Review of Course guide example

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Key points
  • Design Consultation 1 recommended the adoption of a generic introductory resource to be called a "Course Guide" for OERu courses.
  • The team at USQ has developed an example Course guide for the Regional Relations in Asia and Pacific course.
  • The course guide is linked under the key resource section of the prototype OERu AST1000 course homepage.

Components of the example course guide

The course guide includes:

Key elements and features

  • Microblog activities have been included to encourage peer-to-peer interaction. See here and here
  • The wiki model has the advantage of automatically generating a print version of the AST1000 Course guidePDF down.png. (Ideal for learners who may not have regular access to the Internet.) Notes relating to the pdf examplePDF down.png:
    • Table of contents generated automatically in the wiki --> pdf feature.
    • As the materials are openly licensed it is legally possible for partners to produce and brand their own versions of the Course guide. (Copyright of the original work acknowledged on the copyright page).
    • Redundant navigation in the online wiki version is automatically removed in the print version.
    • We have not optimized the print-specific version of the video template yet.
    • Image attributions (see end of the print version of the guide) are generated automatically from the metadata of the images uploaded in WikiEducator.
  • We have implemented the recommendations of Design Consultation 1 with reference to acknowledging the copyright of the original contributor. A note parameter has been added to the template used for Navigation in WikiEducator course pages to include a link to the copyright page. See for example the "Copyright" link at the bottom right of the navigation template for the AST1000 course guide below:

  • The OERu learner support link at the bottom of the navigation template will link to a set of generic learner support resources which can be used by all OERu courses.
  • Instructions on creating and using these navigation templates are available in this tutorial

Review instructions

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The aim of this open review consultation is to:
  • Provide specific feedback and suggestions for improving the AST1000 Course guide draft posted in the wiki.
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on the general structure and elements to be included in the OERU style guidelines for the Course guide resource.

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  1. Please provide course specific feedback for the AST1000 Course guide on the corresponding talk page using the discussion tab on that page:
  2. Overall feedback relating to the design and improvement of the Course guide for inclusion in the OERu style guide should be provided below on this page.
  3. Feedback is required by the close of your business on 7 June 2012.

What do you think about the overall structure and components of the example course guide?

  • I think the course guide includes all the components required for the introductory resource --Wayne Mackintosh 23:32, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Overall, This is a great template for each course guide for prototype courses.--BettyHD 18:58, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The course guide is a great template including all the important information for course introduction so I'm happy for us to use it. --Vasi Doncheva 22:05, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Like the idea of a generic structure Course Guide, headings/inclusions are good. (Posted by UOW)
  • Am reading through the sample on one “Critical Reasoning” and find the content good but the presentation overwhelming – for me all that text in Wiki educator really not exciting or motivating. The overview and first activity would be good, with progressive release of latter activities so as to not overwhelm. On the whole, not keen on Wiki educator as a publishing platform – not attractive. Might be handy if you actually need a wiki…. But can’t say that a using it to publish a course guide is great. (Posted by UOW)
I agree the structure and pedagogy of the Critical Reasoning course is excellent. To be fair to colleagues at Unisa -- the page you looked at is not the presentation format. It must still be converted into a user-friendly layout which can be integrated into the learning management systems used across the OERu. (The reason we tested Wiki integration with partner LMSs). By way of example, look at this page in the wiki and how it can be delivered in a LMS - Note that all the redundant wiki navigation is removed. The advantage we get from the wiki is a single source with detailed subversion history for collaborative development that can be delivery locally using the OERu partner's LMS. With LMSs we cannot work collaboratively. The wiki also gives us the capability of automatically producing pdfs - -however, uploading pdf links are not editable and reduce reuse potential. The OERu also needs technology which can scale for thousands of learners. LMS technology is resource intensive and wouldn't take too many learners on the same course to crash the server :-( --Wayne Mackintosh 00:40, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Re course activities (Critical Reasoning) there is an interesting use of twitter/micro blogging and I like the way they scaffold the writing for that format. But then they also want 100 introductory words about yourself up in the first exercise – which would be way over the Twitter character limit. So some confusion about twitter/blog/journal – needs clarifying. (Posted by UOW)
That's a good point about the word limit of microblogs. We have that one covered and have been prototyping solutions with the OCL4Ed courses. We use an RSS aggregation which pulls together feeds from Twitter, and abridged forum posts (when learners want to write more than 140 characters.). With technology we can in theory harvest any RSS feed (for example a learners blog post) into a central timeline and then integrate this into any website, as in the case of the Live feed in this Moodle course. The microblog posts provide an element of synchronous communication which can scale for large numbers of learners without increasing local costs for facilitation. It becomes a form of peer-learning support. --Wayne Mackintosh 00:51, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Have also read the Course Guide for the AST100 course.
  • Similar feeling re the cluttered/text dense presentation as noted above (Posted by UOW).
That's a good point -- I'm partly to blame here, the original versions had good pictures and these must still be uploaded to the pages for a more visually attractive page which can break the text. The including of microblog activity templates, in text quizzes etc will also provide visual variety and improve student-student and content-student interactions (without increasing variable cost of delivery). --Wayne Mackintosh 00:54, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Would prefer marking rubrics as neat PDFs linked to the webpage with a common graphic icon. (NOTE – content of the rubrics is great though). (Posted by UOW)
Yes PDFs are available. They can be generated automatically from the wiki. The trouble with compiled pdfs is that they are hard to maintain because they are not editable (for course revisions, reuse by other institutions etc.) --Wayne Mackintosh 00:57, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Like the Youtube welcome video (Posted by UOW)
  • Main thing that struck me re this sample course structure is the text/essay nature of the course. No use of synchronous comms such as skype to allow for online tutorial activities. The interaction between students is continuous text-based feedback on their postings via twitter – I would be concerned that with no scheduled virtual events in real-time – as a learner you’d lose your way, lose your motivation, get bogged down in the minutae. Well perhaps I would - I guess on a personal level, this course would not be one I’d be keen to do. I would prefer a course that had some online synchronous opportunities, as well as asynchronous feedback to individual students/peer feedback. (Posted by UOW)
Individual partners will be free to schedule synchronous comms, which will certainly add value to the learning experience. However, the costs of providing these synchronous sessions will need to be carried by the institutions hosting them. Also, when working globally with learners distributed across 24 time zones, remember that at least 2 sessions must be scheduled for each synchronous event so every has an opportunity to be present. We can think about innovative ways for students to establish synchronous study group session through self-organisation and AVIs may join these session. Good ideas to think about. --Wayne Mackintosh 01:02, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Are there any elements missing from the course guide which should be included?

  • Consider the inclusion of a review quiz with feedback covering the important facets? --Wayne Mackintosh 23:35, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I suggest that we include an "Assessment provider" link in the Course guide navigation template as a sub-page linking to the OERu partners who will provide assessment services for the course. This will enable OERu partners to specify institution specific assessment requirements. For the 2012 prototype, I imagine that this page would only list the original contributor, but in theory more than one OERu partner could assess a prototype course. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:43, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with Wayne Mackintosh that including an "Assessment provider" link is needed. I would suggest that each assessment provider not just the original contributor provides information about assessment process as well as includes sample assessments.--Vasi Doncheva 22:08, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Add your point here - -remember to sign your contribution.

Any further comments or suggestions?

  • For the style guide -- we should distinguish between minimum requirements and options, for example the inclusion of a welcome video could be optional? --Wayne Mackintosh 23:34, 30 May 2012 (UTC) Support the view that use of specific media should be optional but there need to be a welcome.--Vasi Doncheva 22:12, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Pay particular attention to designing for generic OERu use -- i.e. separating institution specific requirements of the conferring / teaching institution. For example, an institution teaching in parallel mode may want to specify assignment submission dates, whereas a generic OERu course would require, for example, the learner to submit the collection of assignments as a course-portfolio when requesting assessment services from an OERu partner. Suggested guideline --> keep language and instructions generic for different reuse scenarios. Institution specific instructions can be provided on a separate wiki page. --Wayne Mackintosh 00:11, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  • And, what about those using material, but not to get the credential? --BettyHD 19:00, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point -- we need to find a solution for learners to identify which "activities" are required for the credential which facilitates the freedom for OERu partners to specify their own assessment requirements --Wayne Mackintosh 08:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
  • For the assessment overview, perhaps more explanation of the graduate objectives (U1, U2, etc)? These look like great objective titles, but more detail is needed.--BettyHD 06:46, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Another good point -- how do we cater for graduate objectives with the flexibility for institutional autonomy on these objectives. Open for discussion -- Should the OERu agree generic graduate objectives? --Wayne Mackintosh 08:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Jim Taylor has posted a valuable suggestion about a Getting started resource for inclusion in the Course guide. This could easily be accommodated as a sub-section of the Course Guide in the wiki. --Wayne Mackintosh 06:54, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I like the ‘inverted curriculum’ or ‘flipped classroom’ course model and think we could do well to use this for our courses: reversed teaching model that delivers instruction/lectures/content at home through interactive, teacher-created videos - and moves “homework” to the classroom or class/lecture time, eg synchronous learning groups to work through actual problems, cases, activities ( (Submitted by UOW)
Yes! I think the 'flipped classroom' approach is an excellent pedagogical approach for designing OERu courses that can be presented in parallel mode (full tuition students plus OERu free learners.) --Wayne Mackintosh 01:23, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The column layout I have moved to with much of my own work that is online delivery so that is fine, but I use a lot more visual material/video. It is not quite as simple as providing references and essay topics. There is a lot more nitty gritty with the maths/stats. (Submitted by UOW)
Yes - -I can see that different subjects will need different approaches to layout. Can you point us to a link which shows this layout approach. Would be good to have an example so we can think about implementable solutions --Wayne Mackintosh 01:06, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Although I found the "construction"/instructions a bit overwhelming, particularly when I got to copyright etc. (Submitted by UOW)
  • Yes templates can be tricky for newbies. Yet they provide tremendous power for designing and implementing courses for an international network of institutions. Think of wikis as a 21st digital literacy skill -- collectively our organisational capability with these technologies will improve and the open nature of wiki editing means we can help each other by working on the same page :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 01:06, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • OERu needs to be concerned as to how the assessment is managed to avoid cheating and plagiarism, especially after the course has been taught more than once. Can we add to upstream activities some guidelines on assessment to include measures to protect OERu as far as possible against such things? For simplicity at the pilot stage for OERu the Assessment overview please do something like include references to the originating institution’s regulations and note that students should also check out similar regulations for another accrediting institution that is relevant to them. (UC- Niki) Given importance of this this point -- have moved Niki's comment to a new Brainstorm activity --Wayne Mackintosh 03:25, 12 June 2012 (UTC).
Hi Niki, Excellent point and I agree that this is a very significant issue for OERu. Given the complexities and importance of this component of credentialisation, I recommend that we set up a dedicated activity in the logic model to plan this in more detail (rather than inclusion in a pedagogical style guide). For this purpose I've initiated a brainstorm activity to identify the summative assessment issues under the open credentialing initiative of the logic model. These relate to University regulations and needs detailed and robust attention. Your suggestion for the protoypes is a good one. Thanks. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:10, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Rough consensus poll

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Proposed consensus recommendation
Based on the review feedback, the OERTen will implement a generic course guide for OERu courses using the structural components illustrated in the AST1000 course guide. These requirements will be documented in the OERu style guide with the additional inclusion of a "Getting started" resource plus the incorporation of the following guidelines:
  • Promoting the visual appeal of pages through the inclusion of graphics, images and pedagogical templates
  • Promoting options for more substantive feedback from OERu learners than the 140 character limit of microblog posts
  • To provide solutions for producing pdf outputs of selected resources better suited to print while ensuring editable files formats, minimizing upstream maintenance and incorporating solutions for version control.
  • To encourage inclusion of learner-content interactions (eg quizes with feedback) and scalable solutions for peer-to-peer interactions
  • To accommodate the listing and requirements for OERu partners providing assessment services for OERu courses.
  • To promote reuse of the course across the OERu network.
  • To consider learners who use the resources but may not wish to apply for assessment services.

Note: As the style guide recommendations will be developed transparently in the wiki there will be opportunities for further refinement and improvement.

Consensus poll vote

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Cast your vote below

Note: You must be logged into WikiEducator to vote.

  1. I recommend the inclusion of the proposed consensus recommendation above for inclusion in the OERu style guide
    • Yes
    • No
    • Other (requires further reasons below as the date for feedback is closed.)

Additional feedback

Will need to be a substantive issue as the date for open feedback is closed.

  • Comparison of the UNISA course highlighted the absence of a course composition section in the course guide (i.e. high level overview of the course) or graphic organiser.


Course guide recommendations specified in the proposed consensus recommendation above to be adopted as style guidelines for OERu course guides, but with the additional inclusion of a course composition subsection which could use a graphic organiser or summary text to provide an overview of the course structure.