Visualising your design

A design blueprint is a high-level plan that guides collaborators through the process of designing and contributing to the development of an open course. Its purpose is to visualise the overall “architecture” of the course to guide the design, development, and cooperation process.

In open design, less is more

Open design is highly iterative, and the transparent and dynamic nature of collaborative OER development means that open design blueprints tend to be less detailed when compared with the standard production model at most instructional design departments. A wiki is always a draft in the sense that an edit can be made at any time to refine and improve the design as more information comes to light. The detail of the subcomponents of the design will be expanded as the development progresses. In open design, we reduce the need for a detailed master plan before development commences by openly publishing planning documents (records of meetings, draft storyboards and outlines, inventories, and evaluations of existing OERs for reuse, etc.) as development of a course matures.

Nonetheless, a high-level summary of an open proposed course development is recommended. A shared design blueprint can

  • help identify possible collaborators with the ability to refine and adapt the plan to maximise cooperation and reuse by institutions who can contribute early to the design process,
  • encourage cooperating institutions to initiate local approval processes for credit transfer because the learning outcomes are published in advance, and
  • generate opportunities for peer review and input early in the design process.

Main components of an open design blueprint

There is no standard template for a design blueprint and developers can adapt and modify their blueprints to satisfy the unique context of each development. Most blueprints will cover the following components:

  • Metadata: for example, course name, level of study, number of credits, or notional learning hours
  • Target audience: a brief description of the intended learners
  • Prerequisite knowledge: listing of any preknowledge required for successful completion of the course
  • Development and delivery approach: for example, building the course from scratch, adapting an existing open course, or assembling from existing OER
  • Course aims and learning outcomes: summary of the learning outcomes specified for the course
  • Overview of the delivery model: summary of the structure of the course, for example, modules or micro courses, whether offered in parallel mode with campus students, etc.
  • Assessment strategy: summary of the proposed assessment strategy
  • Summary of interaction strategies: including student-content, student-student, and student-facilitator interactions and related technology requirements
  • Opportunities for collaboration: listing of needs and opportunities for cooperation
  • Any additional sections deemed relevant for the development