Architecting the CDIO Educational Framework Pursuant to Constructive Alignment Principles

Architecting the CDIO Educational Framework Pursuant to Constructive Alignment Principles

Siegfried Rouvrais, Vanea Chiprianov
DOI: 10.4018/ijqaete.2012040108
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On the one hand, no one international model for quality assurance evaluation of higher education has emerged. On the other hand, as a reference model rather than a prescription, the CDIO initiative proposes a mature integrated framework for creation or continuous improvement of engineering programs. However, institutions developing and managing educational programs have to juggle the expectation of various accreditation and evaluation bodies, which may create consistency and interoperability problems. A need exists to unambiguously specify relations among quality assurance concepts to enable more transparent and comparable descriptions of quality frameworks for educational programs. Following constructive alignment principles, this article creates structural models using some of the CDIO Standards. In doing so it lays the foundations of an architectural meta-model for describing complex educational systems, which will contribute to consistency and interoperability among quality frameworks.
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Background: Towards Modeling Educational Frameworks

Analyzing an educational program from conceptual and structural perspectives reveals semantic relations among the three pillars of an educational program: the intended or declared, the enacted or taught, and the validated or learned curricula (Harden, 2001). These three pillars share a set of common core concepts, principally in the form of learning outcomes. By analyzing the CDIO Standards from such perspectives it is possible to clarify and structure, at an abstract level, the currently complex CDIO Standards. In a more general sense, as the size and complexity of educational systems increase, it is a major challenge to unambiguously describe common concepts among the various stakeholders involved in program design or transformation. In such a context, modelling approaches allow one to represent, visualize, and document the artefacts of a system in terms of these different points of view. Models permit one to unambiguously and consistently describe concepts and their relationships (Muller et al., 2010). In addition, by minimizing ambiguities and introducing a certain degree of formality, modelling approaches enhance better understanding, coherency, alignment, analysis and (re)usability of common concepts, principles and recommendations related to program design or transformation.

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