Storing resources in iShare allows you to search, link and share for future use and collaboration.
These days there are many different places where you can store documents and resources. But when it comes to resources you want to share with your students for learning and teaching (and be able to put them easily up in iLearn), then the preferred platform at Macquarie is called iShare.
If you are a Google Drive user, you may have recently received an email announcement from MQ’s Chief Information Officer advising that you should transfer your documents out of Google Drive by 30 September and on to an MQ approved data storage platform that is more secure and offers better integration with other MQ systems and applications.
If you recently received that email, and you have been storing resources you want to use in your teaching in Google Drive, then you may be wondering what to do instead.
What is iShare?
iShare is an MQ- supported digital content management repository – designed for sharing digital resources across the university and in systems such as iLearn. Once you put a resource into iShare, you simply generate a URL for the resource and then add that link where you need it. It can be in multiple places, such as in your unit iLearn site, or across multiple iLearn unit sites, on any webpage, or for accessing directly.
iShare is regarded as the Learning Commons (shared space) for all MQ learning and teaching resources to provide one place for accessing, reusing, sharing, managing and updating resources, with ownership and metadata available. The platform is designed to integrate with other MQ learning and teaching systems so iShare can be easily used as the file management and storage platform of learning resources for iLearn, and can also be used independently to create a library of resources that are catalogued, easily searchable, and sharable.
Why is iShare the best option for storing L&T resources?
iShare is designed for storing and sharing files. Any staff member at MQ can use iShare for this purpose.
For teaching materials, iShare is the preferred platform as it allows searching, sharing with other staff, and for preserving content for future use by others (for example, if a staff member leaves the university, the materials are still available).
With iShare you can:
- Upload and store once and yet be able to use this one link across multiple units and in multiple places.
- Update a resource in iShare and all versions of that resource will be automatically updated. The URL will remain unchanged (so you don’t need to find all the locations of that resource and update them all individually).
- Easily share files with colleagues.
- Upload or store any size file (there is no file size limit)
- Ensure copyright compliance.
- Ensure version control.
When we say learning and teaching materials, we don’t mean your library readings and resources.
You should continue to use Leganto to manage reading lists, comply with copyright and licensing requirements, and make readings easily accessible to students. Read more about Managing unit resources with Leganto.
Why/how is it better than Google Drive, OneDrive?
Platforms such as OneDrive are not suitable for teaching resource storage, as they are attached to individual staff accounts, which are more suited to job-related file storage. You may find that document links you share from something like OneDrive might expire or you may find there are access issues.
Files in OneDrive or Google Drive also do not have a permanent link, and access is granted to individual users or groups from an individual owner’s account. The files can’t be searched or filtered by the intended audience using metadata or other keywords. Files stored in iShare on the other hand, are basically independent resources with a permanent direct link and with relevant metadata for the users to search or filter and access like a library. The resource owner can choose to make the resources accessible within MQ only or public.
If you have been using a Google doc as a live working document with students, such as for creating a place for students to add thoughts or ask questions to which the teaching staff member can respond, you’ll need to find an alternative.
In the case of collaboration only, where the actual document/resource does not need to be stored at all, Office365 SharePoint or Word doc (i.e. OneDrive) could be used.
Teaching materials that can be stored in iShare:
- Documents –pdf, word, excel, basically any document file types
- Images, videos
- Website files and links
- Activity files (zipped package)
- Audio files
- Other files such as H5P activities or storyline assets can also be stored and accessed, providing they do not require grading or feedback.
What you should NOT put in iShare:
- Personal documents
- Anything confidential
- Resources available through the library, e.g. PDFs of licensed journal articles or books or other licensed material*
- Material where a third party owns copyright*
- Administrative documentation or anything that cannot be disclosed to wider audiences or staff groups
- Anything that involves assessment or requires feedback.
* Make licensed readings available via Leganto. See how to manage unit resources.
Viewing, accessing and editing in iShare
iShare collections are configured with varying access control arrangements. The General Use collections that most staff have access to, are configured to allow all staff within departments or offices to be able to Edit a resource or Create a new version. However, Delete permission is only available to the item’s owner and the iShare system administrators.
Any staff can search the contents of the general use collections. There are additional purpose-built collections that only specific groups can search (e.g. Early childhood educational video collection). Students can only access iShare resources via the item links, so they either access through their iLearn units, or from any MQ webpages that contain the item links.
By default, the resources are accessible to MQ staff or students only. However, any resource can be made available for public access by the owner.
Currently, iShare is configured to allow most MQ staff to be able to search and access the resources that are stored in the general use collections. So, it is not intended to be used as a private file management platform. Contents stored in iShare are generally available to other teaching staff. Students cannot search the iShare collections, they can only access a resource if the URL is made available to them.
HOT TIP! Use naming conventions to easily find your resources
Instead of putting files inside a folder, you can just attach as many relevant files as necessary under the same item in iShare. That way the item remains searchable, and you have individual direct links to all files that can be shared with students through iLearn. For example, you could create an item with your unit code as the title and then add all your resources for that unit in one place to make locating them and updating them in the future easier.
However, if you really want a folder structure to maintain the hierarchy of files, you can just zip the folder and upload the zipped file as an item. This zipped file can be unzipped within iShare to let users access content as a whole folder or the files individually.
It is advised to provide a descriptive and meaningful title of the item and provide relevant keywords and other metadata when contents are contributed to iShare. This makes the resources more discoverable and useful in the long term, and makes the resources available to other teaching staff.
Instructions for using iShare
Watch these short videos demonstrating the steps to use iShare.
How to upload/contribute documents (or a folder of documents) to iShare:
How to link a file stored in iShare into a teaching unit in iLearn:
Access step by step instructions on the iShare Quick Guides site to show you how to:
- Search for a resource in iShare
- Obtain a link for a resource to put in your iLearn unit
- Contribute a resource (or a video) to iShare
If you do not have “Contribute” access to iShare, please raise a OneHelp ticket to request access.
If you have further questions about accessing or using iShare, please email email@example.com
Thanks to Mahbub Hassan and Alison Hayward for information, instructions and resources.
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