemented SCL and that FIBAA’s quality seals are only awarded to programmes which are able to successfully demonstrate their regard for SCL.

Registration is open for the ENQA seminar on the social dimension of e-learning

In the framework of “TeSLA – An adaptive trust-based e-assessment system” project in which ENQA is a partner, ENQA is organising a seminar entitled Social dimension of e-learning – Addressing challenges through QA” in Athens, Greece, on 12-13 December 2016.

ENQA is pleased to invite its members, affiliates, and other interested stakeholders to participate in this event to discuss plagiarism and fraud, accessibility, the social dimension of e-learning, and quality assurance and to learn more about the TeSLA project. Registration for the fee-free event is open until 23 November 2016. Participants are kindly requested to consult the event webpage for information concerning the programme, accommodation, and practical elements.

Registration open: Seminar for QA agencies on the European dimension of quality assurance

Next autumn ENQA will offer a seminar geared towards new staff of QA agencies or those who are interested in learning more about the context of quality assurance at the European level. The seminar will take place during the afternoon of 3 November and morning of 4 November in Brussels, Belgium.

The programme aims to inform participants about relevant topics such as the Bologna Process, the European Commission’s priorities concerning quality assurance and higher education, the role of the main stakeholder bodies (including the E4 and EQAR) in the European Higher Education Area, and the purpose of the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Participation is open to ENQA members, affiliates, and other interested stakeholders. There is a participation fee of €220 per person.

Registration is now open, and the event webpage will be updated with further information.

ENQA agrees to CHEA’s international Quality Principles

The US Council for Higher Education Accreditation/International Quality Group (CHEA/CIQG) issued its International Quality Principles and an accompanying collection of essays in May 2015 and January 2016. The Principles are presented as a basis for international deliberation of quality in higher education, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies worldwide have been invited to sign a Memorandum of Affiliation (MoA), with a view to encouraging the use of the International Quality Principles as a foundation of shared understanding about quality in an international context. ENQA signed the MoA, and thus agreed to the CHEA/CIQG Principles, in May 2016.

The document contains what are considered as fundamental principles to quality assurance across the world and systems, irrespective of country, culture, or region. The signatories of the MoA agree to follow the principles in their work and to promote them further. The commitments are intended solely as a collegial agreement, an informal set of guidelines to serve and bring to­gether quality assurance professionals in higher education.

ENQA launches e-learning working group

ENQA has announced the launch of a Working Group on e-learning which aims to address the challenges associated with the alternative learning and teaching methods that ICT creates by exploring and sharing the ways in which QA agencies have begun to conduct themselves in this area. ENQA’s attention to this issue follows considerable urging from participants at its 2015 workshop in Barcelona and recommendations from stakeholders in the e-learning community, while contributing to one of the six priorities within the strategic framework for European cooperation in Education and Training (ET2020), adopted at the November 2015 Education Council.

The ENQA Working Group on e-learning will be formed from among the expressions of interest (due by 31 July 2016), with particular consideration given to the members’ amount of expertise and/or experience with regard to the quality assurance of e-learning (a point which should therefore be elaborated in the expression of interest). More detailed information about the working group launch is available here.

The launch of the ENQA Working Group on e-learning coincides with the conclusion of its Working Group on impact, the work of which was finished with the completion of the final report, published in May.