In the autumn of 2017 EQAR contracted an external IT service provider to renew its website both technically and visually. Around the same time, EQAR also contracted an external team of IT professionals for the technical realisation of the database (DEQAR).
EQAR and these two teams worked closely together to create the new website and the database, making sure they were compatible and synchronised.
The launch of new website took place just a few weeks before the launch of the public preview of DEQAR on 23 May 2018. The latter coincided with the EHEA Ministerial Conference in Paris, which occasion was used to further promote the database.
On an average working day the EQAR website attracts around 100 visitors. A steady increase was noted in 2018 with a total of more than 24 000 visitors compared to the previous year (2017: just over 19 000 visitors).
Newsletters and social media
EQAR issued four newsletters in 2018, reaching around 500 recipients. This number decreased considerably compared to the year before, with ca. 800 subscribers, as EQAR sought active reconfirmations from all subscribers in order to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The upside, however, is that the current recipients list contains only genuinely interested subscribers, who actively asked to continue receiving, and thus reading, the EQAR newsletter.
Newsletter topics included information about the decisions of the Register Committee, external QA activities of EQAR-registered agencies, relevant policy updates and documents with regard to QA and the use of EQAR in the national QA frameworks of the EHEA countries, DEQAR updates as well as organisational updates.
EQAR also remained active on social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. By the end of 2018, 45 tweets had been sent, with a total of 1426 engagements (number of times a user has interacted with a tweet) and the amount of followers amounted to around 1100.
The EQAR Annual Report 2017 was published on the EQAR website in June and was announced in the newsletter as well as on social media. The Annual Report was published online only and will be so henceforward.
The Analysis of Register Committee Decisions was published on-line in July. This analysis covers those parts of the ESG with direct relevance to quality assurance agencies (Part 2 and 3) and illustrates which standards have revealed to be most challenging for applicant agencies. Further analysis is provided regarding the changes of registered agency’s activities and organisational structures.
Representation and Relations with Partners and Members
At the EQAR Members’ Dialogue that took place in Berlin (November 2018), the programme focused not only on the past “EQAR, 10 years of promoting trust and recognition” but also on the present “Taking Stock of the EHEA Key Commitment” and the future “EQAR’s priorities for the future” and “Realising the EHEA Goal of Automatic Recognition” .
EQAR was represented in major conferences and seminars concerned with quality assurance of higher education. Many of these conferences were (also) used to promote the Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) to the diverse user groups through presentations, parallel sessions and workshops. DEQAR received keen interest as a new initiative enhancing the information provided by EQAR significantly.
EQAR staff also had several bilateral meetings with members, quality assurance agencies and other interested parties, either as delegation visits to the EQAR office or visits from EQAR representatives to other organisations.