A midpoint reflection: OERs, EDI in tech, internship ideas

I was slightly alarmed when Charlie asked us to write a halfway point blog for the internship, because it still feels like I have so much I want to achieve. This is in terms of project completion and my personal goals. Since publishing Bethany Hickling’s OER, I have been working on another project about Rewilding, and the Satschool project.  Both need finalising, but I’m hoping to publish these OERs soon. One of the most enjoyable things about developing and adapting these OERs has been working with Charlie, Alyssa and the PhD students. I love working out my ideas with people who are also excited about the projects, and I’ve really enjoyed the research and time that the group has undertaken. It’s super exciting to see the possibilities the resources have.


It’s been really great to feel like I’m finally coming to the end of completing two more OERs that we’re hoping to get posted soon and begin working on our own OERs. I think a lot of the confidence I’ve gained through negotiation has been through the way that I’ve been treated with respect and trusted by Charlie to make these judgement calls. A lot of the design formatting has been left to us, and I’ve enjoyed considering the different roles and factors that this has pushed me towards. I’m enjoying the opportunity to be developing my own OERs; I’m organising and researching the content for one for disability Pride month which I hope to have completed and published by the end of July. I’ve been speaking with Kay and Charlie about the intention of it, considering where it could go and whether it would work with different Outreach courses. I hope it would. I touched on accessibility and it in my other blog briefly. I wrote previously about the amazing OERs that already exist on OpenEd: I want to produce something that contributes, and is a part of that future.


Recently, Alyssa and I joined in with a focus group run by digital safety intern Amy Yin and digital safety support officer Vicki Madden. Some of the most interesting things about the internship are seeing the connections to other sections of ISG and how they overlap. Participating in a focus group about digital safety was really interesting to me, not least because of meeting other interns and exploring different opinions, but also of the insights I was given into digital safety and much more how expansive it was than I realised. Digital safety implies that sort of tech, alienated sphere but it is actually much more about the interplay and leverage of the social roles online, particularly in discussing concerns like zoom bombing and targeted social harassment. There were discussions around wellbeing and how this was impacted, particularly in relating to the EDI (Equality and Diversity Inclusion) talk by Vicki and Lilli which I discussed in my other blog: women and minorities, such as LGBTQ+, BIPOC and disabled individuals are disproportionately targeted by online harassment. This isn’t something I’d considered as falling within the realm of it, but once again the importance of people working with technology was highlighted – actual humans and not an unbiased robot.


The hope of technology and its intersection was something discussed in the ISG book group. The topic this month was gen-Z in the workplace, and there was a range of articles, books and films. Vicki and Lilli led the discussion, and there were interesting and insightful themes which emerged. It was a big group, and I was pretty nervous, but I really enjoyed the different perspectives that people shared.  Something that I thought was really interesting was the generational divide and how relevant this actually was. Lorna talked about how the economy, uncertainty, short-term employment and rising costs of living (sound familiar?) defined the environment into which her generation graduated into. There was also the extremity of perspectives discussed, where ‘wokeness’ and extreme hate speech equally create their own echo chamber. The question of whether gen-Z are more ‘woke’ was posed. This extremity and tendency to divide and choose a side also reflects the uncertainty of change; it’s not always a defining generational trend or belief, but an attitude that spans across different groups and is very often put onto a particular generation in an attempt to make uniform sense of a changing world in a way we can understand. These extremes lack the nuance and complexity that make up a whole individual, and I wonder whether looking at a generation’s characteristics as overarching is in any way useful since it overlooks this. Looking at the behaviours and beliefs alone ignores what has produced them. The increased awareness of different identities and minorities, as platformed and connected by progress and technology, simply gives natural progression to those in this generation and the workplace.


Participating in the Edinburgh Award has helped me develop and reflect on a lot of these ideas and experiences. One of the components I chose to focus on is conscious reflection. Writing helps me work through my own ideas at a slower pace, so I can properly process everything that I am thinking. Blogging has really helped me shift my mindset and reflect on everything I’ve been working on. It’s also helped me to tentatively ask and join in with a lot of these activities. A lot of these aspects are often confidence related, and I am really proud to have built on these in the workplace. I’m looking forward to the rest of the internship and what it might bring.


Featured image: My puppy just woke up is by Molly Wickett is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0