Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting Started

Reading Stephen Downes Blog today, I noticed a request for repository blogs by Leslie Carr from the UK. Clicking on the link to Leslie's blog, I enjoyed reading about his efforts and initiatives in the UK. As part of our FIPSE (United States Department of Education - Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) grant, we promised to offer a blog regarding repository development and implementation, but had not begun to make effective use of it. I realized that it was past time to begin!

My name is Susie Henderson. I work for the Florida Distance Learning Consortium ( in Tallahassee, Florida as the Associate Executive Director working with the public and private institutions in Florida that form our membership. The Orange Grove, our K20 Digital Repository, is the #1 priority of this statewide organization. The Orange Grove is operational, running on Equella, The Learning Edge Limited from Tasmania, Australia. (

For the past four years, we have been developing the repository and seeking funding to adequately support it. We received a small $250,000 appropriation for the 2007-08 fiscal year which has greatly energized our efforts.

The OnCoRe Blueprint project is an outgrowth of our efforts to develop a statewide repository and the need by other states for a blueprint, model or guide to create a repository and bypass some of the more onerous discussions and tasks required when you are doing something for the first time and on such a large scale.

Our team is small. I serve as the Principal Investigator and am involved in all aspects. Elizabeth (Liz) Johnson is the Project Coordinator, working full time on the grant. She is the point person for the Blueprint, setting up and conducting webinars, and maintaining contact with partner states and whatever else needs to be done! Cathy Alfano, the Project Manager for The Orange Grove (TOG), provides significant energy to brainstorm, write, review and advise on the creation of the actual Blueprint.

We recognize that Florida does not have all the answers and are reaching out to others who have developed repositories through interviews and offering webinars on topics of interest. The states of Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, and Kentucky are all working on or establishing repositories.

This shortened week of Thanksgiving has been focused on licensing content for two years from the National Repository of Online Courses ( We need a basic foundation of content to interest our faculty in using the repository. NROC content would provide approximately 2000 modules for our faculty to use. It will take significant time and people resources to metatag the content based on the LOM fields that we are using as NROC has limited tagging, not based on standards or associated with the resources.

We also had discussions with WileyPlus regarding their online content. On a future posting, we will discuss content in more detail. Needless to say, content is critical for the success of any repository.

I have also requested to place reading content paid for by the State of Florida into the repository, but am waiting for permission. It has brought home to me that a policy is needed that the state will place a copy of any content paid for with state funds into the repository.

I hope that you will join us in reading and commenting on topics of interest.