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