Cultural Diversity and Accreditation: A Shared Understanding of Quality

Cultural Diversity and Accreditation: A Shared Understanding of Quality

Elif Toprak (Anadolu University, Turkey) and Asuman Nurhan Şakar (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3076-3.ch002
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Abstract

The expansion of distance education in higher education world-wide has brought forth the issue of quality assurance and evaluation processes for institutions and programmes. Though quality is a perception about the performance in products and services offered, it is expected to be shaped through mutual consent in the eyes of internal and external stakeholders of the institutions. Despite the different needs, social contexts and cultures of higher education institutions, general standards have been developed to guide distance education providers in their quest. This paper concentrates on external evaluation pillar of quality assurance that is accreditation according to American, European and Asian perspectives and tries to explain the shared understanding about quality in higher education in the face of cultural diversity. A case-study, the quality journey of Anadolu University, Open Education System is described as an example of different ways leading to the same target.
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Standards For Accreditation In Higher Education

In his report titled “The State of Open Universities in the Commonwealth: A Perspective on Performance, Competition and Innovation” published by COL (Commonwealth of Learning), Richard Garrett asks an important question: “What should we use to define success?” and “what the institutions are willing and able to disclose?” Quality assurance (QA) outcomes in higher education, including accreditation is an important pillar of public-facing and a tool for defining success (2016, p. 19).

In its historical development, the first trend for quality assurance processes in post-secondary education was to focus on quality of inputs such as scores of incoming students, entrance requirements, qualifications of the faculty; however the new consensus is to focus on learning outcomes and paying more attention to the processes of teaching, learning and assessment. Today quality assurance agencies are working with standards to judge students’ learning outcomes (Daniel, 2016). In general, accreditation criteria refer to “student outcomes, curriculum, courses and courseware, teaching and learning processes, student and faculty support services, assessment, evaluation and internal QA systems, management, staff, resourcing, returns on investment and benefits to the economy and society” (Latchem, 2014, p. 314).

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