Tuesday, 7 May 2019


WP3 European Curriculum Design TOOLKIT

Programme Design THREE: Tempus ALIGN Programme Design Findings

Based on ‘"Recommendations to the governments on the academic programme review” Presentation and discussion - Wednesday 22nd Feb 2017 17.30 to 18.30 – Yerevan. David Quin, IADT Dun Laoghaire, Ireland’ (Powerpoint document below)

At the end of our 3-year Tempus ALIGN project, having completed project Peer Reviews of 18 Study Programmes in 9 universities in 3 territories (Ukraina, Armenia and Russia), it was possible to collate review recommendations and to identify recommendations which were common to all participant HEIs and programmes, despite the different National contexts, the differences in the HEIs and the variety of programmes reviewed.

At this point (2019) in the DESTIN project, it might be useful for each of our participant universities to examine these recommendations and to ask whether any of the learning here might apply to your specific context today. Your programmes and HEIs may be well-advanced in terms of answering any questions asked through these recommendations, but these recommendations can act as a useful 'checklist' for any Study Programme Team.

  • Simplifying the programme aims and PLOs is recommended. This programme could enhance its internationalization through clear articulation of its programme aims.
§   The 'student assessment systems' were complex and opaque, and poorly related to learning outcomes (which in themselves were often poorly articulated at module level).
§   Prof. Paul Hyland – Bath Spa University – email - 180217

  • The learning outcomes can be made much more specific by including also descriptors such as those included in the Dublin Descriptors

  • The assessment and testing system is very good: it seems very well organized and transparent. However, it still needs to be adapted to the real learning outcomes assessment.

  • We strongly recommend the creation of Programme Handbooks for students. We recommend the creation of a student handbook and providing international students with the necessary information in English on the university website.

  • We recommend that the key principles of alignment, programme development and Quality Assurance now feed into the university’s new strategic plan.

  • That the QA Office and the programme teams focus on fewer strategic goals, that they clearly define timelines (perhaps with annual review and analysis) and that they set achievable action plans.

  • The titles of the programme must be better connected with the programme content and mission.

  • We recommend a review of the official titles of awards to match the standard international nomenclature for such awards at various levels. This would greatly facilitate the full internationalisation of the programmes.

  • The titles of both programmes need further (and ongoing) consideration, especially at this time when the programmes themselves are under such revision.

  • Students should be much more involved in the design of the programme, as filling out questionnaires is not sufficient input. Students should not have to ask for this, but be encouraged by the institution.

  • Students and stakeholders are not really involved in programme design and approval and this should be improved; they should also be motivated to do this, e.g., employers should be invited to hold lectures, teach, sit at the assessment committees, serve as experts etc…

  • There is a system of surveying students’ opinions. However, students, including part-time students, should be better informed of it and the results, as well as the use of the findings. More open questions should be added to the questionnaires, both for students and other stakeholders such as employers.

  • A real bridging programme/adaptive courses should exist and this should not be done solely on individual student basis.

  • The quality system, while commendable, is too much ‘top-down’. There is too much focus on quality control and management, rather than quality improvement. Teachers, staff members in general, alumni, students and employers should participate more actively. There should be an interface between the central system and the programmes, maybe through improved cooperation with the Academic Department.

  • We recommend the continued development of the University’s Quality Assurance and Enhancement systems (at university and programme/faculty levels), to establish clear principles, regulations and processes to ensure and promote the Alignment of its academic programmes.

  • Though the Quality Management Centre is very good, a real Quality Plan is missing and the relationship between the different quality management councils must be made clearer, to students and to staff.

  • We recommend a policy on Staff Training and Development. Staff training and development (especially ongoing and continuous pedagogical development) needs to be prioritised in any Strategic Plan. We recommend more professional training, especially structured pedagogical training in modern Learning, Teaching and Assessment methods.

  • There is not enough benchmarking with other universities.

  • We strongly recommend adjusting terminology according to European standards in all documents (imitating European universities is an option).

  • There are some course units which seem to be a relic of history, and do not seem to contribute to the achievement of the learning outcomes. There should be a discussion about this.

  • Credits are properly connected to courses but there is no real determination of student workloads. Whilst some aspects of ECTS are well understood, the panel would recommend future student study load measurement.

  • Elective courses are not really elective; this should be improved at the university level with generic skills courses (e.g., entrepreneurship). Additional foreign languages should exist as electives – as well as additional academic English for students.

  • We recommend the enrichment of the educational experience of students (and their academic and career opportunities) primarily through greater internationalisation of the student cohorts. We note: this was clearly, strongly and unanimously advocated by the students.

  • More attention must be paid to internationalisation.

  • Cooperation with the library should be improved, students should be better trained in finding literature and sources independently and opening hours should be longer. The library should be better equipped, especially with books in English and access to international journals. Students need free access to modern, up to date materials, especially online materials.

  • The website should be updated and improved, as the current information is not up-to-date (it does not contain the new name etc.).

Tempus ALIGN - Recommendations to Governments - discussion FEB 2017 007.ppt

ANQA's Haikouki interviews Christophe Grolomund (ANQA image)

5 questions a QA agency might ask any Programme Team…

March 2017

Christophe Grolomund’s (Director of Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance) five questions his agency would ask of a HEI or programme team...
  • Do you know where you want to go?
  • Do you have a plan for getting there?
  • Do you have a plan for what to do if you get lost along the way?
  • Do you have a light on your desk to tell you if there's a problem?
  • Do you then have a button to push, to solve that problem?

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