OERu 13.10 Remote participant proposals for Session 7

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  • (Pro D) Culturally aware design, e.g. topics like worldviews and communication keys in perceptions, thinking patterns, meaning of silences, impact of assessment types, etc.
  • Well-defined learning outcomes (this will facilitate assessment and credentialing)
  • Building Communities of Practice, Peer Networks and PLNs; Collaborative Learning
  • (Pro D) Options for High Quality Peer Assessments (see below under quality assurance)
  • Micro open online courses: (sorry for the long description) To understand the benefits and challenges of creating micro courses a group who have currently developed OERu courses and those interested may want to explore what a micro course would look like, develop a definition of ‘micro course’, provide a design layout that includes the ‘chunking’ of existing course content for ‘exit points’, ‘number of credits’ at exit points and ways that learners can provide evidence that learning has occurred. (It would be valuable to have various options for assessment as exams do not necessarily provide evidence of what has been learned.. but, what has been memorized). A space for continuous dialogue and connection with those interested in micro course development may contribute to the sustainability of OERu courses as we learn what is/what does not work and implement a process for change. As an instructional designer, I am interested in exploring the practice of 'micro course development' and how this is similar/different from current online course development practices. What this would look like.. ie micro courses that contribute to learners’ completion of whole programs.
  • Include plural representations of cultural worldviews/knowledge in course materials
  • Make open web culture values and practices explicit, transparent


  • Could use World Health Organization as a method of marketing issues and health related courses.
  • Could ask learners who have taken OERu courses for suggestions on marketing of courses.
  • Discuss ways in which we can build micro courses around what learners want to know and do. What mechanisms are available to reach people to find out what it is they would like to learn. Perhaps the use of some of the social media? Provide opportunities for those who want to learn something to have a voice and see it realized? Collection of learning opportunites on social media.
  • Work with partners such as the Saylor Foundation or Open Courseware Consortium. There are also many sites out there that have lists of MOOCs--we might tie into that market of people looking for learning opportunities and show them that there are whole degree programs available.
  • Who is the audience for these courses? Who is actually signing up and how did they learn about the courses?


  • Course assessments should use language and vocabulary that would not penalize those learners whose first language is not English.
  • If assessments are general (meaning that they are used and accepted by multiple OERu partner institutions), then they should be built with a sensitivity to those whose first langauge is not English. However, for assessments such as portfolios or institution-specific challenge exams that are developed by each member institution separately, there is the possibility to have the institution use whatever their language of instruction is for the assessment.
  • There's been a bit of discussion about types of assessments, and there seems to be some feeling that exams are not always appropriate. While I agree that exams are not always appropriate, I think they can be used for more than many people give them credit for. They need not test just memorization--though it takes a lot of time and skill to write exams that go beyond memorization, it is possible. And I do think that if OERu is to be scalable, we will need to use large-scale exams where possible to free up assessment resources for those cases that need more human-intensive assessment. So, to that end: it's important for courses to define learning outcomes not only in terms of content to be mastered, but cognitive abilities relative to that content (using Bloom's Taxonomy or some such). Where large-scale assessments can be built, the test plans for those assessments would also need to reference learning outcomes and relevant cognitive abilities.
  • Case study is a great method for assessing knowledge and application of knowledge on many topics and courses.
  • Whatever type of assessment is used, it's important for each assessment to have a blueprint/plan/specification that clearly indicates what learning outcomes are being assessed and what criteria are to be used. I don't know how it is in other countries, but in the US there's still a certain amount of suspicion about online learning, and the ability to measure outcomes reliably goes a very long way toward establishing credibility. Of course each member gets to decide how it wants to assess learning, but I think it would be very helpful for the overall mission of the OERu if we could agree on some basic guidelines (such as identify rating criteria, have a minimum number of raters, conduct standard-setting studies, etc.)
  • Identify the Employment Worthy 21st century skills and learner needs to address the Gap between education and employment Sir John spoke of yesterday. E.g. Richardson's take on requirements for professional collaboration with global others, multiple digital literacies, creativity etc (ref at: [[1]] ) Build assessments that address both the identified shared learning needs and course/program specific learning needs.
  • BUT, don't fall into the trap of the corporate commerce tail wagging the learning dog.
  • Provide assessment options for students, including self-directed methods whenever appropriate to course/program
  • Assessment may include evidence from the learner: what did they learn from the course, how did the course (especially if a micro course) contribute to the overall program, how did they contribute to other's learning (learners as knowledge makers not just recipients of knowledge)? What gaps - areas for further learning do they feel they need to be successful in the program.
  • This may go without saying, but it's important for any assessment to have appropriate identity verification and security against cheating (sad to say). If a member institution conducts assessments face-to-face, presumably they know who the people are. But for portfolios or exams, there should be minimum standards for security.
  • Regarding credentialing: the reason I keep going on about standards for assessment is that I would envision that there might be cases in which one institution could do the assessment and another would accept the results for credentialing. So members would all need to be comfortable with each other's assessment methods if that's going to happen.So let's assume that institution X has a course in an area that institution Y has no expertise in. A student at institution Y takes institution X's course and wants credit at institution Y--if institution X can do a portfolio evaluation that institution Y can trust, great! If not, then institution Y has to go find its own experts for evaluation, which might be expensive and inefficient. Or for exams, if institution X has an exam that institution Y trusts, then the exam can be used for credit at either place. We need to find that balance between individual member autonomy and the efficiency of trust and collaboration.
  • Work to keep assessment for credit fees affordable for students - common policy for partner institutions?
  • Affordability is going to vary--what might be affordable for most American students might not be for most students somewhere else. I do agree that anyone doing assessment should keep the fees as low as possible, but I suspect that most of us do that already. Again, I think here we get back to scalability. If we can figure out a way to automate at least some of the assessment, that will bring prices down.
  • when thinking about 'assessments' for the oeru courses - first 'thought' could be .. can an assessment be developed that will help the oeru . for student credit assessments that benefit OERu. Such meaningful real-world apps would look great in their portfolios


  • Hmm
  • Host a working committee from partnering institutions to identify and develop support materials for learners, instructors/faculty, instructional designers, IT etc.
  • Establish a working group to coordinate the development of an OERu strategic action plan for 2014-2016 with input from nominated institutional representatives


  • Quality Matters is a US company that does quality assurance for online courses. While I'm assuming we would want to do something on our own, and probably be more flexible, looking at QM's rubrics could give us some ideas. Whatever we use, it's going to be important to have common ideas about how to define learning outcomes--transferability is going to require really robust learning outcome definitions so that we can engage in appropriate assessment.
  • Provide pool of key Quality Assurance resources tailored to course & program type (e.g Guide to Quality Online Learning and U of T's Guide to Designing MOOCs shared yesterday and a few others, including some from non-Western worldview, or at least invite input of critical learning values & practices from authoritative non-Western sources )
  • Peer review of courses: Content experts from partnering institutions would review courses developed by other institutions using something similar to quality matters criteria. A peer review process would provide the evidence institutionally that the content is current and relevant. Institutional credentialling may occur if there are quality assurance mechanisms such as peer review in place.
  • Ideally we should have agreed-upon standards so that once a course has been evaluated once by a member institution, other members could simply trust the evaluation and not have to do a full evaluation themselves.
  • Monitor course, program and quality assurance guides to ensure currency and timely update
  • Anticipate quantum change now that OERu is officially open to the world!
  • eCampusAlberta has a well-defined quality eToolkit ([[2]] ) and a process to encourage quality that could be built on