The AOU pays significant attention to the quality assurance standards and procedures. The study programs where built taking into consideration the international Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) standards. The QAA Benchmark Subject Statements explains the essential elements of "Subject Benchmark Statements" adopted by the UK-based Quality Assurance Agency.
The quality assurance committee at the branch does it regular and periodic sensing of the academic quality through various tools including questionnaires, action plans based of the questionnaires outcomes, external assessment, and validation services through a well-defined guides for the work of the QA committee.
The Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards is another tool against which the AOU gauges its performance. This code helps us to meet our responsibilities for the assurance of academic standards and quality, by proving a framework within which they can consider the effectiveness of their individual approaches to a range of activities. The AOU recognizes the role of the UKOU as an Awarding Institution, in certain respects, toward the AOU as a Partner Institution. The mapping contained a recent document generated by SA, entitled Mapping the QAA Code is intended to serve as an opportunity to illustrate the Branch's understanding of and role in this valued partnership.
To ensure a quality learning experience for students, the university monitors and evaluates on a systematic basis its procedures and practices, and the services that it provides for students.
Importantly, because all of the information you as a student need to successfully study a course is provided in the student pack, it is crucial for the AOU to ensure that these materials are of the highest quality.
Learning material design
The design of course learning materials is the direct responsibility of the Dean of the respective Faculty. Academic teams drawn from staff both inside and outside the University are usually assigned the tasks of producing the required learning materials for newly designed courses. These tasks are achieved in accordance with set specifications and methodologies of implementation. External assessors from other universities are involved in the process to ensure that the courses produced are of an appropriate academic standard and comparable to courses taught in campus based institutions.
At present, the three programs taught in English use courses produced to a very high standard by the United Kingdom Open University, adapted where necessary to ensure that the learning material, in written and AV forms, adheres to practiced norms of Arab-Islamic values and convictions.
Management and Monitoring of Tutors
Because tutors are the interface between the university and the student care is taken to ensure that they deliver a quality experience for students.
Tutors are trained on appointment both in the generic skills necessary for them to teach effectively in the AOU Open system and in the specifics of the course.
Each tutor is assigned 20-25 students.
Their face to face teaching is monitored by full time Staff Tutors in the Branch- each Staff Tutor being responsible for approximately 10 tutors
The grading and the quality of the feedback given to students on marked assignments by tutors is also monitored
Students have the chance to assess the performance of their tutors on a semester basis via a structured questionnaire.
Remedial action is taken by the Branch Director when inadequate performance is identified
Examinations and assessment
All assessment material is set by academic staff of the appropriate Deanship. However, before a given assignment or examination i.e. approved for use, the questions and model answers must be approved by external assessors ( External Examiners in the case of the UKOU programs
The AOU adopts a rigorous policy for the assessment of student attainment in courses and programs of study. The different ingredients of the policy aim at creating a robust and fair system of evaluation of achievement. Each component of the system of assessment is intended, as well, to serve a learning need within the overall learning process.
Tutor Marked Assignments(TMAs): Each course requires students to complete a number of TMAs during a given semester, the number depending on the credit rating of the course.. These assignments are spread out over the duration of course delivery. They are prepared by the respective Faculty as described above In addition to gauging student progress, they serve to invoke and develop a range of skills. At higher levels of study, some of TMAs are set as thematic projects and require students to read widely and assemble rational arguments from many information sources.. TMAs are corrected by the student's subject tutor and carry 35% of the total grade of the course.
Mid-Term Assessments( MTAs): Mid-Term Assessments are another means of monitoring the progression of attainment of students during the course and are taken by students during the face-to-face sessions.They are therefore administered locally but the papers or electronic tests are composed of questions drawn from a bank of questions approved by the external assessors. They carry 15% of the total course grade.
Final Exams: The third component of student assessment is represented by Final Examinations. These exams are designed under the direct supervision of the Dean of the Faculty and the same examination is taken at the same time in each Branch. The Course Chair bears the major responsibility for producing a balanced exam; and this is achieved by obtaining inputs from all Branches with the paper moderated and agreed by the external assessor. Final Exams carry 50% of the total grade and students must acieve a pass in the final exam in order to pass the course.
Coordination of Course Presentation
The AOU follows a structured system of course coordination to ensure that course delivery is to a common standard across the whole of the university and that the assessment of student achievement is in accordance with established University Policy. In this regard, program and course coordination is structured in the following manner: The relationship between the three posts described below ensures that the Faculty at university Headquarters has knowledge of and control over the whole of the presentation process. Academic staff at the Headquarters and academic staff in the Branches ( Staff Tutors ) are involved
General Course Coordinator/ Course Chair
For each course offered, a General Course Coordinator ( Course Chair) is named by the Dean of the appropriate Faculty. Course Chairs may be drawn from faculty members at the Headquarters, or from Staff Tutors in Branches. Course chairs are, in particular, responsible for coordinating all aspects relating to the delivery of courses, including preparation of Tutor Marked assignments (TMAs), course calendars, and Final Exams. A Staff Tutor may serve as a Course Chair for more than one course.
Each program of study is assigned a Program Coordinator/Chair who serves to coordinate all aspects of the delivery of each program at the Branch level, including student support. Program Chairs discharge their duties and responsibilities in close coordination with the Branch Directors and respective Deans, and in collaboration with each of the Branch Course Coordinators.
Branch Course Coordination
Branch Course Coordinators are essentially responsible for matters related to course delivery at the Branch level. Depending on their other duties, Staff Tutors at the Branches may be assigned the responsibilities of multiple course coordination.