RSU Study Material Repository as a Valuable New Resource at the University
‘One of the most valuable assets at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) is the great variety of study materials. Up until now, these have mostly only been accessible to lecturers and students of specific study courses. We want to make these valuable study materials available to a wider range of users,’ says Evita Grigoroviča, Project Manager of the RSU Study Material Repository.
The repository will be a well-structured storage base for digital study materials, which will consist of materials developed for study purposes at RSU or materials acquired as a result of a cooperation project. It will include presentations, video lectures, educational videos, infographics, interactive scenarios, digital books, and much more. The repository will give lecturers an opportunity to share materials, thus saving resources, as well as get inspired and learn about examples of good practice from other colleagues.
Students will not only have access to the contents of their programme, but they will also have also the opportunity to expand their knowledge by exploring areas not directly related to their programme.
The materials at the repository will have different levels of availability. Restricted materials, such as exams, tests, and assignments, will be available only to RSU lecturers. The widest part of the repository will include study materials that will be available to all RSU students regardless of their programme. For example, a student at the Faculty of Law may be interested in materials from another field, like social work, pharmacology, or economics. Healthcare students might have interest to explore current issues in communication, psychology, and pedagogy in order to improve their transversal skills when working with patients and colleagues. By supporting the open access policy at RSU, some of the materials at the repository will also be available to the general public. Grigoroviča points out that ‘our task is to educate the public about various current topics, such as COVID-19, the importance of vaccination, and so on. This will be a good opportunity to reach a wider audience.’
The materials will be arranged according to topic and collection in order for the information to be easily available. Filters will enable users to search information by author, year, keyword, or format (e. g. video, book, or presentation).
The Director of the Centre for Educational Growth (CEG), Assoc. Prof. Nora Jansone-Ratinika, points out that the repository is a tool for improving the quality of studies. She emphasises that repositories are an increasingly common practice around the world.
The university understands the benefits of the repository when it comes to improving the quality of both teaching and learning. These include reducing content fragmentation, improving the structure and transparency of the content, the promotion of institutional and external cooperation, strengthening interdisciplinarity in the creation and usage of materials etc.
Assoc. Prof. Jansone-Ratinika says that ‘The repository will serve as a support tool, and a significant section of it will be devoted to materials that the academic staff at RSU will find useful to developing competence. In recent years, we have paid special attention to lecturers’ pedagogical improvement, which has resulted in a collection of materials about technology-enriched learning, organising studies remotely, assessing learning outcomes, self-directed learning, and many other topics. It will be a valuable source for all lecturers and students at RSU.’
Raimonds Strods, the CEG Study Innovation Project Manager and Head of the RSU School of Junior Academics, also attests to the added value that the repository brings: ‘Young lecturers see the repository as an opportunity to share their contents and gain broader insight into the materials that their colleagues are developing. This could encourage new ideas and cooperation between lecturers from different programmes and departments.’
The development of the repository is currently in its final phase and the project developers plan to make it available for use by the beginning of the new academic year. The RSU Study Material Repository is being developed within the framework of the ESF project Improvement of the management process and study content modernisation at Rīga Stradiņš University (Nr. 220.127.116.11/18/A/011).