Courseworker® by CAPDM is an enterprise-level, cloud-based course production and management environment. It greatly simplifies the production of high-quality professional online courses using “write once, publish many” digital publishing methods.
Courseworker is extremely efficient at producing highly integrated online courses with content-rich interactivity. It is ideal for producing large volumes of online course materials to a consistent standard, and copes well with content which is updated at regular intervals. It can be used to publish print-ready, eBook and online learning materials quickly and easily.
Courseworker makes course production both scalable and repeatable, but without loss of quality or reduction in features. It is a highly efficient and effective engineering approach to publishing and course production, capable of producing results on par with the best hand-crafting but more quickly and at much lower cost.
Courseworker also includes a tried and tested solution for institutions seeking to clarify, differentiate and standardise their approach to pedagogy and online learning. It builds on CAPDM’s 25 years of experience to enable stakeholders to collectively agree departmental or institutional standards, building a framework to capture those standards to deliver high-quality online learning. Courseworker embeds an institution’s online learning strategy into every online course delivered to students.
Consistency is effortless. High-end online courses are produced and deployed at much lower cost. Importantly, as courses represent an investment in content and pedagogy not merely feature usage of a given learning platform, Courseworker ensures that content (institutional IP) is not locked in to any given technology, learning environment or delivery system. Changes in learning technology or institutional branding are simple and quick to accommodate within our approach.
Courseworker can be a departmental or, ideally, an institutional solution to online learning production. It drives up quality while driving down cost for those who seek to produce online learning programmes at scale. It offers an alternative to outsourcing for institutions looking to have their own online programme management (OPM) capabilities, and a path to a common, flexible, independent course management environment for all staff to own and evolve.
With Courseworker your team will create and manage a version-controlled, open standards-based repository of learning content in semantic text (XML), images and video formats, and a set of product definitions which combine structure and pedagogy. A batch processing engine translates learning content into student-ready course packages, can typeset books in minutes, and can be used simultaneously by different teams of course developers.
Companion customised plug-ins for virtual learning environments (VLEs) can be deployed to make optimal use of the rich semantics of the master content. For example, we have reference implementations that enable desirable student progress tracking features – such as learning objective tracking – and the use of stamped PDFs for intellectual property control. Customisation is open-ended but enhanced by the rich structure and metadata of the source XML. In particular the use of ‘smart’ content maximises the potential application of new artificial intelligence tools and approaches to enhance the overall learning experience.
Course updates are fast and efficient to accommodate, as is programme- and institution-wide rebranding and the inevitable VLE migration.
Courseworker is a strategic purchase for medium to long-term gain. Its onboarding process is designed to ensure that stakeholders are able to implement the key design choices which underpin the organisation’s goals for its distinct online learning portfolio.
The consultancy phase establishes the common goals, agrees the pedagogical approach and achieves the institutional buy-in. This is delivered via a variety of engagement sessions with different groups of stakeholders. These can be carried out via online meetings or in-person at the client’s premises.
The shape of these sessions is dependent on the institution’s starting point and what it hopes to achieve, but can typically include:
- A strategic seminar on successful online programmes for senior decision-makers – including key examples of successful online programmes, analyses of their successes, and discussion papers exploring the key concepts in greater depth.
- Developing global businesses in education – covering business planning and key models for growth, maximising student retention, driving up quality, overcoming internal barriers and a range of other key issues.
- Course design templates – building the blueprint for future online learning by focusing on institutional strengths and student needs rather than the features of your current learning platform.
- Assembling the custom Courseworker solution – bringing together all the inputs into a plan for the Courseworker installation that will deliver the online learning the institution needs.
Following on from the decisions taken in the consultancy process, CAPDM engineers will instantiate a Courseworker system with all support facilities and documentation, custom designed to deliver the agreed pedagogical approach, common information architecture, course structures and branding requirements.
This is likely to include:
- One or more standardised course definitions which encapsulate the pedagogy and structure, which is completely independent from the presentation of course content online or in print. Courses are constructed from components such as core reference materials, study guides, learning objectives, assessments and certifications.
- One or more standardised course delivery formats, which can be applied to any given course as defined above. These encapsulate how courses are presented to the student and can include, for example, VLE course packages, print-ready PDF output, web pages or eBooks. These are branded according to the institutional style and can change over time.
The overall outcome is to provide a standardised set of tools which can be used to create large numbers of courses which match with consistency and high quality the institution’s pedagogy and style.
Once the Courseworker instance is set up, CAPDM will offer a provisioning and training session for all relevant staff. This will include not only training in the use of Courseworker but also advice and assistance to set up the working environment needed to exploit it successfully.
Though this is bespoke training to match the custom Courseworker instance that is being deployed, it is likely to cover core details including:
- User roles and functions
- Setting up of the working environment
- Capture of authored content
- Content management and revision control
- Creation of course packages and other online outputs
- Creation of typeset books if appropriate
- Administrative and management functions
Adoption of Courseworker does involve an initially steep learning curve in sustainable online course design, authoring and engineering. The reward is that this process enables the creation of your own highly efficient and very replicable course production processes. CAPDM’s Courseworker support team will seek to build a productive and ongoing working relationship with your users to build their confidence and proficiency over time.
Support is included in in the monthly licence fee and is offered as standard during UK 9-5 office hours, although adjustments are possible. Support is delivered using an email-based online ticketing system in the first instance, though documentation, telephone and online meeting-based support is also available if required.
The Courseworker engineering team is constantly working on improvements and maintenance and, as Courseworker is a cloud-based service, once tested these can be rolled out immediately to your instance. Support staff also monitor uptime and security issues. If downtime is necessary, it is notified in advance and should only occur briefly and outside normal working hours.
The online learning needs of a department or institution are, of course, not static, and it is possible at any time to add new course structures, brandings or features subject to quotation approval. Refresher training or onboarding of new staff can also be easily accommodated.