[Linux-aus] Grant Application: Promotion of FOSS in undergraduate Computer Science, Information Technology and Software Engineering degrees at the University of Newcastle

James Polley jamezpolley at gmail.com
Tue Apr 4 14:14:40 AEST 2017

To follow up on this, I'm tentatively in favor.

As Russell and others have pointed out, it would be financially unviable to
use this exact model for every course for every university in the country.
Even as a one-off grant, this is consuming one-fifth of the grant pool for
the year.

If the grant were solely aimed at producing material for Uni of Newcastle
students my support would be marginal at best - it would fall into the
"doesn't seem great, but if no-one else has better ideas for the money I
guess it's okay" category. I understand that the intent is for as much of
the material as possible to be made public; but without firm details on how
much content that is, I feel that I have to assume it's going to be a
fairly small amount of material of limited use (I'd love to be proven wrong
:) Even so, getting a small amount of material to a limited audience is
better than no material to no audience, which is what happens when we don't
give out grants.

What makes me more inclined to be in favour of this grant is the follow-up
study. I would hope that the results of that study either show us that (A)
this wasn't effective, let's not do it again, or (B) this was effective,
let's see if we can secure more funding to do more of this; either way,
we'll have learned something.

If it's possible, I'd be in favor of making the funding conditional on
obtaining approval to have the review results published; but if timing
constraints make that impossible I'd settle for getting as much of an
indication as possible about whether the results can be published.

On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 2:19 PM, Mark Wallis <mark.wallis at newcastle.edu.au>

> Hi James
> Thanks for your feedback !
> > On 3 Apr 2017, at 2:07 pm, James Polley <jamezpolley at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > * Are the current course materials accessible to me (as a non-UoN
> student) online? I ask this for two reasons; one is that if they are, I’d
> like to take a look at them to get more of an idea of what materials would
> be produced by this grant. But secondly, I ask because I’ve often found
> that publicly accessible course materials and procedures from universities,
> once they get indexed by search engines, become helpful to a much wider
> range of people than the students they’re aimed at. I’m wondering if the
> new materials produced here would be publicly readable even if they can’t
> be copied; and I’m using the accessibility of the current materials as a
> proxy for that question.
> I’m afraid not. UoN does not currently promote a policy of making their
> course material publicly available. As for the content I propose to release
> under a CC license, I intend to host that content outside of the standard
> UoN course tools and then link students to it. For example, we may upload
> the videos we record to YouTube, and then just link students to that
> content. That way - we ensure the material is publicly available.
> > * Are you aware of any similar research that has already been done along
> the lines of your proposed Project Review/Success survey? I’m taking it for
> granted that you the method you have proposed (focus group, review
> material, short questionnaire) is sound; I’m specifically wondering if
> you’re aware of anyone who has already attempted something similar to this
> process and has obtained similar data.
> We have based this approach on our existing course review processes.
> Courses taught at UoN always go through student review process at the end
> of the semester where we ask the students to complete a short questionnaire
> that gives them the opportunity to provide us feedback on how we can
> improve the course content. I intend to essentially re-use that process to
> have students who have previously completed the courses provide feedback on
> how much better they thought the course would be if the updated/new content
> existed. That’s the plan anyway - I’ll admit that this may alter as the
> grant progresses as we may need to go through the UoN Ethics committee if
> we wish to collect such data and publish it.
> Regards,
> Mark.
> ===============================
> Dr. Mark Wallis (Associate Lecturer)
> School of Electrical Engineering and Computing
> Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment
> The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, 2308, NSW
> Webpage:
> https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/mark-wallis
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