At this year’s UNESCO World Higher Education Conference, the National Teaching Repository (NTR) highlighted the value of the online resource not just to educators in the UK but worldwide.
Established in 2020 as a free-to-use platform for sharing the methods, tools, and materials educators use to deliver effective teaching, the NTR now consists of more than 300 pieces of content ranging from presentations to videos to posters. The content housed in the NTR has already attracted more than 134,000 views and 27,000 downloads, and (as of July 2022) has been accessed by educators in 127 countries.
Led by Dr Dawne Irving-Bell, Reader and Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow at Edge Hill University, the repository offers an opportunity for her colleagues to celebrate what they do – and to help others benefit from their work by sharing it with the world.
“Figshare does that perfectly because it’s secure and it’s a great open educational resource that can publish in lots of different formats, and provides a citable Digital Object Identifier (DOI),” Dr Irving-Bell says.
Each piece of material uploaded into the repository goes through curation before becoming openly available – there are 61 curators from institutions all over the world.
At the UNESCO conference, Dr Irving-Bell and David Wooff, Principal Lecturer in Learning and Teaching at BPP University, spoke about the need to give educators credit for their teaching materials and to measure the reach and impact of their work. An important part of that impact is the take-up of the NTR’s shared teaching resources by other educators, including many from developing countries. This equates to a direct impact on teachers and classrooms in some of the world’s poorest nations.
“What impressed me the most isn’t necessarily the volume of countries – it’s that 30% of those accessing the content are from the UN’s list of underdeveloped countries. I don’t know anyone else who can evidence that but we can because of the way Figshare has been built,” Mr Wooff says. “It’s easy to upload to the repository, easy to refer to the DOI, and clearly it’s easy for people irrespective of their own technological capabilities – whether they’re behind state-controlled firewalls or in underdeveloped countries viewing the content on their phones – to access the repository.”
“What impressed me the most isn’t necessarily the volume of countries – it’s that 30% of those accessing the content are from the UN’s list of underdeveloped countries. I don’t know anyone else who can evidence that but we can because of the way Figshare has been built,” Mr Wooff says.
Dr Irving-Bell says there are “numerous examples” of the NTR being used to support teaching outcomes across the UK and the globe. One such example is Dr Irving-Bell’s own work on “sketchnoting”, which combines simple graphics with traditional text notes. The work she's shared via the NTR has been used by colleagues to aid in their note taking, and has even appeared in doctoral studies. “Lecturers and tutors have also disseminated the resources to encourage their students to explore effective note taking – and that includes some of my own postgraduate certificate students at Sohar University in Oman,” Dr Irving-Bell says.
“Sharing this work has also helped us to ‘hook up’ with other academics who are looking into similar areas of research, hence the latest global note taking survey where we’ve linked up with eight like-minded colleagues. So, through sharing the work, we’ve created a community of practice!”
Among some of the top items currently on NTR are:
Critical to achieving the recognition they deserve, NTR has provided a platform for educators to receive credit for their work done in the classroom – work that is often overlooked during tenure or promotion discussions.
“We’ve had a few submitters to the repository be put forward for national teaching fellowships in the UK and colleagues who have gone for promotions off the back of making their teaching materials available in the NTR,” Dr Irving-Bell says.
The report Dr Irving-Bell and Mr Wooff presented at the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC) – available on the WHEC 2022 website – provides an introduction to the purpose and context of the repository, and detailed documentation of the structure and operation of the repository. This includes the way content is grouped and structured, how users can access the content, and the impact the repository has had so far.
The NTR and its forward-thinking work towards international open educational resource sharing also met several of the themes of WHEC 2022, including higher education and the United Nations’ SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), academic mobility in higher education, data and knowledge production, and more.
For more information on how Figshare’s repository platform can help your organization make its research and educational outputs open and impactful, visit knowledge.figshare.com/institutions.
Jul 14, 2022 6:00
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