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THE QUALITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND STUDENT ‎FEEDBACK: EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FROM THE MASTER’S ‎DEGREE PROGRAM IN SECURITY MANAGEMENT

J. Ojasalo

Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
The PURPOSE of this article is to increase the knowledge of the quality of higher education in ‎security management based on student feedback. The literature includes knowledge of quality of ‎higher education and utilizing student feedback in managing it, however very little empirical knowledge ‎exists on this phenomenon in the context of security management education. Thus, there is need to ‎examine this issue further in security management education context. METHOD: The present empirical ‎qualitative study is based on analyzing student feedback obtained from students of the master’s ‎degree program of security management. As a result, this article proposes a model of factors ‎affecting positively the quality of higher education. Seven factors were identified, and they are ‎teaching as coaching, authentic development of organizations, independence in combining theory ‎and practice, students instructing each other, working in small groups, clear and detailed instructions, ‎and intensive key note lectures. ‎
STRUCTURE: First, this article discussed the nature of quality in higher education. This is done by ‎discussing the concept of quality at general level, and then more focused in the context of higher ‎education. Next, this article discussed the role of student feedback in developing and monitoring the ‎quality of higher education. Then, it discusses the methods of gathering student feedback. After that, ‎it explains the methodology of the present empirical study. Next, it describes the empirical findings, ‎in other words the factors affecting quality of higher education identified in the study. Then, the article ‎draws the final conclusions. ‎
EMPIRICAL FIDGINDS: ‎
Based on the present empirical material, student feedback, the following factors increase the quality ‎of higher education. ‎
‎- Teaching as coaching: The role of the teacher in the education in question was very different than the ‎role of a traditional lecturer. Instead of traditional lecturing, the teacher’s task was to guide and ‎facilitate the students projects, group works, seminars, analyzes, development of ideas, discussions, ‎presentations, and delivery of outcomes. In effect, the role of the teacher was actually to be a coach. ‎The empirical material indicates that, in higher education, teaching as coaching increases the quality ‎of education perceived by students.‎
‎- Authentic development of organizations: The students were highly motivated for authentic ‎development since this directly contributed to the improvement of their own organizations and, in ‎most cases, their own field of responsibility. ‎
‎- Independence in combining theory and practice: The students were given freedom but also ‎responsibility in selecting the theoretical grounds of their project work. ‎
‎- Students instructing each other: In the traditional approach, the teacher lectures and students listen. In ‎pedagogic approach of the present education, the setting was turned the other way round.
‎- Working in small groups: The education included plenty of working in small groups of 3-5 students. ‎This was perceived to positively influence the quality of the education.‎
‎- Clear and detailed instructions: Clear and detailed instructions are appreciated by the students.‎
‎- Intensive key note lectures: The present empirical material suggests that intensive professional key ‎note lectures increase the quality of education.‎