INQAAHE Conference 2023
Roadmap to Enabling Quality in Tertiary Education 2030

May 29, 2023




Quality Assurance for Digital Learning Environments: Strengthening QA Systems in Higher Education at Regional, National, and Institutional Levels to Ensure Academic Quality and Student Success

The UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022), and the resulting UNESCO HED Roadmap 2030, called out the need for higher education to provide flexible learning pathways through recognition of all types of learning. Recognizing that quality assurance mechanisms can be important levers for change in higher education, the Roadmap charges the global higher education community to ensure quality and foster trust in student learning experience and outcomes from different types of learning taking place across modalities in digital learning environments.

As the leading organization for quality assurance agencies around the globe, INQAAHE tapped into its network’s expertise to develop, with this charge in mind, the INQAAHE International Standards and Guidelines (ISGs), recognizing that robust quality assurance practices for digital education will require changes to existing policies and practices not only for higher education institutions but also for quality assurance bodies at national and regional levels.

This workshop provides an opportunity to engage the global higher education community (QA administrators, institutional officers as well as educators and practitioners) to reflect on the current context for quality in higher education and engage in an exploration of available tools to improve practice in digital learning QA. The format of the workshop includes:

  • A brief overview of the UNESCO Roadmap and the INQAAHE ISGs as an overarching quality framework in preparing for the provision of digital learning to all students;
  • Interactive discussion on the digital transformation taking place in higher education, and the trends and issues that emerge both as opportunities and challenges;
  • Group sharing about societal needs and student demands related to digital learning and the implications for QA bodies and accreditors at national and regional levels to collaborate, innovate, and strengthen their own QA systems;
  • Exploration of research-based and proven tools for QA bodies to self-assess their readiness to evaluate quality in digital learning environments and for institutions to self-evaluate their readiness to offer or scale up quality digital education; and
  • Sharing resources and practices that support institutions and practitioners in their pursuit of quality online education and digital learning across modalities.

Facilitated by:

Dr. Deborah Adair

Dr. Deborah Adair is the Executive Director of Quality Matters, an international non-profit organization providing a scalable quality assurance system for digital learning. Utilized by over 1500 institutions across education sectors in more than 30 countries. QM’s tools and training support education professionals in improving digital education and meeting QM’s internationally-recognized standards. Dr. Adair also serves as the 8th President of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), a world-wide association of 300+ organizations active in the theory and practice of quality assurance in higher education. Previously, she has served on advisory bodies for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the National University Technology Network, the Presidents Forum, and Credential Engine.

Dr. Yaping Gao

With a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction and a concentration on instructional design and educational technology, Dr. Yaping Gao has over 25 years’ experience in higher education both in China and in USA as faculty, instructional designer, LMS manager, and online education administrator. Dr. Gao believes quality course and program design supported by research facilitates effective instruction, promotes student engagement and active learning, and lays the foundation to ensure quality teaching and learning in the digital learning environment for student success and institutional advancement and accreditation.

As Vice President at Quality Matters, USA, Dr. Gao oversees member services to support 1600+ member institutions in 30+ countries and lead partnerships with a focus on global outreach and initiatives.

Dr. Gao earned her doctoral degree from Baylor University, Texas, USA, and her Master and Bachelor degrees from Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China.

Mr. Bowen Tan

Programme Specialist, Asia-Pacific Programme Office, UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO-ICHEI).




INQAAHE Conference 2023 is sponsored by KazMunayGas, a platinum sponsor, the Education & Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC), a gold sponsor, Astana Development, a bronze sponsor, and Kazakh Tourism.