The aim of the project is to improve the quality of university teaching through systemic and integrated institutional action. EU studies reveal that European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have been focusing more and more on the quality of research results, however this has not always been accompanied by the same level of attention to the quality of their teaching. As a result, there is a widespread perception that teaching represents a relatively neglected activity in higher education (SWD (2017) 164, pp. 35-39).
The available literature sheds light on needs in two macro-areas:
- The need for transparency of teaching quality and the need to acquire data through assessment indicators focused on teaching, in order allow for performance comparisons among Higher Education Institutions;
- The need to improve and enhance academic teaching through the definition of benchmarks linked to specific indicators able to measure teaching quality levels in HEIs, thus allowing for the implementation of possible targeted actions to support teaching.
Starting from the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG, 2015), the project focuses its attention on:
- The types of indicators to be applied to measure teaching quality and their effectiveness;
- Promoting the professional development of university teaching staff in terms of methodological and pedagogic skills through which student-centered teaching practices can be devised and implemented.
- Lead Partner: Università dell’Aquila (Italy)
- Universitat de Barcelona (Spain)
- Universitatea Valahia Targoviste (Romania)
- Vilniaus Universitetas (Lithuania)
- Szczecinska Szkola Wyzsza Collegium Balticum (Poland)
- ilmiolavoro srl (Italy)
- Siuolaikiniu Didaktiku Centras (Lithuania)
- Increasing the ability to provide evidence of teaching quality with the acquisition of integrated data;
- Improving the ability to compare teaching performance among HEIs;
- Enhancing the capacity of HEIs to pursue objectives of continued professional development;
- and life-long learning through a validated teaching quality recognition system within each HEI;
- Fostering pedagogical training and professional development of teaching staff to enhance the quality of teaching.
The project is aimed at all components of the academic community, and more specifically at:
- University students;
- University professors teaching in first-level degree courses (Bachelor-level)
Intervention methodology shall be based on the following strategic assets:
- Creating indicators to monitor, assess and improve teaching and learning practices, in order to develop and implement strategies for continuous quality improvement (RAC.13; Policy Department B, 2015);
- Systematic and consistent collection of data on issues that affect the quality of teaching and learning;
- Professional development of teachers, trainers and staff;
- Development of innovative teaching and learning methodologies and pedagogical approaches. (RAC.13. High Level Group on the modernization of HE-2014).
υ IO1 – Development of a system of direct indicators for assessing the quality of university teaching;
υ IO2 – Teacher profile focused on learning / teaching with the definition of benchmarks and quality levels;
υ IO3 – OER / Methodological guidelines for professional growth of teachers and focused on teaching.
The innovative solutions discussed above are to be tested on a pilot group of universities in order to assess their effectiveness and their impact in terms of conferring transparency to quality university teaching and supporting the on-going improvement of university teaching.
With the aim of pursuing set objectives the project has adopted a holistic approach (OECD, Fostering quality teaching in HE, 2012) which acts on three interdependent levels:
- on an institutional level, through the creation of a system to measure and assess the quality of teaching (IO1);
- on a programming level, through the development of reference parameters (which constitute the quality levels resulting from the indicators developed in IO1) to outline a “teaching and learning-focused Teacher profile”IO2);
- on an individual level, through the development of methodological guidelines for the development of methodological-pedagogical skills functional to creating student-centered teaching practices.
The project will have positive effects:
- on teaching staff, by increasing their engagement in terms of the quality of teaching;
- on students, by allowing for a more meaningful learning experiences and enhanced learning outcomes.