PEOI needs courses in all professional fields. This includes for instance management, engineering, law and medicine. It does not generally include courses for personal, artistic or cultural improvement such as painting or literary writing, nor courses of basic knowledge such as computer usage or geography. For a complete list of disciplines, please see "Fields" in "Courses".
Type of writing:
PEOI courses are intended to include all materials that can be helpful to acquire competency in a particular subject. The major and essential component is naturally the text of the course which should be comparable in depth and breadth to what can be found in leading textbooks in the discipline. Several other components should be present to help students with different learning styles to be exposed to a variety of learning experiences. The most important of such auxiliary materials is a data bank of test questions. One should make a clear distinction between test questions which are used in automated tests, and review questions which allow students to verify quickly if they remember of what they just read, and which are not graded. There should also be files with assignments, cases, readings, class discussions, comments and marginal material in appendixes. Some courses may also require glossaries, lists of formulas, lists of graphs and lists of tables.
Each author is not expected to handle all the writing, but he/she can if so desired. Instead, an author is invited to join a team working on a subject. If no team exists for a particular subject, the first author by proposing a new course becomes the team leader for the subject. New volunteers are welcome to join in and expand and/or update what exists at any time. Comments and corrections can also be directed to PEOI. PEOI's courses are forever subject to updating and improvement.
Background and experience required:
Because of the variety of course content to be developed, volunteers with a variety of backgrounds are welcome to participate in the effort. For most subjects a doctorate degree and some teaching experience can be expected from the team leader and main author. For newly emerging fields this requirement may not be realistic. For the auxiliary materials, graduate assistants are invited since their practice in writing questions can be helpful for themselves in achieving a deeper understanding of the materials.
Content Management System:
The work of a course author is entirely web based with the help of procedures in the "Authors" section. PEOI's procedures are accessible after registration and log in at PEOI by selecting the procedure needed in the Procedure pull down menu which is present at the top center of all PEOI's platform screens shown below:
The Authors section also has a description of the structure of a course with its different types of files. There are two types of course structures: introductory and advanced. All courses have one of the two file structures so that procedures such as testing can function effectively for every course.
Before starting writing a course with PEOI procedures, the file structure must exist. This file structure is created once a leading author submits the list of chapters. The file structure of a fundamental course is different from the structure of a professional course (as explained in Authors section) in that each chapter of fundamental courses has just one file while a chapter of a professional course is divided into sections and subsections. In addition, a fundamental course has just one assignment file for each chapter, whereas a professional course has cases and exercises in addition to assignments. For all courses, the same starting point is the submission of a list of chapters.
Registration of all volunteers:
To use PEOI procedures, an author must be registered as author with the registration procedure in "Authors" section. Then, the Edit text, Edit cases or Edit question procedures give access to all course material in all languages. Note that an author must sign in each time before using the Edit procedures.
Method of writing and uploading material:
The Edit text procedure handles the text of the chapters, assignments, review questions, comments, readings appendixes. The comments file is intended to contain notes, assignment corrections, third party observations and students' questions. The screen of the Edit text procedure is divided in three section. The top box is where the author chooses the file to write, enters his/her writing in the TEXTAREA, and processes the finished writing. At the very bottom, a schedule shows the number of lines of all the text files in the course. In the middle, the same text as in the TEXTAREA is shown as it will appear to students, except that images may be blank.
After completing writing and making any/all corrections in the TEXTAREA, the button "Save" is clicked to save the text in a temporary directory. After an entire chapter is finished, the author is expected to notify PEOI by email that the chapter is finished and can be moved to its regular directory. The "Notify that work is completed" button can be used for that purpose.
When pasting text into the TEXTAREA, only materials taken from a file formatted as ".txt with line breaks" should be inserted. Materials copied from most other formats contain hidden formatting overhead that is unnecessary and can prevent the file to be saved properly.
Images, graphs, audio and video:
When a chapter must contain pictures or other graphics, they must be emailed to PEOI as an attachment preferably in the .gif or .jpg format. Once uploaded to the server in the "Resources" directory for the course, the image (or other supporting document) is listed in the menu of images next the "Section" button. Authors are free to configure the text they wish, keeping in mind the need to preserve the PEOI logo and link, the copyright claim and the links on the bottom of each page. Placing text prepared in an HTML editor clearly saves on subsequent reconfiguration of the text and assures that the text has the appearance the author wishes it to have. It is recommended that the HTML code be as streamlined as possible because of slow web connection in developing countries where the majority of PEOI students are located. The recommended HTML editor is PageMill. HTML editors that embed stylesheets are especially discouraged. HTML files created in Word and Frontpage contain <span> tags that are especially bulky and must be removed before pasting.
The author of every page is identified at the very top of the page as the copyright holder of the material contributed. In accordance with PEOI's mission, all materials on PEOI are available for all to use for non-commercial purposes only, without any fee, restriction or condition except that the author and the origin of the materials must be properly cited. Before placing any material on PEOI, each author is required to read and agree to the Educational Material Universal Common License in the access page to Edit text procedure.
Bring your skills to bear:
Please bring your skills to help millions of disadvantaged students all over the world, who do not have access to traditional education because of where they live, time constraints or insufficient income. Thank you for your interest.
All tasks can be carried out from home on your own computer and at your own time. Volunteers can join in forum discussions of issues of common interest. Registration is necessary to participate in a forum.
For more details, please write a short message indicating the volunteer opportunity you are interested in, attach a recent resume, and email to appropriate person in contact information.