Incorporating a Quality and Innovation Culture in Daily Teaching

Incorporating a Quality and Innovation Culture in Daily Teaching

Francisco Ibañez (R&D&I EduQTech Group, Electrical Engineering Department, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain), Inmaculada Plaza (R&D&I EduQTech Group, Electronics Engineering Department, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain), Raul Igual (R&D&I EduQTech Group, Electrical Engineering Department, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain), Carlos Medrano (R&D&I EduQTech Group, Electronics Engineering Department, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain) and Francisco Arcega (R&D&I EduQTech Group, Electrical Engineering Department, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2017100103
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Abstract

Quality and excellence are requirements that Society demands from universities. However, several questions arise in the real-world application of these concepts: How can they be incorporated into the classrooms or laboratories? What is the proper way to create a quality and innovation culture in daily teaching? In order to answer to these questions, this paper presents a code of good teaching practice based on quality and innovation concepts that can be applied in Higher Education. This code is the result of the experience gained by four university teachers for eleven years. It has been developed considering several international standards. The code is composed of different processes covering all aspects of the teaching activities. It helps teachers to continuously improve the quality of their work and can serve for any area of Higher Education. To represent the code, a process map, several flowcharts, sheets of processes and records have been defined. Additionally, a Web application implementing all items of the code has been designed in order to facilitate its real-world application
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1. Introduction

In recent years, the concept of “Quality” has gained prominence in the university context. Quality can be seen as a requirement of the Society to the Universities. Specifically, this concept is of great importance in the adaptation to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA, 2017).

Currently, the EQAR Strategic Plan 2013-2017 is being developed. EQAR is the acronym of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education. It is a register for the European Quality Assurance Agencies. This register is based on a common set of principles for quality assurance in Europe (EQAR, 2017). These principles are available in the “European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance” (ENQA, 2005). This document was developed by several Higher Education institutions: ENQA, European Students´ Union, (ESU, 2017), European University Association (EUA, 2017), EURASHE (2017), among many others.

The first part of the document, which is entitled “European standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance within Higher Education institutions”, provides the policies and procedures for quality assurance. Specifically, Section 1.4 is devoted to the “Quality assurance of teaching staff”. According to these guidelines (ENQA, 2005), teachers are the single most important learning resource available to most students.

Thus, universities should move towards a culture that recognizes the importance of quality and quality assurance in their daily work. To achieve this goal, a strategy for the continuous enhancement of quality should be developed and implemented. However, this is not possible if teachers are not actively involved in the process.

But this is not an easy task: How can a teacher apply the quality culture in the classrooms or laboratories? It is not obvious how to incorporate the quality concepts into the daily teaching activities.

Several authors have published their experiences in this field. For instance, a brief review of ABET accreditation experiences can be found in (Sulaiman & Mohammed, 2013). This paper focuses on the procedures to prepare for the ABET accreditation and describes the quality assurance systems that must be followed during this process. However, they do not specify how teachers should work in their daily activities.

In this sense, other authors have presented several experiences incorporating good teaching practices. For instance, Cepeda, Ponce, & Molina (2014) developed a speed controller and a prototype for Power Electronics in order to show undergraduate students how the processes can be examined and improved. In addition, Nelson & Creagh (2012) led the establishment of good practice for the Australasian Higher Education sector in monitoring student learning engagement. However, these studies only focused on a specific aspect of the teaching-learning process and the solutions that they proposed were not based on standards. In other words, they did not provide a global code of good teaching practice that can be applied to all teaching activities.

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