All educators should reflect on and assess the quality of their teaching and their learning programmes. Such reflection is the subject of this article. The focus is on higher education (HE) with particular emphasis on distance learning institutions. A particular educational programme is considered, namely a course‐work Master's degree in environmental education at a South African distance learning university. Sustainable living is one of the envisaged outcomes of this programme. This article gives a general perspective on quality assurance in HE. The views of a number of authors are discussed, with special reference to HE in the cultural diversity of South Africa. Various approaches and factors that influence learning assessment are discussed. The theme of sustainability as integrated in HE programmes is emphasised as one of the criteria that should determine quality in education programmes. It is concluded that, although programme assessment is a difficult process and necessarily contextualised, it is an important tool for ensuring quality teaching and learning. Programme assessment is a form of critical self‐evaluation that includes peer evaluation and evaluative input from students.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2004
Keywords: Self assessment; Distance learning; Self managed learning; Higher education; Quality assurance; South Africa
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