Subject of Course

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requirement b) "must be able to search for text that identifies the subject of the course" arises from the use case of finding a course that covers a subject that a person is interested in.

Note that the subject of a course is often given at lesser or greater detail: e.g. as a single phrase 'proof reading' as a paragraph of text, or as a list of learning outcomes / syllabus.

Proposal

The subject should be specified at the Course level; all instances of a course will have the same subject. The about property should be used where a single word or short phrase is used, the description property should be used for an unstructured sentence or paragraph of subject information. educationalAlignment may be used to supplement this with more precise reference to educational outcomes.

See email discussion thread starting at subject of a course

Examples

Example 1. Using 'about' for simple cases

Where subject is given as a single word or short phrase use the about property inherited from Creative Work. This is the simplest most widely recognised was of using schema.org to say what something is about.

Based on PTC Basic Proof Reading Course

PRE-MARKUP:
Course
    name:   Basic Proofreading
    about:  Basic Proofreading

RDFA:
<body vocab="http://schema.org/">
<main typeof="Course">
  <h1 property="name about">Basic Proofreading</h1>
</body></html>

Example2. Using 'description' for unstructured text

Where subject is given as an unstructured paragraph use the description property inherited from Creative Work.

Based on The Data Scientist’s Toolbox, a MOOC / online course (part of the Data Science Specialization).

Course
   name:  The Data Scientist’s Toolbox
   about: data science tools
   description:  In this course you will get an introduction to the main tools 
       and ideas in the data scientist's toolbox. The course gives an overview 
       of the data, questions, and tools that data analysts and data ...

RDFA:
<body vocab="http://schema.org/">
<main typeof="Course">
  <h1 property="name">The Data Scientist's Toolbox</h1>
  <h2>About this Course</h2>
  <p property="description">
       In this course you will get an introduction to the main tools and ideas in the
       data scientist's toolbox...</p>
</main>
</body>

Example 3. Using 'educationalAlignment' for specific learning outcomes

Where subject is given as an list of specific learning outcomes or a syllabus, use the educationalAlignment property inherited from Creative Work. The value for the educationalAlignment should be an Alignment Object with the alignment Type set as 'teaches' and the learning outcome given as the targetName or targetDescription as appropriate.

The alignment object may also be used to specify the educational subject being addressed, e.g. where the subject of the course is related to some educational framework such as a national curriculum or share educational classification scheme.

Based on PTC Basic Proof Reading Course

Course
   name:  Basic Proofreading
   about: Basic Proofreading
 
   educationalAlignment [AlignmentObject]:
       alignmentType: teaches
       targetDescription: understand and use British Standards Institution symbols
  
   educationalAlignment [AlignmentObject]:
       alignmentType: teaches
       targetDescription: make informed decisions when marking up proofs
  
   educationalAlignment [AlignmentObject]:
       alignmentType: teaches
       targetDescription: mark up documents on paper and on screen, and 
                          understand the differences between the two


RDFA:

<body vocab="http://schema.org/">
<div typeof="Course">
  <h1 property="name about">Basic Proofreading</h1>
  <p property="description">The distance learning training course that takes you 
        from complete beginner to PQB qualified proofreader in one step.</p>
  <h3>Learning outcomes</h3>
  <p>At the end of this course you will be able to:</p>
  <ul>
    <li property="educationalAlignment" typeof="AlignmentObject">
       <meta property="alignmentType" content="teaches" />
       <span property="targetDescription">
         understand and use British Standards Institution symbols</span>
    </li>
    <li property="educationalAlignment" typeof="AlignmentObject">
       <meta property="alignmentType" content="teaches" />
       <span property="targetDescription">
         make informed decisions when marking up proofs</span>
    </li>
    <li property="educationalAlignment" typeof="AlignmentObject">
       <meta property="alignmentType" content="teaches" />
       <span property="targetDescription">
         mark up documents on paper and on screen, and understand the 
         differences between the two </span>
    </li>
  </ul>
</div>