EdShare was created by the University of Southampton (UoS) as part of the Jisc funded institutional exemplars programme in 2008. The aim of this project was to facilitate an ethos of sharing and reuse of teaching and learning resources across the institution. EdShare was conceived as a central part of the educational infrastructure in support of the ELearning Strategy at the time and was envisaged as a social site allowing both staff and students to share resources across a rich set of disciplines (Morris, 2009). The focus of this project was very much on institutional sharing, yet the software and design choices made with EdShare resulted in the potential to go much further by providing an open digital content platform with flexibility for resources to be shared locally or openly with the world. EdShare has since been installed at other institutions in the UK in support of their own strategies for sharing educational materials (both open and closed). Both the software product, ongoing development and support being provided by a team within the UoS Electronics & Computer Science (ECS) school.
This session will look at the ripple effect EdShare has had over the past 10 years up to present day within the UoS itself and beyond. This will acknowledge the leaps taken forward at Southampton and how individual schools and groups of educators have embraced the platform but also the lessons learned and how future development is adapting.
An underlying motivation of the original project at Southampton was to release content from the institutional virtual learning environment (VLE). Yet even with EdShare in place and the ability to embed content anywhere, many continue to use closed spaces for storing educational resources preventing discovery and reuse by others.
In light of this and other challenges, in the past year there has been an honest though informal review of EdShare and how it must now adapt to align to teaching and learning practices and provide flexibility for how staff and students are working. At the same time with no institutional driver to move resources from closed spaces or policy on open education resources (OERs), efforts and funding must be sought elsewhere.
A key motivation for continuing with the development of EdShare is the space it provides for innovation, the flexibility to support educators needs, its adaptability as well as the focus it has on openness. Within ECS specifically there is a desire from academic staff for spaces which support both the day to day teaching but also provide space to innovate and explore new ways or working and reach wider audiences. Institutional VLEs, which are often tied for formally identified courses have proved to be a source of frustration for those who wish to push those often fixed VLE boundaries. In the context of working with open content, Weller (2015) describes one of the dangers of relying on third party vendors is that the scope for experimentation becomes limited and compromises often have to be made.
This session will outline how ECS is extending the EdShare solution further by adding support for modules and lesson plans and through the introduction of these features will enable even greater support for open practices in the system.
Morris, D., 2009. Encouraging more open educational resources with Southampton’s EdShare. Ariadne,(59). http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue59/morris/
Weller, M., 2015. Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory (p. 232). Ubiquity Press.