Coventry praised for new technology ethos

July 14, 2000

The Quality Assurance Agency has given Coventry University star marks for its innovative use of new technology in teaching and learning, writes Tim Greenhalgh.

The QAA report on the university's academic quality comprehensively praises its work in maintaining academic standards. It examined the university's quality strategy, its annual quality monitoring process, quality enhancement and collaborative provision.

The QAA praised the university's introduction of online teaching and learning - making use of email and the internet - as an area in which it leads much of the higher education sector in the United Kingdom.

The "dynamic range of initiatives", which includes computer-based online learning coordinated by the university's Teaching and Learning Task Force, was particularly highlighted.

Online learning is also identified as having "a major impact on the working habits and morale of the university, refreshing many courses and improving contact between lecturers and students".

The report identifies many other points in the university's working practices for commendation:

* The "range and innovative nature" of its efforts to canvass student opinion

* The "wide-ranging, stringent and constructive nature" of its quality appraisal panel system for reviewing support services

* Course approval and review mechanisms that "combine a robust quality and standards assurance approach with a significant quality enhancement"

* The "clarity of its arrangements" for overseeing the quality and standards of courses offered through its partner institutions in the UK

* The university's internal communication strategy, which all members of staff questioned by the inspection team praised as "an efficient and personal mode of two-way communication".

Gareth Thomas, the university's senior pro vice-chancellor, said: "This is a resounding vote of confidence by the national 'watchdog' organisation for Coventry University's management of quality and standards."

The QAA's commendation comes soon after a highly successful international conference at the university that discussed the issues surrounding the global computer games culture.

The conference, "Living in a Material World 2000: Consuming (in) the War Zone", was organised by the communication, culture and media subject group, based in the university's school of art and design.

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