A report of the European Commission places high expectations to the quality assurance in higher education by stating that it is at the heart of efforts to build a coherent, compatible and attractive European Higher Education Area (EHEA). In Europe the standards and guidelines for quality assurance in higher education are defined by European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). Their guidelines divide quality assurance in three parts: 1) Internal quality assurance 2) External quality assurance and 3) Quality assurance agencies. In the CDIO initiative quality assurance and quality enhancement is supported with the Standard 12 – Program evaluation. This standard presents a system that evaluates programs against the twelve CDIO standards, and provides feedback to students, faculty, and other stakeholders for the purposes of continuous improvement. The CDIO program evaluation and ENQA internal quality assurance can be seen focusing on similar aspects of higher education. The CDIO program evaluation – self-evaluation – is done for analyzing the program’s development and for targeting the continuous improvement goals. It is a tool for a program’s quality enhancement. These program evaluations could provide fruitful information and help to other programs too. Other programs could learn from the self-evaluations and identify good practices for their development. In addition, others might also act as critical friends and provide different viewpoints and aspects to the self-evaluation and program development. Although one of the strengths of the CDIO initiative is the broad community of engineering educators, it is still rare to use this power of CDIO community in quality enhancement purposes. In this paper three such examples are discussed. First example started in 2009 with four collaborators, second in 2011 with six collaborators and the third in autumn 2014 and it continues until September 2016. All these efforts are externally funded projects. One of the idea in these efforts was to complement internal quality assurance with external quality assurance including an external assessment with a site visit and a report resulting from the external assessment. The first project focused on self-evaluation and cross-sparring within Scandinavia. It was very strongly based on CDIO standards and a one-day site visit activity was included. Four programs from four different universities participated. The second project had partners from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania. Four new programs from the participating universities worked on their quality enhancement during this project. The project had three main phases: workshops, self-evaluation, and cross-evaluation. The workshops were supporting pedagogical development, quality assurance and evaluation phases in partner universities. The latest project is an European-wide project and it has higher ambitions such as building a marketplace for cross-sparring purposes. This paper reflects the projects and their influence on quality enhancement. It looks back to the external quality assurance recommendations and effects on the programs. The paper also discusses the various possibilities within CDIO community to enhance quality together.
Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016