Import course outlines


The purpose of importing course outlines is not to simply duplicate what already exists eslewhere, but to create a teaching that goes well beyond what is present on original university websites. Remember that PEOI's courses give students everything to acquire the knowledge that students need in their profession, and go through knowledge assessment (such as PEOI's automated graded testing) to allow PEOI to deliver course completion certificates (and maybe some day in the future award diplomas), and this is all free of charge. Conversely, the universities where open education course appear do not deliver such certificates or award diplomas without a student paying tuition fees to study under the supervision of one of its faculty. In other words, PEOI will add all the needed content to make it possible to study without an instructor and without paying any fee. In addition, once a course is completed at PEOI, it is translated into PEOI's ten languages.

The course outline is just a first but very important step in creating a course at PEOI. This step is especially important because it makes possible to attract authors specializing in that subject, who will write the text, assignments, readings lists, cases, questions, and other needed content.

Course outlines to import:

PEOI has about 80 professional disciplines (which are listed in "Courses"). Each of these disciplines should have a program of studies in which PEOI should offer a solid set of introductory core courses and an assortment of advanced electives. At present none of the disciplines have courses that come close to our objective, whereas there is a large number of open education courses, and that number keeps on increasing rapidly. It is estimated that several hundreds (if not thousands) course outlines could be imported to PEOI.

There are many websites where such courses are present as open education. Open education means that the content is not copyright restricted, and can be read, copied and redistributed free of charge by only complying with conditions stated in a license. Most of open education is published under one of Creative Commons licenses. For instance, all content at PEOI is published under Creative Commons non-commercial share-alike license. This means that anyone can redistribute PEOI's course pages if it is not for a commercial purpose, and if the source of the material is properly indicated. Thus, any material that is published under such or similar license can be imported to PEOI because PEOI is distributing all content free of charge and not for commercial purpose, and authors of all content are properly identified on all pages (and in "About authors" sections of each course).

The following are some of the websites where open education websites can be found:

The work in this volunteer opportunity is, therefore,

  1. first, you locate courses that PEOI is missing in a specific discipline, and that are present on an open education website,
  2. second, you enter each course into PEOI's data bank of potential courses,
  3. third, the webmaster determines if the course deserves to be in PEOI's course listing, and is so creates a folder for it,
  4. fourth, you upload the course outline (as well other documents).
The first phase presupposes that you are familiar with what curriculum is expected in a discipline. This is most likely if you have complete a university degree in that discipline, or better still, if you have been teaching in that discipline at a university.

Importing a course outline:

There are many open education websites, and the amount of open education is growing fast. The best known open education is the set of courseware available at MIT. But there are many more, and some of these are listed in PEOI's Students Resources section and at Courseware Consortium . When a course outline is present on more than one website, it is desirable to compare them and extract the portions that best fit into PEOI's course approach. Indeed, to fully understand what PEOI's courses should contain, it is strongly recommended to read carefully PEOI's Authors section.

Not the entire course outline needs to be imported. What needs to be imported are

- title of the course
- titles of chapters, sections and subsections (if any)
- for whom the course is intended
- what prerequisites or preparation is recommended
- major themes developed in the course
- course objectives
- how the course relates to other courses in the discipline
Most course outlines also include course completion requirements, schedule of the semester, studying hints and evaluation criteria. These portions of course outlines do not need to be imported because PEOI has its own learning and assessment methods specifically designed for independent self-learners with no supervision and no fee.

At PEOI the course outline of every course is in the Foreword page of the course. This is the page that opens when entering a course at PEOI. As all course pages, the skeleton of the Foreword page is created by PEOI's procedures, and several procedures allow to import content into the Foreword page of a course. There are two preliminary steps:

  1. you must enter the course as a Potential course in PEOI's data bank with the "Potential course" procedure (which you access after registering and logging in);
  2. you or the webmaster must entered the pential course into PEOI's courses listing: this is done in the "Propose course" procedure; this also creates a folder for the course on PEOI's server;
  3. you or the webmaster must create the course files structure: this is done in the "List chapters" procedure;
  4. now you can upload your course outline and other documents with "Upload document" procedure;
Only then can either "Edit HTML text" or "Insert into course page" procedures be used to import content into the Foreword and other course page.

Importing course outline content requires advanced computer skills because you must understand how PEOI's courses are structured, and you must learn to use several PEOI's procedure. This takes patience, time and effort, and can be more than a serious challenge for some. Of course if you have difficulties you should email to webmater or John Petroff. If the challenge is too big for you, one alternative is to enter the course you located into "Potential course" at PEOI. This is also a procedure that is accessible only after registration and log in. Thus, in any case, you should read PEOI's Authors section, and then register as author at PEOI.

Good luck to you, and thanks for helping.