WHY DO TEACHERS (NOT) USE THE INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY?
In the last years, most higher education institutions have deployed open institutional repositories with the aim of disseminating their academic and scientific production. Usually, these repositories contain scientific publications (journal papers, conference proceedings, and so) and, up to some extent, learning materials and other content related to institutional activities and self-promotion. On the other hand, the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has been promoting the creation of many open repositories with learning materials (e.g. OpenCourseWare -OCW- repositories) around the world since its conception. In many cases, the same institution is offering open access to its academic production through these two complementary mechanisms. In the case of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC, in English known as Open University of Catalonia), both the institutional repository and the OCW overlap, for instance.
Nevertheless, it is not clear that all this institutional effort has been adopted and fully exploited by learners. Institutional repositories are designed, build and maintained by librarians with the help of the information systems department, but their potential final users (teachers and, especially, learners) are not part of this process. In order to promote the use of the institutional repository among learners and teachers, UOC is creating a layer of web 2.0 based services on top of the repository, linking it to the virtual classroom where the teaching process occurs. Our idea is extending a web 1.0 application (such as an institutional repository) using web 2.0 social services (ranking, voting, tagging, sharing, ...).
As part of a research project about analyzing social learning scenarios, we conducted 15 semi-structured interviews (8 teachers -part time and full time, 4 and 4, respectively, and 7 students) with the aim of better understanding the reality around the institutional repository (one of the scenarios under analysis). These interviews included questions about how learners and teachers organize their learning/teaching resources, their current knowledge and usage of the institutional repository and their needs and expectations in order to become (the repository) a useful tool for learning and teaching, respectively. In this paper we describe the further analysis we carried out from teachers' perspective, as teachers are the responsibles for devising learning activities promoting and involving the use of the institutional repository among learners.
These interviews were used to design a survey about institutional repository usage for all the UOC community. The survey was sent to almost 2500 teachers (250 full time, 2250 part time), obtaining 550 answers (22.0%). The results of the survey were somehow striking and need further development from an institutional point of view. Preliminary analysis reveals that two thirds of the teachers did not know about the institutional repository, while only one third (180 teachers, 32.7%) were aware of it as a potential learning tool. Among these, only a very small percentage (7.2%) was using it as another tool in the virtual classroom.
In this paper, we describe in detail the results of this quantitative analysis, trying to determine the reasons behind the low institutional repository usage, the main barriers that prevent teachers from using it and, at last, what can be done to improve this situation.