Last week the annual conference for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) took place at the University of Warwick hosting over 400 delegates at the Arts Centre on the main campus.
The conference followed a theme of Connect, Collaborate, Create with a diverse range of session topics including copyright policies, open practices, VLEs, collaboration in the creation of resources and a variety of research based activities.
Of particular interest to us in EPrints is the activities in relation to open education and in particular how the community is continuing to engage with the sharing and collaboration of open education resources. This would appear to be an uncertain time for many with the imminent retirement of Jorum – the national repository for OERs provided by Jisc.
At the same time, it is fair to say that our own OER repository solution is flourishing, but this is happening in a rather subtle way. One of the first things we do with any EPrints repository is to brand it to a particular institutions or groups requirements, in this process we often lose the identity that is in fact powered by EdShare.
At the ALT conference, I spoke about the origins of EdShare and also how this has grown from a single institutional system to facilitate the sharing of teaching and learning resources, into a number of instances across the UK which now support both institutions and communities engagement with OER (see image above for some examples). A summary of this presentation and access to the original slides can be found here.
The original EdShare Soton repository from the University of Southampton launched in 2008 now hosts over 4,100 records from a variety of subject areas across the university shared by both staff and students. To date over 1.2 million views of those records have been captured.
The most recent OER repository powered by EdShare is from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) who launched edShare@GCU earlier this year. In a similar timescale GCU also announced their OER policy for the university of which the repository is an integral part.
EdShare is modelled very much in the same way that EPrints started, where a small number of institutions were early adopters of open access. It was and continues to be shaped and developed based on what the community needs combined with academic, research and enterprise expertise of key individuals. 15 years on with EPrints we have a mature open content open source repository solution used around the world. Our underlying flexibility to support diverse needs has always been one of EPrints major success factors, something that continues in EdShare.
The world has changed and it’s not just about open access anymore and our software reflects this. With a development roadmap already in progress EPrints is now modelled to support those wishing to engage with open access, open education and open data, with the confidence you are using a world-leading open source solution which continues to be supported and developed by the University of Southampton.
Look out for more posts on the variety of features and support available in the EdShare instance that has existed since it was first created, as well as some of the more recent developments being added as part of our work with the community.
If you are interested in knowing more please don’t hesitate to get in touch and join our EPrints for Open Education user group for discussing all things EdShare.