I’m working on an online course about the principles of managing public money. The course is aimed at everyone in the public sector, whether employees, politicians, volunteers, etc. I want it to be a great course that is valuable to the people who register for it. I’ve got over thirty years’ experience of managing public money and there is a temptation to cram all my knowledge into a single course, but that would not be a good idea.
There’s not a technology reason why I could not have a course comprised of hundreds of lessons that would take the learner many weeks to complete. There is, I think, a practical limit on what a person is willing to take on, especially if it is additional to their work commitments. This means that one of my challenges is to find the balance between including enough material for the course to be valuable without going into too much detail and becoming onerous — or worse, boring. I’ve spent quite a bit of time, therefore, deciding what to include and what to exclude and I’ve had to delete some sections and ideas that I would like to teach in order to keep things focused.
The platform I am using for my courses allows lessons to be grouped into modules. I think five modules, each taking one to two hours to complete is about right. This is something someone could complete in a day if they really wanted to, but more likely they could complete it over 1 to 4 weeks to fit with their schedule.
The five modules I have now decided on are set out below.
- The big picture—to cover what the public sector is for and the differences in financial management between the private and public sectors.
- The principles of funding public services—so that learners understand why some services are funded from taxes whilst others charge fees to users
- The fundamental importance of the budget in the public sector—because it is.
- Principles for making decisions about spending public money—in order to get the best possible public services in terms of value for money.
- Being accountable for the use of public money—because anyone who handles public money has to be willing and able to account for what they did and what they did not do.
These are my thoughts on grouping the course into modules. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and observations in the comments section.
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