Traditionally, educators created learning content and the institution managed curation and long-term storage. Ownership was relatively clear: content developed by academic staff often belonged to the institution, as stipulated in staff contracts.
Institutions should have policies that set out how to manage, archive, store and access teaching and learning content.
Changing approaches to curriculum design
Online learning brings specific challenges to the creation, management and archiving of learning content.
To some extent, VLEs and learning content repositories can be used to store and deliver content as long as participants have full access to campus systems. However, deliery of this content may differ for online learning.
Teachers should consider how they change their pedagogic approach and curriculum design to take advantage of online technologies. This may mean that VLEs and formal learning repositories don't work for new types of content.
There's also a range of technical issues related to producing learning content including formatting, licensing, sharing and metadata. Our guidance on how to make your collection available for teaching and learning includes useful information and examples to illustrate good practice.
Using external web-based technologies and services means that teachers, students and external peers or mentors can create, share and assess online content without the need for institutional authentication.
This kind of approach can support open access to learning activities and content, which defies traditional boundaries around when classes take place and who can contribute.
If your organisation wants to promote content sharing, repurposing and student contributions, it's vital to consider content creation tools. You can provide open source tools to all users with no licence costs and some, like Xerte toolkits, are specifically designed with sharing, collaboration and export feeds in mind.
By contrast, proprietary tools tend to have restrictive licensing and are less likely to be optimised for open content agendas.
Teachers as content facilitators
It also raises a number of questions including:
- Who will manage the content
- Who owns content by multiple authors
- How long to keep the content live and accessible.
There may also be situations where students need or demand closed forums, which can also be possible with some external services.
This is a good illustration of how much teacher roles may change in online learning contexts; where they are no longer the 'expert' producing content, but act as facilitators and curators of content. They may still provide the structure of the learning activities and assessment and can share this responsibility with students and external contributors.
They may also spend quite a bit of time focussing on aggregating and supervising responses. This could compromise their traditional working hours as students can access and take part in learning activities at any time.
|Barriers||What you can do|
|Difficulties making learning accessible from outside the institution.||Ensure that policies and systems support off-campus provision|
|Adapt authentication systems as appropriate|
|Supporting the development and management of learning content outside institutional systems.||Develop policies and mechanisms to facilitate developing and managing learning content outside the institution.|
|Consider who will provide support, and acknowledge that the roles and activities of teaching staff will change and require support through appropriate mechanisms|
|Students expect that teachers produce and control learning content, leading to a lack of engagement with a new process where students are expected to contribute and participate.||Incorporate digital literacies around content creation and management into the curriculum.|
|Incorporate digital storytelling within the curriculum to encourage ownership of content|
|Encourage the development of a professional digital identity, through networking and sharing technologies for students’ own content.|