Review of representative sample of materials

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The purpose of this activity under the open design and development initiative is to:
  • Review and provide feedback on a representative example of an OERu course optimised for interoperability among delivery technologies using the wiki as a central repository for course development.
  • Develop guidelines collaboratively for inclusion in the OERu course development style guide.

Instructions for feedback

We invite you to provide feedback and suggestion which should be submitted by the close of your business on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 - Now extended to 18 July 2012.

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Key points


  • Please review the following study units of the AST1000 course as a representative sample for an OERu course:
  • Please review the example of how these course materials can be integrated into a Learning Management System. Notes:
    • We tested the integration of WikiEducator pages using the preferred Learning Management Systems of OERu anchor partners. In this example we have used Moodle.
    • You can access the course materials on Moodle by using the "Guest access" button -- No need to enrol for the course.
    • Some pages are still work in progress, for example the Getting started page which will be completed once all course materials are converted into wiki format.

Feedback and suggestions

  • Please provide feedback which relates to specific content pages on the corresponding discussion tab in the wiki of the page concerned.
  • List general feedback and suggestions for consideration by our OERu partnership below.
  • Please add any recommendations for inclusion in the style for OERu courses under the relevant sections below.

Key features for proposed inclusion in the style guide for OERu learning resources

  • Key resources for all OERu courses should be developed and maintained in WikiEducator to facilitate: accurate version control, collaborative development, automated production of print-based versions, and interoperability of learning materials across the preferred learning management systems and delivery platforms used by OERu anchor partners.
  • Each course should establish a landing page in the wiki with subsections for: Course identifiers, Course description, StudyDesk, and Microblog feed (additional blocks as needed for individual courses can be added to the landing page.)
  • Each course will have a StudyDesk (a sub-page of the landing page) which lists the main websites and corresponding links for accessing the learning materials for the course. Course designers will have the flexibility to determining the layout and structure of the StudyDesk page depending on the pedagogy and requirements for the course concerned.
  • Each "study unit" is developed as a self-contained collection of learning materials comprising "screen-size" sub-pages to facilitate remix potential and embedding within learning management systems and other delivery websites using WikiEducator's links and iframe support.

Guidelines for naming pages of OERu course materials

  • Do not use the Module or Study Unit numbers in the wiki page names, for example "Module 1". Use a descriptive title, for example: "Introduction to Regional Relations in Asia and the Pacific. This is to facilitate reuse and to avoid renumbering pages when a different sequence is used.
  • Where the page titles of the learning materials are likely to be unique, i.e. not to be reused by future courses we recommend creating the pages in the main wiki namespace. However, where duplicate names are likely or the host institution would like to retain identity of the course donation, the units can be created as subpages of the course landing page associated with the institution's course.

Guidelines for navigation templates

The navigation template should:

Guidelines for visual design of sub-pages

Bear in mind that the wiki pages for OERu course materials will be reused in a variety of delivery websites (LMSs, CMSs, Blogs etc) as well as print-based study-guides and will need to accommodate relatively small width screen resolutions, eg 500 pixels through to wide-screen displays.

  • Avoid using tables with too-many columns that would typically require a landscape page orientation. Assume the default of a portrait orientation for all tables.
  • Avoid pages with long sections of text-only presentation:
    • Include interesting images to supplement the teaching text.
    • Incorporate pedagogical templates to promote learner activity and improve the visual layout of the page.
  • Apply the general rule that there should be text between headings to avoid two headings following each other. Remember that the page title will appear as a heading in the print-version of a WikiEducator page, so start each page with an appropriate introductory text and corresponding image where possible.

General feedback and suggestions

  • I'm concerned about the scalability of a closed personal wiki which volunteers will provide feedback (in this example an individual wiki used in Moodle) for the following reasons: 1) Where number of registrations would exceed the number of potential volunteers 2) Where different delivery platforms may not be able to accommodate personal closed wikis. Is there a substantive pedagogical reason why personal reflections can't be published openly (by choice of the learner) which could promote peer interactions. In cases where the learner chooses not to publish reflections openly, they could submit these as "closed" documents to the assessor, but would not benefit from volunteer feedback. We could run with this for the prototype, but we may need to rethink the approach for when OERu goes live. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:20, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Wayne on this. This model of closed interaction (student - instructor / oer learner - volunteer) replicates the virtual classroom environment which in case of OER open learning may not be the most appropriate. Considering that oer learners may not necessary become students or apply for assessment any e-tivities should be optional and up to the learner to choose whether to engage and to what extend. The courses need to be designed to offer opportunities for engagement and feedback if learners opt for it but they should not be a requirement as it limits flexibility and scalability. --Vasi Doncheva 23:38, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with the above - and I would add that the course schedule is very much oriented toward a fully supervised delivery model. It seems quite tightly structured for an open course - or alternatively is there the possibility of optional ways of working through the course?--Irwin DeVries 05:24, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Great to see a futures module at the end. Might consider that a standard feature for any course for which is appropriate -- RealFuturist (Peter Bishop), 5 July 2012 (USCDT) [Sorry, but don't know how to sign this officially...]
  • I like the general structure and having this as a template will make it much easier for developers to add components and for learners to follow. The course content is organized well. I'm finding the interaction pices a bit confusing, though.  I see microblogging, which is a great idea. I also see an ePortfolio mentioned, but don't see where that's linked to within the assignment areas. And, am also not clear on where the wiki part fits in.  I'd like to see more explanation about when and how interaction with the AVI occurs. Also, where are opportunities for learners to connect with each other in meaningful ways?  The microblogging presents some opportunities, but many microblog to place their viewpoint and not as much to connect with other viewpoints. --BettyHD 18:02, 8 July 2012 (UTC) 
Hi Betty -- Good suggestions. We hope to resolve the navigation and confusing bits with a concise and informative "getting started" resource. Bit of a chicken and egg challenge at the moment, we need to complete the design and development in order to provide a useful support resource for learners to reduce the confusion. I agree, finding ways to improve opportunities for learners to connect with each other will improve the learning experience --Wayne Mackintosh 06:04, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Quick question- is the ePortfolio mentioned Mahara? And, if so, will we be using Moodle integrated with Mahara? --BettyHD 18:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi Betty, good question. It is unlikely that we will be able to prescribe a specific e-Portfolio system because OERu partners are likely to use a variety of preferred technologies. Therefore I suggest we look at solutions which provide the freedom for institutions and learners to use the technologies of their choice for compiling e-portfolios. --Wayne Mackintosh 06:07, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, this makes sense- thanks. --BettyHD 14:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Maybe we could have more generic references to "your portfolio site" so that different tools can be used depending on preferences.--Irwin DeVries 05:24, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Irwin, I agree, we need to cater for the flexibility of different tools which OERu partners choose to use. --Wayne Mackintosh 06:10, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Need to ensure we use terms consistently so we need to agree how to use course and module ( e.g. In the Course introduction page first the course is referred to as a course and then in the Objectives part is referred to as Module objectives instead of course objectives).--Vasi Doncheva 23:50, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi Vasi -- good point. Clearly our anchor partners will all be using their preferred nomenclature for the sub-components of a course. This raises the question of whether we need to adopt a standard nomenclature for OERu courses or accommodate diversity. A good question for a rough consensus poll ;-) --Wayne Mackintosh 06:21, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • "OER Foundation's Moodle instance, which provides more structured learning sequences. This option is suited for learners who prefer step-by-step instructions and facilitator instructions via email." - extract for StudyDesk key points. I think this statement builds expectations that the course will have facilitators positing instructions and sequencing the learning experience for the learners. Unless this is considered to be a task allocated to specific AVIs not sure how will be achieved. Also is this a scalable and flexible option considering that learners most likely will start their learning journey at different times ( not as a managed cohort at the start of institutional semesters) and will progresses through the learning materials in their own time and at different pace. Considering the open, flexible and free approach to learning we have agreed to adopt wouldn't be more appropriate to provide all the instructions and an indicative study / learning guide, sequencing the activities and the steps in the learning process, and discussion forums for the learners to engage together with the course resources rather then relaying on a facilitator to post them at certain times? As we can't define a start and end of the learning process for individual learners we need to build in the map / guide of the learning journey in the course design itself.--Vasi Doncheva 00:10, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi Vasi, the OERu will need to distinguish between paced courses (eg linked with a time frame) versus study at your own pace and how to accommodate this in a generic model. Excellent point and good candidate for a rough consesnus poll! --Wayne Mackintosh 06:26, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with Vasi's recommendations.  In thinking about this framework and how learners will interact with this framework, I suggest keeping the content in the wiki as proposed, but then using the integrated Moodle/Mahara (when possible- realize this will depend on institutions) for the LMS, with extensive use of Mahara for the learners to place their notes (for themselves) and then be able to publish for AVI reivew through Mahara pages what is needed to get the credential.  If an institution does not have Moodle/Mahara, Mahara itself would work fine (the main difference is not being able to directly transfer artifacts from one to the other).  From what I've seen, new users of Mahara pick up on journal and page creation quite readily. And, the use of Mahara in this way will address some of the very important issues raised by Vasi.--BettyHD 14:16, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi Betty, -- Yes agreed. We will need to find generic solutions which enable institutions to use their own LMSs and e-portfolio systems - -which we have tested earlier in the process. This is the advantage of the Wiki model because we will not constrain individual choices for preferred technologies at the institutional level. For OERu learners using technologies supported by the OER Foundation, we will host a single LMS, but will not restrict any partner from using their own preferred technology. --Wayne Mackintosh 06:32, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • So, for Mathematical Journey, which would need initially technologies provided by the OER Foundation (we don't have our Moodle implemented yet,) can that course use the Foundation's Moodle and Mahara? --BettyHD 14:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I added points on discussion pages throughout the sections. Overall it's shaping up to be a very impressive course. A few general points: I agree with all the comments above but have also added that we might consider more generic terminology around such elements as portfolios, discussion areas, e-moderators etc. so that we can plug in or send learners to different tools in a more flexible manner. The assessment rubric seems quite extensive - possible to simplify? I wonder if the sections on OER learning and digital literacies could be set up in such a way that everyone could make reference to them. The specific "pedagogy of discovery" could perhaps be more course specific since it was agreed at the Fall meeting in Otago that there would be no one pedagogical approach adopted for all the courses. It seems a little too high level for our learners at a first year U level. The video as a standard item is a really excellent idea and makes the course more alive and connected to faculty. Do we want more standardization on key terms such as Activity, e-Tivity etc. not only within courses but more widely across the program?--Irwin DeVries 05:31, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi Irwin, great feedback, thanks. I think generic terms for the use of concepts such as e-portfolio would be useful. I also like the idea of reusable components, eg resources to support digital literacy across the OERu network. Personally I'm uneasy with prescribing a pedagogical approach for all OERu courses -- I think we should accommodate a variety of pedagogical models, eg the "Pedagogy of discovery" should not be a requirement for all OERu courses, but the AST1000 course provides a good example of this approach. The trick for the OERu will be to design generic guidelines which can support a variety of pedagogical approaches. We're off to a good start in achieving these objectives imo ;-) --Wayne Mackintosh 06:38, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Reusable components would be very helpful!--BettyHD 14:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I support your point about standardization of key terms Irwin may be should start a list. --Vasi Doncheva 06:20, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with a list of key terms- it will help learners navigate more effectively. --BettyHD 14:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Is there a reason that the pages don't include prev/next arrows at the bottom? I like the option to go to the next page without scrolling to the top. --Alison Snieckus 22:04, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Good point. Nope, there is no reason why the course pages don't contain prev/next arrows. I figured it would save time to be sure we were happy with the draft sequence before adding them, but agree they should be considered for inclusion in our style guide. Thanks for the reminder :-). --Wayne Mackintosh 05:41, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
  • In addition to some of the bigger points to be included in a style guide (as included on this page), I wonder if it would be useful to spell out some basic editing example: if an abbreviation is useful in the content, it is offered following the first use of the corresponding phrase (in a Module? in a Course?), and used in place of the phrase in all uses to follow (in that Module/Course). Volunteer wikieducators could then help to improve pages without wondering if they have to first post a discussion thread to get consensus. For example: use of OER on this page. --Alison Snieckus 22:17, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I think Irwin in his general remarks above makes a good suggestion that many of the courses may need access to the digital literacy and OER content in this introduction. And to take this point a tad further, I wonder if some of this kind of content is relevant for all learners. I can see how it's pre-requisite to participating in the course, but might not some learners be proficient in digital literacies and understanding OER already? Maybe the introduction should include links to activities for pre-requisite skills for the learner to use, as needed. This way each course can better stand alone. --Alison Snieckus 23:06, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Alison, Irwin and Betty -- I strongly support the idea of "generic" resources which could support all OERu courses to improve learning and digtal literacies for OERu learners (as well as faculty members from OERu partner institutions). The data we track on WikiEducator shows that about 67% of new WikiEducator account holders have never created a wiki account before joining our community. This is a point of concern given that wiki technology has been around for +15 years and 72% of our members work in the formal education sector ;-). Can wiki editing skills be considered a necessary skill for the 21st century? Speaking personally -- I would like to see an OERu credit-bearing course on learning and digital literacies for the 21st century where learners can actually earn formal credit towards their credential. --Wayne Mackintosh 05:39, 14 July 2012 (UTC

Elizabeth Mbasu 19:33, 18 July 2012 (UTC) . I prefer a succinct Moodle home page on the 1st panel with links to all resources in the course.See example thro' mail.

Secondly, resources like study guide to make use of alternte colors.