OERu Course Quality Review Guidelines

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These guidelines are based on e-Campus Alberta Essential Quality Standards 2.0: http://quality.ecampusalberta.ca. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

This following DRAFT is based on comments collected from: this working document

Web Design Standards

Web Design Standards (guidelines for best practice) Required Exemplary
Format: course elements use a logical and consistent structure and format
  • Adhere to best practice for responsive design (and accessibility?)
  • consistent image size
Legibility and Readability:

The course is designed to facilitate legibility and readability.

  • When alternative file options are provided, these should be open and editable (no learner should be forced to purchase a software license to access content
  • Use of pedagogical templates recommended
Navigation: Navigation throughout the course is consistent, predictable and efficient.
  • Consider navigational guidelines such as title length avoiding more than 3 hierarchical levels

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Course Information Standards

Course Information Standards Required Exemplary
Course Design Documents (replaces outline syllabus)
  • Course description, design blueprint, and course outline are published on wikieducator.org (example)
  • Planning documents published early in the design process to encourage community feedback and collaboration
Course Summary
  • Welcome video signpost included or prepared welcome message sent as a course instruction
  • Professional bios of course developers and facilitators (if appropriate) available on course summary page
Learning Outcomes
  • Overall course aims and outcomes are clearly defined
  • Learning outcomes are provided for each learning pathway
Assessment Strategies (replaces grading information)
  • Course guide should contain information on course assessment and what is required for summative assessment
  • The weighting of each graded activity is identified
Interaction Strategies (replaces role of instructor and learners) A summary of interaction strategies is provided, including;
  • Student-content interactions
  • Student-student interactions (Learners are encouraged to provide peer support and contribute to the learning community through sharing questions and answers in discussion sessions)
  • Student-support interactions


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Writing Standards

Writing Standards Required Exemplary
  • Quotations and other material, including graphic images, are appropriately cited within the course material based on OERU guidelines
  • Openly licensed media are appropriately attributed according to OERu guidelines (to be developed??)
  • (additional requirements for attribution of openly licensed material?)
Clear Language:

The language is clear and readily comprehensible.

  • Readability statistics generated using (an open source) tool (http://flesh.sourceforge.net/ - *not tested) show that the level is appropriate for the level of the course
  • Supports to aiding comprehension are provided (e.g., glossaries, definition of terms, links to accessible web pages that build on concepts, pre-reading activities).
Mechanics of Writing
  • The course has no grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

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Resource Standards

Resource Standards Required Exemplary
  • The learning resources accommodate current (open) technologies
  • (Resources are a maximum of seven years of age?) If older resources are used, the rationale for their use is provided
Authority: the authority of learning materials is apparent
  • (Require a reworking of what constitutes credible and authoritative sources in the OERu context)
Varied Content Resources: learners are provided with various types of learning materials
  • (all content must be 100% openly licensed and editable)
  • A sufficient number of content resources are provided to ensure a balanced view
  • A list of supplementary and/or optional learning resources is provided to learners along with an overview of each that addresses their alignment with the learning outcomes/objectives.
Learner Support
  • Learners are provided with information on how to access learning support resources

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Organization Standards

Organization Standards Required Exemplary
Course Guide/Summary

The learning path guides learners through the entire course. It explains the learning activities and how they are to be used to fulfill the learning outcomes/objectives.

  • Clear and concise instructions are readily available to the learner on how to proceed through the course
  • There is a course schedule which includes all learning activities and deadlines or other guidelines for when activities and assessments are to be completed.
  • Delivery strategies are clearly described and explained in plain language.  
  • Information is provided on the nature of the delivery (ie. if synchronous activities are planned, options for participants in different time zones should be included)
  • Details on the technology used for the various activities are explained if new or specialized technologies are introduced (e.g., web or video conferencing, web logs).
  • If learners are given options for how they sequence activities, this is reflected in the course information and schedule.
  • Learners are provided with some options in the learning activities that accommodate their individual needs and interests (e.g., an assignment may be submitted as a video presentation or an essay; learners can complete a pre-test before a module that allows them to skip the module if their knowledge is sufficient).
  • The course schedule includes delivery mode information for each learning activity.
Learning Material: The learning material is organized to show learners the relationship of the course components to the achievement of the learning outcomes/objectives.
  • The learning material is presented in coherent learning segments, in logical order with appropriate sequencing
  • Bridging statements or other strategies are used to identify relationships between learning segments.
  • Learners are provided with strategies to work with the learning material through advanced organizers, concept maps, pre-reading, pre-tests, etc.
Time Commitment: Learners are informed of the time commitment expected for them to complete all the learning activities.
  • Overall time commitment is included in the course description
  • Learners are informed of time estimates for all substantive learning activities

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Pedagogy Standards

Pedagogy Standards Required Exemplary

Instructions for all activities, graded and non-graded, are clear and complete. Options for levels of engagement are clearly defined (self-interest; certification for participation; for credit).

  • Instructions are clear and complete enough for learners to understand what is to be done, how it is to be completed, and how it is to be submitted
  • Relevance of tasks to learning outcomes are explicit.
  • Instructions for each activity are easy to locate.
  • Each activity is given an appropriate title that summarizes the activity.
  • A brief overview statement is provided that outlines the main idea or purpose of the activity.
  • Instructions are in a logical order.
  • Sequential steps are in numbered lists and non-sequential steps are bulleted lists.
  • Only one instruction is included in each step of a procedure.
  • Plain language is used and uncommon terms are defined. 
Marking Criteria

Learners are provided clear details of the marking criteria and that will be used for all graded activities.

  • Rubrics should be provided for all summative assessments
  • Marking criteria are appropriately aligned with course outcomes
  • Explanations of who performs the marking are included (for example, peer grading)
  • Rubrics provided for formative assessment activities
  • Models of “good work” are provided, along with clear marking criteria and results
  • These models are similar enough to the graded activities to demonstrate what high performance looks like, but do not provide answers to the graded activity
  • (what assurances there are that the assignment or assessment is actually functioning to measure student accomplishment of the objectives)
  • Guidelines for interactivity are provided
  • Collaboration with other learners or other peers (e.g., fellow employee at place of employment) along with peer feedback is utilized in at least one graded learning activity
  • The course fosters a learning community by actively engaging learners with their peers and the instructor throughout the course
  • Learners share their perceptions and experiences gained through reflection and critical thinking with their peers
  • Networking, teamwork, cooperation, negotiation, and consensus-building skills are built throughout the course
  • Guest speakers (e.g., professionals in the field, community leaders, practitioners) are included in the course
Instructional Strategies

Instructional strategies are designed to be compatible with learners’ different interests, learning needs and preferences.

  • Opportunities for varied learning experiences are provided

Formal and informal feedback to learners is incorporated throughout the course

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Technology Standards

Technology Standards Required Exemplary

(Requires reworking for OERu requirements)


An orientation to the delivery technologies used in the course is provided.

  • An orientation is included and readily available in the course.
  • Learners are directed to the orientation at the beginning of the course.

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