Post-OERs: using the reusable assignment to revamp your course design

Concurrent Session 7
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

In this educational session, two instructional designers are hoping to build awareness of how to incorporate open pedagogy when designing reusable assignments. During the presentation, we will be examining how to apply the 5-step course curation strategy when creating reusable assignments. Moreover, it is important to ensure all course materials and content are accessible and meet diverse learning needs. 


E-Lu Chen received her Educational Specialist degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology. Applying her professional knowledge and skills in distance learning education, she has designed, developed, and delivered online/ hybrid/face to face courses and workshops in various environments and platforms for over 10 years. She is responsible for successfully introducing and incorporating academic pedagogical principles and learning-enhanced technologies into course design initiatives within online, hybrid, and web-enhanced courses across the University. Providing hands-on instructional design and course creation support to KU faculty and work as part of a creative and dynamic team in delivering workshops, seminars, and creating materials that promote online and hybrid learning.

Extended Abstract

The rapid growth of Internet usage transforms our education systems. Content representation is not limited to physical textbooks. In the past 20 years, many researchers, scholars, and teachers have promoted the idea of open educational resources (OERs). While most agree that OERs are economically beneficial for many students, another valuable characteristic is that the information can be altered, shared, and continuously expanded. These resources may be available for an instructor to use and adapt for a course. In contrast, creating authentic content may be the only solution for some instructors due to the lack of resources. We believe that either adapting or creating OERs can be beneficial in the long run. However, one of the core concepts of OER is to design non-disposable course assessments. Knowledge retention is the key to successful learning outcomes. It is not a surprise that many course assignments, like assignment worksheets, short papers, in-class projects, have a relatively small connection to real-world experiences. David Wiley, one of the pioneers in OERs, calls this kind of assignment a “disposal assignment”, and it adds no value to the world.“ (Wiley, 2013). In other words, because many assignments are designed as one single learning instance, and only reviewed and graded by the instructor, the feedback and comment of such assignments do not seem to be beneficial on the long term sustainability to engage students (Derosa & Jhangiani, N.D.).  Therefore, if we are creating or adapting OERs when to develop course materials and activities, the question is how we can design a signature assignment that is not only to evaluate the desired learning outcomes, but also prolongs the learning. We want to make sure that knowledge and skills are adaptable, applicable, and dynamic.              

Another step to enrich the learning experience of creating or adapting OERs is to increase the course accessibility. Many of the OERs are electronic format, which is reducing the cost to publish and circulate. However, it might add unnecessary barriers for the students to easily access. 

How can we make a difference? In this presentation, we are going to propose a strategy for faculty to redesign the course, make the course accessible, and discuss the examples of reusable assignments to provide the faculty and students a different teaching experience when they invest so much time and effort in the OERs.