Two Months after starting the Internship

Hello again! It is hard to imagine that it’s almost two full months since I started my first-ever internship, but yes, the time has flown. During the internship so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about new things, such as copyrights and open education, creating OERs, finding CC-licensed online resources from the University’s rich heritage collections, and having great colleagues and occasional sweet treats from nearby cafés! As this is a midway point, I would like to look back on what I have mainly worked on and enjoyed, as well as a prospect for the rest of my internship period.

For about a month, my fellow intern August and I have worked on creating an Archaeology OER, “Introduction to Archaeology”, to be used at primary schools. There will be a post soon about the resource itself, but it was initially created by a student as a part of the Geoscience Outreach course, and we adopted it for publication. We have done a lot of work, including splitting this enormous and rich original resource into seven lessons, checking all the images’ attributions, checking accessibility, creating easy-to-navigate teacher’s guides and interactive contents, and going back through and fixing layouts multiple, multiple times… and we are now about to publish it in a few days (hopefully!). It has been a big project, and I am so happy that we made interactive and exciting learning materials for future archaeologists while trying to make it as easy as possible for teachers to understand and adapt to their classes.

The project has taken much more of our time than we first thought. It has taught me the amount of hard work behind every quality publication, be it books or online content, and I will definitely appreciate the invisible work behind any final product much more than before. Also, this work made me find the field that lies between academia and the outside community very exciting to explore. It is sometimes easy to forget its existence while at a university, and the distance between the academic and the lay audience can be an obstacle when disseminating valuable knowledge if it is not properly recognised. But once it’s acknowledged, it’s a fertile ground to try new ways and be creative! For the Archaeology resource, I enjoyed the use of animations and a special creative kit (such as its Archaeology Passport!) which make learning new concepts for kids easier and more active, and I want to keep thinking about communicating academic contents during the rest of and after the summer.

Another aspect of the internship so far is the opportunities to participate in ISG-wide or summer intern-specific workshops and projects. It varies from a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to a project management workshop, from a lunchtime reading group to a colouring book illustration workshop, and I have enjoyed the variety of work I got to do throughout this summer. I am especially grateful for the opportunities to learn about topics like project management or accessibility, which are very useful and highly relevant to the work I do now, as well as others, but I did not think about or set aside time for during semesters.

Engaging with Wikipedia articles did not come to my mind before, either, as I always thought about not citing it. But I can write it if not cite it! After learning about the inequality that the ‘free’ and ‘open’ encyclopedia has as a mirror of society, I have got fascinated about the potential for any student (and anyone really!) to be a knowledge activist. For example, so far, I have created and improved a few translated articles about notable Scottish artists and designers, which allowed me to research what I am interested in, develop my translation skill which I always wanted, and get into a habit of citing reliable sources while making some impacts to society. I was genuinely happy when I checked the statistics and found that there are actually some visitors to my articles!

A line drawing of Mary Brück with a backdrop of constellations, the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh and Mary Brück Building.

Last but not least, using a different part of my brain for creating an illustration piece for the Women in STEM Colouring Book after spending weeks on the Archaeology OER was definitely the highlight of July. I drew Mary Brück, the notable astronomer who worked at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University, and now a building at the King’s campus was named after. So, please check out the 2023 edition of the We Have Great Stuff Colouring Book when it’s out!

I want to draw this to a close with some ideas for the coming month. I am still deciding what OER to create next! Another Geosciences OER on rocks, or a whole new OER on art or architecture for me to build from scratch? It is a pity that the time is limited and I cannot make everything, but I hope to have something new finished and published by the end of summer!

Header Image: William Henry Playfair, the Royal College of Surgeons, CC BY 3.0, the University of Edinburgh.

Thank you for reading, and if you like, stay tuned on our Twitter, @OpenEdEdinburgh !