Friday, 20 January 2012

JORUM - Learning To Share

When very young, children are essentially egocentric and selfish.
Children want to keep ALL their sweets and won't easily give up the best toys to others.

As we get older we are taught to take our turn and share the goodies that we have. There are tantrums along the way of course but mostly we give and take with good grace. Then, at some point puberty (and/or teacher training) comes along and somehow we find ways/excuses to avoid sharing. Teachers in my college usually come up with one or more of the following reasons why they are unwilling to share their teaching resources:
  1. I don't have time to assemble and disseminate the resources
  2. It isn't new
  3. It isn't good enough
  4. Others wouldn't understand how to use the resources
  5. It might actually be copyright somebody else
  6. Why should I help out the lazy people
  7. They wouldn't share with me
  8. etc
Sharing good practice has been a mantra in education for many years as one of the main ways to improve teaching and learning. Disseminate the best/good/effective so that others can benefit and learn.
While there are teachers who are willing to share their work, it remains a problem (real or imagined) for many.

Another post will look in more detail at teacher these perceptions. The rest of this post describes one solution to how resources can be stored, discovered and shared:

The JORUM Repository (

Jorum is a JISC-funded Service in Development in UK Further and Higher Education, to collect and share learning and teaching materials, allowing their reuse and repurposing. This free online repository service forms a key part of the JISC Information Environment, and is intended to become part of the wider landscape of repositories being developed institutionally, locally, regionally or across subject areas. Jorum is run by Mimas, based at the University of Manchester. The word ‘Jorum’ is of Biblical origin and means a collecting (or drinking) bowl.

Anyone can search the repository and view the free learning and teaching resources but only staff in UK Further and Higher Educational institutions can login to download (or upload) materials. Primary and Secondary school teachers can view the resources which might act as a source of inspiration (although there are regional login services and trusted uploader status available for schools).

The advanced search allows filtering by Subject, Date, Author, Title and Keyword searching the Full Text or resource description. You can also browse the same fields by using the 'Find' link. resources use the Creative Commons 2.0 licences covering:
  • Attribution  
  • Attribution-Share Alike   
  • Attribution-No Derivative Works   
  • Attribution-Noncommercial   
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike    
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works

The search results show clearly which resources are available with links to further information, view and download options. Resources are downloaded (exported) as zip files from the site using a weblink eMailed to you. You should already have created a login account using that eMail address.

I first came across JORUM in 2003 as a 'repository in development' to store Learning Objects being created by the JISC Exchange for Learning (X4L) projects that I was working on. Around 2007 JORUM changed status from being a JISC project to become a JISC Service. In 2011 changes to the hosting of the site and the copyright details of the resources took place presenting the site as we have it today.

Information on all aspects of using JORUM can be found at and an A5 double sided leaflet giving a brief overview is at

Effective sharing of resources is one of the Holy Grails in education and the number of resources packages held by JORUM (FE=845 & HE=11662) shows that there is still some way to go.

JORUM, other repositories and OER sites provide us with a place to play nicely.
We just have to convince our colleagues to also put their toys into the pot.


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