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ABC Curriculum Design 2015 Summary

Natasa Perovic2 December 2015

(For latest news about ABC LD, visit ABC LD blog)

ABC Curriculum tour dates for 2016 and Summary of 2015

For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša

cy_np

Book us early! We start our ABC 2016 tour with a visit to Glasgow!

The ABC curriculum design method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and designed to help module teams design engaging learning activities. It is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format. More information below.

 

December 2015 – ALT Winter Conference webinar

The ABCs of rapid blended course design by Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Recording of the session is available to view here: http://go.alt.ac.uk/1NIpziZ

 

December 2015A brief overview of ABC curriculum design method by Clive

 

 

October 2015 – Presentation about the ABC workshops

 

 

 

September 2015 – Progress with ABC Curriculum design and downloadable ABC workshop resources and participants’ feedback 

 

 

March 2015 – ABC beginnings, by Clive and Natasa

 

March 2015 – Blog post about the First ABC Curriculum design workshop

 

UCL Arena Digital Unit 3: How can we involve students with Campus Pack blogs, wikis and podcasts?

Clive Young5 October 2015

Update July 2017: Please note that the ability to add new instances of Campus Pack tools in UCL Moodle has been removed as part of the this year’s Moodle upgrade. The page below is for reference, and staff should see our Campus Pack Guidance page for more information on possible alternative tools that offer similar functionality.


A new unit of UCL Arena Digital is coming!

CP_Logo_open_big

There will be some new additions to UCL Moodle from September 2015. Campus Pack will provide a suite of tools comprising blogs, journals, wikis and podcasts that can be used to support students’ reflective, social learning and collaboration, as well as enabling tutors and students to record audio directly into Moodle.

This unit will guide you through these new Moodle tools, and discuss ways of using them in your teaching.

The unit will last two weeks, taking 1-2 hours of your time, culminating in an interactive webinar which will allow you to explore advanced features and take a look at what colleagues are already doing with the tools.

UCL Arena Digital Unit 3 will run October 19th – 30th 2015.

Live webinar Wednesday 28st October 2015 2 – 3 pm.

Go to the course.

 

ABC Curriculum Design Workshops

Natasa Perovic30 September 2015

(For latest news about ABC LD, visit ABC LD blog)

Arena Blended Connected Curriculum Design – Workshop resources and participants’ feedback

few-teams

  • A 90 minute hands-on workshop to help module teams design engaging learning activities.
  • Teams work together to create a visual ‘storyboard’ showing the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and how these will be assessed.
  • ABC is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format.

Between March and September we had 11 workshops with 37 teams from SLMS and BEAMS.

The feedback from participants:

  • “This process was really useful. It helps us think about the modules in their entirety. It is really good how everything maps out in a clear framework like this.“
  •  “We haven’t had such level of detailed discussion as a team. I think the structure and the materials are facilitated well. “
    “It is a good way of focusing on creating the balance within a course.“
  • “It makes you think about: OK , we are going to use this technique, but where, how, for what and how does it fit with everything else? And this is the way into that, I think.“
  • “It helped us formulate in our own mind the course structure. Yes, very useful.“
  • “Made me more conscious of a formative assessment, which really did not occur to me before. “
  • “This has been extremely useful. Not only that we start to think about individual modules and how we can use electronic resources, but it makes us think about the degree together, rather than as separate modules. “
  • “It reminds you of all different formats that you can use, rather than sticking to the same old same old.“
  • “I think it was good to take a step back from the content and look at the varied type of activity. “
  • “We are not trying to be very innovative, but it is a question of being open to new ideas“

To organise ABC workshop for your programme contact Clive Young and Nataša Perović.

ABC Curriculum Design workshop resources:

The resources are also adapted for ABC CPD and Life learning courses.

 

To organise ABC workshop for your programme contact Clive Young and Nataša Perović.

few_graphs

 

 

abc_logo

More:

References:

*Viewpoints project JISC

**UCL IoE: Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.

Connected Curriculum

What is the cost of developing e-learning? Try our calculator

Matt Jenner22 July 2015

Q: What is the cost of developing e-learning?

A: It depends

Arghthis answer is not good enough. 

E-Learning is a big industry, so why does the cost of making ‘some’ feel so mysterious? Increasingly the question of ‘how much will this cost?’ is cropping up. This is a perfectly valid question and one that really demands a better answer than the one above. For too long the response of ‘it depends’ comes up, or something about a piece of string. This isn’t cutting it so after some research (there isn’t much out there) we created an E-Learning Costing Calculator so you can start putting in some numbers and start to see some cold, hard, financials. Hurray?

Go – play with what we’ve created

Access E-Learning Costing Calculator on Google Sheets 

Warning: multiple users will obviously see one another’s calculations but I couldn’t find a better way of doing this while also retaining Alpha status for testing. Ideas welcome in the comments below…

Images / captures (of the above sheet)

Main tool, questions and numbers input:

E-Learning Costing Calculator

Cost and recovery

E-Learning Costing Calculator - financials

Charts for the boss

Charts for the boss

 

Breakdown by role

Breakdown by role

Approximations!

If you spend any time in the sheet you’ll notice there are some approximations going on in there (quite a few). It doesn’t produce an exact answer (because it really does depend). I think we’ve been asking the wrong question. We still need to ask – what data do we have to suggest how much e-learning might cost? How can we generalise and remain detailed enough to find ballparks? How close can we get to accuracy? and finally, What are we missing to increase accuracy?

Disclaimer: so far all the work on this comes from smaller, shorter courses (CPD, continuing education). Moocs and fully accredited courses are slightly different. The biggest problem is to add in some economy of scale (more on this in Maths).

Seeking improvement

Firstly – I want people to roadtest this spreadsheet. So please contact me and we can collaborate in Google Sheets (for now). I’m confident we could get a little closer to understanding why and it involves maths, early solutions and more questions.

Maths

Bryan Chapman, Chief Learning Strategist for Chapman Alliance asked in 2010 how long does it take to create e-learning:

Bryan surveyed 4000 learning development professionals and obtained data (US-based) on CPD and short courses. He created a series of development hour timeframes based on teaching approaches of f2f and three-level e-learning (basic, intermediate and advanced). For each approach he discovered the number of development hours required to create one hour of ‘e-learning’ (vague as it depends on your teaching approach). These numbers were the primary driver to start calculating an idea of costing, and the questions to ask.

This is the only data found. There’s corporations offering consultancy, and sure they have their ROI models (of course, it’s business). There’s bloggers and co. with their ideas and comments – but nothing with much evidence, especially when compared to Bryan’s work.

Economy of scale / new vs old

One problem with all this is that all costs tend to follow the rules of economies of scale. Producing one of anything tends to be proportionally more expensive than 10, then 100, and so on. Logically one hour of e-learning would cost a fair whack – say £15k. But the second should be cheaper, say £10k. Then from here you should see some sliding scales of efficiency. This isn’t so easy to build, so I omitted it in the sheet (for now). Idea welcome on this part.

New content is probably not the same cost as reusing old. Converting old content vs producing new content both come with different costs. To try and not complicate things it’s best to avoid this question for now, but see a sliding scale could help here – but I don’t know how to calculate the cost of conversion and comparing it to the cost of creation – so it’s lumped in together (for now).

Solutions

Running a few generalisations – the data from the Chapman Alliance can be used to start calculating the cost of courses. By taking some known courses, and their approximate costs, we simulated with some UCL courses how much they cost. During a project (UCLeXtend) we had provided some seeding resource to prime the new platform and provide examples to the wider community of what’s possible. Due to the transparency of these courses we could also see how much they all cost, and whether any calculations made were accurate. Sometimes the numbers hurt (never making a profit in this corner…) they also looked kinda accurate.

This motivated the creation of an E-Learning Costing Calculator – which we’re now crowdsourcing people’s opinions on to improve.

Questions

Armed with one data source (dangerous, I know) I looked to break it back down and discover if it could be reverse-engineered to build a calculator for everyday use. The idea was to ask broad questions within the calculation to then align with the data from the Chapman Alliance’s research. I think there are more questions to ask, but how to also generalise for calculating answers?

See also

UCL recently become friends with the IOE. A tool they have is the Course Resource Appraisal Modeller  -it’s much more detailed than this and I think it goes a long way to answering some of the questions I have posed. It also takes a fair amount of time and information to complete it. I can see the validity of both, or (better) one feeding into the other / merging. What do you think? Have you used CRAM? 

An Example Module in the IOE CRAM tool

http://web.lkldev.ioe.ac.uk/bernard/cram/launch.html

 

What’s next?

Please comment on this, in the sheet or in this post (or Twitter). I feel a bit stuck on this now, so feedback is essential to move forward.

 

Online courses as digital services; taxes and teachers

Matt Jenner24 April 2015

Fully online courses, with non-matriculated learners, are classified as ‘digital services’ and their income is subject to VAT (currently 20%). This levy applies to the fees charged. You don’t have to add tax if you add teachers instead; but does it all add up?

Types of learners and courses

Let’s make the first point crystal clear – we’re talking about non-matriculated learners here.  These kind of courses are generally branded as CPD and Short Courses; anything offered which you learn online but do not become a registered student of that institution or provider.

The rules affect only fully online courses. If your course is face to face or blended / hybrid / mixed mode delivery, i.e. it has a face to face component, then tax does not apply. Your fully online course might also be known as distance learning – but it means there’s no physical fixed environment in which learners attend and they do not get awarded university credits or a degree.

Credit bearing degree or Face to face teaching = not taxed. 

E-services and Digital Services

There is a UK Gov definition of what constitutes as an ‘e-service’ or ‘digital service’. These are the terms the UK Government use when defining a broad catalogue of things ‘electronically supplied’. The definition of ‘electronically supplied’ “covers e-services which are automatically delivered over the internet, or an electronic network, where there is minimal or no human intervention” (Gov.uk). The definition is not comprehensive, and judgement is required from the provider. And I must add if you’re unsure please consult HMRC on Vat2015.contact@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or your tax/financial/legal advisors.

Included on the Gov.uk site is a list of examples to help clarify what might be classified as an e-service, or digital service:

Service e-service Electronically supplied? Covered by the new rules
Pdf document manually emailed by seller Yes No No
Pdf document automatically emailed by seller’s system Yes Yes Yes
Pdf document automatically downloaded from site Yes Yes Yes
Stock photographs available for automatic download Yes Yes Yes
Live webinar No No No
Online course consisting of pre-recorded videos and downloadable pdfs Yes Yes Yes
Online course consisting of pre-recorded videos and downloadable pdfs plus support from a live tutor Yes No No
Individually commissioned content sent in digital form eg, photographs, reports, medical results Yes No No
Link to online content or download sent by manual email Yes Yes Yes

 

I think what’s important to note are the two above which are highlighted (and that apparently they are not classified electronically supplied – this bit is important).

The European Commission provides further clarification on the definition of a digital service in their ‘Explanatory notes on the EU VAT changes to the place of supply of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services that enter into force in 2015’ publication (EC – pg. 85).

Explanatory notes on the EU VAT changes to the place of supply of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services that enter into force in 2015- nighttime reading for good teachers :-)

Explanatory notes – nighttime reading
for good teachers =*)

There’s a lot to digest here, but their overview is:

‘Electronically supplied services’ as referred to in Directive 2006/112/EC shall include services which are delivered over the Internet or an electronic network and the nature of which renders their supply essentially automated and involving minimal human intervention, and impossible to ensure in the absence of information technology.

Emphasis added – but it helps make my point; if you’re running online courses just be cautious around full automation. This would be defined as a self-paced, self-assessed (or automatically assessed) course with no critical teacher-based human input (i.e. it’s not automated). The EC are pretty clear that their “explanatory notes are not legally binding and only contain practical and informal guidance about how EU law should be applied on the basis of the views of the Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union” (EC report – P1). Pretty reasonable; we need to interpret and not jump to incorrect conclusions.

My interpretation of digital services is there’s been a digital transformation to business this millennium and it is right that a TAX is applied to businesses profiting from this. I see it as if you’re selling  something, we want a slice of the profits to prop up the economy – and this is totally fair. For digital services I imagine it’s to do with scale; Apple iTunes can sell a [nearly] unlimited number of MP3 files, no problem. Professor Famous can’t teach an unlimited number of people, at some stage they’re going to crack, the quality will drop, the interactions fail, and something needs to change.

As the rules are interpretative it seems from the new guidance that if you provide human-based interaction between learners and teachers (or facilitators) then you’re less likely to be classified as a digital service. Surely it’s therefore better to not say ‘avoiding tax’ but instead ‘adding value’ by adding teachers?

Well, let’s try some simple calculations:

Income = course fees – expenses (I=C-E)

I run a course which teaches 20 people, they each pay £1000 (it’s pretty good)

Example A – Fully online course

  • Fees = £20,000 (20 x £1,000)
  • Expenses = £4,000 (Tax on income of £20,000)
  • Income = £16,000 (£20,000 – £4,000)

Example B – Facilitated online course

  • Fees = £20,000 (20 x £1,000)
  • Expenses = £4,000 (paying a teacher)
  • Income = £16,000 (£20,000 – £4,000)
  • Bonus – someone just got paid £4,000 to teach 20 people something

Relax: There’s always tax

Tax is inevitable, and perfectly acceptable – we need it. The point is you could’ve weighed up paying a teacher instead and likely boosted the learning experience. In Example B less (or more) than £4,000 could’ve been paid to a teacher; so the net income is still reduced – but it’s gone somewhere else. The teacher will still pay some level of income tax, so let’s not get too far into an anti-tax agenda.

Also the fees could’ve also been much lower, but even at £100 each, the £400 spent on a teacher still seems like a solid investment. It does make checking your numbers a good idea; i.e. what’s a sustainable income required to keep this going / scale accordingly for projected fee:learner levels.

It’s not avoiding, or saving, it’s enhancing learning with teachers!

Learning online is lonely

Learning online is lonely

Learning with peers, and a teacher is a good thing. There is a vast array of data, research-informed evidence and general ‘feeling’ that teachers are needed. Quite frankly if teachers were not needed, they’d probably have been replaced by computers as quickly as possible. Obviously there is a place for self-directed and peer-to-peer learning; but that’s not the point I’m making – all that good stuff can still exist. This post is merely indicating the situation regarding tax and teaching. Take away the teacher, add the tax. It’s illogical, to a large extent.

 

Closing thoughts

If you’re offer online courses as a digital service, and paying VAT, you might just want to reflect on this. If you consider adding in a teacher; it’ll likely improve the dynamic, enhance the learning and maybe even save you some money. But also remember one other thing; this article is written by an expert in education and technology, not a tax advisor. If you take this as tax advice, you need to re-evaluate your sources of knowledge. You should then browse HMRC.org and GOV.UK and speak to experts! Also this post is not the view of UCL – and if it gets me in trouble it might disappear pretty quickly… 

I wrote this because I was genuinely surprised that tax is a variable factor for online courses. Tax is important, as is good education. I trust being slightly more informed you’ll make the right choices. I’d also welcome a debate on my interpretation of all this.

ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design

Natasa Perovic9 April 2015

(For latest news about ABC LD, visit ABC LD blog)

The ABC curriculum design method is a ninety-minute hands-on workshop for module (and programme) teams. This rapid-design method starts with your normal module (programme) documentation and will help you create a visual ‘storyboard’. A storyboard lays out the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and how these will be assessed. ABC is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or a more blended format.

The method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach based on research from the JISC* and UCL IoE**. Six common types of learning activities are represented by six cards. These types are acquisition, inquiry, practice, production, discussion and collaboration.

learning_types_all_cards

The team starts by writing a very short ‘catalogue’ description of the module to highlight its unique aspects. The rough proportion of each type is agreed (e.g. how much practice, or collaboration) and the envisaged blend of face-to-face and online.

curriculum_cards_m

Next the team plan the distribution of each learning type by arranging the postcard-sized cards along the timeline of the module. With this outline agreed participants turn over the cards. Each card lists online and conventional activities associated with each learning types and the team can pick from this list and add their own.

workshop team selecting activities

The type and range of learner activities soon becomes clear and the cards often suggest new approaches. The aim of this process is not to advocate any ‘ideal’ mix but to stimulate a structured conversation among the team.

Participants then look for opportunities for formative and summative assessment linked to the activities, and ensure these are aligned to the module’s learning outcomes.

assessment

 

The final stage is a review to see if the balance of activities and the blend have changed, agree and photograph the new storyboard. graph_s

The storyboard can then be used to develop detailed student documentation or outline a Moodle course (a module in Mooodle).

 

curriculum_final

The ABC team is developing a program-level version based on the Connected Curriculum principles.

Participants’ thoughts about ABC curriculum design workshop:

 

For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša cy_np

 

More:

References:

*Viewpoints project JISC

**UCL IoE: Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.