Planning an open course

16 October 2015 - 3:18pm by Anna Page

You have an idea for an open course or set of open educational resources (OER) which you plan to share on an open platform so that others can learn from what you have created.  You will need to think about a number of aspects of course creation before you actually upload anything onto the platform where you choose to host your OER online:

Yes: Reading, downloading, copying, sharing, storing, printing, searching, linking, crawling  No: Plagarism, misrepresentation  Option: Commercial re-use

  • Who is the audience and what is the purpose of your OER?
  • Do you have a set of learning outcomes you would like learners to achieve when they study your course?
  • How simple or complicated the learning design and structure of your course might be and whether you are creating the course on your own or in collaboration with others.  You might find that creating a storyboard together and compiling a list of assets (images, diagrams, sources, other OER and copyright information) will help you as you design your OER.
  • What metadata (data about data) you will use to describe your OER so that it is easy to find in searches?
  • The structure of your OER might be simple or might evolve into something more complex.  Good open courses often include the following elements: a course overview, learning outcomes, a logical structure that is easy to navigate, overviews for each section, a 'where next' section for those who complete the course, evaluation of the course itself and assessment, acknowledgements and references.
  • Do you have copyright permission to share all the assets you include in the course in an open online environment?  Have you looked for openly licenced images online and copied over the licence information with the image to show that you can use it?
  • Are you likely to need to offer alternative formats for those people who find certain resources hard to access because of visual impairment, dyslexia, mental health conditions or other special requirements?
  • Will your OER have assessment activities and rewards (for example quizzes and badges) and how will this be integrated into the structure and design.
  • Do you know someone who will critically read your OER when you are ready to publish?

You also need plan to test your draft course before you make it live for people to use.  Even if you collaborate with others and build a course together in an open space, it is worth asking someone else who is not familiar with the course to test it for you before you announce it to the world.  You might decide to tell people about your course on the OEPS forum and invite others to make comments or collaborate with you on another version.


Image source: Open access overview - Opensource.com CC BY-SA 2.0 downloaded from Flickr

You may be interested in studying the short free course Becoming an open educator which the OEPS project has created.


Last modified: Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017, 13:35