Factors affecting quality enhancement procedures for e-learning courses

Magdalena Jara, Harvey Mellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper reports on an empirical study exploring the way in which campus‐based higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK apply their internal quality assurance and enhancement (QA/QE) procedures to their e‐learning courses. The purpose of this paper is to identify those characteristics of e‐learning courses which affected the capacity of these procedures to assure and enhance the quality of courses.
Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach is selected as most appropriate for an in‐depth examination of the features of the courses as well as the way in which the procedures are applied. Two sets of data are collected and analysed from each of four e‐learning courses: QA documentation and interviews with stakeholders.
Findings – It is found that the main factors impacting on the effectiveness of the QA procedures are: the organisational position that these courses had within their institutions; the distributed configuration of course, teams; the disaggregated processes that characterise e-learning courses; and the distant location of students. These factors are found to be impacting on the potential of the QA/QE procedures to enhance the quality of the courses.
Practical implications – These case studies highlight the need for campus-based universities to reassess their approach to the QA/QE of e-learning courses, and identify the challenges
that course teams face in moving on from the application of QA procedures to addressing the issues of QE.
Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in its analysis of empirical data about the
application of QA/QE procedures in e-learning courses in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalQuality Assurance in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2009


  • Elearning
  • Higher education
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality improvement
  • United Kingdom


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