Clarity of the plan — an evolving concept
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.

—Alan Lakein[1]

Open design for OER course development advocates for open and transparent planning with the ability for anyone to contribute and assist with the planning process. This requires maintaining a public record of all planning documents including, for example, the course description, design blueprint and minutes of planning meetings.

Course developers are encouraged to release early and often by sharing draft pages publicly, rather than posting polished documents after the fact.

Describing an OERu course planning page

The OERu recommends that developers create a course homepage comprising a list of the subpages used to support the planning process as well as links to the draft course materials as the development progresses. The OERu uses the WikiEducator platform for hosting all the planning pages. The planning homepage provides a summary of links to the subpages used for course planning, design and development. The course planning page typically contains the following sections and links to subpages:

  1. Design and development team
    • The OERu recommends a team approach for the design, development and assembly of courses from existing OER and open access materials. Drawing on a wide range of skills and resources the team approach aims to ensure that the learning experience represents more than the sum of its parts. The team may comprise staff members from your organisation and volunteers from the open education community including, for example: subject matter experts, learning designers, librarians, multimedia developers and technical experts. List the names and roles of the team members in this section with links to their respective profile pages.
  2. Planning
    • Course description subpage is used for developing a succinct summary of the course intended for prospective learners and published on the OERu website.
    • Design blueprint subpage provides a high level overview of the course aims, learning outcomes and proposed pedagogical approach.
    • OER inventory subpage is used for listing links to existing OERs and open access materials and corresponding evaluation comments.
  3. Meetings and minutes
    • The agendas for each team meeting and the minutes are posted as subpages to maintain a public record of the design and development decisions.
  4. Course materials
    • Course outline subpage provides a bullet list of all the course pages. This page is used to generate the published course website which will automatically include important website features, such as site navigation and links to next and previous pages.
    • Links for transclusion subpage is used for keeping a list of other subpages, which include url links and text that will be used repeatedly in the course. The Mediawiki software has the ability to include a page, or part of a page, into another page (called transclusion). This approach is particularly useful for maintaining courses because the editor only needs to make a change on one page which is then propagated to all course pages where the page has been transcluded.
  5. Development resources
    • Storyboards for learning pathways subpages document storyboards and the inventory of OERs for reuse when developing the course pages for each learning pathway. This is also a good place to keep notes and ideas for when you commence development of the individual learning pathways.
    • OERu inventory You can include one or more subpage links here for documenting your audit of existing OER materials available for reuse and adaptation.


Visit the course planning page which was used for the development of this course.

You will notice that it has been modified slightly from the generic structure above to suit the development needs of this course. For example, working with a small team of two experienced WikiEducators, we did not need to minute meetings. We convened a few web video calls and have documented all discussions relating to the development on the relevant discussion pages in the wiki because the team were familiar with wiki communication practices spread across the wiki and did not need a central record of decisions. Furthermore, a detailed project schedule was not required. The curriculum outline and blueprint had reached an advanced state and the course needed to be ready by the go live date. This illustrates the flexibility of the open design model which can be tweaked according to the needs and context of the development.

Creating a course planning homepage



There are two ways you can go about creating a course planning homepage in WikiEducator:

  1. Manually replicating the headings above on a new page in the wiki and creating sub-pages for the corresponding sub-bullets; or
  2. Logging in to WikiEducator and visiting “Create a course planning homepage” to automatically generate the boilerplate text for your planning homepage.