SOLR:Reusing Resources from SOL*R

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General Best Practices for Reusing Learning Resources

NOTE: The information in this section applies to all course management systems (CMSs). Also see the best practices that apply to your post-secondary institution’s CMS.

Linking to a Learning Resource Instead of Downloading

Overview

There are two ways to use a SOL*R online learning resource. You can download the learning resource from SOL*R and then import it into your CMS, or you can link directly to the resource in SOL*R. The advantage of linking to a learning resource is that your institution does not have to host the learning resource.

Prerequisites for Linking to a Resource

Linking directly to a learning resource in SOL*R is possible if:

  • The resource can be used as-is and you don’t intend to modify it.
  • The resource can be previewed in SOL*R.
  • CMS features that track content are not required
  • The resource is licensed by the Creative Commons or your CMS system administrator has worked with the SOL*R Support Team to enable access to SOL*R learning resources directly from your institution’s CMS.

How to Link Directly to a Learning Resource

To link directly to a SOL*R resource from within a course in your CMS:

1. Preview the learning resource in SOL*R.

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2. Highlight and then copy (press <Ctrl>+<C>) the resource’s URL.

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3. Create a link to the URL from within your course.

IMPORTANT: If users can’t access the learning resource in SOL*R, contact your CMS system administrator. Your system administrator may need to work with the SOL*R Support Team to enable access to SOL*R learning resources directly from your institution’s CMS.

Tips for Reusing SOL*R Learning Resources in Different Formats

IMS Content Packages

  • Different CMSs use different terminology. An IMS Content Package is sometimes referred to as a SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) content package. SCORM is the predecessor to the IMS Content Package standard. If your CMS supports importing SCORM, it will also import IMS Content Packages.
  • If you need to modify an IMS Content Package from SOL*R, or make use of your CMS’s tracking features, don’t link to the resource directly. Download the IMS Content Package to your desktop, make any required changes, and then upload and import it to your CMS.
  • If you use your CMS’s import functionality the module or course contained in a SOL*R IMS Content Package should import directly. See your CMS documentation for details.
  • An IMS Content Package has a .zip extension so sometimes it is difficult to determine if a resource is an IMS Content Package. Look at the contents of the zip file. If a file called imsmanifest.xml is present in the root directory, the zip file contains an IMS Content Package.

Zip Files

  • Some CMSs allow you to upload a zip file and unpack it on the CMS server. Others require that you unpack it first. When you unpack or import a learning resource in zip format, be sure the directory structure and links between files are preserved. Otherwise, relative links will not work properly. Refer to your CMS documentation or your institution’s CMS support person for guidance.

Edit Content Using Standards-compliant Third Party Tools

Overview

There are two alternatives for making changes to an online learning resource after you have downloaded it from SOL*R:

  • Import the resource into your CMS and edit it from within the CMS.
  • Edit the resource using a third party tool and then import it into your CMS.

It is recommended that you modify content outside of your CMS using standards-compliant third party tools.

Why Use Third Party Tools?

Third party tools are intended for authoring (i.e., creating and editing content), whereas CMSs are designed primarily to enable delivery within a specific CMS environment. Editing within a CMS often introduces proprietary aspects to the content. This makes it more difficult for the modified content to be used in other delivery environments.

See Standalone (Third Party) Tool Selection Guidelines in the Best Practices re: Other (Non-CMS) Tools section of the Collaborative Support Area for a list of editing tools that allow you to keep your content "clean".