OERu/Strategic plan 2014 - 2017/Strategic plan 2015 - 2017/Annual report 2014/Course approval and quality working group

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Report of the Course Approval and Quality working group


  • Design and implement a streamlined process for nominating OERu courses which contributes to building the OERu programme of study incorporating a peer review element for feedback.
  • Develop quality instruments for both the design and review OERu courses that include minimum quality standards and essential inclusions for OERu courses
  • Develop a streamlined process of approving nominated OERu courses which use the quality instruments, as well as guidelines for open and early sharing of ideas to support collaboration, re-use of materials and multiple credit pathways via OER partners.

Summary of progress in 2014

The Course Approval and Quality Workgroup consists of 13 members from 9 partner institutions across 6 countries. The chair convened 4 virtual meetings with 2 agendas (26/27th June and 13/14th August) to accommodate members in different timezones. After an orientation to the issues, the group moved rapidly to look at a 2 pronged approach to quality documentation and processes. The first is to review, modify and build on the "OERu design blueprint" which should embody the elements seen to be essential to quality course development. The second is to review and modify for OERu purposes the eAlberta Quality Framework for online courses. The group feels that the former can be used to ensure quality whilst new subjects are being developed, and the latter as an after-the-event quality checklist for course which already exist including the basis of a developing OERu course review cycle. The group noted the importance of communicating early regarding course Learning Outcomes with a view to facilitating internal discussions regarding collaboration, credit transfer and re-use in local contexts.

Main outputs

  1. Annual Course Development Hub website- provides links and encourages clear and regular communication between partners with regard to upcoming subjects. Provides links to concise overviews and timelines, and links to the active "OERu Course Quality Planning Blueprints". A current example of an active Blueprint is here.
  2. "OERu Course Quality Planning Blueprint" - an online, wiki based template that can be used as is or with modifications to suit partners preferences. The "Blueprint" brings together the items that need considering and inclusion for a quality OERu course. It guides the development of new subjects. It is brief and can be scanned by OERu partners with a view to stimulating communications with the project team and local stakeholders with regard to suitability for local re-use and credit.
  3. "OERu Course Quality Review Guidelines" - for use retrospectively ie in periodic quality review cycles. .

Recommendations for 2015 and the future

The instruments need to be refined by using them with the next batch of new courses to be developed. Frequency of review for existing courses needs to be discussed. A schedule of when existing courses need to be reviewed by needs to be considered. It would also be timely to review options for centrally posted call for EOI for subjects needed (ie a call for courses to be developed, rather than developing a process that relies solely on partners to nominate based on capacity or local priorities)