The summer is a great time for catching up on projects that get lost in the flurry of the busy fall and winter terms. With the roll out of LEARN (replacing UW-ACE) and all the associated changes and transitions that we have been facing, one part of the old UW-ACE system that is in my prevue and that was getting short shrift is the Instructor Resources Repository (IRR). However, with LEARN more on course and the slower pace of the spring term, I’m glad to say that we have almost completed the migration of the IRR to the Learning Object Repository (LOR) in LEARN.
A unique initiative that combines the expertise of instructional designers, technology experts, librarians and instructors, the IRR in the LOR contains activities that can be copied into courses and modified to suit the learning objectives of the course. All the activities in the repository originate from courses offered on campus or through the Center for Extended Learning. A very important aspect of the repository is that the activities are submitted by our own instructors or librarians (often working closely with a CTE liaison or CEL online learning consultant) for peer review before they are added to this repository. Each activity is reviewed by instructional designers for educational value, design and reusability before it is included. The reviewer comments on an activity’s adaptability to other subjects or disciplines and its effectiveness as a teaching and learning tool. This feedback is integrated into the activity before it is added to the repository.
When you browse in the IRR you will find an introductory page that describes how the activity can be used in a course, in addition to the actual activity that can be imported into a course. The activities range from writing “team contracts” for group work, to activities that test students’ skills in understanding and synthesizing reading material, to syllabus quizzes. Our most popular activity to date is one called “The Evils of Plagiarism” which includes a quiz to help students assess their understanding of paraphrasing and proper citation practices.
When you browse through the IRR you can copy an activity into a course (or your sandbox course) and then modify it to suit specific content and course requirements. So if you like the idea or learning sequence embodied in an activity but need to tweak it to make it work in your course – no problem. I like to think of the IRR as an “idea generator”, a place to find inspiration for new course activities. Now that we have the bulk of the old IRR activities from UW-ACE up and running in the new LEARN LOR space we’re hoping to add more activities to it. So if you have an activity in LEARN that has been working well in one of your courses and that you are willing to share, please talk to your CTE Faculty liaison and we’ll work with you to get it into the new IRR space.
If you’d like more information about the uWaterloo General Repository* and the Instructor Resources Repository in the LOR of LEARN please contact me.
*The uWaterloo General Repository in the LOR allows instructors to store and share learning resources that they have created in their LEARN courses as well as other documents and files. Courses, modules, topics, quizzes and files (e.g., word documents, pdf files) can be published to the LOR and reused. When instructors publish an object to the LOR they can designate the object as “hidden” or private to be used only in their own courses, or make the resource publically available, so that other members of the University of Waterloo LEARN community can search for and use the object in their courses.
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