OERu/Planning/Develop an OERu partners manual/Brainstorm and discuss provisional table of contents for partners manual

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Project: Develop OERu partners and course development manual

Icon discussion.gif
Join the discussion
Visit the talk page or login to WikEducator and post a new thread on Brainstorm and discuss provisional table of contents for partners manual

Icon objectives.jpg
  • Brainstorm the sections and subsections needed for the OERu partners manual in the format of a draft table of contents.
  • Determine whether separate guides or manuals are appropriate for different components.

What is the OERu?

The OERu makes higher education accessible to everyone. Coordinated by the OER Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organisation, the OERu network of institutions offers free online courses for students worldwide. The OERu partners also provide affordable ways for learners to gain academic credit towards qualifications from recognised institutions.

To join the OERu network, partners must:

  • be formally recognised institutions
  • subscribe to the core principles of engagement for the OER universitas initiative
  • be a silver or gold contributing member of the OER Foundation
  • agree to assemble two courses based solely on OER and open access materials linked to academic credit at their institution.

For more information of the background of the OERu, please see the following:

To get connected to the developer and institutional lead community, you are encouraged to join the following mailing list: http://lists.oerfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/oeru

Key Features of OERu Courses:

  • OPEN CONTENT: One key component of the OERu courses is that the materials are 100% open and published in WikiEducator. All contributions to WikiEducator are considered to be released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (see WikiEducator:Copyrights for details) or alternative Free Cultural Works approved Creative Commons License or Public Domain declaration where specified. All edits are published to the Internet and contributors are personally responsible for their contributions which may be reused, revised, remixed and redistributed. Course developers are also promising us that they wrote the content, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource. WikiEducator reserves the right to delete contributions which do not meet these requirements or the free culture values of this Community.
  • COMPLETE COURSE: An OERu course needs to have a course guide, learning outcomes, resources, learning activities, and assessments. Note that the courses could be micro-courses or full courses. For an example of the micro course, please see the following link.
  • CREDIT OPTION: A student should be able to receive credentials from one of the partnering institutions for completing the required course assessments. Evidence of completion may vary from different assignments or a final project / exam. Students are required to approach an OERu partner college or university that may be willing to consider their work for credit. That college or university may require additional work such as an exam, along with submission of assignment work, and may contact students to verify their identity and ensure that the coursework submitted is authentic.
  • MULTI-USER FOCUS: Since the course is open, it should be designed with many potential target audiences in mind. Students and instructors may choose to engage with the course in a variety of ways, as outlined in the instructions in the OERu ART 100 course example.
  • COLLABORATION: Working in a collaborative manner is a crucial component of the OERu model of development, since it harnesses the collective expertise of many educators.

Course Contributions for OERu

All OERU institutions have committed to contribute a certain number of courses. The first question typically asked is how to go about doing this.

Factors to consider are which courses:

  • are most amenable to be developed solely with OER
  • are able to be recognized at your institutions
  • are needed in the OERu program to build towards credentials.

OERu uses an open curriculum process inviting input from the community and partners to determine the appropriate mix of courses to constitute OERu-facilitated credentials from partner institutions. The process is regularly invoked to solicit course nominations as can be seen in this sample process. These invitations are made through the OERu communications platforms, which are described separately in this manual. An OERU management committee group consisting of volunteers from among partner institutions is currently formalizing these processes further. There are minimum standards from the Course Quality group that must be met as well.

Design and Development of an OERu Course

Team Composition

The next step is to assemble a course design and development team. The development team can be made up of people with different skill sets (editors, subject matter experts, media, instructional designers, educational technology experts, etc.). Note that resources exist to assist course developers, for examples, using wikieducator, solving technology issues, etc.

Development Tools

The main development tool being used by OERu is WikiEducator. If you are new to wiki editing, the best way to get up to speed is to spend an hour or two polishing basic wiki editing skills, that is: basic text formatting, internal and external links and uploading images. You are encouraged to create a sandbox on your own WikiEducator userpage as a personal space for practice. (The great thing about wikis is that if you see anything of interest at an OERu site that you would like to reproduce e.g. layout feature, go to the source page and copy the wiki text over to your own page and change the text.)

If you get stuck, post a question on the WikiEducator community list (with a link to the wiki page you're struggling with). We also have a great "CollabOERate" tool which enables synchronous editing with audio to help colleagues in real time (however you need a modern browser for this to work.)

To start working on your course, you will need to create a WikiEducator account. Please see Creating a WikiEducator User Account
If you are unfamiliar with this tool, please see the following links:

Once the course is built within WikiEducator, the content can be easily exported to another Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle or Blackboard. (needs more info)

For training in collaborative course development, see the OERu course Digital skills for collaborative OER development. See course design resources on the course wiki. There are several templates and tutorials available at Quicklinks for OERu developers

A number of online tools are also available to help with the development process, as well as course content and assessment:

  • Digital Toolbox: This wiki contains links for communication and collaboration tools. There are also suggested tools for assessments and learning activities that promote creativity and critical thinking.

Collaboration and Communication

In order to keep the development process open, it is important for contributors to use WikiEducator for planning notes and course documents. Since WikiEducator has a History feature, all communication will be archived for future reference.

You are also encouraged to utilize the knowledge and expertise of the many skilled educators who make up the wider OERu community. Contact information can be found at: OERu discussion and planning channels. If you have any questions about working in the wiki or on a specific project, help is available at http://ask.oeru.org/about/, through the WikiEducator community list (with a link to the wiki page you're struggling with) or through CollabOERate which enables synchronous editing with audio to help colleagues in real time (however you need a modern browser for this to work.) [this section needs work]

When working on a project, the development team is encouraged to use the "Talk" pages in the wiki to discuss updates, questions, concerns, etc. It might be useful to send email notifications of changes and alerts when someone posts on the talk pages. WikiEducator has a feature to send emails to confirmed accounts for this purpose, but this must be activated in each personal profile in the wiki. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. After you have logged into wikieducator go to the My preferences tab: http://wikieducator.org/Special:Preferences
  2. In the User Profile section, under the heading E-mail, check the "E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed" or other options you prefer.
  3. Review the settings in the Watchlist tab and check the options you prefer. The important thing to remember is to add pages which you want notifications from on your personal watchlist .
  4. It is also suggested that you join the OERu mailing list as that connects you with the OERu community: http://lists.oerfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/oeru

If you are interested in a hands-on micro course where you will learn and demonstrate your skills in using digital technologies for collaborative OER development, consider taking Digital Skills for Collaborative OER Development.


The term "Open Educational Resource(s)" (OER) refers to educational resources (lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, etc.) that are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing. The OER model is based on the following value propositions:

  • Aligning academic practice with the core value that education is fundamentally an endeavour of sharing knowledge;
  • Reducing the costs of producing expensive online courseware for individual institutions;
  • Sharing the risks associated with internationalization while enabling institutions to compete through value-added services and local customizations;
  • Course materials developed by teams of professionals can produce high quality outputs.

For more information about OER, please see the following resource:Knowledge Series: Creating, Using and Sharing Open Educational Resources by Rory McGreal

Sources to find OER:

  • Thompson Rivers University's OER wiki contains links to open textbooks, images, videos, and more.

Learning Design

Designing an open course builds on the foundational principles of quality course design:

  • Learning outcomes that meet the needs of learners and support assessments.
  • Learning activities that engage students and promote higher order thinking skills
  • Formative and summative assessments that link to the course learning outcomes
  • High quality OER (or links to external free resources) that are appropriate for the level of the course

However, there are some additional factors to consider for open courses:

  • Flexibility in Design, Development, and Deliverability: This allows students to choose their own pathway based on their unique learning needs (Porter, 2011[1]).
  • Diversity of Learners: Students may have varied cultural, educational, and employment backgrounds.
  • Situated Learning Context: Since open courses cannot be made to suit everyone's specific context, so all students and instructors are encouraged to adapt to their needs.
  • Assessment: OERu courses need to include assessments meets the needs of both credit and non-credit students.

File:Summary of the differences between traditional and open design


Templates are a useful tool for course development can save you time. Please see the following templates:

  • Course Guide

Sample Courses

Resources The OERu

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Learning Activities
  • Assessment
  • Navigation (ask Irwin)
  • Media


  1. Porter, D. (2011). Flexible learning revisited. Retrieved from http://conviviality.ca/category/design/


Incorporate a list of FAQs at the end of each section.