You are on page 1of 8

Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t

- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

Stanislav Karapetrovic
5-8B Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, T6G 2G8

Abstract: This paper illustrates the usage of two customer satisfaction standards from the
ISO 9000 series in engineering courses taught by the author. It is an updated version of an
earlier paper presented at the 2009 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
Northeast Section Conference in Bridgeport, Connecticut [1]. The first standard, namely
ISO 10001: 2007, was applied in six sections of four different courses in a Canadian
university. Three of the sections were offered in 2008, with the remaining three in 2010. A
total of 377 students attended these courses, the majority (294 students or 78%) being in
two sections of a general engineering undergraduate course. A further 45 students took
two graduate courses that also serve as undergraduate electives, while two sections of a
purely graduate course were taken by 38 students. In these courses, ISO 10001: 2007
was used to establish guarantees or codes of conduct for student satisfaction. The
implementation of two such codes, one that guaranteed the authors response to student
inquiries within 24 hours of the receipt of the inquiry, and another that promised a prompt
review of student coursework and tests, is discussed. The second standard, specifically
ISO 10002: 2004, was used for handling complaints, suggestions and other feedback
received from the students. The application of an ISO 10002-based system in three of the
six course sections mentioned above, namely the two undergraduate sections from 2008
and 2010, respectively, and one section of the graduate course taught in 2010, is
addressed. The paper particularly focuses on the outcomes from the establishment,
application and monitoring of the codes and the system for handling student feedback.
However, the application of system-related guidance from ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 to
set up the systems themselves and to initiate possible improvements in those is
discussed, as well.

Keywords: Quality, ISO 10001, ISO 10002, ISO 9000, Standards, Education

1. Introduction
ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 are two of the five standards from the ISO 9000 series on
quality assurance and management that are specifically focused on customer satisfaction.
Apart from ISO 10001 for codes of conduct and ISO 10002 for complaint handling, this
group of customer satisfaction standards also includes ISO 10003 on external dispute
resolution, ISO Technical Specification (TS) 10004 on measurement, and ISO 10008 for
electronic commerce. In difference to the much better-known ISO 9001, which was written
by the same Technical Committee (TC) 176 of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) as the customer satisfaction standards, and has now been in
existence for 23 years, ISO 10001 to ISO/TS 10004 have only been published within the

This paper is an updated version of an earlier paper [1].
Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

last six years. Furthermore, the actual development of ISO 10008 was just started several
months ago. The author of this paper is a Customer Satisfaction Liaison for
ISO/TC176/SC3, which is the subcommittee (SC) responsible for the development of all
five customer satisfaction standards.

Each of these universally-applicable standards is concentrated on one particular
component of a quality management system, for instance on establishing customer
satisfaction codes of conduct in the case of ISO 10001: 2007 and a complaints-handling
process for ISO 10002: 2004, respectively (e.g., see [1], [2] or [3]). Therefore, they can all
be easily implemented in engineering education (e.g., see [1] and [4]). Such applications
can focus on different stakeholders, for example on students, professors and engineering
associations, and can vary in scope from single lectures or laboratory sessions to whole
programs. (e.g., see [4]). They can also be integrative across the corresponding
standardized components, as in the case of ISO 10008 supporting an electronic course
delivery system in which the results of an application of ISO 10001 (e.g., professor
performance relative to a code) or ISO 10002 (e.g., corrective action following a student
complaint) are published (e.g., see [2]).

This paper describes how ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 were followed at a course level in
order to establish, apply and maintain codes of conduct for student satisfaction, on one
hand, and a system for handling student complaints, suggestions and other such
unsolicited feedback, on the other hand, respectively. Examples from the implementation
of two such codes, namely a guarantee of a professors response within 24 hours of an e-
mailed student inquiry and an assurance of a prompt review of homework and exams, are
illustrated. Instances of applications of codes in six course sections taught by the author,
specifically a General Engineering (GE) undergraduate course (one section taught in
2008, labelled as GE1, and one taught in 2010, labelled as GE2), two Engineering
Management (EM) graduate courses that are also Mechanical Engineering (ME) electives
(2008: ME1, 2010: ME2) and two sections of an EM graduate course (2008: EM1,
2010: EM2), are extracted for demonstration. All courses were offered in a Canadian
engineering school. In addition, examples from the application of an ISO 10002-based
student feedback-handling system in three of these courses, namely GE1, GE2 and EM2,
will be discussed.

2. Setup of the code and feedback systems
Both standards contain the bases for the respective systems in clauses 4 and 5 (e.g., see
[2] and [5]). For example, as suggested by ISO 10001 [6], incorporating all eight Guiding
Principles from clause 4 and instituting a Code Framework, discussed in clause 5,
provided the foundation of the student satisfaction code of conduct system. Similarly, eight
of the nine Guiding Principles and the Complaint-Handling Framework from ISO 10002
[7] supported the student feedback-handling system. For the latter system, the no charge
for the complaint principle (ISO 10002, sub-clause 4.6) was excluded as irrelevant, and
the concept of a complaint was expanded to include student comments and suggestions
(e.g., see [4]). Overall, while the code and feedback-handling frameworks, consisting of
code and feedback-handling objectives, respectively, and of system resources and
processes, supplied the structure for the systems, the guiding principles were taken into
account in the development and use of both the codes and the respective systems.

Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

Therefore, ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 principles such as Accessibility and
Responsiveness were applied in the development of code texts, presentation of the
codes and the information on feedback handling to students, and evaluation of system
performance through student surveys. For example, related to the Accessibility principles
(sub-clause 4.5 in [6] and 4.3 in [7]), the codes were shown and discussed in the first
class, and were included in the course outline. Furthermore, in sections where an online
course delivery system was used, namely all except EM1, students could access the
codes at any time. This online access was also available for the information on the
process and results of handling feedback in the three sections where the corresponding
system had been applied. Incorporation of the Responsiveness principles (4.6 in [6] and
4.4 in [7]) encompassed, for instance, the use of surveys asking for student opinions on,
among other points, the different elements of each code, such as the effectiveness of
promises and redress provisions, and the guarantee to respond to, and thus acknowledge,
each student feedback in 24 hours (e.g., see [2]).

The overall system for code establishment, application and monitoring was structured
based on the ISO 10001 framework, which is illustrated with a flowchart in Annex F of the
standard [6]. In the same vein, clauses 6, 7 and 8 of ISO 10002 provided the structure for
the establishment of the student feedback-handling system, handling of individual
feedbacks, and follow-up on those feedbacks, respectively. The next four sections of the
paper discuss, in parallel, the implementation of the ISO 10001 and ISO 10002
frameworks in the engineering courses mentioned in the introduction.

3. Establishment of the codes and the feedback system
The codes and the feedback system were developed in accordance with the guidelines
given in clause 6 Planning, Design and Development of ISO 10001 and clause 6
Planning and Design of ISO 10002, respectively. With respect to the codes, for example,
specific code objectives, such as promptness in responses to student inquiries, were
contemplated prior to the initial implementation in 2008. In addition, the text of the codes
was drafted to contain the required code components, including the promise(s) and
scope, and was then revised in 2010. Furthermore, appropriate resources, such as
internet access and teaching assistant availability, were acquired and deployed in both
years of application.

On the feedback system side, the three main system elements suggested by the standard,
namely objectives, activities and resources, were also developed. For instance, the
activities mainly related to receiving, assessing and addressing feedback provided by
one or more students at a particular time or regarding a particular issue, in line with clause
7 of ISO 10002, as well as undertaking the corresponding improvement action and
informing the class of the outcomes, as per clause 8 of the standard. To facilitate these
activities, an important deployed resource was a Feedback Form, containing the
process and outcome details on each individual feedback. This form will be illustrated

Two codes were developed in order to efficiently respond to students questions regarding
the course and report on their coursework performance, thus hopefully increasing student
satisfaction with those two aspects of the course delivery. In all six courses, the response
code guaranteed the professors answer to any inquiry regarding the course material or
Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

logistics within 24 hours. The review code promised that the solutions and results of the
learning evaluations used in the course, such as assignments, projects, quizzes and
exams, would be available within a certain time period, depending on the type of
evaluation and course schedule. Six code components from sub-clause 6.4 of ISO 10001,
namely the scope, promise, limitations, definitions, complaint mechanism and
consequent actions [6], were applied.

The response code contained the promise: I will respond to any inquiry regarding the
course within 24 hours of receiving it... and the consequent action in the case of failure:
...or I will provide an explanation, the response and a chocolate bar or another type of
snack, as selected by the enquirer. It also included the complaint mechanism: Please let
me know through e-mail in case I did not respond to your inquiry within the promised time.
In courses offered in 2010, the scope was: This code is valid 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, for inquiries sent from January X [date of first class] to April 12, 2010, and the
limitations were: I cannot guarantee the 24-hour response during the reading week
(February 13 to 21, 2010), statutory holidays (April 3 to 5, 2010), from April 6 to 7, 2010, or
in cases of natural or technical events outside of my control. While explicit definitions
were not included in 2008, the code used in the 2010 courses had one: The dates
mentioned above each start at 00:00:00 hours and end at 23:59:59 Mountain Time.

The content in a number of components of the review code differed between courses and
years in which they were offered, although all components, except the definitions, were
included each time. In courses GE1 and GE2, for example, two separate promises were
given, one for posting homework solutions online, and the other one for reviewing
homework and test results. However, while in GE1, the posting was guaranteed within 24
hours of the due time for both assignments and projects, the deadline was extended to 48
hours for the projects in GE2. The consequent actions were: an explanation announced
on the course web page (GE1 and GE2) [or] provided in the next class (all other courses)
and the corresponding reviews conducted (all courses) and chocolates provided to all
students (ME2 and EM2 only) in the class following the announcement.

For the response code, resource acquisition and deployment (sub-clause 6.8 of ISO
10001) included the planning of a 24-hour internet access at the university and at home
with a regular computer. While a wireless e-mail device had not been planned or used in
2008, it was acquired and deployed partway through teaching the 2010 courses. For the
review code, in courses with teaching assistants (GE1, GE2, ME1, ME2 and EM2), codes
were discussed and their availability for posting the notes and marking within the promised
times were assured in an initial meeting. In EM1, no specific provisions outside of the
commitment to mark the specified coursework on time were made. Finally, for the student
feedback system, a Feedback Form was modified from Annex D of ISO 10002 [7]. This
form would include information on handling individual student feedback, such as the
details regarding the receipt, acknowledgement and assessment of the feedback and
responses made to the student who initiated the feedback. It would also illustrate
corrective, preventive or augmentative actions taken to address the issue underlying the
feedback. One form would be created for each feedback and published online in a specific
folder related to student satisfaction on the course webpage.

Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

4. Application of the codes and the feedback system
The codes and the feedback system were used following the guidance from clauses 7
Implementation of ISO 10001 and Operation of Complaints-Handling Process of ISO
10002, respectively. Performance achieved against the response and review codes was
tracked and periodically reported to students. The tracking, for instance by recording the
response time to each enquiry and the classes when the reviews had been performed,
was possible since the promises given in both codes were measurable, and thus the
codes complied with the Accuracy principle of ISO 10001 (sub-clause 4.7 in [6]). As
mentioned before, feedback forms were filled out for each feedback and also reported to
students by posting them on the course webpage, which also facilitated the meeting of a
number of ISO 10002 principles, for example Objectivity (sub-clause 4.5 in [7]).

Overall, in the three 2008 courses with 175 students attending, a total of 332 inquiries
were made, and responded to, on average, in 295 minutes. For the three courses taught in
2010, which together had 202 students, the number of inquiries was 539, while the
average response time was 468 minutes. The maximum response time in 2008 was
slightly over 79 hours in ME1, while in 2010, one inquiry made in EM2 took 163 hours to
respond to. In 2008, the 24-hour response guarantee was not met in three cases (or for
0.9% of all inquiries), all in a single course section, namely ME1. However, in 2010, the
promise was not fulfilled four times, i.e., with the failure rate of 0.74%, but this occurred in
all three course sections (twice in GE2).

The percentages of students who actually made inquiries ranged from 89% (in EM1, with
nine students attending the course, and in ME2, which had 19 students in the course) to
44% (in GE1, with a total of 140 students). In GE2, however, this percentage climbed to
56% of 154 students, while in the remaining two courses, it was around 70%. In the two
undergraduate course sections, most inquiries related to the actual course content (67% in
GE1 and 61% in GE2, out of the total number of inquiries that were categorized either as
content or as logistics inquiries). In the other courses, inquiries related to logistical
issues regarding the course, e.g., how to submit an assignment or access a teaching
assistant, were more numerous, from 51% in ME1 to 74% in EM2.

With respect to the review codes, the posting promise was not fulfilled in one applicable
case in GE1 and also once in GE2. In both these sections, the results of the applicable
assignments, projects, quizzes and exams were available before or in the promised class.
However, e.g., in EM2, the code was not met in the case of one assignment.

Finally, feedback forms were used and published on the course websites in GE1, GE2 and
EM2. Five forms from GE1 covered issues ranging from a students suggestion to provide
the text of the homework assignments on the course website, which was denied, to a
complaint regarding the use of acronyms and abbreviations in lectures, which was
redressed. In GE2 and EM2, all three feedback forms related to posting of files on course
websites, including the request to post them in a particular file format (GE2) or layout
(EM2), and to publish the notes written on overhead transparencies during lectures. Three
of the feedbacks were given through e-mail, four were communicated in class, and one
was a written note.

Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

5. Monitoring and improvement of the codes and the feedback system
Clause 8 Maintenance and Improvement of ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 guided the
corresponding processes, including the measurement of student satisfaction with, and the
improvement-related activities in, the codes and the feedback system. While sub-clauses
8.3 of both standards suggest such measurement through, for instance, surveys, and
midterm and end-of-term surveys were therefore conducted, other sub-clauses within this
clause point out additional methods that could be used for improvement, some of which
will also be addressed in this section of the paper.

Midterm surveys on the codes were used in all six courses, whereas in GE1 and GE2 they
also contained items related to the feedback system. These surveys specifically focused
on student awareness of the existence of the codes and the feedback forms, as well as the
students perceptions of their usefulness. Overall, the students were well aware of the
response code in courses taught both in 2008 and in 2010. For example, in GE1 and ME1,
86% and 82% of the respondents indicated awareness, respectively, while these
percentages were 93% in GE2 and 100% in ME2. Awareness of the review code was
exemplified with the following proportions in those courses: 51%, 63%, 40% and 75% in
GE1, ME1, GE2 and ME2, respectively. In terms of the feedback forms, the awareness
seems to have increased from the 2008 offering of GE1, where it was 57%, to the section
of the same course offered two years later, namely to 82% in GE2.

The perceived usefulness of the codes and the feedback forms was also fairly high in most
cases. For example, 90%, 94%, 98% and 100% of the students responding in GE1, ME1,
GE2 and EM2, respectively indicated that the response code was useful, while for the
review code, these percentages were 75%, 100%, 98% and 94%, respectively. The
fractions of respondents noting that the feedback forms were useful were similar in GE1
and GE2, specifically 77% in the former and 83% in the latter.

End-of-term surveys were conducted in GE1, EM1, and in all three courses in 2010. They
contained a set of affirmative statements on the codes, to which the students could
indicate the level of agreement or disagreement using a 1-5 Likert scale. The surveys
conducted in GE2 and EM2 also had such statements on the feedback forms. Examples of
the issues surveyed include the appropriateness of code promises and consequent
actions, accessibility of code and feedback systems performance results, and
effectiveness of the systems. Some results from GE1, GE2 and EM2 are shown.

With respect to the response code, 86% and 75% of respondents in GE1, and 95% and
95% in GE2, indicated agreement or strong agreement with the statements that they were
well informed about the code and the professors performance against it, respectively. For
the review code, these percentages were lower in both sections, namely 55% and 52% in
GE1, and 57% and 58% in GE2, respectively. As for the feedback forms, 94% of
responding students in GE2 and 95% in EM2 showed agreement or strong agreement with
being well informed on their existence and content.

The statements that probed the effectiveness of the codes in meeting the related
objectives, namely timely professor responses and material review, were agreed or
strongly agreed by 78% and 85% of students for the response code, and 48% and 63% for
the review code, in GE1 and GE2, respectively. A similar statement aimed at the
Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

effectiveness of the feedback forms in illustrating professors actions received 83%
agreement or strong agreement in GE2 and 95% in EM2.

As suggested in clause 8 of ISO 10001 and ISO 10002, the results of these surveys can
be used to identify possibilities for improvement of the response and the review codes, as
well as the feedback system. For example, it seems that a rather significant proportion of
students in both GE1 and GE2, although a minority, thought that more effective and
comprehensive answers could have been provided, in addition to those answers being
given quickly. Namely, in GE1, the percentages of students who responded to the two
related statements with strongly disagree, disagree or neutral responses were 45%
and 46% for effectiveness and comprehensiveness, respectively. Thus, an additional
promise that would cover these particular aspects of the professors response could have
been added to the code, although this was not done in the subsequent section of the
course. Instead and also following up on a student comment in a midterm survey in GE2,
providing more detailed answers was attempted in this section. The strongly disagree,
disagree and neutral percentages were not as high in GE2, totalling 24% and 28% for
effectiveness and comprehensiveness, respectively.

In addition, instances when the guarantees given in the two codes were not fulfilled and
issues that the students provided the feedback on, could be studied further to eliminate the
related causes, as per sub-clause 8.2 of ISO 10001 and ISO 10002, respectively. This
study could be in addition to the actions already performed to address the specific
problems, e.g., to be more vigilant in checking whether there are any e-mails left to be
answered or improving the communication with the teaching assistants regarding the
posting of the solution notes and their likely workload.

Furthermore, guidance from sub-clauses 8.1, 8.4 and 8.5 of ISO 10001 and 8.1, 8.4, 8.5,
8.6 and 8.7 of ISO 10002 could be used for the same purpose. As an example of an
activity related to sub-clauses 8.1 and 8.4 of ISO 10001 (8.1 and 8.6 of ISO 10002), the
text of the response and review codes could have been studied more closely with respect
to all code components suggested in sub-clause 6.2 of ISO 10001, but specifically one
component that was not included in the 2008 courses, namely definitions. This addition
was done in 2010. Another example could be acting upon a students note which
contained a complaint about an omission of a part of a project report apparently made in
the marking and a request to institute a related code for the marking of all course
components, by fulfilling the students request in the remainder of the course (EM2) and
possibly in sections of this and other courses offered in the future. In reference to the
remaining sub-clauses, examples of preventive and augmentative actions that follow up on
earlier student feedback include the posting of project texts on the course website, which
was suggested in GE1 and then undertaken both in GE1 and GE2, and providing the
Microsoft Power Point files of the lectures on the website, which was asked for in GE2, but
will likely also be undertaken in future sections of this course.

6. Conclusions
This paper provided an account of how ISO 10001 and ISO 10002, two international
standards focused on customer satisfaction, specifically on the related codes of conduct
[6] and the complaint-handling process [7], were used by the author in the delivery of
engineering courses. The setup of the systems which followed the standards principles
Joint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19t
- 22
September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

and frameworks was illustrated first. Subsequently, the establishment and application of
two codes for student satisfaction and the system for handling student feedback were
addressed, with a depiction of some of the results from the application. Finally, attention
was turned to the monitoring and follow-up activities that could provide improvements in
the systems and the codes.

The application presented here was a part of a larger study on the use of ISO 10000
customer satisfaction standards in engineering courses (e.g., see [4]). Although the author
was involved in the creation of both standards, the usefulness and the relative ease in
which they can be applied in engineering courses are characteristics that are likely not
limited to the courses taught by the author (e.g., see [4] for some results from a course
taught by another professor). However, expanding the application to other general
engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering management courses, together with
courses in other engineering disciplines, as well as outside of engineering education, will
certainly bring more data and contribute to the study.

The author thanks Mr. Ahmad Ghazi and Mr. Mehdi Honarkhah in the Department of
Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta.

[1] Karapetrovic, S. (2009), Teaching Engineering Courses with ISO 10001, Proceedings of the 2009 ASEE Northeast Section
Conference, Bridgeport, Connecticut, April 2009
[2] Karapetrovic, S. (2008), Integrative Augmentation of Standardized Quality Management Systems, International Journal of Quality
Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 15-22
[3] Karapetrovic, S. (2008), IMS: Focus on ISO 10000 Augmentative Standards, International Journal - Total Quality Management and
Excellence, Vol. 36, No. 1-2, pp. 1-8
[4] Karapetrovic, S., Doucette, J . (2009), An Application of Customer Satisfaction Standards in Engineering Management Courses,
Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas, J une 2009
[5] Dee, B., Karapetrovic, S., Webb, K. (2004), As Easy As 10001,2,3, Quality Progress, Vol. 36, No. 6, pp. 41-48
[6] ISO 10001 (2007), Quality Management Customer Satisfaction Guidelines on Codes of Conduct for Organisations, International
Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland
[7] ISO 10002 (2004), Quality Management Customer Satisfaction Guidelines on Complaints Handling in Organisations,
International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland