Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How to Create On-line University Courses in Electronic Archiving: Part 15 - Redesign for 2008

Last year I developed and ran a short course at ANU on Electronic Document Management, reporting as I went along. The course went reasonably well and is being offered again in 2008, along with modules by others on Material Science , Innovation Management and Data Mining. Also I am to produce a module on Information Architecture and suggested one on Green ICT. But the first priority is to revise the e-document management course from last year, applying what I have learning about blended learning in the interim. Also I would like to change the emphasis from that of using electronic records to get work done more efficiently, rather than the emphasis of records managers for keeping records. There is no value in keeping records, electronic or otherwise, there is only value in what those records can be used for.

Reducing the amount of content

The 2007 e-document module, which is available via my Moodle system, was based on the material I developed for the ANU course "IT in e-Commerce" (COMP3410/COMP6341). My part of the course was "Metadata and Electronic Document Management for Electronic Commerce". As the module developed I also included material from "Writing for the web" (a short course I had run for local government) and "Extreme web design" (used in ANU course "Networked Information Systems" COMP2410/6340).

There was far too much material for a 12 hour module. The original intention was for the web design and web writing material to be in a separate short module, but that one did not end up running in 2007, thus the temptation to pack all the material into the module which did run. So now what I can do is remove some of what was in the e-document course and put it back in the web course where it can be given the depth it deserves.

No accreditation

The intention was also to apply for accreditation of the course from the ANU. However, the advice was that the 12 hour course was too short to practically fit with the ANU's longer courses. The course would need to be expanded to make it at least a 3 credit point course (half the lenght of the usual one semester courses). This would make the unit far too large for 12 contact hours. The obvious solution would be to add work for the students to do in their own time away from the university, turning this into a blended course. But that would change the character of the course and is something which will have to wait for later.

New content

The course was designed for public servants and based on my experience when in the Australian Public Service. In particular it drew on the report "Improving Electronic Document Management: Guidelines for Australian Government Agencies" which was prepared by a committee I chaired. The description of the module mentions the National Archives of Australia's "Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems" (DIRKS) strategy. However, this was only mentioned briefly in the module.

DIRKS Overview

NAA provide a very detailed manual for their eight step DIRKS strategy, based on the international standard ISO 15489 "Information and documentation - Records management". (Part 1 is the actual standard and Part 2 is the guide)
One Step Process

In addition, I mentioned, but did not cover in detail "Note for file: A report on recordkeeping in the Australian Public Service", Management Advisory Committee , 31 August 2007. The MAC report suggests a simplified version of DIRKS and states that National Archives developed a quicker and more practical one-step process that complies with ISO 15489. However, the document contains no reference to where this one step process is documented and the link to an Australian Bureau of Statistics case study ‘Keep the Knowledge’ is incorrect.
A simplified one step process would be useful for this short course, as the intention is not to turn out trained records managers, but to provide public servants with as much as they need to know in relation to electronic records. However, without a document which actually details what the one step process is I will have to make up my own.

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