8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN), Barcelona, Spain, 4 - 06 July 2016, pp.1094-1099 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Barcelona
  • Country: Spain
  • Page Numbers: pp.1094-1099
  • Keywords: Quality assurance, accreditation, open and distance learning, higher education
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


The internationalisation of higher education (HE) brings quality assurance (QA) more under spot. The recognition of credits and degrees worldwide and accreditation by wellknown international agencies is becoming a rule in the face of global competitiveness. On the other hand, QA and accreditation practices may vary according to the societal, cultural environments and national context. Therefore, they have both international and culture-specific aspects. Especially in distance education, QA and accreditation processes are still at an early stage of development and they are shaped not only by international practices but also local requirements of the educational systems. In a very small number of countries, there are agencies that accredit only distance education programmes or award labels. The progress of quality issues in Turkish higher education has been accelerated through the integration with the Bologna Process that has aimed to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Following the basic principles of transparency, recognition and mobility; Anadolu University has accepted internationalisation, promoting quality assurance and increasing cooperation with European institutions as goals to be achieved. A student-centred and learning outcome oriented higher education has become the understanding for both conventional (face-to-face) and distance courses. In this regard, the purpose of this study is to present the QA and accreditation processes of Anadolu University in distance education, as an example integrating both global and local educational requirements to its quality culture and discuss these practices in the light of relevant literature. The vision of the University has been defined as providing programmes that meet international quality standards to all learners in different geographies. In the academic year 2005-2006, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) was applied, however it took six years more to realize this transition for the distance programmes. The self-evaluation process under supervision of the European University Association (EUA) has been another milestone in the quality journey. A solid result of the interest in quality issues has been the establishment of the Office for Quality Assurance in Open Education System. The team assigned is responsible for monitoring the internal QA processes and the accreditation processes of different programmes. The first accreditation certificate for the Open Education System was achieved in 2015 for the two-year associate degree programmes. The quality motto is quality in outputs, the learning materials and services. In order to realize the review of the learning materials, Quality Improvement Boards have been assigned for each programme. Besides the challenge of applying the international quality standards to one's own educational system, the internal quality reviews have their own challenges. Talking about cultural differences in quality issues drives interest to local needs and concerns whereby administrators have to search for their own solutions. The authors of this study tell their own experience and discuss if a value-free reading of the quality criteria is necessary for a successful integration with the HE regime.