Online course-content is becoming increasingly prevalent, and is typically developed by a course instructor and/or an instructional-design team. The present project proposes a different development model: One that is learner-centered, constructivist, and emphasizes content co-creation. Moreover, the present project will also help solve two age-old problems with online content: (1) it needs to be updated frequently to ensure it is abreast of current research and language usage; and (2) it can quickly look dated.
HTML5 Package (H5P) is a file format and open source project (with a large user community contributing to the codebase) that is gaining increasing attention at UBC (e.g., eChIRP project). It allows for the creation of interactive videos and other interactive artefacts that are easily embeddable within existing content management systems (e.g., WordPress) and learning management systems (e.g., Canvas). Although H5P has some impressive functionality and authoring tools, from our perspective H5P is currently missing certain functionality that would dramatically improve its utility in learning environments, such as branching interactivity (see Project Outputs, Products or Deliverables). (We are aware that one prior TLEF project (i.e., Videx) and one current TLEF project (i.e., Alchemy) support branching interactivity; however, the focus of those projects and their supported interactivity differ markedly from this project.)
We are proposing to build a new tool, called Tapestry, that will address some shortcomings of H5P in particular, and online course content in general. Tapestry will allow for greater collaborative functionality in developing branching, remixable (e.g., a user can reorder, add, or remove elements, based on their needs), and extensible interactive online-modules. Tapestry will also enhance student-faculty co-creation, and the quality and sustainability of online courseware.
Besides the primary objective of building Tapestry, there are three associated objectives:
1. Build four interactive open educational modules that will serve both as a testing ground for Tapestry, and also as learning objects for use in UBC courses. Specifically, four modules will be built on topics related to living in a diverse world: (1) Intercultural Understanding, (2) Gender and Sexuality, (3) Indigenous Communities, and (4) Invisible Disabilities (e.g., mental illness).
2. Evaluate learning outcomes associated with the use of Tapestry and the proposed modules.
3. Ensure sustainability of Tapestry.
Project Work Plan, Timeline & Milestones
We have assembled a strong synergistic team that have the expertise to oversee: (1) the design and coding of the Tapestry tool (Barnes, Berg, Bradley, Johnson, Kiczales); (2) the construction of each of the four modules for living in a diverse world: Intercultural Understanding (Lolliot), Gender and Sexuality (Frohard-Dourlent, Saewyc, Stewart), Indigenous Communities (Hole, McPhee, Perreault, Saewyc), Invisible Disabilities (Barnes, Hole, Moore, Michalak); (3) the production of video and other media content (Barnes, Dyanatkar, Ritland, Scholte); and (4) the evaluation of Tapestry and the modules (Barnes, Kingstone). We also have experts in interactivity (D’Onofrio), narratives (McNeill), H5P use in the classroom (Johnson), and curriculum design (Barnes, Jackson, McPhee, Tan).
Development and evaluation of Tapestry and the four modules will be iterative. Figure 1 (tapestrytool.com/timeline) illustrates the overall arc of development and evaluation across the 3-year project. In general, this project will focus on pilot testing Tapestry and the modules. As depicted in Figure 1, the evaluation of both Tapestry and the modules will be ongoing and inform their iterative development.
Throughout the project, a blog will be maintained (tapestry-tool.com) to document the development and evaluation of Tapestry and the modules.
Outlined below are the timeline and milestones for the project (for more detail see tapestrytool.com/timeline). Detailed milestones are provided for Year 1; general goals are provided for Years 2-3.
In general, there will be three sorts of milestones: (1) iterative development and evaluation of Tapestry and the modules; (2) education and training of users (3) sustainment of Tapestry beyond the funding period.
PREPARATION, JANUARY-MARCH 2018
Milestone 1. Recruitment of additional advisory board members for module development (see also Milestone 16; tapestry-tool.com/timeline).
Milestones 2-6. Hiring of 10 student employees (see Budget) for work on all three sorts of milestones.
Milestones 7 and 8. Submission of ethics and work-learn applications (ongoing; see also Milestones 9, 19, 25, 31, 35; tapestry-tool.com/timeline). During this period, the design of the Tapestry user interface, and the storyboarding of two modules (i.e., Intercultural Understanding, Invisible Disabilities), will also occur.
YEAR 1, APRIL-AUGUST 2018
Milestone 10. Development of the beta version of Tapestry will involve two interrelated iterative cycles: (1) development of the user interface (the ‘frontend’); and (2) development of server-side functionality (the ‘backend’). The frontend will have an iterative development cycle that will include: (i) user-interface design; (ii) feedback from team on user-interface design; (iii) coding of user-interface; and (iv) usability testing. The backend will also have an iterative development cycle: (i) coding of backend functionality; (ii) integration with frontend; (iii) testing interoperability of the frontend and backend; (iv) feedback from team on Tapestry functionality; and (v) usability testing. To ensure the sustainment of Tapestry beyond the funding period, the computer code will be clean, reusable, and well documented.
Milestone 11. Development of the Intercultural Understanding and Invisible Disabilities modules will be iterative and based on: (i) feedback from team; (ii) results of deployment within Tapestry; and (iii) feedback from users.
Milestone 12. Development of the training videos for Tapestry will be iterative and based on: (i) storyboarding; (ii) feedback from team on storyboards; (iii) video and/or animation production; (iv) feedback from team on the videos and/or animations; and (v) usability testing of the videos alongside Tapestry.
Milestone 13. We will purchase server space for the hosting of Tapestry and other content from UBC IT.
Milestone 14. Important to the sustainment of Tapestry is ongoing (until August 2020) outreach to faculty, staff, and students. We anticipate our modules to be useable within many UBC courses (faculty-taught courses, staff-taught courses or seminars, and student-directed seminars) and first-year experiences (e.g., Jumpstart, Coordinated Arts Program, Vantage One). Although we already have test sites for Tapestry and the modules, it will be important to expand testing to additional test sites, and to support adoption of Tapestry by the UBC community.
Milestone 15. We will engage in outreach to H5P coders to recruit potential contributors to the Tapestry code base. This will also be important for the integration of Tapestry within the H5P distribution.
YEAR 1, SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2018:
Milestone 17. We will hire one additional student employee to aid with module development.
Milestone 18. In 2018W, we will evaluate Tapestry, with the Intercultural Understanding module at test sites 1-2, and with the Invisible Disabilities modules at test sites 3-4.
YEARS 1 & 2, JANUARY-AUGUST 2019
Milestone 20. Develop Gender & Sexuality and Indigenous Communities modules.
Milestone 21. Redevelop Tapestry based on 2018W evaluations, and integrate an authoring tool to enable instructors to create custom modules.
Milestone 22. Redevelop Intercultural Understanding and Invisible Disabilities modules based on 2018W evaluations.
Milestone 23. Redevelop Tapestry user-training videos based on 2018W evaluations.
Milestone 24. Disseminate the results of the use of Tapestry, and the modules, at the H5P conference and at SoTL conferences (ongoing).
YEAR 2, SEPTEMBER 2019-MARCH 2020
In 2019W, we will evaluate the: (1) redeveloped versions of the Intercultural Understanding and Invisible Disabilities modules (test-sites 1-4, 6, 8); (2) Tapestry authoring tool (test-sites 5, 7, 9, 11-13); (3) Indigenous Communities module (test-sites 6, 8, 10); and (4) Gender & Sexuality module (test-sites 6, 8). We will also release beta versions of Tapestry (integrated into H5P) and the user-training videos.
YEARS 2 & 3, JANUARY-AUGUST 2020
Based on the 2019W evaluations, we will: (1) redevelop the four modules; (2) redevelop Tapestry; and (3) redevelop the Tapestry user-training videos.
YEAR 3, SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2020
In 2020W1, we will evaluate Tapestry (with or without the use of our modules), at all test sites. We will also release first versions of Tapestry (integrated into H5P) and the user-training videos.
YEAR 3, JANUARY-MARCH 2021
Based on the 2020W1 evaluations, we will: (1) redevelop the four modules; (2) redevelop Tapestry; and (3) redevelop the Tapestry user-training videos. We will also release the modules as open-educational modules, integrate the next release of Tapestry into H5P, and publish the user-training videos as open resources.
Project Outputs, Products or Deliverables
From our perspective, H5P is currently missing six pieces of functionality that would dramatically improve its utility in learning environments: (1) extension of a module via the inclusion of additional resources (e.g., links to time points in other videos or H5P-based interactives); (2) student commentary on interactive content; (3) embedding of social media content into a module, and vice versa; (4) discussions related to a specific location in a module; and (5) the ability to create branching interactivity. The latter piece is particularly important, since branching interactive narratives give users more control over their learning environment–a sense of control is associated with greater engagement (Lewin, 1952), better learning (Cordova & Lepper, 1996), and increased effort and resiliency (Patall et al., 2008). Taken together, these H5P improvements would make online course-content more extensible and supportive of modern learning environments. Such an extensible architecture would encourage students to be producers (rather than consumers) of course content, which is associated with better learning outcomes (Chowrira & Barnes, 2017).
To illustrate Tapestry functionality, several use-case scenarios can be viewed at tapestrytool.com/scenarios. One scenario might be a ‘Sociology of Family’ course where the instructor, Sylvia, uses Tapestry to author a custom module that she embeds in her course WordPress site. Sylvia assigns the students to extend or remix her module. Some of the students build branches off the module, others remix Sylvia’s content. They submit drafts and the teaching assistant (TA) provides feedback. The students then develop their final versions for integration with Sylvia’s module. Sylvia and the TA review the submissions before making them visible to the class. The new branches and remixes are approved and the new version of the module (now a student-faculty co-creation) goes live. At the end of the course, Sylvia reviews the student’s contributions and retains some of them for the next section of her course–and the student-faculty co-creation continues.
UBC is at the forefront of recognising the value of fostering diverse and inclusive environments for students, faculty and staff. As such, we aim to produce interactive, remixable, and extensible online educational modules that explore multiple aspects of living in a diverse world. These modules will also serve as a testing ground for Tapestry, and can be used in multiple contexts at UBC (e.g., undergraduate courses, faculty and staff education) or remixed to suit unique external contexts (e.g., adapting the Gender and Sexuality module for children). Moreover, because of their integration with Tapestry, they will be extensible and thus relatively future-proof.
SHORT-TERM AND SUSTAINABLE BENEFITS TO STUDENTS
Students who use Tapestry will be able to engage in the co-creation of course content with their instructors and peers. Students who have the opportunity to interact with, remix or extend the modules for living in a diverse world will benefit from the content of those modules; and their remixes and extensions will benefit the UBC community as a whole. Moreover, it is anticipated that student involvement in the remixing and extension of the modules via Tapestry will lead to better learning outcomes since student production of educational content is associated with better learning outcomes (Chowrira & Barnes, 2017), and a sense of control is associated with greater engagement (Lewin, 1952), better learning (Cordova & Lepper, 1996), and increased effort and resilience (Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008). It is anticipated that these benefits will be sustained and further improved as the modules are remixed, extended and reused within particular courses (e.g., see tapestry-tool.com/scenarios).
The sustained benefits to students will include the emergence of new modes of teaching and learning, and the ability for students to benefit from their use of Tapestry by being able to link their contributions to particular modules to their ePortfolios.
SHORT-TERM AND SUSTAINABLE BENEFITS TO INSTRUCTORS
Instructors who use Tapestry in their courses will be able to allow for more engaging modes of teaching, such as constructivist approaches, problem-based learning, and faculty-student co-creation of course content. In addition, any student-faculty co-created content from one section of a course can be carried forward into the next section of the same course. Moreover, instructors who use the modules for living in a diverse world within their courses should improve learning outcomes related to the topics covered by those modules. Instructors will also benefit from the content of the modules by raising their awareness of issues related to living in a diverse world.
ANTICIPATED IMPACTS OF PROJECT
This project is anticipated to have five major impacts, specifically, it will: (1) lead to more engaged modes of teaching and learning, in both online and face-to-face courses; (2) lead to enhanced learning; (3) transform how knowledge is disseminated in educational institutions; (4) enable the creation of interdisciplinary courses (e.g., see tapestry-tool.com/scenarios); (5) enable synergistic contributions to a module from concurrent courses spanning multiple disciplines; (6) empower faculty, students and staff with new knowledge in order to contribute to fostering inclusion and diversity in the UBC community; (7) promote the use of H5P at UBC and extend its functionality via the incorporation of Tapestry; and (8) place UBC at the forefront of a new form of open educational content production.
Evaluation will be responsive and iterative and will involve the evaluation of several key indicators: (1) the usability and functionality of Tapestry; (2) the usability and functionality of each of the modules for living in a diverse world within Tapestry; and (3) the learning outcomes associated with the use of Tapestry–either with our modules or with instructor-created modules.
In terms of the usability and functionality of Tapestry and each of our four modules, as depicted in Figure 1 (tapestry-tool.com/timeline), evaluation will be ongoing and feed into the iterative development cycle of Tapestry. Usability testing will involve user testing with mockups of the Tapestry user interface early in development. Later in development, Tapestry and module usability and functionality will be repeatedly assessed with surveys of students who have used Tapestry (with or without the modules) in their courses, as well as focus groups with instructors, TAs, and students.
The learning outcomes associated with the use of Tapestry and/or each of the four modules will be assessed using: (1) between-participants experiments, in which Tapestry (with or without one of the modules) is used in half of the sections of a multi-section course taught by the same faculty member, but not in the other half (i.e., test-sites 1, 2, 11-13); or (2) within-participants studies, in which Tapestry (with or without one of the modules) is used for some students within a single section of a course (e.g., PSYC101,102-99A/99C). Key measures will include: (1) performance on assessments related to the use of interactive extensible and branchable content within Tapestry vs. the delivery of comparable content online without Tapestry; (2) participant’s sense of control and ownership over the educational content when it is presented within Tapestry vs. online without Tapestry; and (3) the results of focus groups with students, TAs, and faculty who used Tapestry in their course.
The impact of the use of each of our four modules for social psychology and mental wellbeing will be assessed by investigating the extent to which learning about diversity affects learners’ appreciation for, and acceptance of, diverse social groups and boosts perceived confidence in interacting with people from diverse social groups. Such effects can be measured using self-report measures of confidence with intergroup contact, and perceived importance of diversity and differences. In addition to affecting intergroup relations (Lolliot et al., 2013), the beneficial effects of diverse social connections have been shown to extend to: coping with stress (Cohen & Willis, 1985), health outcomes (Uchino, 2009), adjustment to university (Buote et al., 2007), and an increased sense of belonging–especially among minority students (Shook & Clay, 2012). Accordingly, a second goal will be to test if the social psychological and wellbeing outcomes are associated with better learning (see above).
Beyond UBC, the success of Tapestry will be measured both by downloads of Tapestry and the integration of Tapestry into the standard H5P distribution. In terms of the four modules, their broader success will be measured by tracking remixes and views of the modules online.