IQER-It’s Quite Easy Really(?!)

August 4, 2008
IQER is an evidence-based peer review of a college’s management of the student learning experience and performance of its responsibilities for the academic standards and quality of its higher education provision”
Strategically, the main priority for HE in FE over the next year is arguably gearing up for the introduction of the Integrated Quality enhancement Review (IQER) process.  This comes from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) http://www.qaa.ac.uk/reviews/IQER/handbook/pilotHandbook.asp .

 

It’s (predictably) fairly complicated, but essentially revolves around colleges self evaluating their HE in FE provision in between 2 official inspection visits.  There are basically 3 core themese to be addressed in the review: 

 

Academic standards refers to the level of achievement a student has to reach in order to achieve a particular award or qualification.   

Quality of learning opportunities considers the effectiveness of everything that is done or provided by the college to ensure that its students have the best possible opportunity to meet the stated outcomes of their programmes and the academic standards of the awards they are seeking.

Public information  is information about academic programmes, academic standards and quality of learning opportunities which is in the public domain, whether in print or electronic form.

 

The process goes live nationally in Spring 2009, but you can read the QAA/HEFCE report on the pilot studies here: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/reviews/iqer/default.asp 

 

 

There will be many ways in which Technology can expedite the process, and this is something I am currently actively exploring with JISC and other agencies, so expect HE in FE Events and Forums this year to have some focus on these aspects of IQER.  There is existing evidence of good practice devloping-Colchester Institute, for instance, have trialed innovative ways of using a CMS (Content Management System) to capture data for the review.  They engaged  staff to think holistically, to want to adapt their practice to a “quality” driven model. When hearts and minds were won, they then deployed Microsoft Sharepoint CMS to manage the cross reference of links to supporting documentation. Essentially the CMS enabled a huge institutional scale mapping exercise to take place, where organisational evidence was mapped against IQER requirements. It exemplified the best approach to implementing any sort of large IT system (including a VLE); Rethink, map, and refine business practice and then find the technology that will improve efficiency for your local culture. This report in the HE in FE ethos mentions Colchester and their approach to the IQER system.

The QAA  don’t want Colleges to go out an rewrite (or even write) a new QA manual. QAA are looking for existing evidence of best practice which can be easily identified/managed and demonstrated to auditors (and customers). What better than a user managed CMS? For those not familiar with how a CMS differs from an intranet, the CMS allows designated members of staff to manage their own areas of the intranet.

Therefore the CMS replaces the intranet and it then becomes managed by the departments and staff responsible for the data they both generate and manage. You could do this by paper/intranet and employ a small team of QA people at a FE college, but why bother when a CMS together with a cultural attitude change does it 100x better efficiency?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 4, 2008

Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) recently posted about the Use of Twitter to Support IWMW Events. In his post he highlights the potential use of Twitter to support communication between participants and conference organisers (If at this point you are thinking ‘what is Twitter?’, Brian and his team have put together a page describing Twitter and how it could be used).

One of the features of Twitter, which I wasn’t aware of, is the ability to follow another persons ‘twits’ via SMS text messages. Twitter doesn’t charge anything for sending texts so it is possible to create a lightweight JANET txt style service for FREE!

Here’s the basic recipe:

  1. Create Twitter account for course/program
  2. Ask your students to create their own Twitter account, registering their mobile phone if they want to receive SMS messages
  3. Provide students with instructions on how to follow the course Twitter account
  4. Start ‘twitting’ important course information (e.g. lecture/tutorial cancellations, important assignment deadlines).

[As a tutor you can also make twitter updates via SMS (sending text messages will be charged at your standard network rate). This way sending one text message to Twitter can be automatically forwarded to all your Twitter followers at no extra cost.]

This video ( Click to Watch! ) talks you through the process.

Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) recently posted about the Use of Twitter to Support IWMW Events. In his post he highlights the potential use of Twitter to support communication between participants and conference organisers (If at this point you are thinking ‘what is Twitter?’, Brian and his team have put together a page describing Twitter and how it could be used).

One of the features of Twitter, which I wasn’t aware of, is the ability to follow another persons ‘twits’ via SMS text messages. Twitter doesn’t charge anything for sending texts so it is possible to create a lightweight JANET txt style service for FREE!

Here’s the basic recipe:

  1. Create Twitter account for course/program
  2. Ask your students to create their own Twitter account, registering their mobile phone if they want to receive SMS messages
  3. Provide students with instructions on how to follow the course Twitter account
  4. Start ‘twitting’ important course information (e.g. lecture/tutorial cancellations, important assignment deadlines).

[As a tutor you can also make twitter updates via SMS (sending text messages will be charged at your standard network rate). This way sending one text message to Twitter can be automatically forwarded to all your Twitter followers at no extra cost.]

This video ( Click to Watch! ) talks you through the process.

Welcome, Wilkommen, Bienvenue

August 4, 2008

Hello-

This Blog is really just an experiment to see if the RSC SW HE Community are interested in contributing to weblogs related to the incorporation of eLearning/ICT (and I’m sure they are!).  I will endaveour to keep it up to date with the latest news and useful resources, so if nothing else it may be a useful site to check every month or so to see if there’s anything helpful you can poach! 

Best Wishes, Dan