The quality assurance standards system: Research and practice in the Open University of China

Wang Lina, Guo Qingchun and Huang Chuanhui
The Open University of China
Beijing, China

Quality assurance is one of the main concerns in distance higher education, and standards are the key factor involved in establishing an effective system. This paper examines the experience of the Open University of China (OUC), which has recently initiated a research project on setting up a quality assurance standards system. The process of constructing a standards assurance system was divided into three steps. Firstly, it carried out an international comparison with the following: the Quality Assurance Statements of Best Practices by the AAOU; the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities by EADTU; Quality Assessment for E-learning a Benchmarking Approach by EADTU; Quality Assurance Toolkit for Distance Higher Education Institutions and Programmes by COL; and the UK Quality Code for Higher Education by the QAA. Secondly, it summarized the CRTVU's research and practice on quality assurance standards. Thirdly, it constructed a quality assurance framework and established the standards system for OUC, based on the international experiences and OUC's new requirements. The standards system includes six first-class indicators, 18 second-class indicators and 98 third-class indicators. It also defines the standards and benchmarking.