Archive for June, 2009

Course representations

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

As part of a working group at the Open University (James Fleck, Mick Jones, Tony Walton, Andrew Russell and Paul Mundin) we are trying to devise a series of course representations. We have come up with five:
•    At a glance
•    Pedagogy profile
•    Financial
•    Course performance
•    Success checklist
I’ve mainly being involved with the representations that particularly foreground the learning aspects of the course.
Pedagogy profile

Figure 1 Pedagogy Profile

The pedagogy profile is a worked up version of the media advisor toolkit Martin Oliver and I developed years ago (link to download the toolkit below), modernised against task types developed as part of a learning activity taxonomy I developed a few years ago (Conole, 2008). In essence there are six types of tasks learners do:
•    Assimilative – reading, listening, viewing
•    Information handling – manipulating data or text
•    Communicative – discussing, critiqueing, etc
•    Productive – production of an essay, architectural model, etc
•    Experiential – practising, mimicking, applying, etc
•    Adaptive – modelling or simulation
In addition, learners undertake some form of assessment activities
You can then use these to create a pedagogy profile for a course – indicating the proportion of each type of tasks (Figure 1).
At a glance

Figure 2: The “at a glance” representation

The ‘at a glance’ representation gives an overview of the course. It’s an adaption of an earlier pedagogy representation (see for example an earlier blog post), but Mick Jones pointed out that it was important to also emphase the instruction and guidance provided to the student. The representation now includes both guidance and support as well as evidence and demonstration (Figure 2). The representation enables you to describe the course in terms of the types of learning activities the learner is undertaking as well as the guidance and support provided and the nature of any assessment. Table 1 describes the five facets of the representation in more detail. Would welcome thoughts on these representations.


Table 1

Finally, the success checklist is intended to be an evolving list of  success criteria or ‘dos and don’ts’ for course. There are four facts considered:

  • Good pedagogy
  • Innovation
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Fitness for purpose

Table 2 shows some suggested examples.

success criteria

Table 2


Conole, G. (2008) ‘Capturing practice: the role of mediating artefacts in learning design’, in Handbook of Research on Learning Design and Learning Objects: Issues, Applications and Technologies, in L. Lockyer, S. Bennett, S. Agostinho, and B Harper (Eds), 187-207, Hersey PA: IGI Global.

Media Advisor available to download from