Frequently Asked Questions
eduCommons offers the following introductory answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how visitors to the site can make use of course materials, what technology we use to publish the eduCommons site, and 43 other common inquiries we receive. Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection.
This document provides the help for the Dixie State OpenCourseWare site in the form of a list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you have other questions about this site please email postmaster@localhost.
About Dixie State OCW
- What is Dixie State OpenCourseWare?
- Why is Dixie State doing this?
- How does Dixie State OCW differ from other types of Web-based education, including distance learning?
- What are the long-term goals of the Dixie State OCW initiative?
- Will Dixie State OCW always be free and openly available to anyone in the world?
Using Dixie State OCW Materials
- Do I need to register to use Dixie State OCW course materials?
- Where are the course materials?
- How do I find what courses are available?
- How can I use Dixie State OCW course materials?
- What are the prerequisites to use Dixie State OCW materials?
- Does Dixie State OCW offer discounts on textbooks or software applications utilized in the course materials?
- How do I get a copy of the course pack for a particular course?
- I have seen (or I am/represent) an individual, organization, or institution that offers to teach Dixie State courses or tutor students based on Dixie State materials. Does Dixie State approve or recognize such individuals or organizations?
- Can I/my organization state on our Web site or in our literature that we make use of Dixie State OCW course materials?
- Can I link to the Dixie State OCW Web site from my Web site?
- Why is there such variation in the breadth and depth of content presented on individual Dixie State OCW course Web sites?
- Why do some Dixie State OCW course sites lack solutions to assignments, quizzes, and exams?
- Why doesn't every Dixie State OCW course offer video lectures?
- Who owns the intellectual property published on the Dixie State OCW Web site?
- How does Dixie State define non-commercial use?
- How do I properly cite my reuse of Dixie State OCW materials?
- How can I contribute my own educational materials to the Dixie State OCW?
- What do I do if I believe a portion of Dixie State OCW material infringes my copyright?
Dixie State Faculty
- Are Dixie State faculty required to participate in Dixie State OCW?
- How do I contact a specific member of the Dixie State Faculty?
- Will inquiries to Dixie State OCW be answered?
- What are the technical requirements for viewing Dixie State OCW course materials?
- What is metadata and why is it important to Dixie State OCW?
- How do I change the font-size on the Dixie State OCW Web site?
- Will the Dixie State OCW Web site be compliant with W3C standards and accessibility requirements?
- Why does this PDF not open correctly in my copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader?
Privacy and Data Collection
- What information does Dixie State OCW collect from visitors to the Web site?
- Does Dixie State OCW share the information it receives?
- What technology is used to publish the Dixie State OCW Web site?
- Is Dixie State OCW an open source project?
- What is RSS?
- How can I support Dixie State OCW with a financial donation?
- How do I apply for admission to Dixie State as a student?
About Dixie State OCW
The idea behind Dixie State OCW is to make Dixie State course materials that are used in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world. Dixie State OCW will advance technology-enhanced education at Dixie State, and will serve as a model for university dissemination of knowledge in the Internet age. This venture continues the tradition at Dixie State, and in American higher education, of open dissemination of educational materials, philosophy, and modes of thought, and will help lead to fundamental changes in the way colleges and universities utilize the Web as a vehicle for education.
Because technology makes it possible for us to increase the reach of educational opportunity, we have a moral obligation to do so. Dixie State OCW supports Dixie State's mission to serve the public through learning, discovery, and engagement, and is true to Dixie State's guiding principle that academics come first. As Dixie State enters the 21st century, services like OpenCourseWare enable it to more fully accomplish its land grant mission. Dixie State OCW contributes to the "shared intellectual commons" in academia, which fosters collaboration across Dixie State and among other scholars across disciplines and around the world.
How does Dixie State OCW differ from other types of Web-based education, including distance learning?
Dixie State OCW differs from other Dixie State Web-based education offerings in that it is free and open, does not provide university credit, and grants no access to university faculty. Dixie State OCW is not a distance-learning initiative. Distance learning involves the active exchange of information between faculty and students, with the goal of obtaining some form of a credential. Increasingly, distance learning is also limited to those willing and able to pay for materials or course delivery. Dixie State OCW is not meant to replace degree-granting higher education or for-credit courses. Rather, the goal is to provide the content that supports an education.
Many individual faculty members at Dixie State and other universities already use the Web extensively to make standard course materials available to their students. Some colleges and universities now require a Web site for every class. But, to a large extent, these Web sites are designed for, and access is only provided to, the students enrolled at these institutions. Dixie State OCW is an unprecedented effort of a much broader magnitude, as the goal is to provide the course materials free and open to the world.
We expect Dixie State OCW to grow to encompass the course materials of all faculty who are willing to participate. Over time, the goal is for most of the courses offered at Dixie State to be represented in the collection. Another goal of Dixie State OCW is to catalyze the development of groups or communities around the course materials. Individuals participating in these informal groups will coach, mentor, and support each other in their learning, adding significant value to the materials themselves. Finally, we strongly desire to extend the reach and impact of the "opencourseware" concept.
We are committed to Dixie State OCW remaining a free and openly available publication of the course materials that support the dynamic classroom interactions of a Dixie State education. Even as we continue to grow and evolve, the materials will always remain free and open to all. Along with this commitment to remaining free and open, Dixie State OCW is also committed to the idea that Dixie State OCW is not a distance-learning, or a degree-granting, initiative, and that there will not be a registration process required for users to view course materials now or in the future. Dixie State OCW is working hard to publish all of the Dixie State faculty's course materials who wish to participate.
Using Dixie State OCW Materials
Because Dixie State OCW is not a distance-learning, or a degree-granting, initiative, there is no registration process required for users to view course materials. Dixie State OCW is a publication of the course materials that support the dynamic classroom interactions of an Dixie State education. Dixie State OCW is available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world.
To find what courses are available at this time, view the complete course list. Once you have accessed a particular course site, the left-hand navigation bar of each course homepage will detail what materials are available for that individual course.
You can, utilize the Search function that can be found in the right-hand corner of every page on the Dixie State OCW site. You can search for specific text, such as certain academic discipline area, across all courses or within just one course. Or to perform a detailed search, use our Advanced Search.
Or, to see what courses are available is to click on Courses in the top navigation bar on every page of the Dixie State OCW Web site. This will allow you to view the list of courses available at this time.
Dixie State OCW can be considered a large-scale, Web-based publication of the course materials that support an Dixie State education. Educators are encouraged to utilize the materials for curriculum development, students can augment their current learning by making use of the materials offered, and self-learners are encouraged to draw upon the Dixie State OCW for self-study or supplementary use. Course materials offered on the Dixie State OCW Web site may be used within the license associated with the content, course or overall Dixie State site as applicable.
Because Dixie State OCW is not a distance-learning, or a degree-granting, initiative, there is no registration process required for users to view course materials. There are also no prerequisites for users who utilize Dixie State OCW course materials in their own learning. However, each course site indicates the prerequisites and corequisites that are required of Dixie State students.
Does Dixie State OCW offer discounts on textbooks or software applications utilized in the course materials?
Dixie State OCW does not sell, offer vendor discounts for, or represent any vendor who may sell the software, books, or other materials that users of Dixie State OCW may require to understand the course materials offered on the Dixie State OCW Web site.
The course-pack materials that accompany most Dixie State courses often contain proprietary information and copyrighted materials that Dixie State Faculty only use in their classroom interactions with Dixie State students. These materials are not available, nor will they be in the future, to Dixie State OCW users.
I have seen (or I am/represent) an individual, organization, or institution that offers to teach Dixie State courses or tutor students based on Dixie State materials. Does Dixie State approve or recognize such individuals or organizations?
No, Dixie State has no relationship with, grants no special permission to, and does not approve, endorse, or certify any organizations, teachers, tutors, or other service providers who use educational materials available on the Dixie State OCW Web site in connection with their services. Except for students admitted to Dixie State, Dixie State does not authorize the granting of any kind of degree, certificate, or other recognition for participation in or completion of any course of study based on or using published Dixie State course materials.
Can I/my organization state on our Web site or in our literature that we make use of Dixie State OCW course materials?
To reference Dixie State OCW you must comply with the terms of the license associated with Dixie State OCW and/or the specific course materials. Typically you must you must give credit to Dixie State and the faculty author of the course materials anytime you use Dixie State OCW materials. For your convenience, each Dixie State OCW page includes a citation appropriate for the page at the bottom of the content. However, any reference to Dixie State (including the Dixie State name in any of its forms or Dixie State seals or logos) that deliberately or inadvertently claims, suggests, or in Dixie State's sole judgment gives the appearance or impression of a relationship with or endorsement by Dixie State, is prohibited.
[See also Intellectual Property]
Links to Dixie State OCW or to courses or pages within the Dixie State OCW Web site are permitted so long as the use of the materials associated with the link is permitted under the terms of the license associated with the course materials or particlar content. Typically course materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license 2.5, however individual course materials may have a separate license. Please check the bottom of the page to view the applicable license for any particular item. For your convenience, each Dixie State OCW page includes a citation appropriate for the page at the bottom of the content.
In addition to meeting the terms of the license, links to Dixie State OCW are permitted as long as the link is freely accessible (e.g., no restrictions or fee for access); and there is no claim, appearance, or implication of an affiliation with or endorsement by Dixie State. Dixie State OCW cannot guarantee the persistence of any specific link other than those to the Dixie State OCW homepage.
[See also Intellectual Property]
Why is there such variation in the breadth and depth of content presented on individual Dixie State OCW course Web sites?
Each Dixie State OCW course Web site is developed individually with the participating faculty and instructors. It includes as much of the Dixie State faculty member's course materials as is available in a digital format, or can be cost-effectively prepared; and is free of Intellectual Property and copyright restrictions. Dixie State faculty and instructors participate only voluntarily, and publish only as much content as they are comfortable having on a Web site that is freely accessible worldwide.
In some cases, solutions to homework assignments, quizzes, and exams are only discussed and presented in the classroom, and not made available in print or electronic format to the Dixie State students--or to the worldwide community of visitors to the Dixie State OCW Web site. In other cases, the instructors plan to re-use in their Dixie State classroom the assignments, quizzes, and exams, and so they do not wish to widely publish their solutions.
Although video lectures are useful for students, there are many reasons that Dixie State OCW does not include video lectures in every course. First is the issue of bandwidth. We are very much focused on making Dixie State's courses materials as accessible as possible to users all over the world, including the developing world. If we were to start depending on the video component as THE key element of every Dixie State OCW course, we would be excluding a large portion of the Dixie State OCW audience who are not using high-speed Internet connections. They would never be able to download the videos and we are very sensitive to that fact.
Another key concern about video is cost. The technology for compressing and storing video becomes more and more affordable by the day, but it is still not affordable, or feasible from a production standpoint, for us to be compressing 20 video lectures for all of our courses. Dixie State OCW does not have that kind of storage capacity, at this time.
A key Dixie State OCW audience is educators, and for them, we are hoping that by providing the syllabus, reading lists and lecture notes, we are offering a chance for them to jumpstart their own pedagogy and improve the way they teach their chosen discipline. While video lectures are very easy for people with fast Internet connections to watch, they do not really fulfill the mission of Dixie State OCW.
Prior to making any course materials publicly available, the Dixie State OCW team has reviewed all material extensively to determine the correct ownership of the material and obtain the appropriate licenses to make the material openly available on the Web. We will promptly remove any material that is determined to be infringing on the rights of others [See also What do I do if I believe a portion of Dixie State OCW material infringes my copyright?].
The intellectual property policies created for Dixie State OCW are clear and consistent with other policies for scholarly materials used in education. Faculty retain ownership of most materials prepared for Dixie State OCW. Dixie State retains ownership only when significant use has been made of the Institute's resources. If student course work is placed on the Dixie State OCW site, then copyright in the work remains with the student.
If you would like to use Dixie State OCW course materials, but you are unsure whether your intended use qualifies as non-commercial use, please contact us using the feedback page or email postmaster@localhost.
A commercial use would involve the assessment of a direct or indirect fee for use of the Dixie State OCW materials, or any derivation or modification of the Dixie State OCW material, or any other commercial exploitation of Dixie State OCW materials. All uses, reuse, and distribution of Dixie State OCW material, including works derived from Dixie State OCW material, must be attributed to Dixie State OCW and to the original authors where identified on the Dixie State OCW materials you distribute. If you would like to use Dixie State OCW course materials, but you are unsure whether your intended use qualifies as non-commercial use, please contact us using the feedback link at the top of the page.
To reuse or repost materials from Dixie State OCW, confirm that the license allows for the use you intend. If the license permits reuse, you must give proper attribution to the original Dixie State faculty author(s).
For your convenience, at the bottom of each page, we provide a citation in APA format, a copyright statement and a license for that page.
Or you may chose to cite the resource in the following manner: "This material was created by or adapted from material created by Dixie State faculty member, (Name), (Title), (Year). Copyright © (Year), (Faculty Member's Name)."
As an example, the citation for "Understanding Online Interaction" taught by Utah State University Professor David Wiley would read, "This material was created or adapted from material created by Utah State University faculty member David Wiley, Associate Professor. Copyright © 2004, David Wiley."
If you want to use the course materials on your Web site, and the materials are licensed using a Creative Commons license, you must also include a copy of the Creative Commons license, or clear and reasonable link to its URL (for example, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/), with every copy of the materials or the derivative work(s) you create from it.
The intent of Dixie State OCW is that our Web site should reflect the course materials for what is being taught at Dixie State. The reason for this policy is that the materials presented on the Dixie State OCW site are authored by members of the Dixie State Faculty, and thus, our faculty will take final responsibility for these materials. It would be difficult for Dixie State OCW to guarantee the accuracy and originality of materials we received from outside sources. However, we encourage other universities to create their own "opencourseware" in which materials from their courses would be posted online and openly shared with the world. Dixie State OCW is eager to link to other universities or institutions that have similar goals.
Dixie State OCW, prior to making any Dixie State OCW materials publicly available, has reviewed all material extensively to determine the correct ownership of the material and obtain the appropriate licenses to make the material available on Dixie State OCW. Dixie State OCW will promptly remove any material that is determined to be infringing on the rights of others. If you believe that a portion of Dixie State OCW material infringes on your copyright, please contact us using the feedback page or email postmaster@localhost.
To file the notification, you must be either the copyright owner of the work or an individual authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Your notification must include:
- Identification of the copyrighted work, or, in the case of multiple works at the same location, a representative list of such works at that site.
- Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity. You must include sufficient information, such as a specific URL or other specific identification, for us to locate the material.
- Information for us to be able to contact the claimant (e.g., email address, phone number).
- A statement that the claimant believes that the use of the material has not been authorized by the copyright owner or an authorized agent.
- A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and that the claimant is, or is authorized to act on behalf of, the copyright owner.
If you do not include an electronic signature with your claim, you may be asked to send or fax a follow-up copy with a signature.
Dixie State Faculty
Participation of Dixie State faculty in Dixie State OCW is completely voluntary.
Dixie State OCW is intended as a publication of Dixie State course materials on the Web, and not as an interactive experience with Dixie State faculty. It provides the content of, but is not a substitute for, an Dixie State education. The most fundamental cornerstone of the learning process at Dixie State is the interaction between faculty and students in the classroom, and among students themselves on campus. Dixie State OCW does not offer visitors to the Web site the opportunity for direct contact with Dixie State faculty, though individual portal faculty may choose to list their contact information. Inquiries related to specific course materials will be forwarded to the Dixie State faculty member associated with that course for their consideration. However, due to the tremendous volume of email inquiries received, it is unlikely he or she will answer all emails.
Yes inquiries will be ansered. Dixie State OCW encourages users to provide feedback on the site and the published course materials. The comments and constructive criticism of users will help the Dixie State OCW staff improve the site and published course materials as we continue to evolve.
You may translate course materials in Dixie State OCW if permitted by the license of the course materials you wish to translate. Dixie State asks that any Dixie State OCW materials translated into other languages from the original language must be accompanied by the proper attribution of the original materials and include the following disclaimer:
"These Dixie State OpenCourseWare course materials have been translated into [YOUR LANGUAGE] by [YOUR INSTITUTION] and Dixie State OpenCourseWare makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the materials, express or implied, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, or the absence of errors, whether or not discoverable. Dixie State OpenCourseWare bears no responsibility for any inaccuracies in translation. Any inaccuracies or other defects contained in this material, due to inaccuracies in language translation, are the sole responsibility of [YOUR INSTITUTION] and not Dixie State OpenCourseWare."[See Also How do I properly cite my reuse of Dixie State OCW materials]
The majority of Dixie State OCW course sites work in modern Web browsers on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. Although higher-speed connections are preferable, slower connections, such as modems, should allow users to view most materials on the sites (however, downloading or accessing materials may take somewhat longer).
Metadata is, literally, "data about data." Metadata can be better understood as information that describes other information. For example, this Web page of FAQs for Dixie State OCW has an author, a title, a date of creation, and a unique Internet address; this information constitutes the metadata about this page. Metadata enables sophisticated, powerful, and accurate searches across Dixie State OCW course materials.
The fonts and style of the Dixie State OCW Web site have been specifically selected to meet certain design and accessibility standards. The Dixie State OCW Team has tested the site and these standards across a wide variety of browsers and platform. However, some users may still find that their browser configurations continue to display the text too small. You can change the displayed font size using your browser's View menu. In Netscape 7, there is a "VIEW - Text-Zoom" selection (try 120%). In Netscape 4.x, there is a "VIEW - Increase Font" selection. In Internet Explorer, you can select "VIEW - Text-Size - Larger or Largest." We hope this helps you to more comfortably view the Dixie State OCW course materials.
All course materials published on the Dixie State OCW site are checked to see if they are valid XHTML and meet Section 508 and WAI-AA guidelines as part of the authoring process. We require all images to contain ALT attributes and all links to contain TITLE tags.
A small percentage of the PDF documents offered on the Dixie State OCW Web site may be compatible only with newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you would like to view such a file, we recommend downloading the latest version of the Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html.
Privacy and Data Collection
The information we learn from visitors helps us improve the Dixie State OCW site, and assists our foundation sponsors in evaluation of usage, access, and impact of Dixie State OCW on the worldwide educational community. Dixie State OCW collects the following information from visitors:
Information You Provide: We receive and store any information you enter on our Web site or give us in any other way. You provide most such information when you submit feedback on the site, contact us by email, or agree to participate in a visitor survey. This information may include your name and email address, your academic status, your institution, your geographic region, how you are using Dixie State OCW, and what you think of Dixie State OCW. In all cases, any information you provide is strictly optional and voluntary and you may choose to use the Dixie State OCW site without ever providing this information. If you voluntarily provide your email address or other contact information, we will not share personal information with anyone without first requesting your explicit permission to do so.
Automatic Information: We receive and store certain types of information whenever you interact with the Dixie State OCW Web site. Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Dixie State OCW site; computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system, and platform, and; content you viewed or searched for during your visit to Dixie State OCW. During some visits we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, and length of visits to certain pages. However, none of this information is personally identifiable or linked back to you individually.
Dixie State OCW uses "cookies" in a limited way. Cookies are alphanumeric identifiers that this Web site transfers to your computer's hard drive through your Web browser to enable our systems to recognize your browser when you make return trips to the site. This allows us to track your use of the site (anonymously), and to analyze patterns in site use, such as repeat visits, length of visits, and breadth of content used, for example). Cookies also allow us to conduct periodic, online, voluntary user surveys where we can gain more insight into what type of people are actually using the site, how they are using the site, and what the educational impact of the site is on these users.
Information about our site visitors is an important part of understanding and extending the impact of Dixie State OCW in the worldwide academic community. Individual personally identifiable information about users (name, email address, etc) will not be made available to third parties except as outlined below, nor will it ever be used for commercial purposes. We share user information only as described below.
Agents: We employ companies and individuals to perform functions on our behalf. Examples include compiling and categorizing user feedback, analyzing survey data or data about your use of the site, and providing customer support. These agents have access to user information needed to perform their functions, for example, but may not use this information for any other purposes. These agents are bound by non-disclosure agreements.
Dixie State OCW Sponsors: We work closely with philanthropic organizations that provide the funding that makes Dixie State OCW possible. These sponsors are interested in evaluating access, use, and impact of the Dixie State OCW Web site in order to determine if Dixie State OCW is achieving its objectives. We will provide information on a regular basis to these sponsors for evaluation purposes. We will not share any personally identifiable information such as name or email address unless you have given us explicit permission to do so.
Institutions interested in the "opencourseware movement": Part of Dixie State OCW's mission as an organization is to encourage other educational institutions to openly share their course materials with the world, as Dixie State is doing. In order to accomplish this objective, we are committed to sharing what we learn in public forums, at educational conferences, and with other educational institutions. This may include aggregate data about usage of the site, feedback we have received, and the impact of Dixie State OCW on people throughout the world. However, in no case will we share any personally identifiable information, such as name or email address, unless you have given us explicit permission to do so.
Dixie State OCW runs on the open source eduCommons software. The current technical solution has been in use since January 2005 with a small technical team managing all aspects of this infrastructure at the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (http://cosl.usu.edu/) at Utah State University.
The planning tools used by the Dixie State OCW team to assist faculty in publishing their course materials include a portion of the workflow in eduCommons, and several checklists and documents. For creating and managing content, we use several desktop tools (file conversion tools) as well as eduCommons, that together fully support our publishing process. Our content delivery infrastructure includes a production cluster and a content staging cluster.
For more information on eduCommons, please contact The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (http://cosl.usu.edu/).
Dixie State OCW is firmly committed to open systems and will share its approach and the open source eduCommons software with those who may want to launch similar efforts. eduCommons has a dedicated team of developers focused on extending the platform, features and functions to meet Dixie State OCW and other institution's needs.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and an aggregator allow you to subscribe to discussion forums, blogs and other websites in order to receive timely, organized updates of posts, news, and other information you care about.
It is particularly generous of you to offer a financial contribution to support Dixie State OCW. This is a wonderful endorsement of what we hope to achieve. If you wish to make such a donation, please make your check payable to "Dixie State" and enclose a note indicating that the contribution is for the Dixie State OCW Fund. You can mail your check to:
<City, State, Zip>
Dixie State OCW is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting program. Dixie State OCW course materials are available for free on the Web for the use of educators and self-learners. Those interested in applying to be full-time students at Dixie State are encouraged to contact the Admissions Office:
Office of Admissions
<City, State, Zip>