The Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) recently held a roundtable discussion on quality assurance of distance learning. Representatives of higher education institutions offering distance-learning programmes attended the event, where they were informed on external evaluation criteria, quality indicators, requirements and procedures, and on good practices including and related to the following:
- Establishment of a Pedagogical Planning Unit for distance learning, responsible for the support of the Distance Learning Unit and the requirements for study materials, interactive activities, and formative assessment in accordance with international standards.
- Feedback processes for students in relation to written assignments.
- Ensuring student interaction with each other, the teaching staff, and the study material.
- Development of teacher training programmes focusing on interaction and the specificities of distance learning.
- A complete assessment framework design, focusing on distance-learning methodology, including clearly defined evaluation criteria for student assignments and the final examination.
- Plan of a set number of expected teleconferences for presentations, discussion and question-answer sessions, and guidance.
- Development of a study guide for each course, fully aligned with distance-learning methodology and the need for student interaction with the material.
The discussion highlighted the pedagogical aspects of distance learning, with participants agreeing that quality is judged scientifically according to specified criteria.