Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Which comes first? The chicken and egg dilemma.

When it comes to repositories, there is a chicken and egg dilemma. Which comes first, the marketing or the content? In Florida, we've been told by institutions that they need sufficient content in order to market the repository to faculty and provide training. On the other hand, we need faculty to be aware of the repository in order to contribute content and URLs to expand the amount of high quality content. So, how have we handled this dilemma?

Our approach is to take multiple paths. First of all, we recognize that faculty are very busy and often must do what is easy and effective to impact students due to time constraints. So, the integration of our repository software system into the learning management system is a priority. Integration, the direct entry into a repository thru an LMS without additional authentication, makes access to and use of the repository simple, easy, and reduces training. Why? Faculty are accessing the repository using tools provided by the LMS that they are familiar with and have received training to use. The repository becomes one more tool in their LMS toolbox. The integration of the repository supports success of the project as well as becoming a marketing tool. Integration requires faculty to have only one login and password to the learning management system which also enables access to the repository.

We also recognize that without sufficient content, that there is no reason to use the repository. In order to increase the pool of resources, we are pursuing content acquisition from the following resource types:

1. State of Florida Resources. Contacted Florida entities and institutions, that have received money from the state to develop resources, and requested to place a copy of the resource in the repository. While there has been enthusiasm to share the resource/s, it has not been easy to acquire the content. And, there have been issues to effectively use the resources that were provided. Guidance is needed to inform developers regarding preferred methods of saving and storing content.
2. Institutional Developed resources
3. Faculty developed resources – individual contacts
4. Federation and Harvesting
5. Open Educational Resources
6. Publisher Content
7. URLs to exemplary resources identified by other repositories

Another effective path for marketing has been to offer both face to face training and online tutorials.

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