Outcomes based education at philadelphia university
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Outcomes-based Education at Philadelphia University. Mohammad Awwad Vice President for Academic Affairs Philadelphia University.

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Outcomes-based Education at Philadelphia University

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Outcomes-based Education at Philadelphia University

Mohammad AwwadVice President for Academic Affairs Philadelphia University

A PowerPoint presentation of a Paper written for the National Conference For the Development of Study Plans, Teaching and Learning, and Scientific Research, June 15-17, 2010

  • Outline

    • Introduction

    • History and characteristics of OBE

    • Adoption of OBE at PU

    • Enhancement of QA at PU

    • Enhancement of PU Visibility

  • 1- Introduction

  • Responsibility for higher education has been entrusted to:

  • The Council of Higher Education, 1980

  • MOHE, 1985

  • The Accreditation Council (AC), 1998

  • The Higher Education Accreditation Commission (HEAC), 2007

  • It is now shared by MOHE and HEAC.

  • The major aims of higher education in Jordan as stated in Law # 33 for year 2009: Higher Education and Scientific Research Law are as follows:

    • Aligning disciplines and qualifications with the needs of society.

    • Making available to the students an academic, psychological, social and both theoretical and applied research environment conducive to excellence, innovation, and critical thinking.

    • Establishing links and partnerships between academic institutions, and both the private and public sectors.

MOHE and KHFE with the support of the British Quality Assurance Agency QAA developed the process of academic quality assurance and enhancement at Jordanian institutions of HE as early as 2002/2003.

  • PU was among the first HE institutions in the country to adopt the QA process because it believes in shouldering its responsibility and accountability toward:

  • the students and their parents in respect of the quality of academic and professional provision and training.

  • the government in respect of the return on investment and funding.

  • the society and the nation as regards building the nation's human capacity, and social welfare.

  • Another reason for PU's focus on the QA process is that it underpins its mission statement, which aims at providing Jordan with citizens who are:

  • Knowledgeable

  • Open-minded

  • Reflective and caring

  • Balanced

  • Principled

  • Life-long learners

  • Successful communicators

  • Entrepreneurs and risk takers

  • Still another driving force for PU's emphasis on QA has been in response to the stakeholders' belief that the educational system has not been successful in:

  • preparing students for real-life and market demands.

  • providing students with improved and effective curricula, teaching/ learning materials and methodologies.

  • developing and using effective evaluation procedures and rigorous tools of accountability.

  • A final reason has to do with PU's philosophy, which aims at:

  • providing excellent education informed by the most recent findings of research and scholarship

  • playing a major role in developing Jordan's human capacity

  • contributing to student mobility and employability

  • establishing a national area of education

  • contributing to the internationalization of education

  • 2-1 History of OBE:

  • It goes back to 1930 when Ralf Taylor pioneered an objectives-based approach to education in the USA.

  • Taylor's approach was underpinned by Bloom's A Taxonomy of Cognitive Objectives, 1956.

  • Bloom's major taxonomies:

    • knowledge

    • comprehension

    • application

    • analysis

    • synthesis

    • evaluation

    • Bloom's taxonomies greatly influenced the British QAA and pushed the HE sector towards a learning outcomes approach.

    • In 2008 the panel of the Bologna Seminar on Learning Outcomes-based Higher Education endorsed learning outcomes as "the basic building blocks of the Bologna package of educational reform".

    • According to Judith Vincent of the University of West Scotland, Learning outcomes resulted in:

      • enhanced coherence of the learning experience

      • greater transparency and dialogue with stakeholders

      • more opportunity for students to manage their own learning

    • Jill Little of the "National Union of Students Scotland" argued that LOs:

      • provided students with a clear idea of what was expected of them.

      • helped students identify and monitor their own personal and professional progress.

      • facilitated recognition and mobility of students between programmes and institutions.

      • enhanced student employability by providing clear information to potential employers about what an applicant had learned.

    • 2-2 Additional advantages and characteristics of OBE are as follows:

    • It focuses on formative assessment.

    • It follows a design-down approach to learning.

    • It underscores the importance of improvement through evaluation and feedback.

    • It contributes to the HE institution’s transparency and visibility.

    • It enables parents and students to choose the appropriate line of study and institution.

    • It considers instructors as mediators between students and learning rather than dictators or mere facilitators.

    3- PU's outcomes-based curriculum design and implementation model is as indicated below:

    QA Committees

    Administrative Councils

    University President

    University President

    UQA Committee

    Council of Deans

    UQA Officer

    UQA Officer

    FQA Committee

    Faculty Council

    FQA Officer

    DQA Committee

    Department Council

    DQA Officer

    Academic Staff members

    Non-academic Staff members


    The management scheme of PU's outcomes-based curriculum design and implementation process is as outlined below:

    QA Committees

    Administrative Councils

    University Quality

    Assurance Committee

    Council of Deans

    Faculty Quality

    Assurance Committee

    Faculty Council


    Assurance Committee

    Department Council


    Working Group



    Working Group


    Working Group

    Research Projects

    Working Group

    Learning Resources Working Group

    Module Working Groups


    Working Group

    Layout and line of communication between QA committees and councils at the university level is as follows:

    QA Committees

    Administrative Councils

    Faculty Quality

    Assurance Committee

    Faculty Council

    Learning Resources








    Res. Project






    Layout of QA committees and councils at the faculty level is as follows:

    QA Committees

    Administrative Councils

    Department Quality

    Assurance Committee

    Department Council

    Learning Resources








    Res. Project






    Layout of the QA committees and councils at the department level is as follows:

    • 4- Enhancement of QA at PU

    • *Induction training provided by the PU Development & Academic Training Center.

    • *Development of a detailed course syllabus template.

    • Philadelphia University course syllabus outline (for all courses offered by the different faculties) comprises the following components:

    • Course description.

    • Expected learning outcomes.

      • Knowledge and understanding.

      • Cognitive skills

      • Communication skills

      • Practical/ professional skills

    • Study calendar

      • Weekly course material

      • Mid-term exam

      • Final examination

    • Referring to the course material and other sources:

      • Citing material from the course

      • Plagiarism (definition & strategies for avoiding accidental plagiarism).

      • Listing sources in a bibliography.

      • References list styles.

    • Answering questions in an assignment

      • What to do if the question is not clear or seems ambiguous

      • What to do if you disagree with the arguments being put in the course material

      • Should personal experience and material from other sources be included

    • Marking criteria for assignments, tests, and final examination

      • The relevance of the answer to the question

      • Knowledge and understanding of course material

      • Ability to discuss and evaluate explanations and arguments

      • Ability to present and pursue an argument.

      • Ability to express oneself clearly using appropriate academic conventions

    • *Course academic calendar.

    • *Preparing and adopting a template for program specifications.

    • program specifications link

    • *Preparing and implementing a standard QA semester agenda for all courses.

    • As indicated in the link, the QA semester agenda establish a detailed road map for all steps necessary for the proper provision, evaluation, and emendations of courses, and also establish the responsibility, and line of authority among the different parties involved in the teaching learning process comprising:

      • Deans, sub-deans, and faculty committees.

      • Chairpersons of academic departments.

      • Different department committees and working groups.

    • They also establish the time line for the submission of reports to the relevant authorities and committees on the progress of course content provision, evaluation, and improvement.

      * Creating PU'S QA Handbook.

      * Creating PU'S Alumni Office.

      * Preparing and publishing PU'S Undergraduate Students Handbook.

      * Preparing questionnaires for evaluation and feedback from students, faculty, and employers.

    • 5- Enhancement of PU visibility through its OBE

    • The Computer Science Programme won the KHFE first prize among all participating HE institutions in the 2003 PU external review carried out by British QAA.

    • In 2004, the Business Administration Programme was reviewed by a British QA team and was awarded 21 points on a score of 24 points.

    • In 2006 the Law Programme was reviewed by a British QA team, and was awarded the KHFE first prize among all participating institutions.

    • In 2007 the QA process of the Cs programme was referred to by the British QA follow-up team as the only robust and mature process among all participating institutions.

    • In 2008 both The Finance and Banking Sciences, and the English Language and Literature programmes were reviewed by an American Quality Assurance team. The reports were highly positive and complimentary.

    • In 2008 PU was the only Jordanian private university to appear among the top 100 universities in the Arab World. In 2007 it was the only Jordanian private university to appear among the top 100 universities in the Middle East and North Africa.

    PU's graduates have little difficulty in finding employment as indicated in the table below:

    Thank you for your attention and patience.

    Mohammad Awwad

    e-mail: [email protected]

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