Below are some of the terms used repeatedly on this blog which may not make any sense to some people. Many of them are acronyms from the Open University, while others are jargon specific to online learning or computer science.
Assessment strategy: The rules by which a module’s results will be calculated. This typically includes a description of the weights and combination of OCAS components, the degree to which substitution for OCAS components applies, and how the OCAS and OES are used to calculate the final module result. It also describes which final module results are available. (The standard way of combining OCAS and OES is typically just to take the lowest of the two as the final module result.)
CMA/iCMA: (interactive) computer marked assignment. These are typically quizzes with multiple choice or short form answers. iCMAs are taken online, though CMAs can be taken on a computer-readable form and posted into the OU for marking. CMA/iCMAs contribute a weighted amount to the module’s OCAS.
Course (Brit->American definition): An entire degree program, rather than just one module. MOOCs typically use the American convention of referring to a single module as a course.
EMA: End of module assessment. This is similar to a TMA, but is part of the module’s OES rather than its OCAS. It is not marked by the student’s tutor, but rather by other tutors, and feedback is only very general comments on the work submitted.
IDE: Integrated development environment. In programming, it’s a single application area for writing, editing, debugging, testing, and running code. IDEs often have a large amount of coding aides built in, such as automation and syntax and logic checking.
MOOC: Massively Open Online Course. Online educational course with potentially many participants. There’s no single definition for what constitutes a MOOC, how they should operate, or what they should look like.
OCAS: Overall continuous assessment score. The OCAS makes up a portion of the final module result score (along with the OES). This is the weighted total of all assessed work on the module, typically TMAs and CMAs/iCMAs. The weight of each component is typically found in the module’s assessment strategy.
OES: Overall examinable score. This is the weighted and combined total of all exams, EMAs, and other potential examinable components. Typically, it will simply be the module’s exam score or its EMA score, as they’re normally only one of either for the OES.
Substitution: The replacement of a component of the OCAS with a substitute score. The module’s assessment strategy will define which OCAS components are eligible for substitution. The replacement score is the average between its original score, and the original (un-substituted) weighted OCAS score.
TMA: Tutor-marked assignment. These are typically assignment papers with multiple questions, and the questions are typically divided into multiple sub-sections. TMAs contribute a weighted amount to a module’s OCAS. Tutors score the various portions of the assignment, and provide constructive feedback for progressing skills.
Tutor: Associate lecturer. Tutors are the students’ academic representatives on a module. They host tutorials, assist in learning, and mark TMAs.
Tutor group: A group of students with the same tutor on a module. Tutor groups are typically grouped by geographic region.