OERu/Planning/Curriculum and programme of study/2015 Annual report

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Report of the curriculum and programme of study working group

This working group has reviewed and made minor amendments and updates to its aims and objectives. The focus has been squarely shifted to designing and developing a first year of study which can be mapped to the wider objective of a complete Bachelor of General Studies program in the longer term. Of significance, the group has determined that a series of generic skills courses are likely to be widely acceptable to the OERu partner community. A series of generic skill courses, supplemented by a range of discipline specific introductory courses, could potentially form the basis of an acceptable first year of study program. A widely accepted first year program may well also enable a range of credentialed exit points by some institutions, for example, Certificate or Diploma exit points. Mindful of first year OER courses already in existence or proposed by partners, the working group has been developing a list/structure of first level course possibilities. The group has also turned its attention to strategies to encourage partners to propose, develop and fill the existing gaps in this structure. It is recognized that almost all partners would have a number of courses in their existing suite of programs which would fill these needs and that it would be unfortunate if it were necessary for OERu to reinvent the wheel in this regard.

Summary of main outputs of the working group

The group has proposed a series of general studies courses which it believes are generally recognized as core requirements for success with tertiary study. It has also listed a range of discipline specific courses which either already exist as OER or could be readily developed and offered by a partner. There are numerous discipline specific introductory courses which could be nominated for a first year program. Many courses in the proposed first year program of study are in common existence across most of the partner institutions. Some may only require minor adaptation to meet open sources requirements. The more significant difficulty is convincing institutions to make these courses available through the OERu.

Performance against key performance indicators

Initial KPIs

1. It is necessary to revise the first initial KPI for this working group. It is unrealistic at this stage to publish an entire idealized Bachelor of General Studies program. Instead this KPI should be amended to propose the first year of such a program.

2. Good progress has been made on determining a general education component, essentially a series of generic courses, to constitute a first year of study. There are also many proposed discipline specific introductory courses, some available through other open source providers and others proposed or already developed and offered by partners of the OERu.

3. Additional program exit points have been proposed. These might be branded as Certificate or Diploma credentials which would articulate to the broader Bachelor of General Studies once it is fully articulated. The question remains as to which institutions may be able or prepared to offer such exit point credentials.

Shared KPIs

1. 15 proposed new course equivalents have been nominated, this KPI has consequently been achieved.

2. The completion of 10 full course equivalents for delivery by 30 June 2015 has not been achieved.

3. The completion of an additional 15 full course equivalents by 31 December is 2015 is unlikely to be achieved and may need to be revised.

4. Most teaching partners have nominated their 1st course contribution.

5. Additional exit points both during (Certificate) and at the conclusion (Diploma) of the first year of study have been proposed.

6. Once adopted partner institutions might be asked to nominate those first year courses which their institution will recognize for credit transfer.

7. As yet this has not been given a great deal of consideration. This will be a necessary consideration for the Marketing and Communications working group.

(Comment.gif: Consult 2015 KPI allocations)

Recommendations for 2016 and the future

1. Gain general acceptance of the structure of a first year of studies from a majority of partner institutions.

2. Identify contributors to 'fill the gaps' in the proposed program of first year studies.

3. Establish agreed timelines in which these contributors will develop and make their contributions available.

4. Determine credit transfer agreements from each partner.

5. Pilot and evaluate a range of at least 8 full courses as the first year of study.