MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY USE CASE
Macquarie University (MQ) has been using openEQUELLA since 2013, initially as a centralised digital repository and copyright management system for their Library eReserves, before expanding its use into other areas, such as for Learning and Teaching Resources and as an integrated Multimedia Library. openEQUELLA’s interoperability was a key factor for MQ when choosing which digital content management system they would adopt, as well as its copyright management and highly customisable permissions management capabilities.
- Customised permissions – Granular control as an administrator is key, particularly for those departments that have strict restriction requirements, such as early childhood education
- Interoperability – Seamless connection to other systems at a level of customisation rarely seen and that affords full flexibility
In their own words
“For all the vendors we deal with, I can tell you that Edalex has been one of the best – for their customer service, ease of direct access and collegiate collaboration. You just don’t get that elsewhere. Managers and their support staff are equally accessible, friendly and you can reach out direct and get an answer quickly and easily. We know that software can always be improved upon over time, but we can only have those in-depth, critical conversations that you really need to have with a vendor, thanks to the relationships we have with the Edalex team. They feel far more like a colleague than a vendor.”
– Mahbub Hassan, Senior Technology Specialist at Macquarie University
Year of Adoption
Copyright Agency Reporting
Learning & Teaching Resources
Central YouTube Channel
Mahbub Hassan, Senior Technology Specialist at Macquarie University has been working with openEQUELLA since 2013 after joining the University in late 2012. “EQUELLA was the leader in the market thanks to its copyright management capabilities – a necessity for us to be able to meet our Copyright Agency (CA) report requirements (formerly known as Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) reports) – something no other platform offered at the time,” he said. “Additionally, the ability of EQUELLA to seamlessly connect with our other systems – such as our Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) and Kaltura video streaming platform – was, I believe, key to the initial adoption decision,” Hassan continued.
The jouney so far
EQUELLA (as it was known then) was first implemented in Macquarie University’s Library eReserves and Moodle LMS, primarily for its copyright management capabilities. In some fields – such as medicine, geography and environmental studies – course content includes a lot of high-quality images and graphics. These are usually licensed images that have a variety of applicable copyright restrictions, creating an administrative headache for Library staff.
Once openEQUELLA was up and running smoothly, Hassan identified that they wanted to introduce new reporting capabilities to better deliver on their copyright obligations. In consultation with the Edalex team, Macquarie implemented a customised solution that expanded the existing reports to show, for example, how many times the materials were read or used, which they wanted to view over various durations – each semester, each year, and so on. “This was in the early days,” Hassan chuckles, “these features are standard now! The customised reporting beefed-up what was an already critical tool for our Library.” He goes on: “In its development, we interacted collegiately with the Edalex team, sharing ideas and discussing possibilities in an open manner that resulted in a really solid end result.”
As Hassan and his team became more familiar with the capabilities of the platform, so did their use of it in a wider context, and at a more integrated level. University teaching staff were finding that as they created and copied courses in Moodle, there was a lot of duplicated content in their systems – which used up a significant amount of space. Not only that, learning and teaching resources that might ideally be used across multiple courses, could not easily be shared with fellow teachers or between courses within the LMS resulting in lots of duplicated time and effort.
openEQUELLA provided the ideal solution as a centrally housed digital repository, at the beginning for PDF and similar type resources, then, as video became a more widely used medium, for multimedia files across the institution. “The biggest growth in our use of openEQUELLA – called iShare within the Macquarie community – has been for video and multimedia content,” Hassan shared with us. “LMS file size limits curbed our ability to store and use videos in any meaningful way. openEQUELLA changed all of that, handling large files without a hitch. Even better, it integrated with Kaltura, YouTube and the LMS to not only extend our ability to use video overall, but also make the videos easy to search for, find quickly and use,” he continued. “We’ve found that this is how most of our staff are introduced to openEQUELLA [via video files]. Then, once they start using it, they find out how easy it is to use – and after that, there’s no stopping them,” Hassan added with a laugh.
“Even when we utilise other video capture software, the flexibility and interoperability of openEQUELLA has kept it as the preferred platform for storage and sharing and has dramatically reduced duplicated effort and increased the reuse of multimedia materials,” Hassan commented. “Previously, teachers couldn’t easily access files or contribute anything themselves. Now, they may record an entire lecture on a separate product, then cut it into shorter, bite-sized videos that are uploaded into iShare [openEQUELLA]. At the flick of a switch, they can determine its copyright status, whether it’s publicly available or for private use only. They can assign meta-data for easy discoverability by other teachers and then use it in an LMS course straight away. All of these controls and more are managed seamlessly in openEQUELLA and through its integration with other systems, so that all our teachers and staff need to focus on is the content they’re producing and how they want it used.”
Macquarie customised an integration with YouTube to further harvest and publish videos, using a centralised YouTube channel. Previously, teachers were uploading videos to their own channels, siloing the resources to that particular individual. “An LMS is not generally considered a place for sharing. It’s one reason we called our instance of openEQUELLA “iShare”, to encourage resource sharing among staff,” Hassan mused. With the integrated central YouTube channel, video content can now be managed regardless of who’s teaching a course, from one semester to the next.
Looking into the future, Hassan’s intentions for openEQUELLA remain in the multimedia sphere. “COVID has changed so much… video is such a powerful teaching tool, but especially after the last year or so with everything moving online – it’s an absolute ‘must have’,” he stated definitively.