Packaging materials is a generalized term to capture a broad array of tasks (creating, revising, sharing, finding, crediting, etc.) for materials such as assignments, teacher notes, and evaluation data. Substantial effort has gone into creating materials over the years, but the community still struggles to find ways to effectively manage these. This Working Group is tasked to develop a standard and protocols for curricular material packaging, joining with broader efforts of standardization (e.g., CSSPLICE) and existing initiatives for creating repositories, tools, and materials.
In this talk, we will begin by introducing the Curriculum Packaging Problem, example scenarios involving the problem, and common issues we have seen.
Then, we will review existing work in the area and existing collections of materials.
Next, we will discuss our vision for a Git-based, plain-text course format supported by best practices for packaging.
Finally, we will discuss our concrete short, medium, and long-term plans moving forward, and the way that interested members can get involved.
Who are we?
Overview of the problem (4 minutes)
- Curricular Packaging:
- A broad set of tasks (creating, revising, sharing, finding, crediting, evaluating, etc.)
- A broad set of materials (assignments, assessments, slides, teacher notes, evaluation data, etc.)
- We need fewer barriers for the tasks and better structures for the materials
- A course is way more than a deck of slides and a syllabus
- Probably not going to be solved by a single new piece of software!
- Rundown of various common scenarios
- Instructor needs to find a ready-to-go lesson on topic X for his course
- Instructor wants to share a good lesson
- Instructor wants feedback on a lesson they shared
- Instructor wants to modify a lesson they’ve been using based on some suggestions by an adopter
- Instructor wants credit (e.g., for promotion) for the number of adopters of their materials.
- Instructor wants to take a specific colleague’s set of materials, with changes
- Researcher wants to analyze course materials
- Researcher wants to find out if two courses using their tool are similar enough to compare
- Instructor wants to share experiences about a course, including some student-generated data
- We have a longer White Paper that goes into some depth
Issues (2 minutes)
- Non-standardized Goals: Very little is common across Computer Science, even in our CS1 courses.
- Novice Designers: Most CS instructors have no real pedagogical training or knowledge of instructional design.
- Tool Lock-in: A lot of materials end up locked into a tool, by necessity or choice.
- Lack of Incentives: There are limited motivations to spend time developing stuff for sharing (credit for promotion, simplifying our lives, money?).
- Misguided HCI: We often end up catering to power users rather than making stuff simple and accessible for the 80% of normal users.
- IP Policies: Different institutions have different rules about what you can share with regards to materials.
Discussion of existing efforts (2 minute)
- Ensemble: Somewhat older “free digital library” of tools and curricular assignments, kind of limited in scope. Talking to some of the folks in charge of it, I am unclear what its future will be. For now, it exists, but I don’t know that it represents a major future effort.
- Nifty Assignments: A collection of high quality assignments that has become its own track at SIGCSE. Most of the assignments are lab/project scale, so this represents a narrow slice of curricular materials. Although their focused, they probably have some good lessons learned.
- EngageCSEdu: Curated collection of curricular materials, recently instituting more formal peer evaluation models that show promise. (acbart: Some of these folks have reached out specifically interested in working with us.)
- Leake & Lewis ‘17: SIGCSE’17 paper with guidelines and notes about developing CS resource sharing sites, targeted at K-12 space.
- OER and Learning Objects are the existing subfields in Education
- Other projects are more narrow slices of packaged curriculum:
- OpenDSA, Canturbury Question Bank
Description of proposed format (4 minutes)
Our current vision to start tackling this problem:
- Develop and promote a Git-based format for courses.
- Build curricula material templates in plain text formats (YAML/Markdown)
- Develop converters from/to common LMS and import formats (e.g., Common Cartridge, Canvas API, PEML)
- Develop a shared vocabulary to promote best practices
- Taxonomy and definitions for various Nouns (“Lesson”, “Module”, “Assignment”, etc.)
- Definitions and formal processes for various Verbs (“Creating”, “Sharing”, “Evaluating”, etc.)
Description of Best Practices documentation (2 minutes)
- How to follow an Instructional Design process for developing your materials
- Organizing public, private, and secret data
- Advertising with/directly using GitHub Pages
- How to streamline IRB/FERPA/IT Security interactions to be compliant
- How to evaluate your materials
- How to get feedback on your materials
- How to get promotion/tenure credit for your materials
Major steps for breakout:
- What are our pain points with curriculum packaging right now?
- How frequently do we encounter each type of pain points?
- What scenarios did we miss?
- How have you been solving these problems so far?
- Specific processes you follow
- Specific tools you’ve developed or use
- What are your colleagues doing?
- What motivations do you need with respect to curriculum packaging?
- Money? Tech support? Pedagogical support? Promotion credit? Public accolades?
- When considering tools to help you with this, how much do you prefer automation vs. manual effort?
- What repositories, projects, and research should we know more about?
Where do we go from here?
- Short term:
- Join our Google Group
- Propose/Review candidate solutions
- UCSB Jekyll theme for Git courses
- Waltz - tool for moving course material between Canvas and a Git repo
- Medium Term
- Fill out our Google Form about pain points in Curriculum Packaging
- Join in our discussion about our formats
- Long term:
- Write up our specification and best practices
- Package some exemplar materials in our format
- Have one or more repositories adopt our format (CSEngageEdu?)