Build great skills courses

Make websites for flipped and online skills courses

Skilling is open-source software for making and running skills courses. Skills are things like programming, auditing, and mathematics.

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To make a good skills course, you need to think about tasks, content, and relationships.

Here are some aspects of good skills courses. They're important whether or not you use Skilling.

Tasks

You can't learn a skill without practicing. Here are things to think about when making tasks for students to do.

Problem solving

Students need hands-on tasks. Not just one or two, but a carefully designed task sequence.

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Feedback

Ideally, students do many low-stakes exercises, and get personal formative feedback. That means lots of grading. Skilling makes large scale grading feasible. It automates everything except human judgement.

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Scheduling

Students often have trouble keeping up, especially in online courses. How can we help?

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Explanations

Explanations are discursive content, worked examples, and other material. Think textbooks, and lectures. To make them worth students' time, explanations need to build students' skills.

Explain problem solving

We know a lot about how people solve problems. Skilling can help authors write explanations that, together with tasks and feedback, help students learn how to do tasks.

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Adaptive explanations

To be as effective as possible, explanations should change, based on student attributes (like disability), student performance, which campus they're on... just about anything.

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Continuous improvement

We can enhance a course, and extend its life, by continually improving tasks and explanations. With Skilling, it's quick and easy to change course material.

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Relationships

Many students, especially novices, need "high touch" courses.

Expert and peer help

Students need help when they get stuck. Help from peers can be particularly valuable, for both the helper, and the helpee (that's a word, now).

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Motivation

Encouragement from instructors and peers can help motivate students.

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Social engagement

Social norms of respect and helpfulness can improve students' experience in a course. Social engagement can help build norms, and encourage students. Skilling can help.

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Skilling fits with how universities operate

Unbundling instruction

Skilling unbundles instruction into different roles. This helps you make the best use of high- and low-cost personnel.

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Scaling

Skilling helps you adapt to changing demand for skills courses.

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Branding

Skilling websites can reflect your brand.

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Open to inspection

Skilling helps you give accreditors and clients what they are looking for.

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Cost to students

Universities can give students access for free, or at low cost. Commercial trainers can price courses between cheap-but-ineffective narrated PowerPoints, and expensive face-to-face classes

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Course assessment

Skilling gathers a lot of data about student behavior and performance. Authors can use the data to improve courses over time.

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Solid technology

Secure

Protection against XSS, CSRF, URL guessing, SQL injection, and other attacks.

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Private

Protects student data from unauthorized access.

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Accessible

Skilling is designed for WCAG 2 accessibility standards, and to comply with section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act.

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Open source

Skilling is based on Drupal, a popular open source system. Code is open to inspection. And free.

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Customizable

Add in Drupal modules for forums, social media, you name it. Change the content, and the look-and-feel.

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Mobile

Skilling helps students make the best use of whatever screens they have available.

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What now? Read Building a course for a typical course design process.