UK: Teaching resources available worldwide

An online resource network 'Jorum' is offering professors and educators worldwide access to a growing database of teaching resources posted by fellow educators working in the United Kingdom.

'What began as a storage facility at EDINA and Mimas, the two national data centres for the UK government-funded Joint Information Systems Committee or JISC, Jorum has since grown into a national education database. Through Jorum, teaching staff in the UK can access each other's course modules and resources as well as post their own resources to share with others.

As part of the push for open education resources, Jorum opened its database of Creative Commons-licensed materials to the education world in January.

"We had then about 700 materials licensed under Creative Commons...and since 19 January 2010 the number is now over 5,000," says Peter Burnhill, Co-director of Jorum and head of the Edinburgh University Data Library.

The Creative Commons licensing format allows educators from around the world to access materials posted by colleagues in different disciplines, cities and countries free of charge. Jorum aims to bring together the education community by offering a platform where content can be posted, downloaded and discussed.

Jorum consists of two content streams for educators. The initial stream, Jorum UK, is a closed database of licensed resources for teaching staff in the UK, while Jorum Open is available to anyone worldwide.

Burnhill says the future of networks such as Jorum rests in open access. "Jorum UK ... has been growing very, very slowly recently because we've had this big push on the open material, which for us is the way to go."

With this push to share resources it is expected that the number of posted materials will continue to grow as more professors and lecturers begin using the service, Burnhill says.

"The benefits really are how people make use of other people's materials and if this becomes culture then what you give comes around."