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The power of open information in open learning curriculum development

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Naomi Cloutier, Carolyn Teare, Irwin Devries
Thompson Rivers University

Published in: Education
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The power of open information in open learning curriculum development

  1. 1. The power of open information in open learning curriculum development Naomi Cloutier Carolyn Teare Irwin DeVries Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode
  2. 2. The Institution The Open Learning division of Thompson Rivers University supports:  Open access to undergraduate and graduate online courses and programs  Creating and using OER and open textbooks  Creating and crediting open courses through OERu  Open assessment practices using Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). 2
  3. 3. Introduction Discussions about technology in distance education typically focus on pedagogy, design, learning environments and effectiveness Technological infrastructure is also critical in managing the process of creating and sustaining distance and open education courses with their inter- and co-dependencies, linear and non-linear aspects. 3
  4. 4. Philosophy and Context  Institutions using a “project management” approach (Bates, 2011) to online course development face organizational challenges as online learning demand grows.  Paucity of research in “meso-level” online distance education issues, i.e. management, organization and technology (Zawaki and Anderson, 2014) led us to consider this research project. 4
  5. 5. Prior to 2013: Workflows • Tedious to analyze system productivity • Difficult to assess historical events and trends • Some projects “lost” in the system for years Administration • Set their own priorities without knowing the needs of others, to their mutual benefit or detriment. • Each area was a silo Managers/Supervisors • Developed their own spreadsheets and used various tracking methods. • Used and understood terminology inconsistently. Team Members 5
  6. 6. Prior to 2013 6
  7. 7. Philosophy Shift  Open Learning shifted from centralized to distributed project management with a focus on established process workflow.  Information sharing is one of the key elements in distributed project management. 7
  8. 8. Philosophy Shift  “The goal of distributed project management is to invert the process of managing the project and place a significant amount of the effort related to project management on the team members themselves….In essence, each team member can be viewed as an independent business unit with their own accountability towards the tasks they are asked to perform as part of the larger project outcome” (Ferrilla, 1997). 8
  9. 9. Design principles 9 Course Milestones NOT Time • Built-in Workflows Democratic Communication Tool • Minimal Project Management Open Source Platform • Web Data Entry by Role
  10. 10. Course Past Versions Current Version Future Version Data For the People (D4P)  Course is an object that has a History, Present, and Future: All Inter-connected  Teams determined what to track  Built with:  MySQL Database  CodeIgnitor PHP framework tool (MIT open license) https://codeigniter.com/ 10
  11. 11. D4P: Use Case – Team Member 11 Course History Version Overview Team Tab
  12. 12. D4P: Use Case – Supervisor 12 Development Overview Team Progress Access to Details
  13. 13. D4P: Use Case – Administration 13 Key Performance Indicators Academic Area Overview Portfolio Summary
  14. 14. Results: After 5 years  User Survey: All Staff/Faculty/Administrators 52 recipients received survey: 70% Response rate 14 High Use • 51% Daily Ease of Use • 82% Searching • 88% Entering Data Provides Needed Overview • 77% Improves Work Effectiveness • 68%
  15. 15. Results: After 5 years  Our own observations  Provides common source of information – body of knowledge  Still resistance to data entry: Some people don’t like the nuisance  Doesn’t replace, but supports face to face communication  Work in Progress – continual improvement Alerts to Users Adjusting location of information Additional Reports Sharing Data 15
  16. 16. Conclusions  Distributed Project Management using openly shared information offers a viable method to handle curriculum development  Effort in defining organizational needs by whole organization will increase project success  Flexible approach is key 16
  17. 17. Contact Information:  Irwin Devries, idevries@tru.ca  Naomi Cloutier, ncloutier@tru.ca  Carolyn Teare, cteare@tru.ca  Slide Share: Tru open education_global2017 17
  18. 18. References Bates, A. W., & Sangra, A. (2011). Managing technology in higher education: Strategies for transforming teaching and learning. John Wiley & Sons. Ferrilla, B. (1996). Distributed Project Management-Managing the Process of Managing Projects. In Proceedings – Project Management Institute (pp. 899-906). Zawacki-Richter, O., & Anderson, T. (Eds.). (2014). Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca University Press. 18

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