An understanding of the higher education context in which quality assurance agencies operate is an essential foundation for the design of good quality assurance practices and accountability. This module, as the title suggests, sets out to introduce you to the trends in higher education at a time when national boundaries are melting away and the world has become more globalised than it has ever been.

This module highlights the complexity of the concept of quality and the various Quality Assurance frameworks and processes used to define and measure quality. The focus is on external quality assurance (EQA) agencies, that is, systems external to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and their internal QA systems.

This module takes an organisational perspective on the establishment and management of an external quality assurance agency. It describes the functions to be performed such as determining scope of operations and the development of methodologies to be used for reviewing and other activities. The module outlines a variety of frameworks used by agencies to link theoretical aspects of quality, purpose of review and the practice of quality assurance.

This module provides an introduction to the contexts and approaches of internal quality monitoring, addressing at a range of cultural, methodological and practical considerations. It also explores how institutions can plan quality strategies and operations, and different methods for assessing and evaluating quality.  Forms of evaluation, review and monitoring are considered which conclude with a discussion of options for managing quality improvement.