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Integrating Repository Function with Work Practice

Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

The Sharing Vision

Posted by Dawn on March 23, 2009

Prompted by the visit to Belfast we decided it would be a good idea to formally examine our (Leeds met) sharing philosophy regarding LOs. As this hasn’t been previously represented I also thought it might be a good idea to model pre and post sharing with regard to the repository. Again I have fallen back on adapting UML case studies to visualise these processes. Generally these are read from top to bottom connections show potential decision points, where either, both or none of the following process may be undertaken. Actors represent roles or systems playing a role within a process.


To facilitate this development I cornered our repository officer Nick Sheppard and did a short interview. I doubt there will be time to do a full transcription of this but it did give me some insight into past and future aspirations for the repository and the workflows surrounding it. I’m uploading three of the four intended workflows now, in case time runs away, with evaluations are my top of my agenda at the moment.


Pre-repository shows some learning content being packaged as a learning object using such applications as Course Genie and eCat. Similar to Belfast theses were often used within the VLE. The predominant process was the creation of content and storage on personal or shared drives. Conversations between colleagues were the main driving force for sharing; this resulted in direct hard drive access for the resource, link sharing or a hard copy being reciprocated, depending on the nature of the content and storage facilitated by the tutor.


The current state of affairs, extracted from the conversation with Nick, again has some strong links with Belfast. As we are still discussing the various issues regarding general public release of Leeds Met learning objects, all current upload and potentially any search and download, request go through the repository officer. The repository is as yet not ready for general institution-wide access, with only small pockets currently populating it under Nick’s guidance. One of the most difficult tasks regarding this filtration through one team is the back and forth communication required to gain complete metadata particularly. This is particularly prevalent when checking the copyright of repurposed learning objects.


The vision is to enable individuals to upload and download from the repository as part of their natural content development process. To enable this, the repository needs to be accessed from what ever personal work point an individual chooses to use. This is my simplistic version of this vision with and emphases on as few and seamless connections to as many interfaces as possible. I’m sure others including Nick will add to and comment on this to give it a more robust appearance.


The final and missing diagram, I’m currently extracting form Nicks interview, tries to capture the perceived next step…..


Posted in General, Personal space, Repositories, Search | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

What’s in it for them?

Posted by Janet Finlay on November 12, 2008

An interesting discussion at the Repository Day on Monday with one of our X-stream (VLE) team leaders. His question to us could we give him a 10-word summary of the benefits the Repository would bring to an average overworked academic. For the research side it is fairly cut and dried. Research assessment is in future going to be weighted towards citation. People cite what is accessible. Open access repository gets your work out there. Ok more than 10 words but the message is clear and will be understood by researchers, for whom sharing their work is a fundamental part of what they do.

But what about learning objects and resources? Here the benefits in real terms are harder to define.  In theory there is the share and share alike argument – you share what you have and gain access a much wider pool of resources through the Repository. We stop reinventing the wheel, save time and resources and have better quality materials. In theory. But we know in practice this is rarely how it works. This only holds true when a Repository has reached “critical mass” – and many repositories never reach this point for any given discipline. There has to be content for people to see benefit – and we can only have content if people contribute in some way altruistically.

But for academics this presents a problem. There is no recognised reward system for sharing teaching and learning, as there is for research. Unlike research papers, authorship and contribution are often distributed and harder to specify. Plagiarism is certainly harder to spot – and, if we are honest, probably taken less seriously. If we want to promote a culture of sharing learning resources, we need to develop a community that seriously values this and gives it appropriate recognition. This might be at an institutional level – giving credit for the learning resources shared in promotion and personal review. It might be at a community level – offering some kind of community recognition such as the trusty old “gold star” system from Forums. Any of this would of course need to be accompanied by peer review so that credit is given for quality not just quantity.

This is after all what we do for the outputs of research. Why not for the outputs of assessment, learning and teaching?

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