Idealised 1st year for general education studies

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Straw dog proposal presented at the 3rd meeting of partners to explore the reuse of existing open textbooks for generating an OERu 1st year of study. This page has now been replaced by the Programme specification for the OERu 1st year of study following the decisions at the 4th meeting of partners.

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Key points
  • Could the OERu collaboration assemble a suite of courses for a 1st year level general studies / liberal arts curriculum for formal academic credit?
  • We assume the international standard of 1200 notional hours for a full year of study.
  • For the purposes of this exercise we can work on the North American standard of 10 3-credit courses for a full year of study. The OERu can sort out differences between local credit hours using the micro-course format.
  • This exercise is founded on the "Textbook Zero" concept to assemble OERu courses based on an existing open textbooks mapped to formal credit at one or more OERu partners.

This is a hypothetical exercise to see if the OERu can construct an idealised 1st year for general education studies from existing open textbooks and / or course nominations from OERu partners. The idealised 1st year would also cater for recognition of prior learning with the support of two RPL courses.

What if?

  • What if each OERu partner could commit to assembling one OERu course as their 1st or 2nd course contribution to the OERu collaboration towards a general education component / stream?

Open design questions?

  • What is the ideal component size for a general education stream? (Eg the Pennstate General Education component equates to 1,5 years of study in a four-year bachelor degree.)
  • Should a recommended pathway distinguish between skills components and optional knowledge domains / streams. Is there a minimum or maximum component for skills courses?
  • What steps are needed to ensure that an OERu general education component will map to existing Bachelor of General Studies credentials in the network?
  • How do foundation year studies articulate to degree study?

Possible candidates for a general education 1st year of study (including OERu nominations)

  • The target for a full 1st year of study would be 10 3-credit courses (North America) or 30 OERu micro-courses.
  • Assuming a minimum of 8 FTE courses (3-credit North America) in 3 broad areas of study to provide some measure of choice, the OERu has achieved 20% of a potential 1st year of general education studies.
  • Green shaded areas in the table below indicates an OERu course nomination.

The tables below list possible courses which can be assembled from existing open textbooks according to the suggested streams of study for a 1st year general education component. Rows highlighted in green indicate courses which have already been nominated by OERu partners.

Skills component

  • Possible courses: Communication skills, digital citizenship, other?
Subject Examples of core OER resource(s) for remix / OERu courses already nominated (Green) OERu contributing partner
Digital Literacy
Essential Mathematics
Study Management


Subject Examples of core OER resource(s) for remix / OERu courses already nominated (Green) OERu contributing partner

Business and Information Technology

Subject Core OER resource(s) available OERu contributing partner
Strategic Management
Computer programming
  • C Programming 101
Enterprise Resourcing a small enterprise University of South Wales
Enterprise Developing a business plan University of South Wales


Subject Examples of core OER resource(s) for remix / OERu courses already nominated (Green) OERu contributing partner
International relations
  • Regional relations in Asia and the Pacific
University of Southern Queensland
  • Art appreciation and techniques
Thompson Rivers University
  • Creating sustainable futures
Otago Polytechnic
  • Introduction to Critical Reasoning
Thomas Edison State College (adapted from Unisa)


Subject Core OER resource(s) available OERu contributing partner
Prior learning assessment
  • Introduction to prior learning assessment
  • Introduction to portfolio development
Thomas Edison State College

Potential OERu course candidates

This list is intended for OERu 1st year nominations where open textbooks may not be available, but where partners could assemble courses using the pedagogy of discovery where learners are guided to source open access materials to support their learning.

  • Indigenous / inter-cultural studies?
  • Digital citizenship?

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