Virgínia Sánchez Román
Mexico is developing its own accreditation model for online education in collaboration with the UOC. The aim is to guarantee the quality of its distance learning courses.
The UOC offered advisory services to twenty-five of the Mexican education system's quality experts and various agencies specializing in quality assurance. The UOC offered its experience and know-how in the sphere of online university qualification accreditation so that Mexico could develop its own frame of reference.
The workshop took place as part of ESAD MX, a seminar on quality in open and online higher education in Mexico organized by the Universidad Abierta y a Distancia de México (UnADM), the Directorate-General for Accreditation, Incorporation and Revalidation (DGAIR), the Board of Accreditation for Higher Education (COPAES) and the Inter-institutional Committees for the Evaluation of Higher Education (CIEES), on 21 and 22 May.
Over the course of the meetings, everyone took part in building the quality model, which will be analysed in the second part of the ESAD MX Quality Seminar. Over 40 Mexican universities offering open and distance education courses through e-learning environments in the country will participate in this session.
Designing its own frame of reference
The experts Maria Taulats, director of UOC Planning and Quality reviewed university policy and the European quality processes and explained how Catalonia fits into the framework of these university education quality assurance processes. They also explained what accrediting online programmes, blended or mixed, with quality agencies in Spain is like and offered some guidelines on the accreditation process, including European references.
During the training session, those in attendance learned from a theoretical-practical perspective about key online education processes and the indicators that need to be evaluated in open and distance education in Mexico. At the end of the workshop, they were advised to develop a framework of reference for online higher education for Mexico. Taulats stressed the importance of this collaboration because “based on our experience as an online university, the Mexican accreditation agencies will be able to develop their own general framework of reference with the criteria online higher education courses need to fulfil in order to guarantee their quality”.
Working with the quality agencies of different countries will allow online education to be recognized as quality education worldwide, which is one of the strategic objectives of the UOC. “By collaborating with institutions that assure the quality of higher education, we are helping more people to access that education, as established in the 2030 Agenda and, more specifically, SDG 4”, says Gemma Xarles, director of Globalization and Cooperation.
Present at the workshop were the National Council for Accreditation in Information Science and Computing (CONAIC), the Council for Accreditation in Social, Accounting and Related Sciences (CACECA) and the Board of Accreditation in Social, Accounting and Administrative Sciences in Higher Education of Latin America (CACSLA), which represent over 70% of the accredited courses offered in Mexico.