EdShare (http://www.eprints.org/edshare) is the repository solution developed by the University of Southampton in 2009 as part of a Jisc funded research project to facilitate the sharing of educational resources across the institution. The software platform of choice for this project was EPrints, an open source open content platform. Traditionally associated with open access, EPrints is actually a highly configurable web repository which can accept any content. Atenas & Havemann (2014) describe repositories for open educational resources (OERs) as being advantageous because the centralisation of resources facilitates retrieval and widens access.
The emphasis of the EdShare project in 2009 was to implement social “web 2.0” tools on the standard EPrints repository which included large inline previews of resources, bookmarks, comments and notes and user-created collections. EdShare was subsequently selected by a number of the Jisc UKOER projects to facilitate the sharing of their own open educational resources.
In the past 12 months, in reflection of the changing educational landscape, the University of Southampton has re-invested in the EdShare offering as part of its EPrints for Open Education for the higher education community. Prominent examples of this solution in use include EdShare Soton (www.edshare.soton.ac.uk) from the University of Southampton and the recently launched edShare@GCU (http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk) from Glasgow Caledonian University.
In reflection of the open education movement and the changing educational landscape, OER repositories can be much more than a collection of static resource. Open source solutions such as EdShare present an opportunity to the higher education community (and beyond) to determine and influence how such environments should be designed to grow beyond their existing remit of simply serving content and continue to break down the barriers of access to education.
In 2014 as part of a Master’s dissertation, a small scale scoping study was conducted to determine the discoverability strategies in use by UK HEIs when releasing OERs. Repositories and content management systems were frequently found to be the hosting platform of choice. Though this study was far too small to be generalised, it provided some valuable indicators on tools and methods offered by such technologies to reach a global audience of education users. The associated literature review also highlighted a number of gaps to be explored.
In this session, a reflection on the history of EdShare will be presented along with the current development activity including a demonstration of the software. Potential future directions for OER repository development will be discussed as well as opportunities for the community to come together to influence this open source solution. In particular this will focus on the dissemination of resources and their discoverability by a global audience, some of which will challenge the traditional boundaries of the creator and consumer of educational resources.
Atenas, J. and Havemann, L. (2014). Questions of quality in repositories of open educational resources: a literature review. Research in Learning Technology, 22.