Template Sections for completion:
Case Study Title:
The National Digital Learning Repository
Case Study Country:
Type of organisation described by the case study, address of organisation,
hyperlink to organisation, hyperlink to case study source:
Case Study Contributed by:
1. Mandatory - A brief summary of the institution to be used as a case study
About 500 words please on a description of the institution, its OER history
The National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR), as part of the Higher
Education Authority’s (HEA) strategic initiative to support greater
collaboration in eLearning within the higher education sector, has been set
up to support access to and provide support for the development of sharable
digital learning resources.
The NDLR is a HEA funded pilot project between 21 HEA funded partners. The
NDLR project is establishing a framework to enable development and sharing
of digital learning resources between the seven Universities of Ireland and
the Institutes of Technology.
The aims of the NDLR are to:
• Investigate and pilot a National Digital Learning Repository.
• Foster inter-institution academic groups (Communities of Practice)
working towards improving the subject specific learning experience.
• Make digital learning resources from the Communities of Practice
available within the NDLR for use in teaching and learning.
• Provide support for best practice in the development of digital
learning resources and the usage of resources from the repository.
• Promote awareness of the NDLR across the Universities and Institutes
of Technology to encourage the use of the NDLR and membership of
the Communities of Practice. Workshops and training sessions will
encourage the use and successful implementation of the repository.
• Investigate key practices regarding optimal reuse, repurposing and
quality assurance of learning resources.
• Develop copyright policies and licencing agreements for the NDLR
2. Quality – OER/OEP
How does the institution approach quality in OER? Is there any current
indication of a quality concept or process? Does the institution perceive
quality from the perspective of the quality of open educational resources or
the quality of open educational practice? How does the institution show
quality through OEP versus quality of OEP? What methods, concepts and
practices are used to enhance the quality of OEP?
The NDLR has a licensing and copyright agreement in place -
The structure consists of the following levels:
• HEA – funds NDLR
• NDLR – repository, provides access under NDLR licences
• HEA/NDLR Institutional licence and sub-licence agreement
• HEA/NDLR institutional user agreement – offers the licence
permission to access and use materials
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) operates at the level of groups or
communities who need a framework agreement to facilitate cooperation.
This agreement does not require Institutional signatures and the HEA/NDLR is
not a party thereto.
They also run a range of events and training sessions. One of particular
relevance here is around Quality and OER. ‘Teaching to Improve the Quality
of Student Learning’. The research into how students learn and how course
design influences the quality of learning has been developing rapidly in
recent years. This one-day workshop has been designed for experienced
academics who want to improve the way they teach and how they design
their modules and programmes. It is a practical workshop and will explore
how research and new understandings can be applied to areas such as course
design and assessment, selecting and using appropriate teaching methods,
providing feedback on students' work and evaluating teaching and learning. It
allows participants to consider the fitness of existing and suggested
approaches for differing class sizes and disciplines.
How can OER/OEP innovate educational practices? What current innovative
practices are there in the institution? Please do not regard innovation from
just a technology perspective!
The Communities of Practice (CoP) approach adopted by NDLR can be
considered an innovation and an example of good practice. NDLR aims to
provide support for best practice in the development of digital learning
resources and the usage of resources from the repository. Quality is achieved
through Communities of Practice.
The NDLR provides infrastructure to support subject or discipline based
communities in higher education. These communities, called Communities of
Practice, have been formed in different academic disciplines across the
Universities, Institutes of Technology and their associated colleges. The NDLR
provides assistance for Communities of Practice by:
• Creating and encouraging collaborative links between academics in
other institutions, especially in the early stages of Communities of
• Organising community events for raising awareness of the benefits of
the NDLR service.
• Providing training workshops on using the NDLR.
• Assisting with identification of learning resources that might be of use
to the various communities.
• Liaising with the communities and the NDLR board
• Providing support, guidance & training in the use of technologies by
There are already a number of well established CoP as part of NDLR.
• Applied Social Studies
• Apprentice Based Learning (APPCoP)
• Chemical and Physical Sciences (CPSCoP)
• Computer Science (CSCoP)
• Education (EDUCoP)
• Information Skills
• Mathematics and Statistics Service Teaching in Higher Education
• Mechanical Engineering (MECoP)
• Modern Languages (ModLangCoP)
• Nursing and Midwifery (NMCoP)
• Technology Enhanced Learning (TELCoP)
• Veterinary and Bio-Environmental (VETBIOCoP)
What are the current OER/OEP policy arrangements at institutional and
national level across Europe/the World?
Those who wish to get access to the NDLR by requesting a User or
Contributor account from their NDLR institutional representative. Or they can
also gain access to the NDLR by contacting a Community of Practice
coordinator. There are two types of accounts.
1. NDLR User account. An NDLR User account enables the person to search,
browse, preview, and download resources from the NDLR.
2. NDLR Contributor account. An NDLR Contributor account enables the
person to search and download materials but it also enables them to
upload and share their teaching and learning resources with NDLR users
and Community of Practice members in Ireland.
A number of guides for support are provided: A quick guide to the NDLR
interface, a quick guide to how to use NDLR and a FAQ list.
What actors are involved in OER/OEP? Is there any evidence to show that
OER actors do not always promote OEP but “only” access to OER?
• HEA stakeholders
• NDLR team
• Teachers / experts upload
• Teacher and Learners use
• Organisations can join across Ireland (already 21 partners
• Communities of Practice (CoP) can be build around subject matter
topics (12 established)
What OER/OEP initiatives can be evidenced? Is there any evidence to show
that OER initiatives do not always promote OEP but “only” access to OER?
The CoP and the licencing agreement are both examples of OEP, however the
NDLR is still relatively new and so it is unclear what impact it has had yet
within institutions or on individual practice.
7. Open Educational Practices
Can you identify some case studies/ descriptions which form the illustrative
base for a more general model of OEP?
The NDLR hold a number of information sessions aimed at new users, both at
participating institutions and through the CoPs. It also runs a significant
number of training events. A full list of events can be found here:
8. Tools and Repositories
What tools and repositories are being used to deliver OER/OEP? For example
Are there any other special tools for OER/OEP? e.g. Cloudworks, in
which practices can be discussed and validated?
Are there any tools for Visualisation? e.g. CompendiumLD
Are there any tools for Argumentation? e.g. Cohere
The training sessions cover use of general web 2.0 tools such as wikis and
blogs and how they can be used wrt to OER. They also include sessions on the
WebCT VLE which is used extensively in Ireland.
Can you identify any strategies for organisations to use OER/OEP? Can you
identify any business models that promote OER/OEP?
Aims to provide a coherent national focus, through the repository and
associated events and support mechanisms.
10. Current barriers and enablers
What are the barriers to the use of OER/OEP? Is there any evidence to how
these barriers have been overcome? What are the enablers to the use of OER/
Difficult to say at this stage as hasn’t been extensively evaluated, unclear
what the impact is on institutions or individuals.