Course content

Content of completed course

What should a completed course on PEOI contain? While the answer naturally varies considerably depending on the subject and discipline, it is believed that a course on PEOI should offer a learning experience equivalent to that of a semester in an average university course in a classroom, which covers usually fifteen weeks of instruction, or as close to that as possible. In some cases, because PEOI's courses can link to a wealth of material on the Internet, the volume of readings will actually be greater than a class lectured course.

A completed course should have

  1. - a full text as complete as a textbook;
  2. - the text should include examples, cases, exercise, summaries, review questions, readings, lab work, projects and the like to accommodate different learning styles;
  3. - class discussions for each of the chapters;
  4. - an opportunity to leave comments, to ask questions and to read the comments of other students;
  5. - knowledge assessment with assignments, tests at the end of each chapter, and a comprehensive examination at the end of the course
  6. - statistics on course enrolment at PEOI, grades and completion.

It should be clear that this course content is not contained in just a few HTML page, but spread in various data banks and text files.

To write or to import

Most content at PEOI is expected to be develop (i.e. written, updated, edited and proofread) by PEOI's authors. But some material can and is imported. Thus the question arised about the effect of copyrights to such material. PEOI's courses are open education. That means that nothing on PEOI can be copyright restricted. In other word, the copyright is retained by the original author (e.g. you or the author of an article), but the copyright holder grants a license to PEOI (commonly known as Creative Commons license and at PEOI the EMUCL, or Educational Material Universal Common License, which appear on every course page) to publish the material for anyone to use it in any way he/she wants (except for commercial purposes).

Thus, if any content is imported into a course at PEOI is must not be copyright restricted: if there is copyright holder, a permission must be obtained, and such permission is very rarely given by most publishers (except for government agencies and international organizations such as WFO, or World Food Organization, which gave PEOI permission to publish one of its panthlet). But the permission is automatically granted if the content is published under such licenses as Creative Commons since that material is itself open education material. If an article or page is copyrighted to a journal or commercial publisher, it is counterproductive to seek permission . When permission can't be expected, the best strategy is to link to the article if online, and/or give full reference to it, then explain in detail how and why that article is important to read and know.

Updating and improving content

PEOI believes that continuous development of course material is of primary importance for both faculty and students to make courses interesting, challenging, authoritative and useful, and for both faculty and students to stay abreast of their professional field and engage in life-long personal growth.

The procedures available on PEOI are specifically designed to make it convenient for course material to be easily updated and expanded by faculty members. As will be apparent in the following paragraphs, faculty knowledge of HTML is minimal. All faculty teaching a particular subject can act as author and make changes in course files. All changes to a course page are initially saved in a temporary file. Only after 1) the author has click on "Notify work completed", and 2) the project coordinator or course editor has verified the temporary changes are justified, is the course page moved to its permanent location for students to see.

Changes to course pages can be performed in at least three different methods:
1- minor corrections in spelling, punctuation or grammar can be done directly in the course page; likewise, any additional examples or citations that do not affect the conceptual logic of the page;
2- changes that are more significant should best be placed in a separate section designated as "Comments", so that other authors can review the proposed modification of a course page before it is pasted in;
3- concept changes should best be first discussed with co-authors and project coordinator by exchange of email messages.


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