Credit Hour System and Student Workload at Alexandria University: a possible paradigm shift

Alsaeed Alshamy

Abstract


The study aims at investigating the perceptions of both academics and students on student workload in Credit Hour System at the Faculty of Education at Alexandria University (Egypt). It uses the wider international experience of higher education reform, including Tuning Africa Project — II, to propose implications for policy and practice on how the real work hours needed by a student to achieve the learning outcomes specified in the curriculum and to pass a course or module are adequately estimated and to contribute to the definition of the basis of a Credit System for Africa. The data have been collected through questionnaires administered to 26 participants: 11 academics (one academic per course) and 15 students (each student surveyed 11 times across all courses of the Professional Diploma in Education). The main findings show significant differences between the perceptions of academics and students on student workload almost across all courses, where students’ estimation of the number of hours needed to complete the independent work during the semester were much higher than that of academics except for fieldwork (site visits). The independent workload as estimated by academics is 62% of students’ estimation. Significant differences were found between the perceptions of students on the number of hours required for each type of independent work across different courses except “preparation and follow-up work for scheduled classes”. The highest average of estimations of the number of hours was given to course N. 11 (World Trends in Quality Assurance Systems); whereas the lowest average was given to course N. 5 (Assessment of Quality in Educational Institutions) across all different types of independent work. Only 36.4% of academics have taken students’ feedback on workload into consideration when planning the workload for their courses. It was also found that 92% of students were not informed about the number of hours planned for independent work at the beginning of the course. In addition, 88% of students were not asked to express their feedback about workload. These findings indicate that there are no unified regulations among academics to the estimation of student workload. It is also made clear that the process of estimating student workload in Credit Hour System at Alexandria University is staff-centred rather than student-oriented as the majority of academics follow traditional methodologies in the estimation of student workload. It is also enunciated clearly that there is marginal coordination between academics teaching in the same programme. It can be concluded that student voice about their workload is not adequately considered as their feedback is not taken into consideration, which can be interpreted in light of the absence of a “paradigm shift” from staff-centred to student oriented approaches to the estimation of student workload.


Keywords


Alexandria University; Tuning Africa Project II; credit hour system; student workload; competence-based learning; higher education

Full Text:

[PDF] [HTML]

References


“ECTS User’s Guide.” Accessed September 10, 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/ects-users-guide_en.pdf.

Alexandria University. “Alexandria University’s Branch in Republic of Chad.” Accessed June 1, 2016. http://www.portal.alexu.edu.eg/index.php/en/about-au/ branches/chad.

_____.“Alexandria University’s Branch in Sudan.” Accessed June 1, 2016. http:// www.portal.alexu.edu.eg/index.php/en/about-au/branches/south-sudan-2.

Altbach, Philip. “Measuring academic progress: the course-credit system in American higher education.” Higher Education Policy 14 (2001): 37-44.

Cohen, Louis, Lawrence Manion, and Keith Morrison. Research Methods in Education. 6th edition. London: Routledge, 2007.

Dallal, G. E., and L. Wilkinson. “An analytic approximation to the distribution of Lilliefor’s test statistic for normality.” The American Statistician, 40, no. 4 (1986): 294-296 (Correction: 41: 248).

Denzin, K. Norman, and Yvonna S. Lincoln. Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage, 2002.

González, Julia, and Robert Wagenaar, eds. Tuning Educational Structures in Europe II. Universities’ contribution to the Bologna Process. Bilbao: University of Deusto Press, 2005.

Kis, Viktoria. “Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education: Current Practices in OECD Countries and a Literature Review on Potential Effects.” Paper presented as a contribution to the OECD Thematic Review of Tertiary Education, 2005. Accessed July, 1 2012, http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/55/30/38006910.pdf.

Mackenzie, Noella, and Sally Knipe. “Research Dilemmas: Paradigms, Methods and Methodology.” Issues In Educational Research 16, no. 2 (2006): 193-205.

Meyer, Benedichte Christine. “A Case in Case Study Methodology.” Field Methods 13, no. 4 (2001): 329-325. don: SAGE, 2003.

Noda, Ayaka. “How Do Credit Hours Assure the Quality of Higher Education? Time-Based vs. Competency-Based Debate.” CEAFJP Discussion Paper Series 16-05, Centre d’Etudes Avancees Franco-Japonais de Paris (2016): 1-18.

Siegel, S., and N. J. Castellan. Nonparametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1988.

Stensaker, Bjrn. “Trance, Transparency and Transformation: the impact of external quality monitoring on higher education.” Quality in Higher Education 9, no. 2 (2003): 151-159.

Supreme Council of Universities — Sector Committee for Education. Student Guide for postgraduate studies according to Credit Hour System. Alexandria: El Gomhoreya Press, 2010.

Supreme Council of Universities. “Responsibilities of the SCU.” Accessed March 1, 2016. http://portal.scu.eun.eg/Responsiblities.html.

Tuning Africa — II. “What is Tuning Africa?” Accessed March 20, 2016. http://tuningafrica.org/en/what-is-tuning-africa.

_____.“Second general meeting. Addis Ababa, 29 February — 2 March.” Accessed March 20, 2016. http://tuningafrica.org/upload/evento/editor/doc/2/booklet_ teacher-education_english.pdf.

Wagenaar, Robert. “Educational structures, learning outcomes, workload and the calculation of ECTS credits.” In Tuning Educational Structures in Europe. Universities’ contribution to the Bologna Process. An introduction, 2nd edition, edited by Julia González and Robert Wagenaar, 57-81. Bilbao: University of Deusto Press, 2008.

Yin, K. Robert. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 3rd edition. London: SAGE, 2003.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-4(2)-2017pp277-309

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.