The Nexus between Stakeholder Engagement and Instructional Quality: The Case of The UWI Open Campus’s Awareness and Professional Development Towards a Quality Support Framework
With changes in the global economic landscape, universities are employing adjunct staff to instruct their online courses in new and expanding programs. Concomitantly, the growth of information and communication technology worldwide has facilitated the creation of classrooms without walls and universities without borders. The challenge for institutions is to create that nexus between programme quality and instructor engagement, especially where the instructors are just adjunct members of the staff. The University of the West Indies (UWI), through its virtual Open Campus (OC), has aligned its strategic objective of excellence to “…provide multiple, flexible paths for all constituencies to pursue tertiary education over their lifetime[i]” with the development of a framework that provides support for adjunct faculty members who are often “new to online”.
This article is predicated on a quality framework established within the UWIOC at the start of the academic year 2012/13. It draws on the processes used with online educators while the university restructured its quality assurance (QA) procedures. I will discuss how a quality framework might affect instructional practices in distance education while broadening the understanding of what it means to facilitate focused student engagement. Data for the study will be generated through multiple methods: ethnographic observations; focus group interviews and document and artefact collection – reports on the use of two monitoring instruments. I will analyse key components of the OC quality structure; quality context issues and their contribution to success; and essential principles for ongoing assessment and planning to maintain the cycle.
The discourse examines the possible effects of the changes, if any, through a practice-oriented perspective on quality amidst changes occurring within the UWI’s virtual campus. it also contemplates on how the process of increased monitoring and accountability works towards quality improvement. Key findings are presented with graphic and narrative arrangements supported by literature in the area of institutional quality.
[i] UWI, Strategic Plan, 2012
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The University of the West Indies. (2012, July). UWI Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017. Strategic Objectives. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies.
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