Thanks to funds from UK-based Jisc, about 6,500 newly digitised museum objects from University College London and the University of Reading are now available to students, teachers, and the public at large.
Rare Ancient Egyptian artefacts (enhanced by 21st C. 3D imaging), digital images of zoological specimens, strange and beautiful anatomical prints, sixteenth-century portraits, and intriguing nineteenth-century scientific gadgets are just some examples of the digital artefacts recently added.
“Teaching using museum objects is increasingly popular in universities. However, hands-on time is always limited and providing access to our collections digitally overcomes barriers to independent student learning," says Leonie Hannan, teaching fellow in object-based learning at University College London.
This online compendium of objects, which will add to a bank of 150,000 already existing digital resources from the two museums, can be freely viewed, downloaded, and used on a Creative Commons licence. It is available through Culture Grid, the UK gateway to heritage resources.
Also available is a broad range of interdisciplinary Open Educational Resources (OER) that are both apt for online learning, and suitable for burgeoning initiatives like Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These OER's can be accessed through JORUM (the online educational resource sharing site), using the search term OBL4HE.
"We’re proud at Jisc to see how university museum staff has joined forces with academic colleagues and students to ensured the resources created respond to the needs of the teachers and learners," asserts Paola Marchionni, programme manager at Jisc.
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