The size of education

I had the final award board for a short course I created yesterday, T186 An Introduction to e-learning. It was a short (10 point) course, created as part of the short course programme in the Technology Faculty here. The course has gone along okay, but I think the short course programme hasn’t quite been the success we thought it might be. There was a feeling in distance education, particularly with the advent of e-learning, that perhaps the full 32 week, 60 point course was the wrong size of course, and shorter, more up to date courses might be the way to go. The jury is still out (there is a good argument that they haven’t been marketed particularly well), but the student numbers haven’t been what we had hoped. Maybe there is an effort threshold – if you’re going to sign up for a course it may as well be a full 30 or 60 point one.

What T186 is a good example of is reuse (actually despite all the talk of reuse there are very few real examples of it) – I created it from the Masters level course H806 Learning in the Connected Economy. H806 consists of about 120 Learning Objects (it was designed around learning objects from scratch), and I took about 30 of these and reversioned them so they were suitable for level 1 students. This usually involved simplifying the task a bit, removing some of the readings and altering the assessment strategy. Although it was never a case of simply reusing an object, they all needed reversioning to some extent, it greatly simplified the task of creating a new course.

H806 objects have also cropped in a couple of other courses and been reversioned for some internal staff development courses, demonstrating that if you preversion (ie design with reuse in mind) then the opportunities do arise. If we had done all our courses like this five years ago, imagine the stock of reusable material we’d have now…

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