Open Content Internship – Halfway Point!

A view of about half of the earth from space

Hi! I’m writing as I am half-way through the Open Content Internship. It doesn’t feel like it’s been nearly six weeks since my last post! I’m much more settled now – and have even figured out which of the many similar-looking floors of the office I’m supposed to be on!

Everything felt very new in the first week and, although I still have a lot of questions, I now have a sense of accomplishment each time I interpret license acronyms like ‘CC BY-NC-SA’! The first week was full of training and meeting people, and this has slowly transitioned into more focus on applying what we’ve learned. It’s been great to be able to work on materials that will actually be published.

One of the resources I’ve been working on adapting is now up on tes and it’s so exciting to see that people are downloading it. The tree identification lesson materials were created by Erica Zaja as part of the Geoscience Outreach course at the University of Edinburgh. I am biased but would really recommend the activities, which I can blame for the huge number of leaves and pine cones I’ve accumulated in the past month.

This experience has highlighted to me how much collaborative work goes into every resource used in a classroom. The time and effort that teachers spend finding resources, fitting them into the curriculum and preparing materials, or even creating their own, is definitely under-appreciated!

One of my favourite parts of this job is the constant opportunity to learn. We recently got the chance to attend a Wikipedia editing event called ‘Recovering Histories’ which focused on improving records on underrepresented topics on Wikipedia. Participants at the event edited or contributed to articles about Women in Red, LGBTQ+ History, Black History & Scotland’s links to slavery. It really interested me to learn about how Wikipedia works and the brilliant community of people aiming to make the internet more inclusive. I managed to create a short ‘stub’ article about Nora Greenberg, an Israeli trans rights activist and politician. As the Chairperson of Israel’s LGBT Task Force and a prominent activist it was surprising that she didn’t have a page already. I had always assumed that any public figure would automatically be included on Wikipedia, but learned at this event that it really depends on who contributors choose to write about.

I also attended the ISG reading group for the first time this week, and thought it was brilliant! The discussion topic was ‘Gen-Z in the Workplace’ and it was so interesting to meet and hear the ideas of lots of attendees from across the ISG. The discussion was so welcoming, and this blog would be far too long if I started talking about all my favourite points. I would really recommend joining the next one if you can!

I think the freedom we have been given to join events of our interest, structure our own work days and make judgement calls is helping me to grow more independent in my work. I am participating in the Edinburgh Award and as part of this have been encouraged to regularly reflect on my experience and work towards goals. I’ve been finding it very helpful to consciously think about what has been going well, what I’d like to improve on and how I work best.

In my last blog I wrote that I was enjoying working full time, which is still the case. I think because this role is keeping me busy and interested, the past six weeks have gone really quickly. Adapting the resources so that they are ready for publishing is good fun and there is lots of variety in the tasks and topics involved. Whilst editing, I learn a lot of the information included in the resources, get try out the interactive activities and also problem-solve when the copyright of materials is ambiguous.

There are so many incredible resources and pieces of media that are in the public domain, and this experience has definitely strengthened my belief in open access to educational materials. One of my favourite resources I’ve seen is this timeline on Wikimedia Commons listing the first images of Earth from space. If you have a minute I’d really recommend opening up a full-resolution version of ‘Earthrise’!

I’m excited to make the most of the opportunities available during the next half of this role. After twelve weeks I will have a lot to take away from this experience into my daily life and future jobs. But for now I’m just looking forward to seeing what the next six weeks will bring!

Header Image: “Earthrise” by Bill Anders, catalogued by the Johnson Space Center at NASA, via Wikimedia Commons, web page use permitted,