OBHE

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OBHE is an eponymous benchmarking methodology run by OBHE, the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. The Observatory is a joint initiative of ACU, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and Universities UK, the association of all UK universities. The Observatory is now 100% funded by subscriptions and consultancy, and has over 130 institutional subscribers from more than twenty countries. It offers a wide range of services of which benchmarking is one. Within the benchmarking offering is a range of sub-offerings, of which one is deployed for the Higher Education Academy clients.

The OBHE methodology is a collaborative benchmarking methodology where a group of institutions get together and jointly agree relevant areasa of interest (in this case, within the e-learning space) and in a later phase, look for good practices. A succinct description of the variant of their methodology used for the Higher Education Academy Benchmarking Pilot is here.

The methodology goes back to benchmarking work done for European and Commonwealth universities in the 1990s. A related study to the Higher Education Academy Pilot is the work done for OECD to produce the report E-learning in Tertiary Education: Where Do We Stand? As reported in the Proceedings of the OECD Conference on Post-Secondary E-learning, "This was based on a detailed, qualitative survey of current e-learning practice in 19 institutions of higher education in North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The information gathered through this survey was complemented by quantitative data collected by OBHE from the 500 members of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and of Universities UK."

OBHE was used by five institutions in the Pilot Phase and was used by 21 institutions in Phase 1. It is now being used by 11 institutions in Phase 2.


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