Open Assessment Practices

Open Sign

A wide range of open assessment practices have been adopted by schools and colleges across the University, enabling students to demonstrate the relevance of their field of study and share their scholarship in real-world contexts, while at the same time contributing to the global pool of open knowledge.

OER Creation

A number of course have incorporated open educational resource creation assignments into the curriculum.

MSc in Digital Education

As part of the Digital Futures for Learning course on the MSc in Digital Education run by the Centre for Research in Digital Education students are asked to create their own Open Educational Resources (OERs). The aim of the OER assignment is to provide a high-quality, engaging introduction to topics each student has explored in a previous ‘position paper’ assignment. You can read course leader Dr Jen Ross’ reflection on the OER assignment here: Digital Futures for Learning: An OER assignment, and view some of the OERs created by Digital Education students here: Edinburgh’s OERs and Digital Education Showcase.

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice

The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice is a programme offered by the Institute of Academic Development. The programme includes an optional Digital Education course that requires students to demonstrate a critical awareness and understanding of the key themes and issues in digital education, as well as gain an understanding of the influences of digital environments on pedagogic practices. As part of this course students are required to create an open educational resource they can use with their students as part of their teaching.  Course leader Celeste McLaughlin as written about the assignment here: Open educational practice: Creating Open Educational Resources as part of a course assignment and you can find some examples of OERs created by students here: Edinburgh’s OERs.

Academic Blogging

Blogging assignments have been incorporated in courses around the University for a number of years and the creation of a centrally supported Academic Blogging Services in 2018 now provides colleagues with a range of options and support to integrate blogging into their courses.   Teaching Matters blog highlights a number of examples of courses that have adopted academic blogging assignments:

This open licensed podcast also explores the benefits and challenges of using blogging as an innovative form of assessment:

Wikipedia Assignments

With support from the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, a number of schools and colleges have successfully integrated Wikipedia assignments into the curriculum.  These include Global Health MSc, Digital Sociology MSc, Reproductive Biology Honours, Translation Studies, World Christianity MSc and Data Science for Design MSc.  Creating Wikipedia entries enables students to develop valuable information literacy and communication skills, showcase their research and scholarship, and make a significant contribution to the worlds biggest open educational resource, Wikipedia.  For example a Wikipedia article, created by Reproductive Biology student Aine Kavanagh, on high-grade serous carcinoma, one of the most common forms of ovarian cancer, which includes 60 references and original diagrams, has been viewed over 80,000 times since 2016. And World Christianity students have created new articles on Asian Feminist Theology and Sub-Saharan Political Theology ensuring that the encyclopaedia represents diverse knowledge, not just white Northern-hemisphere perspectives.

You can find out more about Wikipedia assignments here: Wikipedia in Education and Dr Iraklis Pantopoulos and Dr Charlotte Bosseaux, reflect on their experience of supporting an MSc in Translation Studies assignment here: Translation and Open Education – An Experiment using Wikipedia.

GeoSciences Outreach and Engagement Course

The School of GeoSciences Outreach and Engagement course is an innovative 4th year undergraduate course that provides students with the opportunity to develop their own science communication and engagement project. Over the course of two semesters students undertake an outreach project that communicates an element of GeoSciences outside the university community. Students have the opportunity to work with schools, museums, outdoor centres and community groups to create a wide range of resources for science engagement including  classroom teaching materials, leaflets, websites, and smartphone/tablet applications.  Students gain experience of science outreach, public engagement, teaching and learning, and knowledge transfer while working in new and challenging environments and developing a range of transferable skills that enhance their employability.

A key element of the GeoSciences Outreach course is to develop resources with a legacy that can be reused and disseminated for use by other communities and organisations.  Working with the OER Service Open Content Curation Interns take these resources one step further by copyright clearing the materials and releasing them under open license on Open.Ed and TES where they can be found and reused by school teachers.

You can find out more about the GeoSciences Outreach course here:

And you can read a reflection on our Open Content Curation interns here:


Student-Led, Individually-Created Courses (SLICCs) offer a reflective framework for students to gain academic credits for co- and extra-curricular experiences and to develop their own set of personal and professional skills and attributes through this experience.

Currently targeted at first and second year undergraduate students, SLICCs offer the opportunity to earn 20 academic credits for involvement in a professional development, internship, work experience or research project experience of their choosing during their summer vacation.

While undertaking a SLICC, students are required to blog regularly about their experiences, and to submit a final reflective report about how they have addressed their learning outcomes at the end of the course.

Find out more about SLICCs here: Student-Led, Individually-Created Courses.