The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), a multinational quality assurance organization, organized the annual international online seminar under the topic “Re-imagining Higher Education Quality in an Age of Uncertainty” from June 7 to 10, 2021. Quality assurance organizations and higher education institutions from various countries were invited to share corresponding measures and exchange experiences of different practices under the impact of the COVID-19.
TWAEA’s poster “Digitization Responses to Taiwan HE Accreditation under the Epidemic” was accepted by the conference, and we have discussed with experts and scholars from other countries at the seminar about relevant digital corresponding measures applied by HE institutions. With reference to the digital corresponding measures related to the evaluation of HE institutions; in addition to the necessary pandemic measures, the routine trainings for reviewers also include video courses and online meetings to reduce personal contacts. Our final goal is not to affect the substantial content of evaluation.
At the same time, a customized online system is developed for our reviewers to state out the matters for clarifications and evaluation comments. Moreover, the functions such as online feedback and discussion mechanism are covered to assist the reviewers for opinion exchange. Backup plans are also prepared for on-site visits, depending on the impact of the pandemic and the government’s policies, for either the postpone of them or have them implemented in virtual mode. If the evaluation is decided to hold in virtual mode, the evaluated institution shall provide electronic data as evidence for evaluation, including online campus tour and faculties’ teaching situation, assisting the reviewers to implement online evaluation. Regarding the interviews with students, faculty and staff, they can also be conducted in virtual mode.
“Advice from others may help one to overcome.” Though the seminar was conducted online under the severe ongoing pandemic, the participants’ enthusiasm for exchanging experiences and practices remains passionate. Through the participation in this seminar, it is deeply understood that the global economy and industrial development have been hit seriously by the pandemic; higher education has no exception to it. Every country tries hard to find its way out under this difficult situation; besides sharing the digitalized quality assurance strategies under this pandemic, we could also learn from experiences shared by other countries, and try to transform them into effective practices for ourselves.
Due to the impact of the pandemic, the development of current higher education still remains uncertain without clear answers. By taking the experiences from other countries, we hope to learn from their advantages to improve the development of our higher education, making breakthroughs under the impact of the pandemic.