Digitalisation has been a key theme at the EFMD conferences, symposia and seminars for a number of years. The importance of digitalisation in the business model of EFMD members cannot be underestimated. Nor can it be ignored in terms of the developmental and quality assurance role that EFMD plays. Online and blended delivery are part of the discussion as well as the need to support the digital skills of students and staff. We are preparing for a future that has more to do with online learning than the traditional lecture hall, more to do with interaction than instruction.
So, it comes as no surprise that national quality assurance (QA) bodies are gearing themselves up to meet the digital challenge. What was a surprise, however, was that Keith Pond and Antonia Lütgens of EOCCS were invited to deliver a workshop entitled: “Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Online Courses” by MNCEA, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Mongolia based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
MNCEA saw that the need to review standards in online education starts with a review of good practice around the globe. And EOCCS from EFMD Global Network fits that description very well.
Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar hosts the country’s four largest business schools. Catering to its three million inhabitants, Mongolia’s top universities provide a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes in Management, Accounting, Finance and Economics.
The workshop was hosted by the National University of Mongolia, an institution that offers its own MOOCs, including one in Business Relationships and Management Skills.
The invited delegates for the workshop of around 200 over two days comprised mainly Academics/Teachers (60%), University Administrators (20%) and Technologists and others (20%). The presentations guided the delegates through the EOCCS standards and process with a view to exploring the basic principles of good online course design. MNCEA was also interested in developing its own competence in online course accreditation not only in Business and Management but across the whole spectrum of Higher Education.
Facilitated by a smartphone voting app, the delegates shared that, although they had little experience of taking online courses as students or creating them as designers, they were fully aware of the benefits of online education as shown in the Wordcloud created via Vevox.com that the delegates contributed interactively.
Huge enthusiasm to engage with new technologies and new pedagogies in the digital arena was shown by the delegates and the EOCCS team was able to illustrate points of good practice from its wide knowledge of EOCCS institutions. That enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by notoriously slow internet throughout the country. Whilst the Mongolian internet is relatively cheap, according to cable.co.uk, it would be difficult to host video or synchronous webinars as part of an online course due to broadband speeds and availability. This is a limitation but not a show-stopper. Digital thinking invites teaching innovation.
Whilst Mongolia has its challenges in this area there is a determination to succeed and to benchmark against the good practice of Business Schools worldwide as exemplified by EOCCS.