Starting an Open Content Curator Internship

Green ink fern print

Photo of AlyssaHi! I’m Alyssa, one of two Open Content Curator Interns at the Learning Teaching and Web Directorate of the ISG this summer. I am writing this as our first week of meeting new people, training and learning finishes up.

Over the summer we will be working on getting Geoscience and Earth Observation Outreach resources ready to be open licenced, so that they can be shared for as many people as possible to access. I’m looking forward to starting work on these projects and putting what we are learning into practice. It’s so exciting to get to work with people from different subject areas, and hopefully I pick up some new fun facts about the earth from their resources! Molly, who is an Open Content Intern also, studies Fine Art and Art History and I am usually doing Maths – this is a brilliant opportunity to collaborate with people from different schools of the University.

We have focused this week on an introductory course on Copyright and Open Education, and I’ve particularly enjoyed thinking about real-life examples of the relevant legislation and resources. One training session we attended covered the use of Open Resources to Diversify the Curriculum across a wide range of different subjects. Seeing the Creative Commons Licences we have been learning about used to improve the range of information available and make it more accessible was especially motivating.

Green ink fern print

The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, CC-BY, Henry Bradbury, The University Of Edinburgh, 1855

To put some of our learning about open content licences into practice, I’ll break up my text a bit with this lovely inked print of a fern!

So far, I’m enjoying working full time a lot (long may this feeling continue!). The working environment is overwhelmingly positive and it’s been so interesting to meet lots of the staff and hear them speak passionately about their roles. Due to the ongoing pandemic we have arranged to work in the office two out of five weekdays, then remotely the rest of the time. This pattern really suits me – we have the opportunity to experience working in an office but also time in between to work from home which I find more relaxed. The novelty of the office hasn’t worn off yet, and I felt very professional using an access card to get around!

This week I have definitely felt that our wellbeing is a top priority in the workplace. We are encouraged to take breaks and incorporate fun training sessions and catch-ups into our days. I felt that the absence of high pressure makes me so much more enthusiastic to work and improves my focus – it’s really nice to be motivated by genuine interest and not stress!

We have had the chance to attend lots of online training sessions and talks of our choice. The amount of flexibility that we have day-to-day was a pleasant surprise too. Most of the time we have been given a couple of tasks which we are free to work on at our own pace, around a few scheduled training sessions and calls each day. It feels quite similar to working on my degree coursework, but more supported because I know we will meet regularly to talk about how we are getting on. We attended a Digital Skills Festival Talk about the transition from University to remote work which included a lot of tips for making the most of our remote working time. One suggestion that I especially thought was helpful was to be proactive and reach out to people more when we’re not in the same building. I think I forget that people can be easily contacted with technology these days, and are almost always keen to chat!

I’m really excited for the rest of this summer and so glad to be in this role! I’m beginning to think about what extra projects I could work on and what resources I’d like to create. I think this internship has already been so beneficial to my own development and it would be brilliant to create resources that will last beyond this summer too.

Header image: The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, CC-BY, Henry Bradbury, The University Of Edinburgh, 1855