You can't be late in an asynchronous discussion, its just that New Zealand (given our geographical location) has seen the future which has already happened ;-). Thanks for popping in.
I apologize if my question seems naive, but how much progress have we made to date? What sort of projects (aside from this strategy meeting, of course) are currently underway? We have solicited courses from the partners, and have gotten some back in return. Are we happy with those courses? Are there any guidelines for developing them? Any standards to which we all should be adhering? Or that we should be attempting to enforce?
I'll attempt a summary update - but you will find all the information in the wiki. (It may take a while to find your way around, but after a while you will see how this all fits together. The quicklinks page is a good launchpad to find relevant information.)
In short, the OERu collaboration is more or less on target where we expected to be at this phase of our journey.
In some areas we are a little ahead for example we have received 30 course nominations exceeding our stated target of 20. In other areas we are lagging a little behind, for example on membership recruitment. At this stage of the year I would have liked to have achieved 5 new members to reach our target of 10 by the end of the year. We have annouced 3 new members this year, and I'm anticipating 2 new institutions joining in the near future. We still need to recruit 5 additional partners in 201t4 to reach our operational recruitment target.)
So if partners know of institutions keen to join - please point them to the prospective partners page and the organisational FAQ page. Send me a personal introduction via email to contacts at prospective partners and I can progress a formal letter of invitation. Word of mouth is our most successful recruitment approach. The sooner we achieve a target of 45 contributing partners, the sooner we will have additional resources to commission the assembly of OERu courses to fill gaps in our emerging programme of study.
At the November 2011 founding meeting of anchor partners we:
- Agreed a Bachelor of General Studies as the inaugural credential.
- Aimed to develop 3 prototype courses during 2012 / 2013 in time for the launch meeting in November 2013. We competed: Regional Relations in Asia and the Pacific, OCL4Ed, Art Appreciation and Techniques plus a bonus micro Open Online Course, Scenario Planning for Educators which we were able to run in parallel mode with full fee registered students studying with free OERu learners.
In short we achieved our inititial targets.
Q1: What projects are underway?
The OERu planning portal keeps a record of all the activities in the logic model and we do a reasonable job of keeping this up to date. If you see something which is out of date - its a wiki, be bold and help us keep the OERu project information up to date :-). Here is a summary:
- 2014 course nominations - 30 full course equivalents nominated. I have been informed of two institutions who still want to submit nominations.
- Course bounty project - No public submissions submitted :-( I suspect that we will now move to shoulder tap SMEs and designers to move this forward.
- Course site design project - to develop a CSS framework for responsive design to improve the presentation layer of OERu courses based on the OERu website theme plus the ability for partners to customise the theme for local branding. Project is on track.
- Strategic planning consultation requested by the OERu Council of CEOs - project is on schedule
- Establish working groups and corresponding management structures. OERu Management Committee established (conveners of the working groups). The first series of meetings completed.
- Community source target of a 1 FTE contribution across the network for technology innovation and support. To date, USQ is the only institution who has responded to our request contributing resource time assisting with the development of a responsive CSS framework for the OERu. However, there is an active Technology working group who have been meeting regularly. We have also established a Community Source page documenting priorities. Again, response has been low, slowing down our upgrade to integrate a visual editor in the wiki. However, we are targeting early September to get this operational.
- Establish pathways (streams) to develop a coherent programme of study. Work in progress. This is a complex chicken and egg challenge. In the absence of a critical mass of courses, its hard to develop a meaningful programme of study.
- GSoC Peer Evaluation project - The Alpha release was tested and we are hopeful that the student will complete the beta version by the "pencil down" date of 11 August 2014.
- OERu partners manual - work in progress. We have a tentative table of contents outline. I'm hopeful that this will be completed before our next series of meetings.
- Publish operational guidelines for credit transfer and course articulation. Work in progress. Intial survey to guage what "sending" institutions are able to do is ready. I'm hopeful that we can have a draft set of guidelines for discussion at our 2014 meetings.
- Quality guidelines for OERu courses. Work in progress. A few volunteers have agreed to review applicability of existing guidelines for the OERu context.
- Propose procedures for streamlining the OERu course nomination process. Work in progress. The intention is to use the current nominations as a prototype to inform ways we can improve this process.
- Progress design and development of Academic Volunteers International. We got off to a good start brainstorming ideas for the design, but this project is currently stagnant - ironically no volunteers working on this one :-(.
Q2: We have solicited courses from the partners, and have gotten some back in return. Are we happy with those courses?
Yes, we have received feedback. To date 30 full course equivalents have been nominated. Speaking personally, I am particularly happy that we now have two full programmes on the table. (Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Disaster Risk Studies.) This means that the OERu will have two additional credentials and a foundation for streaming, for example Bachelor of General Studies with specialisation in Vocational Education.
I'm also very pleased by the number of micro course submissions -- this will enhance the potential for reuse and remix in the network, and opportunities for collaborative development. Already in the area of courses for digital citizenship / digital skills there is potential for reuse, remix and collaboration. This group of developers will be meeting soon to discuss how we could collaborate. Speaking personally, I would have liked to see more microcourse submissions because its relatively easy to structure a "full" course as a series of micros.
The next step is for our partners to develop the course descriptions (i.e. the course summaries which appear on the website). There have been some delays due to a few partners not submitting contact people for access to the CMS.
I'm also planning to configure a course sprint for mid September so partners can work together in finding out how to develop courses for OERu.
Q3 Are there any guidelines for developing them? Any standards to which we all should be adhering? Or that we should be attempting to enforce?
At this time, we don't have published guidelines -- this is work in progress. However, we do have the prototype examples to help guide development and we have an open partner list for asking questions. I strongly encourage partners to use this list (rather than personal emails) so that we have a public record and can share insights and ideas for the benefit of all partners.
There are two main standards I would recommend at this time:
- Open and transparent development of courses - there are a number of courses being developed "behind closed doors". From experience of running open online courses over the last 7 years, I know that a few OERu partners will be replicating the mistakes I have made in the past. These developments will be generating extra work in tweaking the courses for the open online delivery format. Without open development - we are unable to advise on tools to help convert resources for the OERu model.
- Unless partners can provide the technology infrastructure for hosting OERu courses themselves ensuring that course materials can be accessed without password access -- my advice is to keep core learning materials outside the LMS / VLE. By containing development inside the LMS -- we restrict reuse for our partner network.
I think we are making good progress. The strength of the OERu network is in the rigour of our planning combined with a healthy dose of openness.