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|Title:||AN EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE English FOR ACADEMIC WRITING PROGRAMME USING THE IHEP 2000 QUALITY BENCHMARKS|
|Publisher:||INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA|
|Citation:||Farrah, M. (2006). AN EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE English FOR ACADEMIC WRITING PROGRAMME USING THE IHEP 2000 QUALITY BENCHMARKS|
|Abstract:||One of the important issues in online learning is quality standards. In April 2000, the Institute of Higher Education Policy (IHEP) developed 24 benchmarks to ensure the quality of online programmes. Since the IHEP benchmarks were established, a few studies have used them to evaluate their online programs. This study looks at the extent to which an online English for Academic Writing course offered by the Centre for Languages and Pre-University Academic Development (CELPAD) of the International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM), met the IHEP 2000 benchmarks. Studies on language programmes using these benchmarks are hardly known, as evidenced in the literature review. This study marks the first time such a benchmark has been used to evaluate a language programme. Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were employed. Interviews were conducted for qualitative data. Thirty students and 15 instructors were interviewed. Quantitative data was obtained from two sets of questionnaires. The first one was completed by 421 students and the second by twenty eight instructors. For students, the stratified sampling method was used taking into consideration that the sample should represent the various faculties, nationalities, and gender. For the instructors, the entire population was used because of its small size. The benchmarks in the instructor questionnaire were: (a) institutional support; (b) course development; (c) teaching and learning; (d) course structure; (e) student support; (f) faculty support; and (g) evaluation and assessment. According to the instructors, the programme met teaching and learning, and course structure benchmarks. However, it did not meet the quality standards for course development, student support, evaluation and assessment, faculty support, and institutional support. The benchmarks that were examined in the student questionnaire were: (a) institutional support; (b) course development; (c) teaching and learning; (d) course structure; (e) student support; and (f) value, flexibility and convenience. The students perceived that the programme met all of the benchmarks with student support benchmark being the only exception. The results obtained from the interviews showed that the instructors felt that the aspects related to teaching and learning were achieved. However, the information collected through the interviews with the students showed that all the benchmarks have been achieved with the only exception of student support. Triangulating the empirical findings with the interviews helped to explain some of the problems faced by the Centre. This research demonstrated the usefulness of the IHEP benchmarks in measuring the quality of an online programme. Finally, the study concluded with recommendations for improvement in each benchmark and the necessary recommendations were also made for further research.|
|Appears in Collections:||Journals|
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