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This content was published: May 10, 2016. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Virtual Backpack now available with CC-By License

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Virtual Backpack

The Start Guide for Online Learning
is now available with a CC-BY license!

We in Distance Education have been thrilled to see that the Start Guide for Online Learning (Virtual Backpack) has shown to help improve student success and completion rates for first-time online students at Portland Community College. We’ve been so thrilled that we’ve even presented about the success of it at ELearning 2016, the 2016 Student Success & Retention Conference, and are going to present a webinar on May 17th about how the tool was developed, what content was used, and how we’ve incorporated the Start Guide in to a larger online student experience. We’ve had some great reception from other schools as well, which is why we’re pleased to announce that we are sharing the content for the Start Guide with a CC-By license.

Whoa! What does that mean?

It means you can download this common cartridge, import it in to your LMS, and use and adapt what we’ve put together for your own school. There are some things to note though. The cartridge includes the content, quizzes, and organization, but it does not come with access to the Smarter Measure readiness assessment. You’ll have to provide that on your own. We like the tool though, and so do students, so it’s worth looking at. But even without the readiness assessment, the content can provide a great starting place for others to explore having a mandatory pre-registration assessment (or orientation, if you prefer) without having to completely re-invent the wheel.

When we originally started developing our content, we borrowed from (and credited) Colorado Community Colleges Online’s academic integrity tutorial. We have since heavily adapted it, but in the spirit of the CC-By license, we wanted to share our content as well. Carey Larson and Jason Pinkal have both put extensive work in to the content, but they have also created a comprehensive project summary, which helps explain some of the design decisions (constraints). So here it is.

A sample listing of content from the course cartridge.What is included?

  • All of our content, lovingly edited multiple times in an attempt to make it very clear and usable
  • 4 quizzes (getting started, online learning basics, student support, and academic integrity)
  • Some nifty graphics, but you should really create your own branding

What isn’t included?

  • Access to the SmarterMeasure readiness assessment
  • The other integration pieces, but we’d be happy to share what we’ve learned

Download the cartridge

We’ve exported a copy of the course in what we believe is a common cartridge format. Please let us know if you encounter any errors importing the cartridge.

pcc_backpack_ccby_1.0common cartridge icon

About Andy Freed

I'm the Director of Learning Technology & Innovation (LTI!), where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services teams. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several positions, from tech... more »

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There is one comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Ian Coronado 4 years ago

You guys rock! Thanks for sharing this with the world.

Add to the discussion

PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.