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Quality consultation on Tes resources

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by tesAuthorTeam, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Hello authors!

    Here we welcome your discussion on how we can take Tes resources to the next phase. Please share your feedback in this forum about what quality means to you and how together we can create a Tes marketplace that incentivises and rewards high quality teaching resources.

    Over the last number of years, teachers on Tes have created an incredible story: a billion resources downloaded, over half a million resources uploaded and students reached in 180 countries worldwide. Some 50K of you share your resources, and just over a quarter of you have started selling your materials too. Together, we’ve made a great start, and now we’d like your help take Tes resources to the next phase, beginning with a conversation about quality.

    Increasing the quality of resources

    We know that the whole Tes community cares about the quality of resources available on Tes. We, like you, want to increase this quality, as poor-quality resources stop teachers from trusting each other and returning to Tes for their resources.

    There are a number of ways we think we can improve quality and we’ll be asking for your help in the coming months as we look into areas including reviews of resources, visibility and how resources are promoted.

    We also want to establish a royalty system that rewards authors and encourages quality, something we’re sure you’ll support. We recognise that the current tier structure has incentivised uploads by volume, in some cases at the expense of quality, and we want to explore how we can change this.

    Please share your views

    We want to consult with you on:
    1. What quality means to you in the context of resources, eg, value for money, meeting teachers’ needs, completeness

    2. Ways we can improve and incentivise resource quality together

    3. How to create a marketplace and community that encourages quality
    What happens next:
    • Now: please give us your feedback on these three topics. You can get involved by telling us and each other what you think in this thread. We’ll be responding and engaging in conversations.

    • 11 January: at 8pm next Thursday, the team will be streaming a live Q&A to discuss these themes. Look out for further information on how to join in.

    • February: we will publish collated community feedback and options for next steps.
    Thank you for being a part of the Tes community. We look forward to working closely with you as we take Tes resources to the next phase.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  2. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    I have to say firstly that the previous changes have led to my immediate response to this being one of wondering in which ways I'll end up making less money on TES (but no doubt in such a way as to suggest I've been done a favour).

    Putting that aside, the most obvious start to achieving quality would be to clear out the outdated and old rubbish that cutters up the current catalogue.

    An email to all authors advising them that resources older than three years will be removed unless they log in and update them in some way would be a simple way to get this going.

    In terms of 2 & 3, I get no sense that TES is actively working with educators to develop and encourage quality resources. My impression is more that TES is seeking approaches to make as much money as possible and this includes the promotion of certain recent resources.

    I'm sure this will have some short term successes but it seems short sighted.

    I'd prefer to see an attempt at developing a positive relationship between teachers that need resources and authors that create them. There is nothing to encourage feedback towards actively improving a resource (instead it's a rate it good vs bad system). There is no encouragement of communication between teachers and authors.

    I would be happy to make my resources available to a panel of teachers if in return they provided feedback as to how they could be developed further to suit their needs. I'm not happy that currently my only prospect of gaining attention is via pot luck or buttering up staff (should chance permit).

    Quality feedback from actual use AND suggestions for improvements (rather than moans) and an emphasis to encourage worthwhile dialogue would more likely lead to a focus on quality.

    Finally, something has to be done with regard to the misuse of copyrighted works - particularly cover images. Besides the issue of legality the use of an image ripped off from Google suggests somebody hasn't given much consideration to what they're offering.
    eddiebray, jayto, paulbold and 6 others like this.
  3. LeafandSTEMLearning

    LeafandSTEMLearning New commenter

    Quality resources have:
    • a cover
    • a teacher guide, instructions, or a lesson plan
    • correctly typed, and age appropriate information, activities, etc. for students
    • answer key or rubric if appropriate for the resource
    • credits for any third-party graphics, clip art, fonts used
    • covers academic content and is aligned to age appropriate practices or a recognized curriculum or standard set
    • is not using words, images, or content that is copyrighted or trademarked by another party without permission

    Ways to incentivize authors with high quality resources:
    • Feature new high quality resources to help them gain traction
    • Create ways to feature resources aligned to different standards from different countries (like Common Core or Texas TEKS)
    • Allow authors to earn a "quality" badge displayed on their product pages and store pages
    Ways to encourage a community that promotes quality:
    • Incentivize buyers who purchase and review paid resources through a coupon program
    • Right now buyers tend to be more likely to leave feedback when they are not happy, and not many buyers leave feedback. We need happy buyers to leave feedback more often to show others how much they liked the quality of the resources they bought.
    • Encourage buyers to "follow" stores that they have bought materials from in the past and send them email updates when the author adds new resources.
    jayto, tspeelman, MosaiK and 6 others like this.
  4. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

  5. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    My tuppence worth
    1) find a way to incentivise reviews. Particularly the many contended buyers that use the resource but don’t necessarily review it having used it.
    2) star rate authors/have an author badge which gives a rating based on the average reviews the author has received for their resources
    3) automatically remove 1* rated resources and old chaff that hasn’t been touched in 2 years and over
    4) change search algorithms to put the best resources at the top, not simply the most viewed (the search function naturally stacks the deck in favour of older and more viewed resources at the expense of better quality newer resources)
    5) vet resources better, and recommend multiple resources from a single author if they’re good enough. I’m not convinced you look properly at all resources that are published, and the quality of some of the ‘TES recommended’ stuff out there is questionable...
    6) most important. Clamp down on foul play. I see lots of premium authors with a single 5* review on lots of tjeir resources, all from the same ‘buyer’. This is blatantly the seller buying and reviewing their own resources via a different account and compromises quality, in addition to undermining the review platform.
    vlrynn, MosaiK, HSX and 2 others like this.
  6. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    Oh and scrap the ‘transaction fee’ for sub £3 resources. This smacks of profiteering and doesn’t help to enhance quality, as £2 is a good price point for a single high quality resource or lesson
    Sazo123, MosaiK, hoppytimes and 7 others like this.
  7. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    1. Do all resources actually need a 'cover' ?
    2. Some resources may consist solely of material(s) that the user can incorporate into their own lesson plans, rather than a complete lesson in its' own right. In these cases, then I can appreciate the benefit of 'suggested ways to use this resource', but I don't see why a dedicated lesson plan would need to be included with the resource.
    3. Any 'teacher guide' or 'instructions' only needs to contain sufficient information to allow the user to actually make use of the resource. Exactly how they use it will be up to the user.
    MosaiK, paulbold, Kazg1 and 4 others like this.
  8. hoppytimes

    hoppytimes New commenter

    "3) automatically remove 1* rated resources and old chaff that hasn’t been touched in 2 years and over"

    Strongly disagree. A lot of 1 star reviews (from what I've heard) stem from technical glitches and inability to download the resource by the buyer. A chance to resolve should be given before removal.
  9. hoppytimes

    hoppytimes New commenter

    Quality is subjective. Even now I feel some "chosen" authors get a lot more coverage, "recommended" ticks than the rest of us. Who will decide on quality? Members of Tes team who constantly plug in the same resources/ sellers?

    Also, why do US sellers have considerably more recommended resources per seller than the British?
    To achieve objectiveness, the whole system of evaluating authors and resources should be changed. Independent reviewers? Tes authors? A panel of both?
  10. TLJConsulting

    TLJConsulting New commenter

    In response to the query, first let me say that I am in the US so have only been part of the TES community for a few years as an author and seller. I have read both Thinkly and LeafandSTEMLearning's responses. Both have valid points. Here are some additional thoughts.....

    1. What quality means to you, eg, value for money, meeting teachers’ needs, completeness
    LeafandSTEMLearning has a good beginning for this conversation (nice checklist.) I personally think that a rubric for quality can have basic components across all platforms and types of materials but does have variance based upon the type of material, the purpose of the material, and the intended audience for the material. As for value for the money, I know that in some discussions it seems that more pages equates to higher price. As a creator of materials across the K-12 span, there are some resources for MS and HS that are shorter but took much more time to create than a comparable K-5 activity. If authors had a basic rubric to follow when creating materials that might be a starting point.

    One immediate concern about completeness is, how is that defined? What does it mean in relation to the type of content, the subject area of the content, etc. and who will review and decide what is complete or not?

    The meeting teacher's needs I think is best measured by feedback, however, all the authors know that it is next to impossible to get feedback, here or on other platforms - even Amazon! I am not sure how TES could boost reviews. I know I have personally discussed this with some folks here at TES USA and it is a big issue. We discussed having something immediate - but then the teacher would not yet have used the resource vs possibly sending an email reminder. I am not sure what would work best.

    2. Ways we can improve and incentivise resource quality together

    Again, LeafandSTEMLearning has a good start. Again, who reviews, and by what criteria, new or existing resources to feature them or to award a "quality" badge. Teachers/Authors who truly want to help other teachers, if they have a type of rubric or guideline list as they are creating their materials, will try to follow that - at least I feel like they would. I know when I first starting creating materials I emailed our USA office and asked many questions to get more direction.

    As for the alignment to standards, I have very mixed feelings on that. You can give 5 teachers a standard and get 5 different opinions about it - 10 at the collegiate level! I have worked with schools in Texas where the teachers were not allowed to use anything in the classroom that was Common Core! And many states, including mine, still have common core basically, but have reworked, placed new nomenclature on the standards, etc.

    If authors fully describe what the material and resource covers I would think that would be sufficient. I do not know how many searches are solely based upon standards - that would be something to think about. And you could still tag the resource by primary standard(s).

    3. How to create a marketplace and community that encourages quality.

    From an author point of view, having a robust reviewing process as well as a monitoring process in place is foundational for beginning to ensure top quality resources are being produced and posted. I do not know what is currently in place, but from discussions, even this week, there are many resources that slip through that even violate copyright. Once a person has violated copyright so flagrantly there should be some sanction or penalty.

    Another thought I have had is that I have noticed that in the UK TES Authors often have a meeting or get-together to meet, share, ideas, etc. This would be great for those of us here in the US as well - even if it is a virtual conference where there are speakers on subject specific topics, using technology to create topics, etc.

    From a buyer's point of view, LeafandSTEMLearning has some good thoughts, but again, I think probably the most frustrating component of TES is convincing buyers of the need to review.

  11. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    That could work, provided that the person downloading the resource is likely to buy other resources regularly. if tthey are infrequent purchasers then the 'coupon' would have limited value for them.

    Make it part of the download process that they have to agree to provide a review, within a set amount of time after having downloaded the resource. Then chase them up with an automated email asking them to actually do it.
    EC_Resources likes this.
  12. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    I agree with you, allow me to qualify, I mean the resources that are 1* rated with comments relating to their quality, rather than technical matters.
    hoppytimes likes this.
  13. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    Totally agree
    Kazg1 likes this.
  14. LivelyLearning

    LivelyLearning New commenter

    Agree - though given we are selling items in shops essentially, I personally think resources, of whatever kind, do need a cover image of some sort - the visual can pull the punters in
    teachercellar and maxhupalo like this.
  15. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    The first thought that came to my mind on reading this was that it would automatically remove the resources published by Bev Evans, who died in 2014. Her contribution to TES is marked in the annual awards ceremony in the Bev Evans Resource Author of the Year category. It would be dreadful if these resources were discarded, so care needs to be taken if a timed cut-off is proposed.
    dzil, LizMavor, teachercellar and 8 others like this.
  16. LivelyLearning

    LivelyLearning New commenter

    Honestly feels like Groundhog Day - how often have so many of us said this? Absolutely no transparency re 'tes ticks', utterly outrageous favouritism in recommending certain resources (by whom we have no clue), and no info, despite direct requests via the FB authors group, re the people who recommend subject-specific resources - nor the process by which they do so
    dzil, TeachElite, Kazg1 and 3 others like this.
  17. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I think ideally, this would be the best way to go, using teachers to review. Perhaps the submission system could be changed so that a work is kept in abeyance until it's been approved as meeting at least the basic quality demands.

    Possible issues with this:

    1. How long does the work sit waiting for approval, before it's allowed to be published ?
    2. Who chooses the teachers sit on the quality panel ?
    3. Who produces the 'Quality Guidelines', that the reviewers would need to refer to ?
    4. Do we need separate panels for different subjects ? How subjective a review would it be if a History teacher were to review a Computing resource ?
    5. Are the quality reviewers paid (albeit a token amount), or are they expected to be 'unpaid volunteers' ?

    I take your point, but as an example, suppose the resource is one that provides a teacher with a set of Python scripts they can incorporate into their lessons. The value of the resource is the quality of the script, so I'm not sure what graphic I would have to use to get that over ? I suppose I could plonk a snake on there :D
  18. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    That would be an awful thing to happen. Perhaps resources such as these could be flagged up, to give them 'protected' status. Then they would be ignored by the system when having a clear out ?
    dzil and kibishipaul like this.
  19. alutwyche

    alutwyche New commenter

    I come from the point of view of a secondary mathematics teacher.

    What quality means to you in the context of resources, eg, value for money, meeting teachers’ needs, completeness.

    Quality means something that works easily (not too complicated; even with instructions, complicated is undesireable), has answers and doesn't use lots of logos/images/catchphrases as they are unnecessary. Full lesson plans with detailed descriptions of what to do and when are not useful to me (maybe to others) as I won't do a lesson like you, just like you won't do it like me. A set of resources that link together and take a class through a topic can be useful however. The decription on the posting is key here; maybe TES can help people with these or produce some "best practice" guidelines. Simplicity of the resource is key!

    Ways we can improve and incentivise resource quality together.

    Old resources can be fine and don't need lots of updating so threatening to delete them is unfair, unnecessary and could just lead to people re-uploading them so would therefore be pointless. A guide as to how many people have downloaded the resource in the last 3 or 6 months would be useful rather than total, historic download numbers. Forcing people to review is an impossible task but positive reviews need to be encouraged somehow (incentives/"reward points" that lead to credits?); negative reviews are far easier to give for people and whilst generally legitimate (some people can be vindictive regarding this at times) but there's got to be balance.

    How to create a marketplace and community that encourages quality.

    A recommended feature might work regarding this - one seller per subject per month? A discussion board regarding that author for people to share their experiences of using their resources might be an idea. The best advertising is word of mouth and the only way to recreate that online is with some sort of forum or discussion tool. The whole system relies very heavily on trust and people not abusing it, which is no easy task.

    If I think of anything else I will post again.
  20. astromouse

    astromouse New commenter

    I loved the old system, before paid for resources. I put a few online in the early days. Simple and quick and easy to use. Lots of downloads and a few nice reviews.

    At that time I also downloaded many resources and reviewed in return.

    Something happened with the paid resources - maybe it is partially greed. I would like a return to sharing free resources, after all if I write something I share it with my department, for free...

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