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nof-digitise Technical Advisory Service

NOF-digitise and Curriculum Online

David Dawson, Resource

An Information Paper from the NOF Technical Advisory Service


The New Opportunities Fund NOF-digitise Programme was established to digitise learning resources for informal learning; the Programme is unable to support the development of learning resources specifically targeted at a formal curriculum. This guiding principle applies equally to formal curricula in schools, colleges and universities, as well as accredited professional qualifications.

The NOF-digitise Programme is now well under way, and all the projects' content is accessible through EnrichUK ( ). Many projects have recognised that the materials they have created may be valuable in the teaching of formal curriculum. This is particularly the case since the launch of the Curriculum Online. website,

What is Curriculum Online?

Curriculum Online is a programme developed by the DfES to give teachers access to great multi-media materials to support the Curriculum as taught in England; it also provides funding to buy the content.

The programme is designed to support the Government's vision of making every school in the UK a centre of ICT excellence. ICT is already proving to be a powerful tool in maximising the appeal and effectiveness of schooling. The development of the Curriculum Online programme will help even more teachers and learners benefit from the use of multi-media materials in the classroom, so helping to turn this vision into a reality.

The Curriculum Online programme features a number of key elements:

  • A wide range of multi-media content for teachers to use in the classroom
  • Access to that content via the website Products can be searched by Key Stage and subject subject - some carry teacher reviews
  • eLearning Credits (eLCs) - money for schools to buy that content
  • a Content Advisory Board - to make sure that products are available for all curriculum subjects

The wide range of multi-media materials - currently some 20,000 and growing - is all categorised by the National Curriculum and Key Stage - up to and including Key Stage 4. Products designed for specialist educational groups such as SEN are also covered.

NOF-digitise Programme and Curriculum Online

Materials and learning resources funded through the NOF-digitise programme can be added to the Curriculum Online catalogue. Making multi-media lesson content available through the Curriculum Online website will encourage the use of NOF-project websites by teachers using Curriculum Online. Resources created with NOF-digitise funding should be made available free of charge through the website, meeting the condition of funding that NOF-digitise projects are made freely available through the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) and the People's Network.

Projects may, however, decide to undertake additional work to repurpose materials or resources to enable them to directly support the curriculum. This additional work must be entirely funded from alternative sources, whether from the existing budgets of the institutions that have developed the project, from other external sources that can support the development of curriculum-related resources, or through a collaboration with a private sector partner. These resources developed specifically to support the curriculum can then be offered through the Curriculum Online website, either free of charge or for purchase by schools and teachers using their eLearning Credits (eLCs) money.

Resource, DfES and DCMS are working together to encourage the involvement of the cultural sector in Curriculum Online. This includes the Cultural Sector Pilot programme, funded by DfES. Four organisations are being supported in registering their materials on Curriculum Online, and as a result a 'how to' guide is being drafted. This is due for completion by the end of 2004. The organisations involved in the pilot are Shrewsbury Museums Service, Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, the Royal Shakespeare Collection and the British Museum. One of the organisations involved in the Cultural Sector Pilot, the Shakespeare Collection, is a NOF-digitise project, and approaches taken by a number of the other organisations are broadly similar to those taken by the Fund's projects. As a result, the guidance can help projects see how the resources created through the NOF-digitise programme might directly support the curriculum.

How to become a Curriculum Online supplier

Details of how to become a supplier can be found at

Resource is very pleased to have ensured that public libraries, registered museums and publicly funded archives are to have every opportunity to register as suppliers for Curriculum Online. With the agreement of DfES, Becta will check the application by any public library, registered museum, or publicly-funded archive against a list supplied to Becta by Resource. If they appear on the list, they will be deemed to have passed the due diligence checks being conducted by Becta on behalf of Curriculum Online. Organisations will then need to complete a contract as part of the process. There are currently two versions of the contract, one for Non-Departmental Public Bodies and similar public sector bodies, such as local authorities, and a second which applies to charities, companies and other organisations.

Museums, libraries and archives should complete the registration form in the usual way, making sure that they choose 'Public Sector' from the TYPE OF ORGANISATION box. In the REFERENCE FIELD the term 'museum', 'archive' or 'library', as appropriate, should be entered and the remainder of the form completed in the ususal way.


UKOLN is funded by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher and Further Education Funding Councils, as well as by project funding from the JISC and the European Union. UKOLN also receives support from the University of Bath where it is based.

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