Last modified 2007-09-19T11:26:59+01:00

Phase 2 Content Specification

This area contains work on planning Phoebe's "wise counsel, thoughtful replies and snappy answers" ( Godchecker website) in Phase 2.

Revision history

(Phase 2 development only)

Date Notes
01/06/07 Phase 2 sections created
23/07/07 Schedule revised
20/08/07 New components & properties added as a result of mapping existing Phoebe components to information in Table 1 of the MoD4L report; link to specification document dropped See MapPage

1. Structure of a Learning Design: Components and Properties

In Phase 1, the user could enter any number of discrete pieces of information about a component on each page of the notepad. For example, on the "Timetabling" page users were advised to specify, for F2F sessions, the term, week, date, start time and/or length of the session.

We are now going to refer (at least, internally to the project) to each of these pieces of information as a property of the relevant component, and in Phase 2 will provide a separate text entry box/field for each property, which users can use, hide or add to as they choose. So, for example, in relation to the timetabling component for F2F sessions they would now see 5 separate text boxes:

  Term: [  ]
  Week: [  ]
  Date: [  ]
  Start time: [  ]
  Length: [  ]

This should make it easier when exporting Phoebe learning designs into other formats (e.g. Word tables) (if and when such functionality is implemented).

The subdivision of components into properties/text boxes is summarised in the tables below. 20/08/07 Note: The information is specified in more detail in a Word document which was created on 07/06/07 and originally uploaded to this wiki. However, subsequent changes to this page have yet to be replicated in the document, and so the link to that document has been removed.

# = Property can be duplicated by the user if more than one are required. { } = Cluster of related properties

1.1 Contextual Information

The what, who, when and where of this learning session

Component Properties
Title and author Title, Author(s), Brief description, Delivery mode 20/08/07: new component, Date created/modified 20/08/07: new component
Course Qualification/level 20/08/07: new component, Course/programme title, Year group, Module, No. of unit/session within module
Timetabling a) F2F: Term, Week, Date, Start time, Length of session
b) Online: Term, Week, Release date, Closing date, Expected study time
Staff Principal teacher(s), { Name#, Role#, Notes# }
Location Name or room number of the location, Notes
Health and Safety Health and safety issues

1.2 Curriculum Aspects

What is the purpose of this learning session?

Component Properties
Aims and objectives Aim#, Objective#
Learning outcomesLearning outcome#
Prerequisite skills/knowledgePrerequisites
Teaching resources { Resource#, Notes on resource# }
Curriculum documentationSource of curriculum

1.3 Assessment

How are you going to determine whether students have achieved the intended learning outcomes?

Component Properties
Assessment overview Type of assessment, Assessment criterion#, Other notes
Assessment activity { Title#, Nature of activity#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?, Submit individually / collectively?, Resources needed#, Submission deadline#, Marker(s)#, Method of feedback# }

1.4 The Students

How many? What are their particular characteristics?

Component Properties
Numbers Number of students
Typical misconceptions Typical misconceptions
Learning styles Learning styles
Differentiation Differentiation
Accessibility Accessibility
Skill sets Independent learning skills, Linguistic skills, Social skills, ICT skills
Transferable experience Transferable experience

1.5 Learning Activity Sequence

What are the students going to do?

Component Properties
Teaching approach Teaching approach 20/08/07: new component
Preparation by students { Title#, Nature of activity#, Associated learning outcome#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?#, Resources needed# }
Main sequence { Title#, Nature of activity#, Associated learning outcome#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?#, Teacher’s role, Support and feedback, Resources needed# }
Extension and reinforcement activities { Title#, Nature of activity#, Associated learning outcome#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?#, Teacher’s role, Support and feedback, Resources needed# }
Follow-up activities { Title#, Nature of activity#, Associated learning outcome#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?#, Resources needed# }

1.6 Contingency Plan

What will you do if things don’t go as expected?

Component Properties
Contingency Plan Contingency Plan
Alternative activities { Title#, Associated activity in main sequence#, Nature of activity#, Associated learning outcome#, Length#, Individual / pair / group work?#, Teacher’s role#, Support and feedback#, Resources needed# }

1.7 Reflections on the Learning Session

What went well? How did the students react? What do you want to change?

Component Properties
Personal impressions Personal impressions
Outcome for students Outcome for students
Quality of the learning design Quality of the learning design

2. Organisation of Content

In Phase 2 we will make a clearer division between those parts of Phoebe that support the actual activity of planning, and those that serve primarily as sources of information and reference. (There will, however, still be links between pages in these two divisions, where appropriate.)

2.1 "Planning" help

This is help for creating a learning design: i.e. the individual pages that in Phase 1 come under the headings "Context," "Curriculum," "Students," the different categories of learning activities (preparation, main etc.), "Contingency plan" and "Reflection."

Most tools would probably offer "field-level" help for each property/text box, which tends to fragment things and is extremely tedious to write. It is also impossible to give any kind of overview of the component as a whole or advice on the relationships among its properties. So, we will continue to provide help at the component level, with the individual properties described on the same page. However, we must ensure that each property is covered on the help page, and is made visually salient (e.g. through use of bullets and bold text).

Impact on functionality: (this info should also be included in the functional spec)

  • We will need to provide users with the means to edit the "planning" help if they wish to provide guidance on user-created properties/text boxes.

2.2 Reference materials

This material is currently in the "what tools can I use for...?", "what can I do with...?", "teaching approach" and "Links" sections.

  • The e-learning advantage: how technology can enhance different forms of learning activity
    • What technology can I use for a particular activity?
    • What can I do with a particular tool?
  • Your teaching approach: different ways to structure a learning session and to interact with students. (May want to have template LDs that users can open and populate.)
  • Learning activities and sequences: what are they?
  • Glossary of terms
  • Resources: e-learning repositories and resource sites that users can search for themselves (link permanently to oxphoebe account?)
  • Phoebe user documentation
  • Acknowledgements and references

The overwhelming majority of links to the examples and learning designs will lie in these sections.

Impact on functionality: (this info should also be included in the functional spec)

3. Relationships and links between the 2 major content categories

"Planning" help can link directly to reference materials, but probably not the other way round. So if users go from a link on a "planning" help page to a page in the "reference" help, they will need to use a Back button to return to the screen of "planning" help.

In Phase 1 "planning" help, the user could jump directly from one component to another where there was a logical relationship between them: e.g. the link from "Context>Location" to "Curriculum>Resources." The purpose of such links was to allow users to make notes across "sections" of the plan, e.g. to remind themselves of something that needed to be taken into consideration in another part of the plan. These links will remain in Phase 2, despite the greater ease of moving between components of the plan.

Impact on functionality: (this info should also be included in the functional spec)

  • May need to code a "Back" button in the content window in order to return to the previous page.

4. Structure and Layout of Content Pages

We are prescribing a minimal specification for the structure of the content pages as, with the exception of the two categories detailed in 4.5 and 4.6, there is little uniformity among them. Nevertheless, here are a few guidelines:

4.1 Headings

  • Page headings: Level 2; wording = Section Name: Component Name; Title case
  • Sub-headings within the page: Level 3; Sentence case
  • Links to other content pages will be kept to a minimum.
  • Links to other components within the section (i.e. at the foot of Phase 1 pages) will be removed.
  • Links to external sites will be coded as in Phase 1, viz.:
    • "Normal" link (i.e.  http://...) where the user may want to navigate freely around the site being visited. This will result in the user navigating away from Phoebe, so alert them to this effect with the following message: (Note: clicking [this link|any of these links] will take you away from this page.)
    • "Restricted" link to a secondary window (i.e. pop:http://...) where the user is to be restricted to a single page on the site being visited and is to be prevented from navigating further. The URL will open in a secondary ("pop-up") window that can, nevertheless, be maximised. Use when linking to Word and PDF files on Websites. See
  • Within the text, links to external sites are to be identified by phrases of text, not the URL itself. The "hotspot" phrase should include "keywords" about the link so that, if the link is broken, the reader can use these keywords as well as the context of the link to locate it using a search engine.
  • A mechanism is needed for reporting broken links.

4.3 Page outlines (tables of contents)

The following individual pages and categories of page will have page outlines on the LHS for headings at level 3 and below, with the title "On this page:":

  • Tool information ("TechnologiesXxxx")
  • Individual teaching approaches ("ModelsXxxx")
  • "About Teaching Approaches"
  • "What technology can I use for...?"
  • "What can I do with...?" any others as appropriate: e.g. where there are more than 3 subsections, and they are not all visible in the help window.

The coding for page outlines in this format is:

[[PageOutline(3-4,On this page,"inline")]]

4.4 Text features

  • Quotation marks: Use double "straight" (not “curly”) quotes
  • Spelling: UK spelling, incl. -ise not -ize
  • Emphasis: Use bold to indicate
    • Activity categories on "Technology" pages
    • X-refs to relevant/related components (i.e. where Phase 1 had links to other pages)
    • Property names on help pages where the help relates directly to the property (i.e. as a means to draw the user's attention to the information about that property.)
  • Quotations/tips from practitioners: Italicise, enclose in quotes with attribution in parentheses on same line. Place inside a single-cell table.

4.5 Tool information

Page names beginning "Technologies"

  • What are they?
  • How can I use them with my students?
  • Where can I get one?

The exact wording of the above headings can vary according to the peculiarities of individual tool types. Note that the heading "Links to your activity sequence," used in Phase 1, has been removed.

Since these pages can be linked to from the "What technology can I use for...?" page, the content must refer by name to the activities which have a mapping to the tool page. To help users locate the information about the specific activity of interest, the activity name must appear in boldface.

4.6 Teaching approaches

Page names beginning "Models" - This structure is to be revisited when more models are implemented

  • Overview
  • The teacher’s role
  • Generic learning design
  • General overview
    • Guidelines for planning
    • Sequence of activities
    • Outline sequence
  • Examples and case studies
  • Further information

5. Schedule for Development of Phase 2 Content

(Revised 20/06/07, 23/07/07)

Completed work

(Will need final checks as per notes.)

No. Task Est. days Period
1. Split Contents page into planning and reference as interim measure; rearrange sections in contents page to reflect rationalisation and reordering of components
20/06/07 Done: Created temporary Contents page PhoebePh2Contents
0.5 18/6-22/6 (for 1-4)
2. Restructure planning sections (i): Contextual Info, Curriculum, Assessment, Students, Contingency plan, Reflections
25/06/07 Done: but awaiting check against new functionality
3. Restructure planning sections (ii): Learning activities
24/06/07 Done: but awaiting check against new functionality
4. Restructure shorter reference sections: Learning activities & sequences, Links, Glossary etc.
24/06/07 Done: Restructured only (have created Task 15 for developing content)
5. Tools section (i): Research info from links in account and emails in "Phoebe Tools" folder. Insert notes into relevant pages
15/08/07: Have caught up with existing materials, but as new resources are continually discovered the task is an ongoing one.
2 24/7-27/7
6. Tools section (ii): Revise sections already written (check links, add screenshots) 20/08/07: Have revised as per the columns in the tracking sheet. However, illustrations remain to be done. 4 30/7-3/8

Work in progress and to do

Updated 19/09/07

No. Task Est. days Period Who
7. Tools section (iii): Write new sections 8 19/9-30/10 MM
8. Activities->tools page: Re-do the mapping tables 1 19/9-5/10 MM (+LM review
9. Tools section (iv): Ensure all activities that are mapped to each activity are mentioned on each page (dependent on 8.) 1 i) 8/10-31/10 MM
10. Teaching approaches & techniques (i): Revise existing pages (check links, add graphics where appropriate)
(ii): Write new pages
What it takes! 19/9-31/10 LM
12. Examples (i): Research examples from links in account, email msgs etc. 5 15/10-24/10
13. Examples (ii): Research examples from other D4L projects 5 25/10-7/11
14. Examples (iii): Link to examples in tools and teaching approaches pages 4 8/11-16/11
15. General navigation and cross-referencing 3 17/11-23/11
16. Add illustrations ?? ??-??

Pages from Phase 1 Content Development

Links to pages in which we worked on Phoebe's content in Phase 1. These are now historical documents, which we are retaining for reference.