Two years ago, when I was a researcher at the now-deceased Technical University of British Columbia (TechBC), it was my job to identify existing LOs from other contexts and funnel them to our own course developers. I came out of the experience somewhat skeptical of centralized collections, mostly because less than ten per cent of the resources I discovered came from sites defined as “learning object repositories”.
That was then…
In the course of preparing an overview article of LO repositories that was just published in UBC’s e-Strategy newsletter, I took a couple of hours to update my list of reasonably well-stocked resource collections, and was struck by how much progress appears to have been made in gathering and distributing digital learning materials. Based on my cursory exploration, I daresay these repositories might have supported at least half of my TechBC queries — that’s significant progress.
Which of course prompts some heavy questions, ones I cannot answer alone, and without some fairly serious investigation. Obviously, quantity does not equal quality, and I don’t know how I can quickly judge the quality of these collections. I have no idea if these resources would actually meet the needs of UBC’s teachers — are they actually addressing the concepts and themes that might benefit from multimedia support, or are they bells and whistles? I don’t even know if most of our instructors would want to use these things.
For someone in my position, those are embarrassing questions to have to ask. And even more embarrassing not to have answers for. I’m formulating a couple of initiatives in my addled brain as I type these ill-begotten words, but as ever the thoughts of you, my beloved distributed peer community, are most welcome.