A Quantifiable Quality Assurance System for Engineering Courses
Aomar, Raid Al
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Engineering courses represent the core of engineering education. Measuring the quality of engineering courses is therefore an essential component in the assurance of the overall quality of engineering education. Local and international accreditation programs such as Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) also place emphasis on the role of engineering courses and insist on implementing a viable system for assuring their quality. A variety of educational and learning criteria are used by engineering colleges to assess the quality of engineering courses and to meet the requirements of national and international accreditation programs. In ABET, for example, meeting course outcomes stated in course syllabus is a key criterion for assessing course quality. These outcomes are often mapped with the outcomes of evaluated engineering program. However, ABET accreditation program does not specify the quality assurance system to be adopted by the evaluated program in order to prove their effort, display readiness, and successfully achieve course outcomes. Engineering programs vary in methods and systems used to synthesize various course elements in an integrated quality assurance system. These systems range from a checklist of various course constituents to sophisticated assessment techniques and auditing systems. The qualitative nature of these assessment systems makes it difficult to measure course progress, compare courses, and develop standard performance levels. This paper presents a quality assurance system that synthesizes various course constituents including the course work, instructing, delivery method, evaluation, accreditation, and continuous improvement. The system also quantifies the course quality attributes using ten Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It then utilizes Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to determine an overall course score based on the course rating in ten KPIs. The approach can be utilized for ABET accreditation, controlling and managing engineering courses, and general faculty development.