Experiences on Collaborative Quality Enhancement using Cross-sparring between two Universities

Experiences on Collaborative Quality Enhancement using Cross-sparring between two Universities

R. Clark, E. Kontio, J. Roslöf, G. Thomson, P. Steinby (2016).  Experiences on Collaborative Quality Enhancement using Cross-sparring between two Universities. 10.

Aston University and Turku University of Applied Sciences, together with six other partners (all CDIO member institutions), participated in an Erasmus+ funded project (QAEMarketPlace4HEI) aimed at developing a collaborative, comprehensive and accessible evaluation process model, methods and tools for HEIs to use in their Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement work. The project has promoted cooperation in quality assurance through the design and piloting of a new kind of continuous, accessible, cooperation based model supporting so called cross-sparring between the institutions.

As a part of the project, the developed model has been piloted by the participating universities. The starting point for these pilots was a self-evaluation exercise (inspired by the CDIO self-evaluation model) that explored each institution’s views on its current activities and development areas from several different perspectives. Whilst completing the self-evaluation, the participants also defined a set of criteria particularly relevant and of interest for the further development of their activities.

After the self-evaluation phase, each institution was paired with another institution that, based on the mutual self-evaluation results, provided a best fit concerning the strengths and development areas of the other. Thereafter, the so called cross-sparring visits took place. Cross-sparring is a process that makes feedback collaborative, concrete and objective, thanks to critical, but discreet brainstorming sessions, where strategies can be discussed and refined to suit individual programmes and institutions. The sparring partners keep their eyes on the objectives, learn from the experiences of others and engage in reflection. The aim of the approach is to benefit both the institution evaluated, which will get a more objective view on its strengths and potential improvement areas, and for the sparring partner which may identify best practices that can be useful for their own institution.

In this paper, the experiences of the self-evaluation process as well as of the cross-sparring visits between Aston University and Turku University of Applied Sciences are reported. The process and practical arrangements of the visits are described, and the key findings based on the cross-sparring results are discussed.

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

Authors (New): 
Robin Clark
Elina Kontio
Janne Roslöf
Gareth Thomson
Paula Steinby
Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
Quality Assurance
International Collaboration
faculty development
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 10
CDIO Standard 12
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