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It's time to improve access to equality and diversity resources

Because of the nature of my work – a combination of project management, research, and administration (we all seem to be getting more generic these days in the way we multi-task), I spend a certain amount of my time searching for, you guessed it, good quality, up-to-date, relevant equalities resources which can take a considerable amount of time. Some of the bugbears include trying numerous word combinations in search engines to little or no effect, finding resources that at first seem ideal but on closer inspection bear little or no relation to the subject matter at hand, or coming across dozens of documents that all contain snippets of relevant information that you then have to painstakingly piece together which is far from ideal.

There have been many goodwill gestures in the past in an attempt to house resources all under one roof and improve access, usually in response to demand from the sector, however online hubs of information usually grow to become unwieldy and non-user friendly, and end up becoming a source of irritation rather than a source of information. 

This is why I was interested to hear about the latest initiative that involves sector crowd sourcing to improve things so that you can find what you are looking for when you need it. I am referring to the Equalities Resources Review – the RRCrowd Project that is interested in hearing from just about anyone and everyone in order to improve access to equalities resources to support teaching, learning and assessment. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was consulted on such an initiative, but clearly our Skills Funding Agency colleagues appear to be genuinely interested in what we think.

Is this important to my role? – Absolutely. Could it make a difference? – Without a doubt. Take the survey at http://www.cvent.com/d/g4qqyv, and have your say. Spread the word!

Alistair Lockhart Smith

Project Officer, NIACE

Comments

Catina's picture

The survey Al refers to above closed in 2014. The process and tool we developed are now available to the sector on the Equalitiestoolkit website. 

We first dipped our toes into crowdsourcing the NIACE equalities websites in 2011, with this MHFE website - when, thanks to some funding from the Skills Funding Agency, we recruited a small number of virtual secondees to help us develop and curate content. Another group of MHFE virtual secondees followed in 2012. 

Then in 2013, we set up the equalitestoolkit website. We gave each of 41 Skills Funding Agency funded equality and diversity projects (EDIFdefinition) a project page, admin rights and carte blanche to develop and disseminate their projects live from day one. Our aim was that they should crowdsource a collective resource from the fund that would be greater than the sum of the 41 individual projects. We think they did brilliantly (even if it might not always have felt like it to them) but don't take our word for it. Take a look and decide for yourself at http://www.equalitiestoolkit.com/content/EDIF-intro 

Emboldened by that positive experience, we embarked on the RRCrowd project that Al refers to above. You can read all about the RRCrowd at http://bit.ly/1S2Nbk7 and when you search our curated resources collection on the equalitiestoolkit you'll be using The Equalities Tagging Tool (TETT).

The code to use the TETT to tag your own resources is also Open Source and available on GitHub at https://github.com/NIACE/TETT