Hello all--I do second all of Brian's comments. These are all (identity verification, ease of articulation and transfer, the idea of a General Studies program) issues that we are thinking about here at Thomas Edison State College. We are using an online proctoring service for our assessments now, and it seems to work well, but the cost (about $20 US dollars per administration) might be prohibitive to some. Still an issue for us to consider--identity verification would help address transferability via increased accountability.
I do not mean to harp on this, and I mean no offense to anyone (my own housekeeping skills are less than optimal) but improved communication amongst our members is a key goal that I think we should focus on. And in particular, this wikieducator site is nearly impenetrable for me and my staff, and this impenetrability has been, without exaggeration, the single biggest issue concerning my institution's involvement in OERu. We are unable to understand what other institutions are doing, it is not easy for me to find the courses that have already been developed, nor to determine what stage of development they are in, and the difficulty of navigation has made our own accountability a serious question--in other words, I don't know when I am supposed to do something or what that something actually is. I cannot use the website to gain buy-in on the part of my colleagues here at the College. Of course, cleaning up our website is not a strategic goal of the magnitude of the four we are considering, but improved communication and transparency is certainly something I would add.
Finally, I would suggest that we consider less emphasis here on the question of cost, which is addressed in three of the four strategic goals. While of course money makes the world go round, I would suggest retitling numbers 2 and 4: in number 2, replace "cost effective" with "efficient" at minimum, and in number 4, "Develop pilots/models to demonstrate viability and strength of OERu network" or something like that.
And I agree wholeheartedly with Marc (and Brian). Identity verification is a big issue, and although Excelsior is looking into online proctoring services such as the one Thomas Edison uses, most online proctoring services do not offer good biometric identity verification (and the ones that do require prohibitively expensive equipment). A Webcam photo of a photo ID is not very reassuring. So yes, it's important. And I also agree that the wikieducator site is really hard to use. I have to go back through old e-mails to find links to click on if I want to find anything. So I do think that a strategic goal of finding effective communication tools and processes among OERu members is something that should be added. --Mika Hoffman
Hi Marc & Mika
Clearly the identity verification piece is a priority issue for the OERu and we have this item firmly on the agenda of the Credit transfer and course articulation working group.
Those are valuable suggestions for refining strategic goals #2 and #4
- In the absence of alternate suggestions, change strategic Goal 2 as follows: "Improve processes for efficient and scalable OERu operations.",
- In the absence of alternate suggestions, change strategic Goal 4 along the lines of: "Develop pilots/models to demonstrate viability and strength of OERu network"
I agree, we need to improve communication and provide support and guidance to staff at OERu partner institutions on how the planning process operates and how to engage. Hopefully, we will be able to introduce improvements through the activities of the Course design and development partners manual working group. We have also introduced a Quicklinks page (visible on the navigation of the OERu planning pages) which provides an entry point to the plethora of planning pages in the wiki.
This is a multi-faceted challenge. Open and transparent planning of a large and complex project spread across 5 continents like the OERu introduces a layer of complexity. The elephant in the room is the lack of experience in open collaborative planning and use of the tried and tested tools used by open communities by many of our partner staff ;-).
Your reference to the challenge of knowing what other partners are doing regarding course development etc is a catch 22 situation. If partners don't share what they're doing publicly -- we are all disadvantaged. I think that knowing what to do and where to find what partners need is a capability related to open collaborative development.
As with most things, we will get better as we move forward!