March 22, 2021

Architecture of Learning Initiative

Architecture of Learning Initiative (AOLI)

The Architecture of Learning Initiative (AOLI) is an OERCommons group organized by the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning at George Mason University that publishes peer-reviewed educational resources.  Like architecture, learning represents a process and a product. AOLI builds knowledge of effective teaching as a repository of learning materials and critical reflection.

Benefits of Submission to AOLI

  • Digital Dissemination. AOLI helps instructors to document the educational resources they routinely develop for their courses, making pedagogical labor visible and building the foundations for conference presentations and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) projects.
  • Intellectual property. AOLI recognizes learning materials as intellectual property, and allows instructors to choose how they share their educational resources by providing the opportunity to select licenses that grant various levels of permission for use by others.
  • Peer Review. While faculty can publish their educational resources through their own accounts on OERCommons, AOLI provides the opportunity for peer review by educational professionals and faculty.
  • Impact. As a public digital library of open educational resources, OERCommons provides metrics in the form of view counts and download figures that allow instructors to gauge the impact of their materials among other teaching professionals. OERCommons’ collection currently holds over 50,000 resources.

The AOLI Advisory board, made up of faculty and Stearns Center staff, will review your submission’s reflection alignment with learning outcomes and impact on professional development and your educational resource for transparency.  AOLI submissions are accepted on a rolling basis during the academic year (Sept-May).

To Submit:

  1. Create an OERCommons account.
  2. Complete the Educational Resource Reflection form.
  3. Submit your completed form and resource using Educational Reflection and Resource submission link.

AOLI: FAQs

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What are educational resources?

An educational resource is any material that instructors use to teach courses. They include organizational materials like syllabi and lesson plans, fundamental materials such as lecture notes and slide decks, and more advanced materials such as collaborative projects, research papers, posters, presentations and multi-media projects. Open Educational Resources are resources that are free for others to use, revise and share, but OERCommons give authors the ability to decide how (or if) others will use the resource.

What kinds of educational resources does AOLI accept?

AOLI accepts educational materials in following three major categories. Unsure which category your educational resource falls? Please contact AOLI staff.

  • Design: These materials focus on designing and planning of a course. They include syllabi, lesson plans and Blackboard modules.
  • Engage: These materials promote student engagement and/or are used to check student understanding in low-stakes assessments. They include discussions, labs, games, quizzes and some homework assignments.
  • Assess: These materials support higher-order thinking skills, such as creating, evaluating and analyzing or are used for high-stakes assessment. They include research papers, exams, tests, presentations, posters, case studies and collaborative projects.

How will AOLI submissions be evaluated?

In the peer review process for AOLI, submissions are not evaluated on their effectiveness as educational resources, but on the intentionality and reflective practice as demonstrated through the resource’s alignment with learning goals, transparency that explains the benefits to student learning and the impact on the instructor’s overall teaching practice. Peer review will also provide suggestions to help instructors meet these criteria.