The aim within the University has always been to develop a ‘quality culture’ — that is, a collective commitment by all staff to professional excellence. The quality assurance system helps to ensure that the University continues to deliver high-quality programmes and courses, and maintains the quality of teaching and learning. The combination of internal and external review is essential to the quality cycle of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and refining, which contributes to continual improvement of the current practices.
The supreme academic body of the University is the Senate, where all academic policies and regulations have to be discussed and approved. Senate approval is also needed for new programmes and their revalidations, as well as new courses and their subsequent presentations. The Senate deals with its business through a system of committees. For the purpose of quality assurance, it relies on the committees/groups to conduct the preliminary screening and make recommendations.
For example, the Programme Review and Validation Committee (PRVC) reviews the proposals from Schools for new award-bearing programmes or submissions from Schools for programme revalidation at the regular intervals set by the Senate. As for the University’s non-credit bearing courses, the approval right has been delegated to the Committee on Professional and Continuing Education (COPACE), which is required to provide a report to the Senate and Management Board on an annual basis.
For another example, the Internal Validation Committee (IVC) considers proposals and reports of all credit-bearing courses, and makes recommendations to Senate on the approval of courses’ first and subsequent presentations.
We believe that the responsibility for quality lies with each individual and group within the University. Similar to the Senate at the University level, each School has its School Board to deal with academic issues. Being accountable for academic quality standard they endorse, the School Boards have the authority to consider and approve course-related matters delegated by the Senate.
At institutional and programme level
Feedback from Advisory Peer Group (APG)
For each award-bearing programme, there is an Advisory Peer Group (APG), which involves external members from the academic and/or business community. The APGs provide advice to the Schools, the Departments and the programme teams on the development of the programmes, as well as initial comments to new programme proposals or revalidation submissions.
Feedback from External Programme Assessor (EPA)
The External Programme Assessor (EPA), being an expert in the discipline/ specialisation covered by the programme undergoing review, is to offer expert academic advice to the Programme Review and Validation Committee (PRVC) on areas such as the local relevance and appropriateness of the programme undergoing review, the suitability of the programme structure, and the expected standard of graduates.
Programme review by Programme Review and Validation Committee (PRVC)
The Programme Review and Validation Committee (PRVC), comprising representatives from the Schools (except LiPACE), Registry, QA Office and a Senate representative, scrutinises programmes under review from a University-wide perspective. The Committee meeting chaired by Provost addresses such matters as the ability of the programme team and academic unit involved to support the programme, the programme’s appropriateness in the OUHK context, and its comparability with similar programmes on offer elsewhere in Hong Kong.
Feedback from graduates and employers
Feedback from graduates is collected every year through the annual graduate surveys. Before revalidation of individual programmes every five or six years, past graduates are approached to provide feedback. Employers are also contacted to provide feedback to evaluate the extent to which the graduates have achieved the learning outcomes of the respective programmes. Feedback collected and programme teams’ responses are reported during programme revalidations.
Feedback from External Examiners / External Course Assessors
An External Examiner (EE) is appointed for a discipline of courses. The EEs are expected to review individual courses’ samples of marked examination scripts, provide comments on student performance, the standard of assessment/script marking, and suitability of a course’s assessment arrangements against the intended learning outcomes. As subject specialists, the EEs are also expected to provide feedback concerning macro development of the discipline.
In the development of new distance learning courses, an External Course Assessor (ECA) is involved to provide recommendations when no relevant internal subject expertise can be identified.
Student feedback from course evaluation surveys
The course evaluation survey is carried out at the end of every course’s presentation in a term. The survey provides a snapshot view of overall student satisfaction with different aspects of the courses ranging from course content, materials, instruction, lecturers and tutors, to assessment and learning resources. The results are made available to the Schools after each course evaluation exercise. The results as well as the feedback from the academic staff responsible for the courses are required in the course reports.
Class visits and staff-student consultation
During a term, academic staff responsible for the courses may make periodic classroom visits to monitor the activities of individual teaching staff. The results will be made available to the Schools, and will also be discussed at the Staff–Student Consultative Committees, for further improvement in the course’s next presentations. Any issues identified by the Schools will be recorded in the annual School Reports to be brought forward for consideration by the Internal Validation Committee.
Implementation of Outcome-based Education (OBE)
The QA system requires documentation on how the programmes and courses align content and assessment with intended learning outcomes in relevant programme proposals, revalidation submissions, as well as course proposals and reports.
Regular workshops and training sessions on OBE are conducted by the experienced instructional designers of the Educational Technology and Development Unit (ETDU) for new and existing staff every year.
The ETDU also provides academic staff with a handbook on OBE that covers the essentials for implementing OBE (such as the concept, writing programme outcomes, writing course outcomes which align with the programme outcomes, assigning course outcomes at the appropriate level, aligning course teaching with the outcomes, and relating course assessment to the outcomes). Document templates are provided in the handbook to facilitate the writing of programme and course proposals that adopt OBE.
In addition to OBE, the ETDU provides a range of resources and support to equip our academic staff with the best practice in teaching, learning and technology. For more details, please click here.
Resources [staff login required]
Best practice sharing