Internal Quality Assurance Practices on Open Education in Two East African Universities: Proposed Innovative Mechanisms

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Anchored on the premise that internal quality assurance (IQA) systems and processes of universities should be sufficiently operational, well oriented and committed to guarantee the fitness for purpose of an educational programme, this mixed explanatory and hermeneutic paradigm model of empirical investigation was undertaken to elicit evidence based quantitative and qualitative data on these challenging queries in IQA systems in East African universities: (1) were existing practices synchronizing with national and international agendas on open education? (2) were there flexible structured systems for students’ open access, progress, mobility and institutional core activities, and (3) feedback mechanisms from alumni, stakeholders and labor market? This study focused on two uncontrolled types of research environments, University of Technology and Arts of Byumba (UTAB) and Kampala International University (KIU) in Rwanda and Uganda respectively. Three sets of research tools tested for validity and reliability were utilized namely: (1) a checklist and (2) an interview schedule and a questionnaire. Through purposive sampling, the data were gathered from managers and staff of quality assurance directorates. Relevant information on structures and mechanisms of monitoring and feedback were also retrieved from randomly selected representatives from student organizations, alumni associations and academic staff. Noted in tables/graphs and qualitative analyses were the following findings: (1) both universities had necessary policies generally synchronizing with international agendas on open education though in practice there were rooms for improvement; (2) in both universities, there were systems with mechanisms for students’ open access, progress, mobility, aligned with teaching and learning activities but some inadequacies were noted in support to students’ learning; (3) comments from alumni were limited in one university. Within the context of these findings, proposed innovative mechanisms were suggested in view of the relevant trends in improving open access to quality education, promoting students’ learning experiences.// Paper ID 126

Quality Assurance,Higher Education,Experiential Learning,Open Educational Resources (OER)