Universities which set up online repositories for the management of learning and teaching resources commonly find that uptake is poor. Tutors are often reluctant to upload their materials to e-repositories, even though the same tutors are happy to upload resources to the virtual learning environment (e.g. Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai) and happy to upload their research papers to the university’s research publications repository.
The paper reviews this phenomenon and suggests constructive ways in which tutors can be encouraged to engage with an e-repository.
The authors have recently completed a major project “Developing Repositories at Worcester” which is part of a group of similar projects in the UK. The paper includes the feedback and the lessons learned from these projects, based on the publications and reports they have produced. They cover ways of embedding repository use into institutional working practice, and give examples of different types of repository designed to meet the needs of those using different kinds of learning and teaching resources.
As well as this specific experience, the authors summarise some of the main findings from UK publications, in particular the December 2008 report of Joint Information Systems Committee: Good intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials and Online Innovation in Higher Education, Ron Cooke’s report to a UK government initiative on the future of Higher Education.
The issues covered include the development of Web 2.0 style repositories rather than conventionally structured ones, the use of tags rather than metadata, the open resources initiative, the best use for conventional repositories, links to virtual learning environments, and the processes for the management and support of repositories within universities.
In summary the paper presents an optimistic, constructive view of how to embed the use of e-repositories into the working practices of university tutors. Equally, the authors are aware of the considerable difficulties in making progress and are realistic about what can be achieved. The paper uses evidence and experience drawn from those working in this field to suggest a strategic vision in which the management of e-learning resources is productive, efficient and meets the needs of both tutors and their students.