The Open University UK (OUUK), a partner in the “Training for Online Learning Practitioners” project, has sent Dr. Martin Smith to the OUC for one month to participate in reforming

the project’s courses. Dr. Smith held workshops with three course groups: Learner Support, Tutoring Online and Online Course Design.

The OUC held a lecture on online course design on April 2. Dr. Smith introduced the process of online course construction at the OUUK and summarized its features of  course development. The first stage is to organize a course team and allocate development work. The second is to emphasize course accessibility and usability, such as adding subtitles for the hearing impaired. The third is to employ a large number of technical support personnel (the headquarters of the OUUK has 400 technical support personnel). At the same time, a range of technical methods are used to enhance the presentation methods of the courses. The fourth is to offer an introduction to each course in order to help the learners better understand the course and complete it in a shorter time. Finally, the fifth is to base the courses on the Moodle platform to enhance interactivity. He then demonstrated a sample of courses currently in use or under construction at the OUUK.

Dr. Smith said that online course construction can be broken down into five stages. The first is to decide a teaching model based on the characteristics of the course. The second is to assign a course team to design the content and make the transition from learning objective oriented design to learning result oriented design. The third is to have an outside party review the draft course content. The fourth is to choose the best way to present the course content. The fifth is to update the online course materials on an annual basis.

The lecture was chaired by Director Yang Yongbo of the OUC International Cooperation and Exchange Department. Attendees included Liu Dailin, head of the “Training for Online Learning Practitioners” project group, members of each course group, and representatives from the teaching staff of several OUC schools and the teaching management department. Attendees carried out in-depth discussions about online course development with Doctor Smith.

By Mu Xingyan, the OUC