QUALITY ASSURANCE IN EDUCATION: EVALUATING THE QUALITY OF DISTANCE UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
1 Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (BRAZIL)
2 University of Texas (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Despite the distance education doesn't be a new mode of education still creates uncertainty and resistance not only by students but also by teachers with regard to its concept being associated with low quality of teaching or to attribute to offer nulls courses.
The origin of this resistance is related to two factors: poor quality of the courses offered by institutions without specific accreditation to work with EAD and those who chose to offer courses to produce "mass" diploma without the proper commitment to effective learning of students.
Brazilian education is going through an important moment of reflection on how to design educational practices and programs and policies of the federal government has bet on the EAD as a modality capable of assisting in training teachers, helping to improve quality for Primary Education.
There are a large number of teachers working without the proper academic training. These professionals without specific training in areas teaching make up a significant group working on the national scene. So, the offer of undergraduate in the distance, presenting itself as a suitable alternative to the training needs of teachers, because democratize education, promoting access to education for this population not reached by traditional education (face to face).
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of institutions of higher education offering distance undergraduate in Brazil increased over 1,000%, taking more than two million Brazilians to use distance education, according to the ABED (Brazilian Association of Distance Education).
With such rapid growth arises the concern about the quality of the offerings of the distance courses, generating an international interest by appropriate indicators and mechanisms to ensure quality in higher education.
The objective of this paper, in Quality assurance in Education Area, is to discuss the effectiveness of distance undergraduate courses and help to improve quality of these courses, since the EAD is part of a new educational paradigm, for which there is still much resistance and a look heavily influenced by traditions in that to teach and to learn necessarily require the physical presence of the teacher.
This research presents quality indicators for development of undergraduate courses in distance mode in Brazil, constituting a qualitative analysis, descriptive. The identification of the metrics used to measure quality in distance education in the international context and in Brazil was part of the investigation.
The systematization of this information defined a set of guidelines / recommendations that include quality indicators for organize a distance learning course. The interpretation of the results of research indicates that this mode teaching requires considerable financial investment, that a high percentage of presentiality is not synonymous of quality of a course and is possible to train teachers in the distance considering quality indicators proposed in this research.
Keywords: Quality in higher education, quality in distance education, indicators and quality metrics in education.