Teaching Quality Improvement by Quality Improvement in Teaching
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In response to disturbing challenges ahead, leaders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are committed to transform the institution to a Total Quality University. As a pilot project in the transformation, this paper describes how students and the instructor worked as a team to improve the quality of teaching in a class. Treating students as customers, the team identified 50 areas that affected the quality of teaching. A class survey revealed six areas where most students indicated problems. The instructor then implemented changes which dramatically reduced the defect rate as viewed by the customers in these areas. For example, the defect rate dropped from 78% to 22% for computer instruction, 56% to 8% for blackboard presentation, and 82% to 20% for overhead presentation. The team also developed a system to transfer their knowledge to the next team to ensure never-ending improvement in the future.