I did a presentation yesterday to a group at the OU looking at new models of course design (the feeling is that what can be termed OU Classic is not a flexible enough model to meet all of our needs). I suggested 5 models:
- The self-updating course - the course designer creates general activities, for example 'Analyse three of the resources below using X's theory...' The resources come from RSS feeds, user tagged content, etc. So the actual resources are unknown at the time of writing, but if the feeds are reliable they will be current when the student studies.
- The content-lite course - content produced by the course designer that is. This is essentially a resource based approach, so students or groups might have a general task, e.g. complete a business proposal for a web 2.0 product' and then have a range of resources such as user generated content (the proposals from previous years), blog feeds, podcasts, etc. Again some of this content will be unknown, but some will be selected by the educator.
- The personalised course - this is more of a competency based approach, so the student has to show their competence or understanding of X, and gathers together the resources they feel they need.
- All marketing is content - in this one I suggested that the OU doesn't do marketing anymore and instead simply creates content, which is made freely available through the OpenLearn space. Anyone can take and use this content (thus fulfilling the outreach function) and the OU also draws upon this as the central resource pool for creating its own courses.
- Course as aggregation - really another take on number 4. Here the focus is not on creating content for a specific course, but rather on creating content in subject areas, which is stored in a central content management system. When we wish to create a specific course we take and adapt content from here, and combine it with some specifically created material. This makes the course production process much more flexible.
There are probably more, and what these models hide is a wealth of complexity in terms of academic practice, institutional process and also an individual's sense of identity. But I think there are merits to all of them.
Here is the presentation via Slideshare: