If you submit content for publication on this site, you must conform to these rules. You can avoid these rules by buying a commercial licence, which will allow you to create educational resources for independent use. We prefer it if you share your resources with others, but this does mean that these basic rules have to be kept to. If you are curious about the decisions this leads to in practice, please refer to recent submissions, which gives a good impression of approval ratios and rejection rates and reasons.
This page can be used by prospective authors to check their conformance. It will also be used by the international approvals team as reference.
Guidelines for submission of modules to the online learning libraries
The two "pillars" of Qedoc
The goal of the free online learning library is to create a public repository of valuable interactive learning content that can constantly be worked on and improved by the community of our site users. The values we ascribe to include two fundamental principles:
- The principle of child-friendliness. Although we provide materials for learners of all types and ages, the online learning library must be a child-friendly environment.
- The principle of public educational value. Learning content must be educationally valuable and of interest to a wider community. "Valuable" doesn't mean you have to be an educational genius, but it does mean that many others should be able to derive some benefit. "Wider community" doesn't mean everyone, but it does mean that there should be a reasonably large community of people who are unrelated to you and who may benefit.
Legal and moral requirements
Unacceptable material includes but is not limited to:
- Obscene and pornographic content; content which exceeds the maturity level of our intended audiences.
- Material which extols violence or incites any kind of intolerance (e.g. racism, inter-religious intolerance).
- Material which is libellous, in breach of copyright, infringes privacy rights, or similar.
- Content which is pseudoscientific, grossly inaccurate, absurd, or which seeks to immorally or unprofessionally manipulate the state of knowledge.
- Crypto-advertising (material which has the more-or-less hidden purpose of marketing a product rather than contributing to education).
- Material which, in our view, is illegal or immoral in any other way.
Technical requirements and limitations
We regret that we may also be unable to publish material:
- Which would lead to bandwidth or other technical difficulties on our website.
Currently this limitation is of little consequence, other than that we recommend people to try to limit their modules to about 2 megabytes. If you need larger, contact us first. Super-large modules may not upload at all, and they certainly take too long for learners to download comfortably. Split large modules or optimise your images.
- Corporate training materials. The principle "the online learning library must be a child-friendly environment" does not mean that everything must be suitable for children's education. Corporate training materials are fine, for example. It means that nothing which could be deemed "unsafe for" or "not for viewing by" children can be published.
- Twelve-plus rating. We have also introduced a twelve-plus rating, which can be attached to modules to make them more difficult for young children to open. The twelve-plus rating may be suitable for medical, biological, psychological or other legitimate educational topics which involve themes or media requiring a maturity greater than about age 12.
- Low quality modules. If you feel your module is of low quality, don't worry too much. The idea of collaborative authoring is to accept most materials, even if the quality isn't so good, and hope that others may improve them as time goes by. You don't have to be a great specialist in your field. So go ahead and create modules!
- Context locking. Context locking is a method by which an author intentionally or unintentionally renders a module useless to the wider community by including questions specific to their immediate environment. Examples: "what is the name of Auntie's cat?", "who is the head of our department of music/accounts?", "how do you get here from Central Park?". Context locking is not acceptable. Some varieties of context locking follow:
- Personal amusement. We are receiving a growing number of modules which are clearly intended for personal amusement only. These do not fulfill the "educational" requirement. Usually they contain references to family and friends.
- External dependencies. This means modules which depend on external materials. The key point is the availability of the external materials. If these are publically available (e.g. published books, websites, attached material), the module is acceptable. If the dependency is not publically available (e.g. things that would be said in the author's class, or handouts exclusive to the author), the module becomes useless as an educational asset to the wider public and is therefore not acceptable. In general, it is OK even if the external materials (e.g. a book) are only available against (reasonable) payment, but not if the module author is also the author of the (commercial) materials and might be using the module for self-advertisement.
- Cryptic design. This refers to modules which are so closely bound to the personal revision experience of the student who made them that nobody else could figure out how to use them. Typically such modules lack descriptions and instructions, and in addition it is not obvious to an outsider how the questions are to be answered. Effectively the formal instructional design limitations are so great that the module would only be of use to one person.
We have a moral and legal responsibility to the community of our site users to ensure that content is acceptable. However we can only meet this responsibility if we can understand the material being submitted to us. At the same time, we recognize that many teachers from non-anglophone countries wish to use our products and enlarge the pool of open educational resources available on this site for the general benefit of humanity.
We are therefore establishing an international approvals team, consisting of volunteers from linguistic communities around the world. You can request to join this team if you have appropriate linguistic skills.
The international approvals team page lists the languages currently supported.
- Acceptance of any material is at our own sole discretion. We are not under any legal obligation to publish everything submitted to us, and we can and will modify these guidelines at any time to comply with new legal requirements or new problems emerging from the administration of the library.
- Items already accepted may be re-assessed and removed from the libraries at any time without notice or stated reason.
- The responsibility for educational modules and any legal problems with them remains firmly with the author(s), even if they are accepted for publication here.
Dealing with and understanding rejection
In general, it is extremely rare that we ever reject content which someone has worked hard on. If there are concrete reasons why a well-developed piece of work has to be rejected, we always try to email you personally and explain. You are likewise welcome to enter dialogue with us. We try not to be one of these anonymous publishing houses who send out standard rejection letters and never explain things properly. When well-developed work is rejected, then usually it is for concrete reasons which can be remedied easily (e.g. missing image licences). The one situation where we regretfully really have to reject sometimes brilliant work is when the language is one which we can't review (happens often with Eastern European languages).
For the most part, non-published or rejected material consists of duplicate submissions or vastly undeveloped experimental content where submitters are simply curious about how submission works.
Top reasons for rejection
Here, in brief, are the most common reasons for not publishing a module.
- Experimental modules with little or no content or just nonsense (keys randomly pressed).
- Images in media bank with (i) unknown licences or (ii) over-restrictive licence types.
- Context locking.
- Content cannot be checked because we have nobody who speaks the language in question.
A note about developing
If you are in the middle of creating a large module, you will probably wonder how charitable we are with incomplete material or minor mistakes! Well, we develop modules ourselves as well using the Qedoc system, so we're well aware how easy it is to make mistakes and how difficult it is to actually get an educational project finished. In a sense, no module could ever be finished, and we hope that new authors will come along and extend existing modules, so that a constant process of change emerges.
Don't be afraid of submitting half-finished modules! Just go ahead and be bold.
Examples of rejected modules
- Modules in Lithuanian (a lot), because there is no international reviewer who speaks this language and we can't check the content.
- Modules on religious topics which become too evangelical (e.g. which contain persuasion, or which assume too strongly that one particular view is correct).
- A module for internal training of employees in an international parcel delivery service; the module involved procedures unique to that company.
- Personal amusement modules consisting of references to family and friends.
- A module with administrative value but no educational value for helping with the administration of a health service (but not helping with staff training in any way).
- A module on weapons training (deemed as unsafe for children).
- Modules on astrology and related fields (categorised under pseudoscience). Some aspects of astrology might be acceptable (e.g. history of astrology and comparative astrology, when viewed from an academic, sociological perspective).
Examples of accepted modules
Dialogue and missing emails
Wherever possible, we always try to email people if their hard work doesn't make it through. The harder your work, the harder we try to contact you. However sometimes email just simply doesn't work and we know that some messages either to or from you simply don't make it through the web. If you feel that we haven't been just to you, and your emails go unanswered, then please persevere and try using a different email address. There is someone here!
Advice for companies
It might seem to good to be true. Are we really some people giving away software for free to commercial organisations? Well, yes-ish and a little bit no. It depends what you submit. If you're a commercial organisation, we apply the rule about "value to a wider audience" rather more strictly. Here are some guidelines which will help you get free use:
- Be philanthropic.
- Don't mention any of your company's products or employees by name.
- Ask yourself: if I donated this quiz to a local school, would they be pleased or would they look at me incomprehendingly?
- If your quiz is at all business-related, it should be about general business practices or technologies actually used in just about any company and which might be taught in the 1st year of a general business-related degree or training course. Try to avoid being specific to the needs of your own employees.
- Things we have accepted from companies:
- Basic introductions to information technology; see list of published information technology modules.
- Introductions to Microsoft Office and Adobe products.
- Modules on occupational health and safety (which cover general procedures and national rules, not internal policies).
- Other areas of training, such as management skills.
- Listing of published business modules.
- Things we have rejected: training programmes related to niche-market products created by the company itself.
- Self-advertisement: if you create a good module, it's only fair that you should get to mention your company name, but limit it to a short textual sponsorship note in the module description or a logo in the presentation - keep your company out of the educational content, and ensure that the educational value by far outweighs any self-reference.
If your module is not accepted, the worst case scenario is that you'll be given the option to buy a licence for the Qedoc Quiz Maker. Then you'll be able to continue without being dependent on these guidelines. Of course, if your module is not accepted, you can also adjust it according to our suggestions and resubmit for free publication. See share-or-pay and borderline content.
If in doubt...
Ask before investing huge amounts of time in quiz creation!