Quality Standards and Key Areas of Online Education in European Union

Quality Standards and Key Areas of Online Education in European Union

Ömer Uysal (Anadolu University, Turkey), Recep Okur (Anadolu University, Turkey) and İlker Usta (Anadolu University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8844-5.ch010
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Abstract

Integration of information and communication technology with education science produced new concepts such as distributed learning, integrated learning, blended learning, flexible learning, hybrid learning, open learning and online learning. Learning in the process of information society transformation has become one of the most strategic concepts. The world conjuncture for all disciplines focused on learning to learn and lifelong learning culture. The European Union has gathered various programs such as Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig under the umbrella of LLP (Lifelong Learning Program). In this context, learning to learn and lifelong learning approaches are defined as the 21st century student characteristics. Online courses shown as a way to teach these skills to the students. Starting from this reality in the world's developed countries, the number of online courses offered increases. Online courses can be counted with activating the accreditation systems by both face to face online training and regular educational institutions. In the USA at college education one of the three students takes an online course. In Europe, there is research on online education in order to develop economy based on information. In Europe, some leading institutes in online education area such as EADTU, EUA, QAA, ENQA, OUUK claim that there are problems and issues in online education, and there is necessity of increasing the quality in online education. For this reason, there are studies on online education by the same institutes regarding how to improve the system and to put regulations of standardization. In the current contribution, we summarized the studies on defining the quality standards of online education. Further, we introduced the quality standards definitions by the online education institutes in Europe, and covered related topics.
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If the goal is learning, it does not matter either face to face or distance. Sufficient condition is to ensure the learning with quality standards.

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Introduction

The world conjuncture in the field of education focused on especially lifelong learning to learn, and learning culture. While meeting the needs of people, giving the people the ability to take responsibility for their own learning is the major purpose. In this way, an individual will access the information needed by himself. The fact that information regenerates itself so fast brings the issue to the point that the culture of self-learning to be developed is so essential. In the current century of information with high density, there are education systems developed for giving the individuals the chances of learning to learn and lifelong learning culture.

The tendencies in college education force the universities to utilize the electronic sources and provide online education opportunities to their students. Upon establishing the integration of ICT in education, recently in the world the number of developed online education sites for helping individuals for self-improvement increases (AFT, 2000, p.5; IHEP, 2000, p.1; SLOAN-C, 2002; Allen & Seaman, 2008, p.1; Allen & Seaman, 2010, p.2; Clarke-Okah et al., 2009, p.3). The Table 1 indicates the statistics of students getting higher education between years 2002 and 2010 and the fraction of them benefiting from online education (Allen & Seaman, 2011, s.11).

Table 1.
Total contributions to higher education in the United States and online course participation statistics (between years 2002 – 2010)
YearTotalGrowth PercentageNumber of Students Taking at Least One Online CourseAnnual Growth Rate in Online EducationThe Ratio of Online Participator to Total
200216,611,710NA1,602,970NA9.6%
200316,911,4811.8%1,971,39723.0%11.7%
200417,272,0432.1%2,329,78318.2%13.5%
200517,487,4811.2%3,180,05036.5%18.2%
200617,758,8721.6%3,488,3819.7%19.6%
200718,248,1332.8%3,938,11112.9%21.6%
200819,102,8114.7%4,606,35316.9%24.1%
200919,524,7502.2%5,579,02221.1%28.8%
201019,641,1400.6%6,142,28010.1%31.3%

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