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Creating an Online Dimension for University Rankings
Start date: Oct 1, 2016, End date: Sep 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Higher Education arena is becoming an even more competitive market. It is in this context in which rankings become an important tool. It is no longer enough to be good and to do things well. One should be the best and make things much better than others. Rankings are being used as a means of becoming more visible, reputable, and “marketable”. Online universities do not currently have a specific ranking, so they apply the same indicators that traditional universities. However, they have a quite different nature although sharing many of its goals.This lack of a ranking dimension for online education is harming these universities which are going to play, and they already play in some cases, an important role in the future of higher education, as it is also stated by some EC documents, as the ones presented by the High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education. Online education, further away of just MOOCs or OER, needs to be more visible and evaluated in order to get higher reputation as a means to solve some of the current higher education issues.This project aims to generate:a) A set of European-led quality criteria and indicators for the measurement of world-wide online education dimension, andb) The guidelines for integrating these online education metrics in the current U-Multirank ranking, the European funded university ranking which intends to be a European contribution to the development of a multidimensional ranking.CODUR would like to impact on 15-20 European higher education online education institutions in an initial stage and on at least 50 non-European international universities later on. These 65-70 universities can be the starting point of the new dimension of the U-Multirank ranking. National and international stakeholders (industry, networks and associations) will also be involved, as well as students summing up a total of 490 people participating in any of the activities scheduled in the project.The method of work will be based on the analysis of current quality assurance tools for online education, the identification of the shared common criteria and indicators and its fitness with the U-Multirank ranking. Two Intellectual Outputs are expected. These outputs will provide the new online education institutions dimension (set of criteria and indicators) to be integrated in the U-Multirank ranking, and the guidelines to improve the performance of online institutions. In addition, several intangible results will also be achieved, as the increase of reputation of the partner institutions and the strength of the strategic alliance from the partnership perspective, and the increase of high level quality learning opportunities for European and world-wide students, as well as better reputation for online education. These outputs will be achieved through carrying out the following activities:a) Aligning the provision of online higher education institutions worldwide with U-Multirank categoriesb) Designing the means for systemic comparisons of current online education quality assurance tools and systemsc) Develop, test and refine representative performance online quality education indicators based on common criteria d) Design, test, valorise and refine the toolbox for data gathering and testing the new ranking tool with European and worldwide online university partners e) Create a set of new guidelines for adapting CODUR indicators and toolbox resources, under the supervision and feedback of a U-Multirank expertf) Guidelines to improve the performance of online institutions The creation of these criteria and indicators, which would be an useful opportunity to the partners' institutions to reinforce their networks and to confront different perspectives of the online HE field, would also eventually extend the offer of high quality online learning opportunities, in accordance with the Erasmus+ priorities in adult education field. This will contribute, too, to create a European leadership in this field under the flagship of flexible, open and quality online higher education.
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