The University of Edinburgh’s Vision for Open Education

Here at the University of Edinburgh we believe that open education and OER are strongly in line with our institutional mission to deliver impact for society, discover, develop and share knowledge, and make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to the world.

OER Vision

The University has a vision for OER, championed by Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning and Director of Learning and Teaching Web Services.  This vision which has three strands, building on our excellent education and research collections, traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment and the university’s civic mission.  These are:

  • For the common good – encompassing every day teaching and learning materials.
  • Edinburgh at its best – high quality resources produced by a range of projects and initiatives.
  • Edinburgh’s Treasures – content from our world class cultural heritage collections.

OER Policy

This vision is backed up by an OER Policy, approved by our Learning and Teaching Committee, which encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience.  This OER Policy is itself CC licensed and is adapted from an OER Policy that has already been adopted by a number of other institutions in the UK.  The fact that this policy was approved by the Learning and Teaching Committee is significant because it places open education and OER squarely in the domain of teaching and learning.

OER Service

In order to support this policy, we also have an OER Service that provides staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER and engaging with open education.  We run a wide range of digital skills workshops for staff and students focused on copyright, open licencing, OER and playful engagement.  And we provide a one stop shop where you can access open educational resources produced by staff and students across the university.   As well as working closely with our students, the OER Service also hosts Open Content Creation student interns every summer.

Near Future Teaching

Openness is also at the heart of the Near Future Teaching project undertaken by a team from the Centre for Research in Digital Education, led by Sian Bayne, Assistant Principal Digital Education.  This project co-created a values based vision for the future of digital education at the University that is community focused, post digital, data fluent, assessment oriented, playful and experimental, and boundary challenging.  One of the ways these goals can be achieved is through increasing openness.  For example, the report calls for boundary challenging digital education that is lifelong, open and transdisciplinary, and the actions required to achieve these objectives are all centered on committing to openness.


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[Featured Image: –open–, Jeremy Brooks, CC BY-NC, flickr]