OERu/Strategic plan 2014 - 2017/Strategic plan 2015 - 2017/Strategic plan/Goal 1

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Goal 1: Develop a coherent OERu programme of study with defined learning pathways and exit credentials

The OERu network achieves a coherent programme of study when:

  • OERu learners can complete a Bachelor of General studies (or equivalent credential) at a number of OERu partner institutions
  • OERu learners can choose alternate pathways (streams) of study
  • OERu learners can transfer or apply credit from OERu courses for alternate qualifications at the majority of OERu partners
  • Additional programmes of study with corresponding exit credentials are available for OERu learners.

Objective 1: Develop product for a coherent OERu programme of study

Plan targets Key performance indicator
2014 Baseline
  • 32 full course equivalent* nominations (75% undergraduate)
  • 3 full course equivalents* completed for delivery
  • 2 additional programmes (Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education & Postgraduate Diploma in Disaster Risk Studies).
  • 42% of OERu teaching partners have nominated at least 1 course (29% of OERu partners have already nominated their 2-course contribution with 10% of the OERu partners exceeding the 2-course requirement).
2015 Operational target
  • Develop idealised degree structure prioritising 1st year of OERu study to inform course nominations.
  • Complete 10 full course equivalents* for delivery by 30 June 2015
  • Complete additional 15 full course equivalents* by 31 December 2015
  • 80% of OERu teaching partners have nominated their 1st course contribution.
  • 15 new full course equivalent* nominations during 2015.
  • 1 additional programme leading to alternate exit credential (over and above the Bachelor of General Studies).
2017 Strategic target
  • 80 full course equivalent* nominations (cumulative) by 31 December 2017
  • 50 full course equivalents* completed for delivery
  • 50% of OERu partners have nominated their 2nd course contribution.
  • 3 additional programmes (cumulative) leading to alternate exit credentials (over and above the Bachelor of General Studies).

Risk: Without sufficient product to complete a meaningful programme of study, OERu will not be attractive to learners (or future partners)

* A full course equivalent refers to the component subjects which together form a programme of degree study and typically range from 120 to 200 notional hours of learning depending on the local system. OERu partners may divide full courses into sets of micro courses of approximately 40 to 50 notional learning hours to facilitate virtual mobility across international boundaries.

Distribution of OERu courses.jpg
The OERu exceeded its 2014 operational priority target to nominate 20 full course equivalents. However progress on assembling OERu courses has been slow, in part delayed by technology developments to generate a customisable and mobile friendly theme mirroring the design of the OERu website and the consultative development of processes, documentation and training to support the open design and development of OERu courses. These infrastructure pieces are now in place and progress with the development of product is now a high priority for the network.

A diverse array of courses have been nominated, including two additional programmes of study: Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education at Otago Polytechnic and the Postgraduate Diploma in Disaster Risk Studies at North-West University. The network needs to significantly increase the number of courses at the 1st year level in the short term which will form the foundation for building a coherent programme of study (currently only 19% of the nominations are 1st-year level courses).

Strategic approach

  1. Assemble courses from existing OER and open access materials rather than developing from scratch.
  2. Promote the "textbook zero" model adopting high quality open textbooks to scale rate of development incorporating engaging activities into the learning pathways which guide learners through the OERu courses.
  3. Open and collaborative development publishing design blueprints and draft materials on WikiEducator encouraging peer-review and support from the OERu community.

2015 Operational considerations

  1. Adopt appropriate but flexible project management solutions to schedule and monitor course development progress in achieving the OERu network's targets.
  2. Conduct 2015 audit of new course nominations during the first quarter of 2015.
  3. Schedule an open "course sprint" focusing on building digital skills for collaborative OERu course design and development aiming to expand the cadre of staff in the OERu network to scale future product development.
  4. Consider strategies which will maximise tangible return on investment for individual partners leveraging the value and diversity of the OERu international partnership, for example:
    • Diversify curriculum of partner institutions through collaborative development and shared delivery of low enrolment courses which would not be cost-effective for individual partners to develop on their own.
    • Consider courses and delivery approaches which build on the international diversity of the network, for instance, courses in indigenous and inter-cultural studies or the ability to attract international OERu learners to add marketable value to local full-fee courses by incorporating OERu mOOCs into the local delivery model.

Objective 2: Develop guidelines and implement procedures for building the OERu programme of study incorporating alternate pathways (streams)

Plan targets Key performance indicator
2014 Baseline
  • Bachelor of General Studies agreed as inaugural credential of the OERu.
  • Tentative streams identified during 2nd meeting of OERu partners.
  • Results of partner survey on the Bachelor of General Studies and probable articulation of existing nominations.
2015 Operational target
  • Publish and idealised degree structure with pathways (streams) to achieving the Bachelor of General Studies (or equivalent credential) or optional exit credentials from OERu partner institutions to better inform course nominations and course development.
  • Establish general education component for 1st year of study
2017 Strategic target
  • Pathways of study towards the Bachelor of General studies implemented and communicated effectively to prospective OERu learners.

Risk: Learners will not consider the OERu as a viable alternative for higher education study if they can't see pathways to achieving a degree.

Bootstrapping the assembly of the OERu programme of study is a catch 22 because in the absence of a critical mass of courses, it is a challenge to derive pathways of study to inform nominations for future course development. The OERu is working from "both ends" namely bottom-up nominations for a smorgasbord of courses in the short term and working in parallel to develop top-down guidelines contributing to clear pathways of study.

Strategic approach

  1. Work within the existing degree structures and policies of partner institutions to ensure credible exit credentials.
  2. Maximise opportunities for sustainable course articulation within the network.

2015 Operational issues

  1. Consultative development of an idealised degree structure to inform future course nominations.
  2. Prioritise the 1st year of study building on the wide adoption of a general education component in the OERu Bachelor of General Studies.
  3. Consider a focused working group to assemble guidelines for the foundation / 1st year of study at the OERu.

Objective 3: Develop and implement procedures for streamlining the nomination of OERu courses and supporting design documentation

Plan targets Key performance indicator
2014 Baseline
2015 Operational target
  • Review process and lessons learned from previous nomination calls.
  • Develop and publish streamlined process for course nominations and supporting design documentation.
  • 100% of OERu partners assign an administrator for their pages on the Content Management System.
2017 Strategic target
  • Streamlined process for ongoing OERu course nominations and design implemented

Risk: OERu courses nominated by partners do not contribute meaningfully to the achievement of the strategic goals of the network. Closed design models contribute to unnecessary duplication of effort, restrict efficient reuse of OERu courses and constrain diversified services for assessment.

To date, the OERu has used the following process for nominating courses:

  1. Publish the call for nominations and suggested criteria on the wiki planning portal with a suggested due date.
  2. Call for nominations and reminders are distributed via the partner's email planning list.
  3. Online form and corresponding wiki page is used to publish nominations received.
  4. OERu partners are invited to complete the short course summary which is published on the OERu public website. (OERu partners assign a local administrator who are provided with editing rights on the OERu content management system to maintain their course and partner pages.)

Strategic approach

  1. Autonomy of OERu partners to manage their own partner and course descriptions on the OERu public website.
  2. Encourage open development of design documentation to minimise duplication of effort, leverage cooperation in the network and diversify the range of assessment services.

2015 operational issues

  1. Design system for streamlining OERu course nomination process taking future scalability into account.
  2. Consider proposals for ensuring OERu website information is maintained and updated (for example published dates of course delivery).
  3. Consider appropriate solutions for assuring quality of public information on the OERu website.