The study analyzes the quality and the size of the strategic network of higher education institutions and the concept of fitness for purpose in quality assurance. It also analyses the transaction costs of networking that have consequences on the number of members in the network. Empirical evidence is presented from the Consortium on Applied Research and Professional Education, which is a European strategic network of six higher education institutions. The results of the study support the argument that the number of members in the strategic network should be relatively small to provide high-quality results. The practical importance is that networking has been able to promote international research and development projects. The results of this study are important for those who want to design and improve international networks in higher education.
The Norwegian ‘knowledge promotion reform’ was implemented in elementary schools and upper secondary schools in 2006. The goal of the reform was that all pupils should develop basic skills and competencies in order to take an active part in the knowledge society. This paper discusses how governmentality as a management principle is demonstrated through the Norwegian ‘knowledge promotion reform’. Evaluation reports and political documents are the basis for the discussion. The ‘knowledge promotion reform’ was including quality assurance for schools, teachers, and students and the authorities retained control by using curricula and national tests. The reform promoted several intentions that were not reached. In light of governmentality, it seemed that thoughts and intentions by the authorities differed from those in the world of practice. The quality assurances did not motivate the practitioners to be self-governing. The relationship between the authorities and the implementation actors was weak, and the reform was, therefore, difficult to implement in practice.
At this stage, Georgia is a country which is actively involved in the European integration process, for which the primary priority is effective integration in the European education system. The modern Georgian higher education system is the process of establishing a new sociocultural reality, whose main priorities are determined by the Quality System as a continuous cycle of planning, implementation, checking and acting. Obviously, in this situation, the issue of management of education institutions comes out in the foreground, since the proper planning and implementation of personnel management processes is one of the main determinants of the company's performance. At the same time, one of the most important factors is the psychological comfort of the personnel, ensuring their protection and efficiency of stress management policy.
The purpose of this research is to determine how intensely the relationship is between the psychological comfort of the personnel and the efficiency of the quality system in the institution as the quality assurance mechanisms of educational institutions affect the stability of personnel, prevention and management of the stressful situation. The research was carried out within the framework of the Internal Grant Project «The Role of Organizational Culture in the Process of Settlement of Management of Stress and Conflict, Georgian Reality and European Experience » of the Batumi Navigation Teaching University, based on the analysis of the survey results of target groups. The small-scale research conducted by us has revealed that the introduction of quality assurance system and its active implementation increased the quality of management of Georgian educational institutions, increased the level of universal engagement in internal and external processes and as a result, it has improved the quality of education as well as social and psychological comfort indicators of the society.
Worldwide and mainly in the European Union, many standards, regulations, models and systems exists for the evaluation and identification of stakeholders’ requirements of individual universities and higher education (HE) in general. All systems are targeting to measure or evaluate the Universities’ Quality Assurance Systems and the services offered to the recipients of HE, mainly the students. Numerous surveys were conducted in the past either by each university or by organized bodies to identify the students’ satisfaction or to evaluate to what extent these requirements are fulfilled. In this paper, the main results of an ongoing 6-year joint research will be presented very briefly. This research deals with an in depth investigation of student’s satisfaction, students personal requirements, a cup analysis among these two parameters and compares different universities. Through this research an attempt will be made to address four very important questions in higher education establishments (HEE): (1) Are there any common requirements, parameters, good practices or questions that apply to a large number of universities that will assure that students’ requirements are fulfilled? (2) Up to what extent the individual programs of HEE fulfil the requirements of the stakeholders? (3) Are there any similarities on specific programs among European HEE? (4) To what extent the knowledge acquired in a specific course program is utilized or used in a specific country? For the execution of the research an internationally accepted questionnaire(s) was used to evaluate up to what extent the students’ requirements and satisfaction were fulfilled in 2012 and five years later (2017). Samples of students and or universities were taken from many European Universities. The questionnaires used, the sampling method and methodology adopted, as well as the comparison tables and results will be very valuable to any university that is willing to follow the same route and methodology or compare the results with their own HHE. Apart from the unique methodology, valuable results are demonstrated from the four case studies. There is a great difference between the student’s expectations or importance from what they are getting from their universities (in all parameters they are getting less). When there is a crisis or budget cut in HEE there is a direct impact to students. There are many differences on subjects taught in European universities.
ABET accredited programs must assess the development of student learning outcomes (SOs) in engineering programs. Different institutions implement different strategies for this assessment, and they are usually designed “in house.” This paper presents a proposal for including standardized tests to complement the ABET assessment model in an engineering college made up of six distinct engineering programs. The engineering college formulated a model of quality assurance in education to be implemented throughout the six engineering programs to regularly assess and evaluate the achievement of SOs in each program offered. The model uses diverse techniques and sources of data to assess student performance and to implement actions of improvement based on the results of this assessment. The model is called “Assessment Process Model” and it includes SOs A through K, as defined by ABET. SOs can be divided into two categories: “hard skills” and “professional skills” (soft skills). The first includes abilities, such as: applying knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering and designing and conducting experiments, as well as analyzing and interpreting data. The second category, “professional skills”, includes communicating effectively, and understanding professional and ethnical responsibility. Within the Assessment Process Model, various tools were used to assess SOs, related to both “hard” as well as “soft” skills. The assessment tools designed included: rubrics, surveys, questionnaires, and portfolios. In addition to these instruments, the Engineering College decided to use tools that systematically gather consistent quantitative data. For this reason, an in-house exam was designed and implemented, based on the curriculum of each program. Even though this exam was administered during various academic periods, it is not currently considered standardized. In 2017, the Engineering College included three standardized tests: one to assess mathematical and scientific reasoning and two more to assess reading and writing abilities. With these exams, the college hopes to obtain complementary information that can help better measure the development of both hard and soft skills of students in the different engineering programs. In the first semester of 2017, the three exams were given to three sample groups of students from the six different engineering programs. Students in the sample groups were either from the first, fifth, and tenth semester cohorts. At the time of submission of this paper, the engineering college has descriptive statistical data and is working with various statisticians to have a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the sample group of students’ achievement on the three exams. The overall objective of including standardized exams in the assessment model is to identify more precisely the least developed SOs in order to define and implement educational strategies necessary for students to achieve them in each engineering program.
The analysis of geographic inequality heavily relies on the use of location-enabled statistical data and quantitative measures to present the spatial patterns of the selected phenomena and analyze their differences. To protect the privacy of individual instance and link to administrative units, point-based datasets are spatially aggregated to area-based statistical datasets, where only the overall status for the selected levels of spatial units is used for decision making. The partition of the spatial units thus has dominant influence on the outcomes of the analyzed results, well known as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). A new spatial reference framework, the Taiwan Geographical Statistical Classification (TGSC), was recently introduced in Taiwan based on the spatial partition principles of homogeneous consideration of the number of population and households. Comparing to the outcomes of the traditional township units, TGSC provides additional levels of spatial units with finer granularity for presenting spatial phenomena and enables domain experts to select appropriate dissemination level for publishing statistical data. This paper compares the results of respectively using TGSC and township unit on the mortality data and examines the spatial characteristics of their outcomes. For the mortality data between the period of January 1st, 2008 and December 31st, 2010 of the Taitung County, the all-cause age-standardized death rate (ASDR) ranges from 571 to 1757 per 100,000 persons, whereas the 2nd dissemination area (TGSC) shows greater variation, ranged from 0 to 2222 per 100,000. The finer granularity of spatial units of TGSC clearly provides better outcomes for identifying and evaluating the geographic inequality and can be further analyzed with the statistical measures from other perspectives (e.g., population, area, environment.). The management and analysis of the statistical data referring to the TGSC in this research is strongly supported by the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. An integrated workflow that consists of the tasks of the processing of death certificates, the geocoding of street address, the quality assurance of geocoded results, the automatic calculation of statistic measures, the standardized encoding of measures and the geo-visualization of statistical outcomes is developed. This paper also introduces a set of auxiliary measures from a geographic distribution perspective to further examine the hidden spatial characteristics of mortality data and justify the analyzed results. With the common statistical area framework like TGSC, the preliminary results demonstrate promising potential for developing a web-based statistical service that can effectively access domain statistical data and present the analyzed outcomes in meaningful ways to avoid wrong decision making.
Concrete is the predominant construction material in Bangladesh. In large projects, stringent quality control procedures are usually followed under the supervision of experienced engineers and skilled labors. However, in the case of small projects and particularly at distant locations from major cities, proper quality control is often an issue. It has been found from experience that such quality related issues mainly arise from inappropriate proportioning of concrete mixes and improper curing conditions. In most cases external curing method is followed which requires supply of adequate quantity of water along with proper protection against evaporation. Often these conditions are found missing in the general construction sites and eventually lead to production of weaker concrete both in terms of strength and durability. In this study, an attempt has been made to investigate the performance of general concreting works of the country when subjected to several adverse curing conditions that are quite common in various small to medium construction sites. A total of six different types of adverse curing conditions were simulated in the laboratory and samples were kept under those conditions for several days. A set of samples was also submerged in normal curing condition having proper supply of curing water. Performance of concrete was evaluated in terms of compressive strength, tensile strength, chloride permeability and drying shrinkage. About 37% and 25% reduction in 28-day compressive and tensile strength were observed respectively, for samples subjected to most adverse curing condition as compared to the samples under normal curing conditions. Normal curing concrete exhibited moderate permeability (close to low permeability) whereas concrete under adverse curing conditions showed very high permeability values. Similar results were also obtained for shrinkage tests. This study, thus, will assist concerned engineers and supervisors to understand the importance of quality assurance during the curing period of concrete.
The general functions of the university amongst other things include teaching, research and community service. Universities are recognized as the apex of learning, accumulating and imparting knowledge and skills of all kinds to students to enable them to be productive, earn their living and to make optimum contributions to national development. This is equivalent to the production of human capital in the form of high level manpower needed to administer the educational society, be useful to the society and manage the economy. Quality has become a matter of major importance for university education in Nigeria. Accreditation is the systematic review of educational programs to ensure that acceptable standards of education, scholarship and infrastructure are being maintained. Accreditation ensures that institution maintain quality. The process is designed to determine whether or not an institution has met or exceeded the published standards for accreditation, and whether it is achieving its mission and stated purposes. Ensuring quality assurance in accreditation process falls in the hands of university management which justified the need for this study. This study examined accreditation and quality assurance: the management imperative. Three research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. The design was a correlation survey with a population of 2,893 university administrators out of which 578 Heads of department and Dean of faculties were sampled. The instrument for data collection was titled Programme Accreditation Exercise scale with high levels of reliability. The research questions were answered with Pearson ‘r’ statistics. T-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses. It was found among others that the quality of accredited programme depends on the level of funding of universities in Nigeria. It was also indicated that quality of programme accreditation and physical facilities of universities in Nigeria have high relationship. But it was also revealed that programme accreditation is positively related to staffing in Nigerian universities. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommend that academic administrators should be included in the team of those who ensure quality programs in the universities. Private sector partnership should be encouraged to fund programs to ensure quality of programme in the universities. Independent agencies should be engaged to monitor the activities of accreditation teams to avoid bias.
One of the major problems facing education in Nigeria is the provision of quality Science and Technology education. Inadequate teaching facilities, non-usage of innovative teaching strategies, ineffective classroom management, lack of students’ motivation and poor integration of ICT has resulted in the increase in percentage of students who failed Basic Science and Technology in Junior Secondary Certification Examination for National Examination Council in Nigeria. To address these challenges, the Federal Government came up with a road map on education. This was with a view of enhancing quality education through integration of modern technology into teaching and learning, enhancing quality assurance through proper monitoring and introduction of innovative methods of teaching. This led the researcher to investigate how MOODLE LMS could be used to enhance students’ learning outcomes in BST. A sample of 120 students was purposively selected from four secondary schools in Ogbomoso. The experimental group was taught using MOODLE LMS, while the control group was taught using the conventional method. Data obtained were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test. The result showed that MOODLE LMS was an effective learning platform in teaching BST in junior secondary schools (t=4.953, P<0.05). Students’ attitudes towards BST was also enhanced through MOODLE LMS (t=15.632, P<0.05). The use of MOODLE LMS significantly enhanced students’ retention (t=6.640, P<0.05). In conclusion, the Federal Government efforts at enhancing quality assurance through integration of modern technology and e-learning in Secondary schools proved to have yielded good result has students found MOODLE LMS to be motivating and interactive. Attendance was improved.
This study analyzes the quality and the size of the strategic network of higher education institutions. The study analyses the concept of fitness for purpose in quality assurance. It also analyses the transaction costs of networking that have consequences on the number of members in the network. Empirical evidence is presented of the Consortium on Applied Research and Professional Education, which is a European strategic network of six higher education institutions. The results of the study support the argument that the number of members in the strategic network should be relatively small to provide high quality results. The practical importance is that networking has been able to promote international research and development projects. The results of this study are important for those who want to design and improve international networks in higher education.
The Institutional Sustainability Performance (ISP) of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines reveals the level of compliance and fidelity of the latter to the mandates of the state. This performance evaluation procedure aims to perpetually monitor and sustain the quality of services provided by the state institutions in the country. Importantly, the SUC level rating is one of the key indicators of the merit system adopted by the state to give incentives to government institutions. With the crucial role of the ISP and SUC level in the performance of an institution and in sustaining quality assurance, this study theorized that the top managers’ capacity to influence is the critical factor in meeting the expectations of the state. This study assessed the top managers’ capacity to influence. The hypothesis in this study proved that leadership style of top managers has significant relationship to the managers’ capacity to influence for institutional sustainability performance. Thus, the subjects of this study were restricted only to the State Universities and Colleges (SUC) that qualified in the top 20 Institutional Sustainability Performance; the digital governance performance, and the SUC leveling status nationwide. The top managers and their subordinates with doctorate of Bulacan State University and Bataan Peninsula State University whose programs have been consistently submitted to accreditation and were ranked Levels III and IV were subjected and participated to the study. This study assessed the top managers’ capacity to influence. The hypothesis in this study proved that leadership style of top managers has significant relationship to the managers’ capacity to influence for institutional sustainability performance. Thus, the subjects of this study were restricted only to the State Universities and Colleges (SUC) that qualified in the top 20 Institutional Sustainability Performance; the digital governance performance, and the SUC leveling status nationwide. The top managers and their subordinates with doctorate of Bulacan State University and Bataan Peninsula State University whose programs have been consistently submitted to accreditation and were ranked Levels III and IV were subjected and participated to the study.
In the present case study we examined the development and testing methods of systems that contain safety-critical elements in different industrial fields. Consequentially, we observed the classical object-oriented development and testing environment, as both medical technology and automobile industry approaches the development of safety critical elements that way. Subsequently, we examined model-based development. We introduce the quality parameters that define development and testing. While taking modern agile methodology (scrum) into consideration, we examined whether and to what extent the methodologies we found fit into this environment.
The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of software quality assurance approaches of Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations, and to propose a framework which could be used across all offshore software development organizations.
An empirical study was conducted using derived framework from popular software quality evaluation models. The research instrument employed was a questionnaire survey among thirty seven Sri Lankan registered offshore software development organizations.
The findings demonstrate a positive view of Effectiveness of Software Quality Assurance – the stronger predictors of Stability, Installability, Correctness, Testability and Changeability. The present study’s recommendations indicate a need for much emphasis on software quality assurance for the Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations.
The use of low quality concrete has been identified as one of the main causes of the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria. Emphasis has been on the use of poor quality aggregates, poor workmanship and the use of lean concrete mix with low cement quantity as the reasons for the low quality of concrete used for building construction in Nigeria. Surveys conducted revealed that in the construction of most privately owned buildings where concrete trial mixes and concrete compressive strength quality assurance tests are not conducted, concretes used for building constructions are produced using the 1:2:4 mix ratio irrespective of the cement grade/strength class. In this paper, the possible role of the use of inappropriate cement grade/strength class as a cause of the incessant collapse of building in Nigeria is investigated. Investigation revealed that the compressive strengths of concrete cubes produced with Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5 using 1:2:4 and 1:1.5:3 mix ratios are less than the 25MPa and 30MPa cube strengths generally recommended for building superstructures and foundations respectively. Conversely, the compressive strengths of concrete cubes produced with Portland-limestone cement grade 42.5 using 1:2:4 and 1:1.5:3 mix ratios exceed the 25MPa and 30MPa generally recommended for building superstructures and foundations respectively. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of inappropriate cement grade (Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5), particularly for the construction of building foundations is a potential cause of the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria. It is recommended that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria should embark on creating awareness for Nigerians, particularly, the home owners and the roadside craftsmen that Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5 should not be used for the construction of building load-carrying members, particularly, building foundations in order to reduce the incessant incidence of collapsed building.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products is an emerging technology that can contain forensically important information for a criminal activity. Without having the user name and passwords, this forensically important information can still be gathered by the investigators. Although there are a few VoIP forensic investigative applications available in the literature, most of them are particularly designed to collect evidence from the Skype product. Therefore, in order to assist law enforcement with collecting forensically important information from variety of Betamax VoIP tools, CVOIP-FRU framework is developed. CVOIP-FRU provides a data gathering solution that retrieves usernames, contact lists, as well as call and SMS logs from Betamax VoIP products. It is a scripting utility that searches for data within the registry, logs and the user roaming profiles in Windows and Mac OSX operating systems. Subsequently, it parses the output into readable text and html formats. One superior way of CVOIP-FRU compared to the other applications that due to intelligent data filtering capabilities and cross platform scripting back end of CVOIP-FRU, it is expandable to include other VoIP solutions as well. Overall, this paper reveals the exploratory analysis performed in order to find the key data paths and locations, the development stages of the framework, and the empirical testing and quality assurance of CVOIP-FRU.
The product development process (PDP) in the Technology group plays a very important role in the launch of any product. While a manufacturing process encourages the use of certain measures to reduce health, safety and environmental (HSE) risks on the shop floor, the PDP concentrates on the use of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) to develop a flawless design. Furthermore, PDP distributes and coordinates activities between different departments such as marketing, purchasing, and manufacturing. However, it is seldom realized that PDP makes a significant contribution to developing a product that reduces HSE risks by encouraging the Technology group to use effective GD&T. The GD&T is a precise communication tool that uses a set of symbols, rules, and definitions to mathematically define parts to be manufactured. It is a quality assurance method widely used in the oil and gas sector. Traditionally it is used to ensure the interchangeability of a part without affecting its form, fit, and function. Parts that do not meet these requirements are rejected during quality audits. This paper discusses how the Technology group integrates this quality assurance tool into the PDP and how the tool plays a major role in helping the HSE department in its goal towards eliminating HSE incidents. The PDP involves a thorough risk assessment and establishes a method to address those risks during the design stage. An illustration shows how GD&T helped reduce safety risks by ergonomically improving assembling operations. A brief discussion explains how tolerances provided on a part help prevent finger injury. This tool has equipped Technology to produce fixtures, which are used daily in operations as well as manufacturing. By applying GD&T to create good fits, HSE risks are mitigated for operating personnel. Both customers and service providers benefit from reduced safety risks.
The purpose of this study is to identify the critical success factors (CSFs) for the effective implementation of Six Sigma in non-formal service Sectors.
Based on the survey of literature, the critical success factors (CSFs) for Six Sigma have been identified and are assessed for their importance in Non-formal service sector using Delphi Technique. These selected CSFs were put forth to the panel of expert to cluster them and prepare cognitive map to establish their relationship.
All the critical success factors examined and obtained from the review of literature have been assessed for their importance with respect to their contribution to Six Sigma effectiveness in non formal service sector.
The study is limited to the non-formal service sectors involved in the organization of religious festival only. However, the similar exercise can be conducted for broader sample of other non-formal service sectors like temple/ashram management, religious tours management etc.
The research suggests an approach to identify CSFs of Six Sigma for Non-formal service sector. All the CSFs of the formal service sector will not be applicable to Non-formal services, hence opinion of experts was sought to add or delete the CSFs. In the first round of Delphi, the panel of experts has suggested, two new CSFs-“competitive benchmarking (F19) and resident’s involvement (F28)”, which were added for assessment in the next round of Delphi. One of the CSFs-“fulltime six sigma personnel (F15)” has been omitted in proposed clusters of CSFs for non-formal organization, as it is practically impossible to deploy full time trained Six Sigma recruits.
In the automotive industry test drives are being conducted during the development of new vehicle models or as a part of quality assurance of series-production vehicles. The communication on the in-vehicle network, data from external sensors, or internal data from the electronic control units is recorded by automotive data loggers during the test drives. The recordings are used for fault analysis. Since the resulting data volume is tremendous, manually analysing each recording in great detail is not feasible. This paper proposes to use machine learning to support domainexperts by preventing them from contemplating irrelevant data and rather pointing them to the relevant parts in the recordings. The underlying idea is to learn the normal behaviour from available recordings, i.e. a training set, and then to autonomously detect unexpected deviations and report them as anomalies. The one-class support vector machine “support vector data description” is utilised to calculate distances of feature vectors. SVDDSUBSEQ is proposed as a novel approach, allowing to classify subsequences in multivariate time series data. The approach allows to detect unexpected faults without modelling effort as is shown with experimental results on recordings from test drives.
Implementing quality assurance in higher education establishments is the main focus of the reform process currently undertaken by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The reform agenda has involved attempts to improve academic quality and management processes in universities, technical institutions and colleges. The central challenge for the reform process is to produce change in higher education in a region where administration is described as centralized and bureaucratic. To make these changes, there should be a well-designed plans and follow up processes in order to monitor progress and develop responses to obstacles. Lack of skills, resources, political dilemmas, poor motivation, and readiness to face the consequences of change are factors which will determine the success of the reform process.