Importance of proper evaluation models for universities

How straightforward it would have been if all Universities had to do was establish a panel of educators, call for students and carry on with being engaged in teaching and research.

Theoretically, that’s what they do, but underneath that mundane front lies a multitude of tasks that contribute to the volatility of its actuality.  They are covered by words that have a depth of significance behind them, such as audience, needs, objectives, value, worth, processes, accountability, responsibility and impact. Each activity carries a load of weight under the blanket of evaluation of the model of the university – something required by all its stakeholders - its students, its educators and third party expectations.  Never before have Universities been under keener scrutiny for their organizational, managerial and functional capabilities in the face of mass competition and restricted finances.

Universities are evaluating themselves to assess the effectiveness of their teaching methods and constantly striving to improve their ranking, there is no doubt about that. But, are they looking at the same practices and models year on year, or are they aligning their teaching practices with changes in learning processes and the objectives of their students to join the industry and use their knowledge, theory and tools in a real life world?  Do they see the need for change or is it the same rigid model that puts their students through the same relentless pace semester after semester?

Ideally, Universities would need to assess its process of evaluation against the learning outcomes of each of their modules more often. The assessment data would enable them to review and update their curriculum to strengthen their inter-disciplinary links and establish a foundation for integrated learning.  For example, if experiential learning is built into the study programs, it enables students to grasp a deeper understanding of their topic while engaged in the learning process.

What about the business courses conducted by Universities? Accounting and Finance – Business Management studies –  Chemical Engineering – computer science – Economics – Robotics, the list could be endless.  Talk to any young professional and you would catch the note of pride when they state their credentials.  Yes, these credentials could be quite awesome, since they equip the budding businessman, entrepreneur or office worker with quite a few skills, to name a few of them: Numeracy levels higher than some other courses - knowledge of financial interpretation and analysis such as balance sheets – Higher than average IT skills and proficiency – higher than average general research skills – a knowledge of project planning and management.

The big BUT – how well equipped are these future managers equipped with knowledge and skills to deal with the complex problems of competitive business environments locally and internationally?  The world outside the University is turbulent, companies are gobbling up each other in mergers and acquisitions in an unprecedented fashion faster than one could imagine. Giant powers are swallowing smaller entities and entrepreneurs now need sharper skills and higher critical thinking and reasoning to survive.  

What does this mean? Simply that Universities need to relook at their evaluation models, to incorporate a change in teaching methods, administration, service work, research and other areas that need to be simultaneously monitored.  The model should serve to enhance the capability of future managers to use a combined mix of business, economics and legal concepts, risk management and social responsibility at community and institutional level when they finally reach out to the world of employment.

An alternative evaluation model that has been tried out by some Universities has been one of bringing in the community and the university in a cross-sectoral partnership.  The partnership would ideally help stakeholders to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for the community, in a collaborative effort that would ensure mutually beneficial learning and professional development along with social networking.  There would be a great fit between university and community culture because new entrants to the job market would come not with mere knowledge, but also with resilience, adaptability, and social responsibility.  Not only these, but also the capacity to view complex problems in all its dimensions and devise appropriate and effective management strategies without having to learn these through trial and error, aptly titled “experience”.

Interestingly, the BQuTAMS API provides programmatic access to third-party applications allowing read and write functions for student, course and timetable information. The API also makes it possible to integrate the BQuTAMS platform with existing and legacy education systems. The API uses the REST API standard and information that can be returned using the API includes lecturers, students, course, faculty, students log, and timetable. The BQuTAMS API is hosted on dedicated servers which support over 300,000 simultaneous web service requests.  These programs are invaluable in supporting universities to gauge their existing models and adopt ongoing change, so there is a ready solution for evaluating what’s going on and what should be going on!

Created : March 18th, 2016


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