Talk:OER Handbook/educator/Style guide

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
English905:20, 10 July 2008
Links and references to other parts of the Handbook110:14, 3 July 2008
Colons and capitals105:54, 3 July 2008
Localize and Adapt106:35, 29 June 2008
FOSS, FLOSS, OSS, open source, free software?008:39, 27 June 2008
User Stories and Accessibility in the ToC314:38, 26 June 2008
When and when not to hyperlink105:35, 26 June 2008
Terminology: GNU/Linux616:54, 23 June 2008
Terminology: Content116:53, 23 June 2008
OER and OERs111:27, 17 June 2008
Heading issues and text before headings111:16, 13 June 2008

>>Standardise 's's to 'z's (i.e. standardize :-) for .us readers.

Agreed. I had wondered about this as well, but didn't want to cause an international incident.

>>No split infinitives - "to boldly go" --> "to go boldly" for .uk readers. >>Apostrophes for possessives only (not plurals) for .uk readers.

No problem with either of these, but you can help me by keeping an eye for these. I suspect I'm one of the larger offenders.

>>Consistency with terms - this need not be too rigorous (e.g. depending on context 'compose' may be replaced with 'create'/'build'/'develop'/'produce' as appropriate) - but at >>least get it right for the chapter/section headings and short-cuts.

I went through the handbook on first pass looking for inconsistent terms. If you find any, by all means change them.

Sgurell (talk)11:32, 17 June 2008

Shall we standardise on "or" for words like "colour"? (for .us readers).

Ktucker (talk)03:28, 26 June 2008

I think we should. Added to the style guide.

Sgurell (talk)04:09, 26 June 2008


Should we permit incomplete sentences?

e.g. "Over 250 links, with updates on OCW and wiki sites. License varies." (See "Learning" on this page).

Ktucker (talk)05:36, 26 June 2008

The repository sections are the only place (to my knowledge) that has incomplete sentences. I felt that it wasn't too distracting and that it was in line with the sort of definitional style of the repository listings. However, if you feel it is distracting, then they can be changed.

Sgurell (talk)06:00, 26 June 2008

No, not distracting at all.

Ktucker (talk)11:15, 26 June 2008

Re: Apostrophes for possessives only (not plurals) for .uk readers.


The plural of CMS is CMSs
The plural for OER is OER as the 's' is embedded in OER ("Open Educational Resources").
An OER's components.
A CMS's registered users

Referring to many CMSs and OER:

The CMSs' features may be compared here.
The OERs' licenses would need to be compatible.
Ktucker (talk)05:11, 3 July 2008

>>The plural of CMS is CMSs >>The plural for OER is OER as the 's' is embedded in OER ("Open Educational Resources").

I wonder if that might be confusing, making OER an exception.

>>The OERs' licenses would need to be compatible.

If the "s" is embedded, shouldn't it be OER' (though that seems strange).

Sgurell (talk)05:50, 3 July 2008

Yes - strange as it may seem :-). So I would go with OER' for plural possessives.

Ktucker (talk)18:18, 4 July 2008

I hate to be difficult, but if that's the case, then we probably should have had OER singular in all cases with the 's' and apostrophes added as needed.

Sgurell (talk)05:20, 10 July 2008

Links and references to other parts of the Handbook

If referring to another section, should it be in bold or italicised? (e.g "See Why OER? in the Introduction") and should these be hyperlinked for the benefit of online readers (i.e. not with ref tags).

In the Lessons Learned page I recommended putting in the link for convenience and also for the benefit of discovering broken references. Ktucker 17:23, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Ktucker (talk)06:23, 3 July 2008

I was wondering that earlier this week myself. I think something needs to be done. I hesitate to use italicization, because it's generally used for book titles. Bolding may be too distracting to the reader. But I'm not sure what to do in its place.

Originally, I hesitated linking to other sections, because I wasn't sure how much the community would be altering the structure of the handbook, naming, etc. I do agree that linking would be an excellent way of detecting broken references. Thanks for adding that to the lessons learned page.

Sgurell (talk)10:14, 3 July 2008

Colons and capitals

There is some inconsistency for paragraphs like:

Some thing: phrase or sentence about the thing.

which may also appear as:

Some thing: Phrase or sentence about the thing.

Recommend: use lower case after the colon (unless the word following the colon is a name like "Wikipedia". Kim 15:45, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Ktucker (talk)04:45, 3 July 2008

Agreed. Added to style guide.

Sgurell (talk)05:54, 3 July 2008

Localize and Adapt


Use "localize" when there is a linguistic/cultural/regional/locational connotation and the broader "adapt" when this is not obvious (e.g. adapt to my teaching style) or referring to both.

Ktucker (talk)22:31, 28 June 2008

Agreed. Feel free to make the corresponding changes as you encounter them.

Sgurell (talk)06:35, 29 June 2008

FOSS, FLOSS, OSS, open source, free software?

Edited by 3 users.
Last edit: 08:39, 27 June 2008



Place your vote as a sub-bullet and explanation as a sub-sub-bullet.

  • FOSS
    • Ktucker 22:32, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
      • For this "OER" handbook, an acceptable compromise (though in general I would say software libre)
      • mmm Tough call but I would go with FLOSS for the handbook (I'm a traditionalist and would usually go for free software -- but hey, I'm getting old :-) )
  • OSS
  • open source software
--Sgurell 03:42, 23 June 2008 (UTC) Simplest next to "free software" without the ambiguity of "free." I would recommend FOSS as a second with an explanation the first time and corresponding entry in the Glossary.

David votes for open source but would be willing to do FLOSS.

  • free software
  • software libre

Given the votes in I believe we should move forward with FLOSS. However, I believe that we should not go overboard in the discussing the meaning of the term. It should be defined once the first time it is mentioned and in the glossary. --Sgurell 19:39, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Ktucker (talk)11:32, 23 June 2008

User Stories and Accessibility in the ToC

Can we standardise the format? For example, I see:

  • Accessibility: Finding OER
  • Adaptation accessibility

Suggestion: the context is sufficient, just have "Accessibility" in the ToC and in the corresponding navigation template.

  • User Stories: Sharing OER
    • Can we lose the "User" part and just say one of:
      • "Stories"
      • "Practitioner Stories"
      • "Examples"
      • "Scenarios"
      • "Practice"
      • "OER in Practice"
      • "Community of Practice"
      • "Advice/Tips from OER Practitioners"
      • "Examples and Tips from the OER Community" <-- seems closest to what I find in those "user story" sections.
      • "Experience"
      • ... ?
Ktucker (talk)11:21, 23 June 2008

If you feel the context of the chapters is sufficient, then I think accessibility is sufficient.

As for "User Stories" I would be in favor of simply saying "Perspectives" and leaving it at that for each chapter. Otherwise "Examples and tips" may work best.

Sgurell (talk)04:14, 24 June 2008

Another possibility: "From the coal-face" ... but I like your suggestion "Perspectives" best so far.

Ktucker (talk)11:21, 26 June 2008

>>"From the coal-face"

I just did a Google search for the term and found it fairly widely used, but I have to admit I hadn't heard of it before. I appreciate the suggestion, but I think we'll stick with perspectives. I like it because it is all-encompassing, but isn't authoritarian.

Sgurell (talk)14:38, 26 June 2008

When and when not to hyperlink

Proposed guide (comment/edit):

Rules of thumb:

  • If I were an educator, reading this paragraph, would it help if this word was hyper-linked?
    • perhaps the word is already hyper-linked in the previous sentence, or it is not relevant here.
  • In a section relating to "Find", link to search engines, repositories and other resources that have a search facility.
  • In a section on licensing, link to actual licenses and to Creative Commons, etc. - but not to (e.g.) major search engines (at least not with a [1]

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

Ktucker (talk)05:29, 26 June 2008

I think your logic is good and I've wondered how to handle it when Flickr and YouTube are probably linked at least six times throughout the handbook. My only hesitation to these guidelines is that it reduces the granularity (independence) of a single page.

Sgurell (talk)05:35, 26 June 2008

Terminology: GNU/Linux

Edited by author.
Last edit: 09:41, 23 June 2008

Terms to standardise and "votes" + discussion:

  • Linux vs GNU/Linux
    • GNU/Linux
      • Kim 14:47, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
        • Correctness and respect for the GNU developer community.
          • Strictly speaking, "Linux" refers to the kernel of the operating system.
      • Wayne (see discussion below)
    • Linux
      • Seth (see discussion below)
Ktucker (talk)03:47, 22 June 2008

I don't have extremely strong positions on this, but I would have to side with simply Linux. I understand why some would like to add (or maintain, depending on your perspective) GNU/Linux. The difficulty is the prominence of stand-alone "Linux." I realize this question may be seen as one of etiquette, but I also want to think of the readers. We don't want to confuse them unduly, which is why I recommend "Linux." I would favor a note somewhere (probably in the first instance) that indicates that the term is under dispute and that some would consider "GNU/Linux" more accurate, with links to relevant Stallman/FSF information.

I do agree that we need to be consistent with the term, regardless of which one is chosen.

Sgurell (talk)06:22, 22 June 2008


I would prefer using the concept "GNU/Linux" as this is technically correct.

How about a brief description in the glossary as well?

Cheers W

Mackiwg (talk)06:33, 22 June 2008

I think we can go with "GNU/Linux," but I do think we should have footnote indicating that it is sometimes simply abbreviated to "Linux" and make a similar note in the glossary.

Sgurell (talk)06:56, 22 June 2008

Sure -

I think that's a good way of dealing with this. Your OER handbook -- or should I say "our" OER handbook will carry the sanction of the freedom culture -- especially when the text provides an objective and NPOV.

Having the free culture network on your side will scale this project beyond your imagination!


Mackiwg (talk)08:49, 22 June 2008
Edited by author.
Last edit: 16:54, 23 June 2008

I should note to both you and Kim that I've made the change to "GNU/Linux" where I've found just "Linux" and changed the glossary to match.

If anyone find mention of just Linux (beyond the footnote and glossary mention). Please change.

Sgurell (talk)16:49, 23 June 2008

Terminology: Content

Recommend generally avoiding the term partly for the reasons stated by rms and partly because some OER simply don't seem like "content" to me (e.g. interactive simulations, Moodle, ...).

In general, an appropriate and more specific term can be used in context (e.g. simulation, LMS, tool, practice, ...), but otherwise, the following could be used:

  • resource
  • work
  • ... ?

When "content" is part of a well established term, phrase or acronym (e.g. CMS), it might not be too productive to use/invent an alternative.

Ktucker (talk)10:00, 23 June 2008

As long as "resource" works within the sentence I am in favor of it. Feel free to replace at will.

Sgurell (talk)16:53, 23 June 2008

OER and OERs

How about:

  • "OER" ==> plural
  • "an OER" ==> singular
  • "learning resource" ==> general case or where "open" is already implied in the sentence
  • Refer to "image", "audio clip" and "video clip" etc. if these are "resources" to be adapted/inclorporated into an OER
    • once these have pedagogical significance or context, they may be referred to as OER.
Ktucker (talk)11:06, 17 June 2008

I would be fine with OER as both singular and plural. We should see what Wayne thinks. Does WE have a preference as a whole?

>>Refer to "image", "audio clip" and "video clip" etc. if these are "resources" to be adapted/inclorporated into an OER

I would need an explain from the handbook before I could say one way or the other.

>>once these have pedagogical significance or context, they may be referred to as OER.

This strikes me as a potentially confusing, as it may or may not be clear when a hypothetical audio/image/video clip becomes pedagogically significant.

Also, I want to emphasize that potential style decisions should not be written on the style sheet until agreed upon. This will prevent confusion by other participants (or future volunteers).

Sgurell (talk)11:25, 17 June 2008

Heading issues and text before headings

I've gone through the handbook and adjusted the headings from level 4 to level 2. I have also added at least a little bit of text between page headings and subheadings. Of course, there is always room for improvement.

Sgurell (talk)11:09, 13 June 2008

Great Seth --

Harking back to my days as learning designer (many moons ago) one of my toughest challenges was to get academics to author to this simple style convention.

Overnight you have implemented -- hey I'm most impressed!

Mackiwg (talk)11:16, 13 June 2008