Move Beyond Your Silo: How Creating and Utilizing Online Content Repositories Can Increase Faculty Efficiency and Foster Collaboration

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Working alone may feel like you are in a silo; however, adoption and development of central resource repositories offers the solution to get you back in the game! This presentation will focus on organization, excellent tools, and best practices to enhance teaching and take you out of isolation.

Sponsored By


Lori Kupczynski, Ed.D. has served over 20 years in higher education in the areas of English, Communication, Adult Education, Higher Education and Educational Leadership. She currently serves as a Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Previously, she has served as Associate Professor and Program Director of the Educatonal Leadership doctoral program, doctoral level transcripted certificate program in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL) and the Adult Education Masters Program. She was the Recipient of the 2012 United States Distance Learning Association’s Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the field of Distance Learning Award and the 2012 Distinguished Researcher Award from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She also received the 2017 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award in the College of Education and Human Performance at TAMUK. Her research agenda focuses on developing a deeper understanding of interactions among adult learners in online learning environments through the development of grounded theory to explain the interactions within the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). A secondary track of research is on new and emerging technologies complementary to research with adult learners online. Lori has published over 75 peer reviewed articles in the field and has presented at numerous prestigious national and international conferences.
Dr. Angela M. Gibson serves as Lecturer in the Higher Education Administration Leadership doctoral certificate and masters of Adult Education program at Texas A&M University - Kingsville. Additionally, she serves as faculty for the Online Learning Consortium Institute for Professional Development teaching in the Online Teaching Certificate Program, designing and facilitating workshops, and serving as a mentor to professional educators. She has taught first-year, senior, and graduate students, designed and developed curriculum, and created initiatives for student engagement, strategic learning, and innovation. In addition to roles during her 25 plus years in higher education, academics, and student affairs at a diverse set of colleges and universities, she made the rank of Professor at American Public University System. Angela received a Masters of Arts in Human Performance Systems, with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, from Marymount University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Adult Education and Community College Education, from Texas A and M University - Kingsville. She has been published in various peer reviewed journals, is on journal editorial boards, presents at national and international conferences, and served on the Online Learning Conference Steering Committee and was the 2017 Chair of the Technology Test Kitchen. In 2019, Angela was a Campfire Keynote Speaker for the OLC Innovate Conference. Dr. Gibson is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and volunteers as an informal STEM educator creating learning opportunities at schools and with community organizations as well as providing social media outreach for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). She is a recipient of the Online Learning Consortium 2014 Effective Practice Award.

Extended Abstract

Working alone is not always an efficient way to work.  Reinventing the wheel with content curation, course development, and creation of assets for elearning design and delivery of instruction takes a toll on time management and creative energy.  Tearing down silos can build new collaboration partnerships.

Institutions need to consider moving team interaction how and why to create online repositories.  Standard technology, such as email, is inefficient for effective work, and researchers note that the use of repositories is on the rise (Thomas & Rothery, 2005). In this session, strategies and technology tools to create productive content repository spaces and ways of working efficiently with others will be shared and discussed.

Such frustration can also stem from not feeling connected to or engaged with others.  Connectedness to the individuals promotes deeper involvement in the work at hand and can increase commitment to fruition of the project or initiative. Community itself can be developed, even in formal situations, and can be promoted through the online medium of repositories.

Adoption and development of central resource repositories offers the sharing and organization of content and assets for mutual use; the extended and virtual connection and networking between designers and instructors; and the opportunities to apply new innovations to design and delivery of instruction. These are now being recognized as a solid way to appreciate and exhibit intellectual assets (Hey, 2004).


The lack of consistent classification and configuration of any content is a serious issue with repositories. For a content repository to work effectively, organization and labeling is necessary. Through a well-designed virtual storeroom, faculty can select appropriate learning objects based on their course goals and instructional methods. Classification and cataloging through tagging creates a more manageable site. Such a taxonomy should include course, delivery method, learner level, asset type, and other identifiers.

The more collaboration and sharing between faculty, staff, and administrators contributing to the repository, the more resources are available from a central location.  Users can select a variety of resources for an orderly space promotes opportunities for the application of effective practices.

Tools for Repositories

Wikis are a tool for content curation and organization. Wikis can be created and adjusted for specific courses to integration content material utilizing a template. Such a tool can include the addition of examples and designs as well as sample problems.

Diigo is similar to a Wiki where content and assets are organized, labeled, and stored.  All with access to the site can add to, comment on, and share out from the cloud based tool. And, like Wikis, Diigo is free for use. Slack and Trello are online cloud based project management and communication tools which allow for team interactions as well as a repository for assets.  Though not or solely a traditional repository, both tools can be purposed for storage and collaborative interaction.

Potential Applications for Repository Sharing

Gamification is becoming more widely used in elearning environments and offers an active way to improve the transfer of learning and increase student engagement. The development of serious games – the gamification of the learning – can negatively impact time and resources and potentially be a barrier to adoption by faculty.  Sharing of such assets with options for modification increases efficiency, teaches others how to develop proper gamification structures, and promotes application of tested innovations.

Podcasts are audio lectures which can increase cognitive, teaching, and social presences. Such a tool allows students to pull information to their own device and listen at will. Access to lessons, required readings, author lectures, case studies, and other types of content through podcasts can aid students in the analysis of class topics. 

Best Practices for Repository Creation and Use

  • Classify by suggested use.
  • Classify using as many tags as possible.
  • Maintain access to the learning objects.
  • Cross-reference other repositories.
  • Start small.
  • Standardize as much as possible.
  • Maintain open communications and communicate frequently.
  • Participate in collaborative digital library systems that use industry-standard open- source software.
  • Resolve intellectual property issues beforehand, and provide clear revenue-sharing or royalty distribution models.

(Nash, 2005)


Exemplars for Repositories

  • Campus Alberta Repository of Educational Objects (CAREO). Comprised of 5,000 multidisciplinary teaching materials, the database is searchable, and the collection is web- based. This Canadian project has been recognized as a leader in the LOR initiative.
  • Federal Government Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE). This contains numerous educational resources, which include teaching ideas, instructional activities, photographs, maps, audio files, digitized paintings, lesson plans.
  • This is one of several repositories that contain high-quality photographs for educational as well as commercial use.
  • Maricopa Learning Exchange. This is a digital repository that contains more than 700 learning "packages" which include plans, ideas, samples, and resources.
  • Merlot. Supported by a consortium of colleges, universities, and state systems, the digital resources are free and open to any users. Designed for higher education, the database includes links to more than 10,000 online learning materials, many with peer reviews, assignments, and ratings.
  • Wisconsin Online Resource Center. This digital repository contains more than 1,000 learning objects which are categorized for uses within certain higher education curricula. The image categories include business, general education, English as a Second Language, health, professional development, adult basic education, technical courseware.

Presenters will provide background on and strategies for all items provided in the proposal, offer exemplars for consideration, and open discussion on how to best to apply such technology, tools, and innovations at their institutions.



Hey, J., (2004). Targeting academic research with Southampton's institutional repository. Ariadne 40. Retrieved from

Nash, S. (2005). Learning objects, learning object repositories, and learning theory: Preliminary best practices for online courses. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 1(1), 217-228.

Tohmas, A. & Rothery, A. (2005). Online repositories for learning materials: The user perspective. Ariedne, 45. Retrieved from