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The Repository subproject’s directive is to collect and index digital course materials developed at UU and ensure that more people can find it and have (limited) access to it. Its primary goal is to facilitate and stimulate the reuse of such materials within Utrecht University and so stimulate blended and online learning.

Within UU, teachers and support services work tirelessly to develop new digital course materials. Be it in ‘traditional’ forms like (PowerPoint) presentations and syllabi or in the shape of more ‘innovative’ knowledge clips and e-modules: the amount of digital course materials is growing.

Some materials, like e-lectures, are stored centrally. Other materials are being stored on hard drives and USB thumb drives. Though students can access these materials through Blackboard, that access expires at the end of the year. That means a lot of course material is hard to find and/or recover and only accessible to small groups of people.

There is a better way. Much of this material could be reused. Students want to be able to refer back to old subject matter (long-term learning). It would save both teachers and students a lot of time if the material were easy to find because it was centrally stored, indexed and tagged with metadata. The overall quality of education increases when teachers don’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel and can draw inspiration from their peers.

At the Repository subproject, we are cataloguing what kind of material is out there, how it’s currently being stored and whether good descriptions of the contents exist. We are also testing various possible solutions in short pilot projects. The first pilot (Q1 2016) explored the possibility of instituting a national repository of (open) online course materials. UU took part in that pilot, which was coordinated by SURF. A second pilot (Q2 2016) will investigate the pros and cons of having a local ‘Utrecht’ repository. We wholeheartedly invite teachers to contribute to that pilot! Do you have any course materials you’d be willing to share for reuse within UU or beyond? Would you be willing to look at the various repositories on offer and at the yet-to-be-developed tool for uploading and tagging materials so you can tell us how it can be made to fit your workflow?

Please get in touch with Dafne Jansen.

The objective is to select a workable solution in the summer of 2016 that could be implemented at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.