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An exploration of the use of quality function deployment to assist in the design of education courses in engineering

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

  • Z. El-Kahlout
  • Barbara Savage
  • C. Irgens
The assurance of the quality of educational programmes is becoming an increasingly important issue. However, while much attention has been paid to monitoring of course delivery and student assessment mechanisms, such as examinations, the issue of programme design based upon clear statements of requirements from customers, has largely been ignored. Hence, this work utilises a technique, called Quality Function Deployment, borrowed from the engineering design domain, as a means of formalising requirements input gleaned from customers. Thus, in combination with accumulated knowledge of good pedagogic practice, course designers can be provided with judgement criteria to evaluate either a newly designed course, or to improve an existing one. The paper explores several matters. Firstly, who is the customer of an educational course? Should it be the student, the fee payer or funds supplier (which may be the parent, the current employer or local or national government), the employer for whom the student will work on completion of their course of study, or some other party? The various options are considered and it is suggested that the future employer is the most appropriate choice, while the student should be viewed as a product carrier who lacks the experience necessary to judge the adequacy of the education they are receiving. Secondly, the type of requirements which might be specified are discussed, considering whether they should focus only on the acquisition of specific knowledge or could be generalised in the form of transferable skills. Thirdly, the tightly constrained needs of the engineering domain are compared briefly with arts and humanities subject areas, which require only an ill-defined and very variable subset of a much wider variety of skills and knowledge. This explains the usage of the engineering domain in this investigation. Finally, the provision of a pre-processor to help the course designer assemble and translate the accumulated knowledge into an appropriate form for input into a Quality Function Deployment analysis is considered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConvergence in the digital economy: the sixth international research conference on quality, innovation and knowledge management
Place of PublicationClayton, Victoria, Australia
PublisherMonash University
Number of pages1500
ISBN (Print)0732621984
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2002

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