Learning design: Consultation 1

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OERTen partners retain institutional autonomy for core services as a principle of engagement. During the OERu 2011.11 planning meeting many partners stressed that the OERu network should not attempt to prescribe pedagogical approaches.

Within the context of these principles of engagement, this rough consensus poll seeks to gauge the feeling of the group on a number of pragmatic guidelines for the design and development of our 2012 prototype courses. The answers to this rough consensus poll will inform the development of a style guide and implementation decisions for the OERu prototype courses.

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Key points
  • This is a rough consensus poll to gauge the "feeling of the group" concerning design and development issues for the 2012 prototypes
  • This is not intended to be robust research instrument for definitive decision-making. Think of the rough consensus poll as a group discussion leading towards the next step of the process.
  • The outcome of this rough consensus poll will not impact on the principle of institutional autonomy in the OERTen. Individual anchor partners retain decision-making autonomy regarding all aspects of the OERu initiative.
  • Technology related instructions:
    • You will need a WikiEducator account and you must be logged in to cast your votes.
    • You must click on the "Vote" or "Change my vote" button below each set of questions to record your votes.
    • If your login session has expired (e.g. no activity after a long period), you will not be able to vote or change your vote. Login to WikiEducator again.
    • Please cast your vote on all the questions -- remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page.
    • You can change your vote at any time or come back later to complete the poll.

Straw dog proposal for design guidelines

The outcome of the rough consensus poll and proposal for the OERu design guidelines for this consultation are provided below. Given the relatively high levels of agreement, the straw dog proposal will be included in OERu style guide for normal editing and improvements in the general wiki. The original proposal is provided here for record keeping purposes.

Note: Further refinements and improvement must be made on the OERu style guide


  • Fair distribution of OERu partners (46%) and open community members (54%) participated in the rough consensus poll.
  • 91% of respondents agree that the OERu should adopt a standardized naming convention for the sub-elements of a course.
  • 97% of respondents recommend appropriate institutional acknowledgement of the original contributors of OERu courses.
  • The majority (57%) propose the inclusion of a copyright page for each course in addition to an open website page listing OERu courses and the original contributors. The practice of including the institutional logo in the navigation template is only supported by 29% of the respondents.
  • There is strong support (97%) for trialing AskBot during the 2012 prototypes.
  • 94% of the respondents recommend that OERu courses should implement an introductory resource and the concept of a "Course guide" is the most popular option for naming this resource with 51% not stating any preference for a name, but indicating that a consistent term should be used accross OERu courses.


Based on the outcomes of the rough consensus poll for design consultation 1, the following guidelines will be included in the OERu style guide:

Guidelines for sub-elements of an OERu course

  • OERu courses will be subdivided into Modules
  • Where possible, courses should not include more than three hierarchical levels
  • Developers will have flexibility regarding preferred naming conventions for sublevels under the Module level , for example Topics , Units, or Study units but should be used consistently within the specific course.

Guidelines for acknowledging original course contributors

  • When uploading learning materials for the first time in WikiEducator, the copyright of the original rights holder must be acknowledged in the comment summary box before saving the page. For example: Copyright: OER Foundation, under CC-BY license. Source: http://oerfoundation.org/files/OERu/OERu2011-11_Report-A.pdf . This should appear as the first edit comment on the relevant history page.
  • Copyright acknowledgement must be done in accordance with the requirements of the respective copyright license.
  • In the absence of this copyright acknowledgment, the page may be deleted without notice.
  • Where the original contributor (first person creating the page) has omitted this copyright acknowledgment, they should make an insignificant edit, for example adding a space and inserting the copyright acknowledgement in the edit comment which will appear on the history of the relevant page.
  • Each OERu course resource (a collection of pages) will contain a copyright page as a subpage of the respective collection acknowledging the original contributors and license. The copyright page must include a clear statement that subsequent versions are enhanced by the WikiEducator community For example:
Original version authored by Anna Hayes and Jim Taylor

Published by
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba Queensland 4350

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY) University of Southern Queensland, 2012.2.

This work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution license. This license allows others to distribute, remix and build upon the original work, even commercially, as long as the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties) of the work are credited.

Subsequent versions are enhanced by members of the WikiEducator community. Please refer to the individual page history for copyright of the derivative works.

  • The OER Foundation, will on behalf of the OERTen, list the OERu courses and their original contributors on a public website.
  • Course developers should not include institutional logos of the original contributors on OERu course pages or navigation templates.

Guidelines for course components

Course guide

  • Each OERu course should develop a generic introductory resource called a Course guide
  • The Course guide should include a course overview, outcomes, list of resources and assignments.
  • To facilitate reuse across the OERu network, the Course guide should not include institution specific information, for example, university contact numbers. These will be provided by the respective institutions who decide to reuse OERu courses locally.
  • OERu partners are free to develop their own custom assessments. In cases where partners choose not to use the original assessments, they take responsibility for developing the customised assessments. (As a wiki, customised assessment pages can be incorporated into unique course collections for individual institutions.)

Community-based question and answer forum

  • The OERu 2012 prototype courses will trial AskBot as a question and answer database for content specific and general student support.
  • Further detail to be developed the wiki way.

Poll questions and voting history

History of voting on the rough consensus is summarised below.

Type of respondent

  1. Which of the following best describes your primary capacity for responding to this rough consensus poll:
    1. Staff member of an existing OERu anchor partner
    2. WikiEducator community member
    3. Volunteer contributing (or planning to contribute) to the co-development of the OERu
    4. Researcher
    5. Prospective OERu institutional partner
    6. Interested person
    7. Other

Naming conventions for sub-elements of an OERu course

  1. The OERu network should adopt a standardized naming convention for the main sub-elements of a course. For example, Module, Topic, etc. (If recommended, exact nomenclature can be agreed later in the process.)
    • Strongly Agree
    • Agree
    • Undecided
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree

Institutional acknowledgement of the original OERu course contributor

  1. The OERu network should publicly acknowledge the institution(s) who contributed the 2012 prototype course in WikiEducator. (Note: Improvements to courses from the WikiEducator community are recorded in the history pages in the wiki and duly acknowledged on the copyright page.)
    • Strongly Agree
    • Agree
    • Undecided
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree
  2. In your view, which of the following options should be implemented for appropriate institutional acknowledgement of the original contributor of the OERu course (Note: You can check more than one option):
    1. Inclusion of the institutional logo in the navigation template (see for example the placement of the USQ logo for the AST1000 course. (Note materials are openly licensed and can be reused adapted and modified as a derivative work)
    2. Public acknowledgement on the Copyright page of the relevant resource.
    3. Public acknowledgement restricted to the Copyright page, i.e. no visual acknowledgement on the course pages in WikiEducator.
    4. No public acknowledgement of the original OERu contributor other than the edit history on the relevant wiki pages for the course.
    5. Open website page listing all OERu courses and original contributors.
    6. Other forms of acknowledgement - please specify here.

Implementing a community-based question-and-answer technology for the OERu prototype

  1. The OERu network should implement a community-based question and answer forum (like AskBot or similar open source technology) for ALL 2012 prototype courses as a support technology for OERu learners.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Agree
    • Undecided
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree

Adopting the practice of a generic "introductory" resource for OERu courses

Many open distance learning institutions typically have a generic introductory resource for each course which typically includes a course overview, outcomes, list of resources and assignments. At Unisa this is called "Tutorial Letter 101" and at Thompson Rivers University this is called a "Course Guide". The implementation of a generic introductory resource could facilitate easier remix for OERu anchor partners who would like to prepare their own assignments and/or assessment models as the assessment customisations can be separated from the core OERu learning materials. It is also a useful resource for learners to get an overview of the course and what is expected.

  1. An "introductory resource" should be implemented for all OERu courses as an OERu design guideline.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Agree
    • Undecided
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree
  2. If implemented by the OERu partners, which of the following options would you recommend for naming an "introductory" resource of this type to be available online and downloadable print resource:
    1. Course book
    2. Course guide
    3. Introductory
    4. Course information
    5. No preference, but recommend consistency across OERu courses
    6. Each OERu course contributor should choose their own labels for this type of resource
    7. Other, please specify here