Supporting the University’s vision, purpose and values with OER

Open Education Resources (OERs) are digital resources used in the context of teaching and learning that have been released by the copyright holder under an open licence permitting their use and re-purposing by others.

We believe that open educational resources play an important role in supporting our vision, purpose and values; to discover knowledge and make the world a better place, and to ensure our teaching and research is diverse, inclusive, accessible to all and relevant to society.  In line with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources we also believe that OER can make a critical contribution to achieving the aims of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which the University and Students Association are committed to through the SDG Accord.

We have collected OERs from our showcase that are in line with specific SDGs and listed them for ease of educators wishing to find SDG aligned resources. All OERs have also been tagged with the relevant SDG and number for searching or identifying purposes.

The University of Edinburgh’s OER Policy

The University of Edinburgh has an OER policy that outlines the institutional position on OERs and provides guidelines for practice in learning and teaching. You can find the policy on the Academic Services, Policies page under Learning and Teaching, or directly via the link below:

Our vision for OER

The OER vision for University of Edinburgh has three strands, each building on our history of the Edinburgh Settlement, excellent education, research collections, enlightenment and civic mission.

For the common good

  • Teaching and learning materials exchange to enrich the University and the sector.
  • To put in place the support frameworks to enable any member of University of Edinburgh to publish and share online as OER teaching and learning materials they have created as a routine part of their work at the University.
  • To support members of University of Edinburgh to find and use high quality teaching materials developed within and without the University.

Edinburgh at its best

  • Showcasing openly the highest quality learning and teaching.
  • To identify collections of high quality learning materials within each school department and research institute to be published online for flexible use, to be made available to learners and teachers as open courseware (e.g. recorded high profile events, noteworthy lectures, MOOC and DEI course content).
  • To enable the discovery of these materials in a way that ensures that our University’s reputation is enhanced.

Edinburgh’s treasures

  • Making available online a significant collection of unique learning materials available openly to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural well-being.
  • To identify a number of major collections of interdisciplinary materials, archives, treasures, museum resources to be digitised, curated and shared for the greater good and significant contribution to public engagement with learning, study and research (e.g. archive collections drawn from across disciplines, e.g. History of Medicine/Edinburgh as the birthplace of medicine/Scottish history/social change).
  • To put in place policy and infrastructure to ensure that these OER collections are sustainable and usable in the medium to longer term.

The OER Service

The Open Educational Resources Services is a central service based in Information Services that provides staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER, copyright and open licensing, and engaging with open education. We run a programme of digital skills workshops and events throughout the year, including monthly sessions with Library colleagues on copyright and licensing in Higher Education.

We also run tailored workshops and training sessions for schools and colleges. If you’d like us to run a session for you please get in touch!

Find out more about our digital skills programme on our Events page.

Why you, as an educator, should get involved with OER

Creation of OER has big benefits to individuals, educational institutions and society as a whole. If you are an educator it makes sense to create and use OER.

In Higher or Tertiary education, and for researchers, OER is not just about access to materials, but about making it possible (usually via open access models) to share materials more easily and creating platforms for more work to become visible (and therefore attract funding).

Why re-invent the wheel?
Teachers are responsible for creating great learning experiences, not (necessarily) for creating all the resources needed for this themselves. Reusing existing OER frees up time that can be spent on other aspects of the teaching and learning process. Their use can help you expand your range of teaching materials.

Raising your profile
Getting your materials out there as an educator can both help raise your profile and allow your resources to be improved by other users. You will improve your profile and impact, potentially collecting kudos/evidence towards promotion.

Take your resources with you
By making your teaching resources open you are also allowing yourself to take these materials with you when you move from one institution to another.

Improving your teaching
Creating OER will improve your practice by encouraging you to reflect. You will find people interested in and teaching/learning the same areas as you. Use and creation of OER facilitates looking outside your immediate environment and getting broader and different views on topic areas. You will learn new stuff which will reinvigorate your teaching.

Why you should get involved with (using) OER (as an educator)? was re-mixed from The Open Education Handbook licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (Unported) v3.0 (Attribution CC BY)

To learn more about Scotland’s approach to OER read the Scottish Open Education Declaration