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States increase collaboration

Michaela Brighella from EQUELLA discusses the importance of a regional approach to centralised online learning content

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | April 30, 2014 | Business

As technology continues to reshape education, and today’s learners interact and engage with course content online, the overall education environment must rapidly adapt and evolve.

Many large-scale institutions face difficulties relating to maintaining complex content structures, differing faculty approaches to course content storage, and having no set standards for content management across an expansive location. 

Aligning customisable content management with your institution’s business needs enables your team to effectively manage a diverse range of content, which can be tagged by metadata including outcomes, standards, keywords and more, for seamless search and discovery. As part of this approach, the development of a high-quality eLearning environment enables institutions to construct a solution that is educationally focused, flexible and that supports effective, ongoing course content creation.

One central solution that can be shared across faculties, courses, institutions, states, regions and even countries, enables an increased level of collaboration and distribution, while streamlining content publication across the network of users.

The statewide approach to the delivery of online content is a preferred practice for many states and regional groups in North America, including the state of Utah. 

All Utah school districts and higher education institutions are connected to a robust network and quality educational content by the Utah Education Network (UEN). Every day, over 2,000 educators search and download learning content
for their classes and courses from one central location: their dedicated solution, eMedia. This repository is managed by UEN and powered by the digital repository, EQUELLA. eMedia hosts many types of digital learning content, including videos, podcasts and images.

Florida has adopted a complete approach to manage the state’s online learning, by providing a centralised location for the discovery, acquisition, collection, sharing and management of quality learning content. The Orange Grove – managed centrally by the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) – is an online repository of organisational and professional development content containing more than 700 open access textbooks and more than 80,000 instructional content, all of which are freely available to the 1.3 million educators, students and staff of Florida’s 40 public post-secondary institutions. Online books may be downloaded for free, or in some cases, a commercial, print-on-demand version may be available for purchase for a modest cost. FLVC utilises social media, webinars and videos to inform educators on how to contribute and manage content, including how Creative Commons licenses can be attached to each item to specify how that content may be used and shared.

Journeying across the virtual border up to North Carolina, here users are utilising the North Carolina Learning Object Repository (NCLOR), which is available to all K-20 educators statewide, including participants from the 58 colleges from the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), University of North Carolina (UNC) System, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (36 private institutions) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI). A key aim of the NCLOR was to provide a centralised location for the acquisition, collection, sharing and management of quality learning content for all teachers in North Carolina. NCLOR, North Carolina’s EQUELLA, supports over 1,500,000 learners. The repository is integrated with multiple learning management systems, third-party content and multiple other systems. While all these states have a different online learning solution that facilitates the extensive sharing of media content, open access textbooks and integrations with multiple systems to assist large networks of educators and students, each has developed a core system that meets all their key requirements and can be adapted to meet their future needs.

Each state’s solution illustrates the way aligning with learner objectives strengthens the ongoing distribution and consumption of content across a large network of users. These approaches support greater efficiencies and productivity as well as the educators shaping a wide range of courses for evolving learners.

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