Content acquisition process

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This presentation was developed by the California Technology Assistance Project Program Management Committee, under the direction of the Online Learning Collaborative Subcommittee of the California County Superintendents Educational Service Agency.
This workshop is designed for schools and districts that are making decisions about the types of content to purchase for online courses, and evaluating content providers for best fit. This outline provides the training agenda, with notes about time and process. This workshop is designed for 3 hours, but could be adjusted to be shorter or longer based on district needs.

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  • Audience: This workshop is designed for schools and districts that are making decisions about the types of content to purchase for online courses, and evaluating content providers for best fit. This outline provides the training agenda, with notes about time and process. This workshop is designed for 3 hours, but could be adjusted to be shorter or longer based on district needs.
  • This workshop is designed to be hands-on, and lead participants through the initial exploration of resources that meet their target subject, grade, and audience. Participants will leave ready to go to the next level - doing a “ test drive ” from a variety of perspectives with the top couple of selections.
  • For the purposes of this workshop, we define content rather broadly. It includes all of the instructional materials used in face to face, online, and blended instruction. Obviously, the setting will help to guide the selection of content. Open Educational Resources are often developed by universities, government agencies, or national nonprofits. These resources, which range from learning objects to complete courses, are free to educators. Hippocampus and PHeT are examples of OER collections. NROC, the National Repository of Online Courses, is a collection of OERs that organizations can subscribe to. The subscription fee is for the OER library portal as opposed to the content, and also covers webinars, iOS downloadable versions of content, and ways to participate in content development.
  • CCSESA charged CISC and TTSC to work together to put together a framework that could be used by California K-12 LEAs wanting to develop online and blended learning programs. This document, the California eLearning Framework, provided the initial roadmap of questions to ask and decisions to make in starting a program.
  • The eLearning Framework itself consists of six sections. However, the main elements of the framework can be broken down into these four main topic areas.   This particular presentation focuses on the Content section.
  • To frame the conversation, we need to remember that acquisition of content is the same as adoption of content. Processes such as teacher review and piloting that are commonly part of the textbook adoption process are an appropriate part of the content acquisition process. 
  • The first step in selecting content is to determine what you need it for. Is your area of demand core? AP courses? Credit recovery? The right content in one of those areas is not necessarily the right content in the others, so you will need to focus on each area separately. Are you short of highly qualified teachers, or have small numbers of students who want a low-incidence A-G course? The answers to those questions will drive your decisions about content as well.
  • Along with knowing the need, you must know the time constraints under which you are operating. A short window means you have less time to train your teachers in online pedagogy and instructional design, and less time to develop a course. Estimated time for creating a course from scratch is more than 300 hours per quarter course.
  • This graphic from the CA eLearning framework shows the various categories of "what is out there" in terms of the marketplace. The yellow represents the technology that is used to build and/or deliver content in an online environment. Green represents some of the major players in content development and delivery, including both full courses and learning objects. The grey represents companies and schools that provide a full-time curriculum that students can take in an online (and sometimes blended) format. 
  • Once the area(s) of content is identified, a decision must be made as to whether to build, buy, license, or take a mixed approach. The answer to this question depends on a wide variety of variables, including: expertise of your staff  time / resources available to build content  time until the courses need to launch  money available for start-­‐up costs vs. money available for ongoing maintenance  need for customization of course content
  • Some of the things needed to be taken into consideration when deciding how to proceed - expertise of staff in instructional design, use of LMS, and online pedagogy are big. The time and resources available, along with time to launch, are huge considerations as well. It is best if everyone on the team understands these considerations, so there is no second-guessing the decision.
  • Pros: Building content in-­‐house gives your staff complete control over the content, allowing for total customization during both the course build and course maintenance processes. The program retains the rights to the courses; some eLearning programs have had success in selling high quality content to other programs. There are lots of great free resources out there that can be used to create a high-quality course. Cons: Individual schools and districts, and even state agencies, cannot match the investment and expertise of national organizations building online courses. Building high quality content requires highly skilled instructional designers trained in designing online content and issues related to accessibility. Launching an initial catalog of courses can be a time-­‐consuming and high-­‐cost undertaking that requires specialized staff, depending on the complexity and depth of the courses built. Ongoing maintenance costs are variable, depending on the program ’ s content review cycle and the amount of media-­‐rich content in your courses. Media used in the course may need to be licensed, possibly annually, and also should be Section 508 compliant.
  • Pros: Building content in-­‐house gives your staff complete control over the content, allowing for total customization during both the course build and course maintenance processes. The program retains the rights to the courses; some eLearning programs have had success in selling high quality content to other programs. There are lots of great free resources out there that can be used to create a high-quality course. Cons: Individual schools and districts, and even state agencies, cannot match the investment and expertise of national organizations building online courses. Building high quality content requires highly skilled instructional designers trained in designing online content and issues related to accessibility. Launching an initial catalog of courses can be a time-­‐consuming and high-­‐cost undertaking that requires specialized staff, depending on the complexity and depth of the courses built. Ongoing maintenance costs are variable, depending on the program ’ s content review cycle and the amount of media-­‐rich content in your courses. Media used in the course may need to be licensed, possibly annually, and also should be Section 508 compliant.
  • Buy: Pros: The key benefit to buying content is the dozens of content vendors building high-­‐quality, interactive content modules and courses that are readily available. In addition, full course catalogs can be up and running immediately. Many content vendors will sell content for an up-­front cost and then an ongoing licensing fee that is reasonable, and allows for customization. Many vendors also have the expertise to build content that meets accessibility requirements. Cons: Content does not come customized for your needs, and may or may not be able to be customized once you own it. Contracts must be carefully reviewed to understand thoroughly the up-­‐front and ongoing costs. You must confirm the consistent quality of courses across all disciplines, not just the courses demonstrated to promote a sale. Buying content does not grow the internal online content development capacity of your program. License:  Licensing content is the most common method of content adoption, largely due to its flexibility. Content can be licensed in learning objects, in full courses or full programs of study. There are many ways to license content, including per user, annual, membership and enrollment models. The models, just like the vendors, are constantly changing and expanding.
  • Within buying or licensing there are additional decisions to be made; whether to purchase a full curriculum such as a math pathway, license individual courses such as physics because you lack a highly qualified teacher, or license individual learning objects that your teachers will embed in their online or blended curriculum as they write it.
  • There is no law that says you must do the same thing with all courses you offer. It might make more sense to license high-volume credit recovery classes and build core classes, or to license obscure courses desired by a small number of students and buy content to be used with large numbers of students. The decision to build, buy, and/or license might be different for different parts of your program—even within individual courses; some programs choose to buy content objects and create custom-­designed courses, creating a mix of approaches. It also might change as the program matures and you build staff expertise. All programs handle this decision a little bit differently, but it might be helpful to talk through the logic with an administrator of an eLearning program similar to what you are designing.
  • If the decision is made to purchase content, the following slides will assist a district selection team in understanding the criteria for adoption and piloting or test driving one or more courses.
  • CLRN certified are courses that meet at least 80% of content standards and at least 80% of online learning standards. Some of the online learning standards are mandatory - 508 compliance, for example, requires all videos to have captions and images to have alt tags, as well as specific text "breadcrumbs" for navigation in order to work with screen readers.
  • In the main view, you can see title, publisher, and content standards. Click on the Title to get to the detailed view.
  • Details about standards met and a link to the publisher website are listed in the main body. At the right in the blue box are links to more information about the resource. Print version is a compilation of all info provided in a portrait width view suitable for printing.
  • Some resources have reviews by teachers and students. Click on read reviews to see the strengths and weaknesses identified by users for each resource. Ed2020 Algebra 1 has multiple reviews by students and teachers.
  • Process for use by site/district adoption teams.
  • As part of the pilot or test drive process, it's important that the team knows what questions to ask in order to get the "big picture" of the product.
  • As part of the pilot or test drive process, it's important that the team knows what questions to ask in order to get the "big picture" of the product.
  • CLRN Standards: The standards address the extent to which the online course or learning object meets or exceeds quality criteria organized in the following sections: Content: The course provides online learners with multiple ways of engaging with learning experiences that promote their mastery of content and are aligned with state content standards or nationally accepted content.  Instructional Design: The course uses learning activities that engage students in active learning; provides students with multiple learning paths to master the content based on student needs; and provides ample opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and instructor to student. 
  • CLRN Standards: The standards address the extent to which the online course or learning object meets or exceeds quality criteria organized in the following sections: Content: The course provides online learners with multiple ways of engaging with learning experiences that promote their mastery of content and are aligned with state content standards or nationally accepted content.  Instructional Design: The course uses learning activities that engage students in active learning; provides students with multiple learning paths to master the content based on student needs; and provides ample opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and instructor to student. 
  • CLRN Standards: The standards address the extent to which the online course or learning object meets or exceeds quality criteria organized in the following sections: Student Assessment: The course uses multiple strategies and activities to assess student readiness for and progress in course content and provides students with feedback on their progress.  Technology: The course takes full advantage of a variety of technology tools, has a user-­‐ friendly interface, and meets accessibility standards for interoperability and access for learners with special needs. 
  • CLRN Standards: The standards address the extent to which the online course or learning object meets or exceeds quality criteria organized in the following sections:  Course Evaluation and Support: The course is evaluated regularly for effectiveness, using a variety of assessment strategies, and the findings are used as a basis for improvement. The course is kept up to date, both in content and in the application of new research on course design and technologies. Online instructors and their students are prepared to teach and learn in an online environment and are provided support during the course. 
  • Have participants discuss in table groups or teams which stakeholders are critical voices in which sections. For example, having an IT person review the content for technology considerations might make more sense than having them do all sections. No need for every stakeholder to review every component.
  • From Brian Bridges: Ask your provider for both teacher and student accounts for the course.  Then, spend some time getting to know the course as a student. Select several units, complete all activities, and take the formative assessments. Now, be a gifted student who answers all the questions correctly. Do you find the course highly engaging? Are you challenged beyond knowledge and comprehension within the questions and activities? Next, be a struggling student. Have trouble completing work. Fail the formative assessments. How does the course react? Does it provide alternative paths to proficiency or reteach using different examples or modalities?   ssments beyond multiple-choice tests and are those assessments matched to the content?
  • From Brian Bridges: Ask your provider for both teacher and student accounts for the course.  Then, be a teacher, and check out the learning management system ’ s features.  Can you add content to the course? Is it easy to communicate with students, set up discussions, and find student grades? Are there a variety of assessments beyond multiple-choice tests and are those assessments matched to the content?
  • Get your technology folks and counselors involved in the review of the admin end. Your online course management system needs to "talk" to your Student Information System. It must work with your master calendar and enrollment system, if that is separate. If it doesn't integrate, that means manual input for someone, costing additional staff time.
  • Because many courses resemble an online textbook, you’ll want to know if the course has video lectures, authentic learning experiences, collaborative activities, and discussions. Do the course’s projects and writing activities move beyond simple knowledge and comprehension, or do they challenge students to analyze, evaluate, and create? Keeping students engaged with the content and with each other is a key component of a great course.
  • From Blended Learning Implementation Guide by Digital Learning Now
  • From Blended Learning Implementation Guide by Digital Learning Now
  • Note: this is a screenshot from CLRN presentation, not an editable slide.
  • Content acquisition process

    1. 1. Content & Content Acquisitionbased on the California eLearning Framework
    2. 2. AcknowledgementsThis presentation was developed by the California Technology Assistance Project Program Management Committee, under the direction of the Online Learning Collaborative Subcommittee of the California County Superintendents Educational Service Agency.
    3. 3. Audience and PurposeAudience: site and district administrationPurpose: to facilitate the initial process of content decision-making, and initiating a process of evaluating content providers for best fit
    4. 4. Outcomes1.Understand the evaluation criteria for online content2.Conduct preliminary review of online content on CLRN3.Be prepared to "test drive" and assess online content for inclusion in your program
    5. 5. DefinitionsContent• Instructional materials, including audio and video presentations, animation, digital textbooks, and other curriculum componentsOER (Open Educational Resource)• Freely accessible, openly formatted and licensed resources that can be used for education
    6. 6. California eLearning Framework
    7. 7. Acquisition = AdoptionAdopting content is similar to adopting textbooks in that there should be an established approval process. ~CA eLearning Framework
    8. 8. What Is The Need?Core, AP, credit recoveryExpanded A-G course offeringsInsufficient highly qualified teachers
    9. 9. What Is The Timeframe?9 month12 month18 month
    10. 10. Content Acquisition• Build?• Buy?• License?• Combination of the above?
    11. 11. Acquisition Considerations• expertise of your staff• time / resources available to build content• time until the courses needs to launch• money available for start-up costs vs. money available for ongoing maintenance• need for customization of course content
    12. 12. Acquisition: BuildChallenges:• Staff expertise• Resource commitment - high initial cost• Extended development horizonBenefits:• Control• Ownership
    13. 13. Acquisition: Build• Online instructional design is not a skill inherent in all teachers!
    14. 14. Acquisition: Buy/LicenseChallenges:• High costs over long term• Limited customizationBenefits:• High quality online content• Immediate availability• Updated subscriptions
    15. 15. Buy/License Options• Comprehensive provider • Full curriculum• Individual courses• Individual learning objects • units • Lessons • other objects
    16. 16. Acquisition: CombinationChallenges:• Reduces consistency• Restricts costs savingsBenefits: Make sure you have• Increase options a vision and leader• Scalable to champion this effort!
    17. 17. Additional Considerations• SIS integration• Dashboards• Account management• Hardware and network requirements
    18. 18. Content Review 1.Conduct preliminary review of online content on CLRN 2.Be prepared to "test drive" and assess online content for inclusion in your program
    19. 19. Start with CLRNhttp://clrn.org/browse/index.cfm/online-coursesCertified
    20. 20. Start with CLRN• Title Publisher Content Standards
    21. 21. Start with CLRN
    22. 22. Start with CLRN
    23. 23. Narrow Your Options
    24. 24. Plan Your Test Drive Be prepared to "test drive" andassess online content for inclusion in your program
    25. 25. What Do We Look For?Content• Aligned with standards• Multiple avenues for success
    26. 26. What Do We Look For?Instructional design• Active learning• Opportunities for interaction & communication • Student to student • Instructor to student • Student to instructor
    27. 27. What Do We Look For?Student Assessment oMultiple formative and summative activities oProvides feedbackTechnology oVariety of tools oMeets interoperability and access standards
    28. 28. What Do We Look For?• Course evaluation and support• Course material evaluated for effectiveness• Up to date o Research o Design o Technologies
    29. 29. Content ReviewIdentify which course review standards are most appropriate for which team member o Content o Instructional design o Student assessment o Technology o Course evaluation
    30. 30. Content “Test Drive”Student account•Select units•Complete units • Take assessments • Make mistakes
    31. 31. Content “Test Drive”Teacher account•Add content•Create discussions•Communicate with students•Access grades•Create poll/survey/quiz
    32. 32. Content “Test Drive”Admin account•View logs•Account management•Monitor discussions•API integration with SIS•Progress dashboard
    33. 33. Ask the Publisher1. What types of activities does this course provide to engage students in active learning?2. How do the course’s formative assessments modify instruction based on student responses?3. Beyond multiple-choice tests, what other assessments does this course provide and what are their frequencies?
    34. 34. Ask the Publisher4. Can you demonstrate for me: a. How teachers add lessons, activities, multimedia, and assessments within the LMS? b. How teachers create and moderate classroom discussions? c. where I can find assessments answers, explanations, and rubrics?5. Can you provide me with both teacher and student accounts so we can evaluate the course on campus?
    35. 35. Ask the Publisher - Common Core1.How is your product/service aligned with the Common Core (or college- and career-ready standards)? How much was developed with Common Core in mind?2.How does your assessment compare to the consortia preview of Common Core assessment?
    36. 36. Ask the Publisher - Common Core3. How will this content/service enhance students’ learning experience?4. How are you helping teachers implement Common Core in their classrooms?5. Who is developing your Common Core products and what are their credentials?
    37. 37. What about UC A-G?•
    38. 38. ResourcesCalifornia e-Learning Frameworkhttp://chat.scoe.net/downloads/CA%20eLearning %20Framework.pdfCLRNhttp://www.clrn.org/Rise of K12 Learninghttp://www.innosightinstitute.org/media- room/publications/education-publications/the-rise-of-k- 12-blended-learning/Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learninghttp://kpk12.com/
    39. 39. ResourcesTaking Center Stage - Act IIhttp://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/onlineeducation/onlineeduci ndex.aspxLeading Edge Certification (LEC): Online and Blended Teacher Certification: http://leadingedgecertification.org/Learning in the 21st Century: 2011 Trends Update http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/learning21Report_201 1_Update.htmliNACOL http://www.inacol.org/

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