QA and Enhancement Marketplace for HEIs – An Erasmus+ project

QA and Enhancement Marketplace for HEIs – An Erasmus+ project

Improving European education and training system quality has been set as a key target in Europe’s strategy to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020. These objectives are more specifically defined in the so called Modernisation Agenda. More specifically it sets a goal to improve the quality and relevance of higher education. In this process external evaluation and self-assessment are seen in a key role! In the CDIO approach the 12 CDIO standards provide a framework for continuous improvement. Each institution/institutional department are encouraged to regularly do the self-evaluation using the CDIO Standards.

Eight European universities (Reykjavik University, Iceland; Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland; Aarhus University, Denmark; Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland; Umeå University, Sweden; Telecom Bretagne, France; Aston University, United Kingdom; Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom) identified a need for further enhancement of the self-evaluations and creation of processes with peers to reduce the inertia of heavy accreditations/evaluations in HEIs. In September 2014 these universities started an Erasmus+ project (QAEMarketPlace4HEI) aiming at 1. Developing a collaborative, comprehensive and accessible evaluation process model, methods and tools for HEIs to complement the accreditation systems. 2. Promoting, increasing and exploiting further the European collaboration in the evaluation processes and the exchange of best practices. 3. Disseminating the model, best practices and widen the cooperation to new HEIs in Europe through the partner networks.

There has been several other projects focusing on self-assessment, quality assurance and interaction between stakeholders. However, none of the earlier projects have focused on practical level QA work with continuous development loop supported by a clear process of self-evaluation, cross-sparring and collaborative workshops. There is a need for more practical level quality assurance model that sustain continuous reform between accreditation rounds. This new Erasmus+ project is based on two preceding Nordplus Higher Education projects: Quality Assurance in Higher Education 1 and 2. These projects focused on developing new tools for supporting the process of quality assurance with CDIO self-evaluation and testing cross-sparring as part of QA process.

This new QAEMarketPlace4HEI -project exploits these experiences and development ideas further. The internal and external evaluation processes are brought together and improved with in-depth research and a virtual platform. In addition, the role of the collaboration is emphasized with the cross-sparring and collaborative workshops. Cross-sparring is a process where two universities are paired and they critically provide feedback and suggestions to each other based on the self-evaluations. The cross-sparring process includes site visits with brainstorming sessions. The innovativeness of QAEMarketPlace4HEI –project lies in the collaborative model of quality assurance that can complement accreditations and existing QA systems. The project introduces a new virtual platform, the Market Place, which serves as a tool for finding the best possible sparring partners as well as a forum for networking, sharing experiences, information and best practices.

This paper introduces the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Marketplace for Higher Education Institutes project and provides valuable information on the activities on promoting CDIO based continuous improvement in European level.

Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

Authors (New): 
Juha Kontio
Fredrik Georgsson
Jens Bennedsen
Robin Clark
Ásrún Matthíasdóttir
John Paul Hermon
Siegfried Rouvrais
Markku Karhu
Krista Heikkinen
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
Umeå University, Sweden
Aarhus University, Denmark
Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Reykjavik University, Iceland
Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Institut Mines Télécom, France
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Quality Assurance
Quality enhancement
CDIO Standard 12
Cedefop (European Centre for the Development ofVocational Training). (2011). Glossary: quality in education and training. Luxemburg.: 
CTI. (2015). Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur Retrieved 20.1.2015, from 
ENAEE (European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education). (2012). EUR-ACE label Retrieved 20.1.2015: 
European Commission. (2010). EUROPE 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Brussels.: 
European Commission. (2011). Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Funding and the Social Dimension. Brussels.: 
European Commission. (2015). Erasmus+ program - EU programme for education, training, youth and sport Retrieved 20.1.2015, from 
FINHEEC. (2015). Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council Retrieved 20.1.2015, from 
Kontio, J., Roslöf, J., Edström, K., Thyberg Naumann, S., Munkebo Hussman, P., Karhu, M., & Schrey-Niemenmaa, K. (2011). Quality Assurance with CDIO Self‐evaluation – First Results of a Nordic Project. Paper presented at the 7th International CDIO Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.: 
Kontio, J., Roslöf, J., Edström, K., Thyberg Naumann, S., Munkebo Hussman, P., Karhu, M., & Schrey-Niemenmaa, K. (2012). Improving Quality Assurance with CDIO Self-Evaluation: Experiences From a Nordic Project. International Journal of Quality Assurance in Engineering and Technology Education, 2(2), 54 - 65. : 
Ministry of Education and Culture Finland. (2011) Education and Research 2011-2016; Development plan. Publications of the Ministry of Education and Culture.: 
Ministry of Education Finland. (2004). Education and Research 2003-2008; Development plan (Vol. 2004:8).: 
Northern Ireland Assembly. (2012). Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In C. Perry (Ed.), Research and Information Service Briefing Paper.: 
QUESTE. (2013). The QUESTE-SI Project Retrieved 20.1.2015, from 
Rouvrais, S., Le Locat, C., & Flament, S. (2013). Return on Experience from Sustainability Audits in European Engineering Educational Institutions. . Paper presented at the 41th intl. SEFI & ENAEE Conferences: "Engineering Education Fast Forward", KU Leuven, Belgium.: 
Go to top