Jorum – Jisc funded project for the collection, sharing, reuse and repurposing of teaching materials

Jorum is an online repository that offers a searchable collection of learning and teaching resources catelogue. Funded by Jisc, this is a free service for UK F/HEIs and aims to provide long term access to resources. It along with other repositories and services are a part of of the developing Jisc Information Environment. Described as a ‘Service-in-Development’ research as a part of the Jorum project has been underway since 2002 although it was only launced for as users in 2005.

Rationale behind Jorum
Over the years Jisc (as well as other funding bodies) have rightly faced a high degree of criticism over their inability to ensure that good value has been achieved through their funding of research projects whose outcomes are more often that not ‘lost’ once the funding stream has ended. A significant part of the rationale behind Jorum is to provide a mechanism by which projects can meet their deliverables around dissemination in a recognised and robust way.

Participation
All of the content on Jorum is generated by the ‘community’ of contributors with no content being commissioned by the project. Participation is controled at an institutional level through signing up on an either or basis to the following:
Jorum Contributors – any institution or publicly funded project team that wants to share their learning and teaching materials with colleagues in the UK
Jorum users – teaching and support staff in institutions who can find, preview, download, reuse and repurpose/re-mix materials for use with learners in their institution

Although individuals can contribute as a part of an institution, this is not anticipated to be the major source of content as Jorum believe that practical difficulties such as the ensuring that material used as a part of a learning object are not copyrighted will prove daunting for an individual.

Once resources are submitted, a team of cataloguers add the metadata although no quality assurance process is appled to the resources themselves. However, a system of peer rating does apply whereby users can identify useful respources (1-5 stars) and attach comments against them.

Points to consider:

1. Jorum understand the need to publicise and have neat ideas such as a quick search for non-members to showcase content (not downloadable) and RSS feed on pre-determined searches
2. The technical developer (Andrew Baxter) understands the need to develop tools so that users can pull apart and re-combine/edit assets into new or adapted learning objects
3. Preservation is recognised as an issue – what happens to old content?
4. Sustainability in the long term is recognised as an issue – how will funding be secured in the long term

Technical
Based on a repository system called intralibrary from Intrallect Ltd.

Objects are moved around via content packaging (a zip file with technical metadata and sequencing instructions, etc.) that allows use in different platforms, VLE, sequencing tools, etc. The software is designed to be highly interoperable, enables linking to other institutional repositories.

User Experience
Although a slightly clunky interface (V2 out in a couple of weeks or so), somewhat surprisingly, a five minute play (running various searches) with the Jorum website did yield some resources that would be useful, for Ultraversity researchers, in developing skills in the realm of criticality and the review of materials – something worth pursuing further!

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