10 February 2010

Transparency: Course Views

With economics as its focus, Justin Johansen's 2009 dissertation research on open courseware at Brigham Young U concluded that sharing the details of academic courses, along with actual curriculum content, does not reduce enrollment for the course by paying students. That's an important factoid for the institutions that currently or hope to display open courseware on the Internet.

Open courseware probably promotes enrollment but that's a conclusion that deserves testing more broadly. The premise is logical, though: a "deep" view of the course (even if scope is not of the entire course) permits
students to preview assignments and even content knowledge. Level of difficulty is evident and perhaps even the professor's personality is, too.

The additional bonus is that learning outcomes are visible in open courseware. Whether for the student shopping for a good fit or the public seeking to understand what the institution offers to students, the display of outcomes provides context for the assignments and content. An ideal display would include assessment results tied to the outcomes from prior semesters of the course. Transparency at its best.

(In keeping with the subject of the research, Johansen's dissertation is available on the web. Use link at top of this entry.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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