The Research Technology and Online Community Project’s mission is to support undergraduate-level research in the Honors College, George Mason University, and the greater educational community. To these ends, we have a commitment to contributing to existing Open Educational Resources.
To the extent permitted by law and institutional policy, all sources created by the Honors College Research Technology and Online Community project are intended to be easy to remix, repurpose, and reuse. To facilitate this, we have chosen flexible, open licensing schemes for our software and content, including in specific the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International for textual content and the Apache 2.0 License.
We have chosen, when possible, to use open licensed tools to facilitate this work. For example, we have built some of our content using University of Arizona’s Guide on the Side (GNU Public License 2.0) and based on North Carolina State University’s Anatomy of a Scholarly Article (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 United States) tool.
If you would like access to underlying code, text, or digital data, please get in contact with us. Additionally, if you are interested in adapting one or more of our tools, we may be able to help you.
Style Guides, Graphics Packages, and Documentation
The RTOC project has produced several style guides, graphics packages, and documents to support the continuing workflow of the project and to enable students and faculty to quickly generate new learning materials that are branded and/or designed similarly to the project. We understand the development of learning materials to be a learning process. Our project has demonstrated that advanced undergraduates can create high-quality learning materials with the appropriate combination of instruction, guidance, and creative freedom. Our formal assessment data and informal observations indicate that the fourteen advanced undergraduate students who have participated most centrally in the project have developed their understanding and awareness of both the research process and effective digital communications. Beyond the expected contributions to the Honors curriculum and the greater Mason community, we have seen considerable improvement in the ability of our students to work collaboratively, adapt to institutional and technological constraints while remaining engaged and creative, reflect critically on the research process, and assess the value of educational technologies. Our student employees and volunteers have taken on projects of impressive scope and shown the ability to carry-through on these projects and deliver professional-quality learning materials that are closely aligned with course and Honors College objectives, as well as with the stated instructional needs of faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants. For these reasons, we consider the resources below to be learning content.
- Guide on the Side Style Guide – while the creators of the Guide on the Side software offer a minimal style guide to support new users, we found that different creators tended to make vastly differing tutorials without the help of a style guide, so we created this more complete style guide. Projects using the Guide on the Side software are welcome to reuse, adapt, or appropriate from this style guide without attribution.
- Adobe Captivate Template and Style Guide – Adobe Captivate is a powerful tool for creating interactive tutorials, screencasts, and videos; for new users, the features can be a bit difficult to master, so having a very directive template can be helpful. Additionally, when creating a sequence of tutorials, it is advisable to use standardized fonts, diction, style choices, and design to avoid bewildering students; consequently, our template also includes a style guide for textual and audiovisual content.
- Graphics Package and Audio-visual Resources – Creating instructional video and interactive learning objects often depends on extensive graphic design work. To encourage the sustainability of the RTOC project and facilitate the development of similar projects, we are making our resources repository accessible to the public.
- Students’ Guide to Research-Questions – While the research-questions tool is largely self-explanatory, some students may be intimidated by a new interactive interface. Consequently, we have created a Guide on the Side to assist in the use of the tool.
- Instructors Guide to Research-Questions – Since research-question offers quasi-anonymity to students with relation to each other, it requires an instructor’s backend for assessment, monitoring, and the prevention of abuse. This guide introduces the instructor’s backend.
- Installation notes for Research-Questions – We encourage you to reuse research-questions in your classroom or research group. Installation is non-trivial, but should not be a major problem for anyone with access to a LAMP stack. These notes are designed to help with a typical installation