The University’s mission is the creation, dissemination and curation of knowledge. As a world-leading centre of academic excellence we aim to: Enhance our position as one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities and to measure our performance against the highest international standards; Provide the highest quality learning and teaching environment for the greater well-being of our students; Make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural well-being. As a great civic university, Edinburgh …will continue to look to the widest international horizons, enriching both itself and Scotland. (University Mission)
‘Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.’ (Capetown Open Education Declaration)
The sharing of open educational materials is in line not only with University of Edinburgh’s mission but also with a global movement in which research- led institutions play a significant role. I’d suggest an OER vision for University of Edinburgh might have three strands, each building on our history of the Edinburgh Settlement, excellent education, research collections, social responsibility, enlightenment and civic mission.
1. ‘For the common good’: Teaching and learning materials exchange to enrich the University and the sector.
- To put in place the support frameworks to enable any member of University of Edinburgh to publish and share online as OER teaching and learning materials they have created as a routine part of their work at the University. (E.g handouts, teaching materials, lesson plans, recorded lectures, research seminar content, blended-learning content, datasets, problem sheets and tools).
- To support members of University of Edinburgh to find and use high quality teaching materials developed within and without the University.
2. ‘Edinburgh at its best’: Showcasing openly the highest quality learning and teaching:
- To identify collections of high quality learning materials within each school department and research institute to be published online for flexible use, to be made available to learners and teachers as open courseware.(E.g. Recorded high profile events, noteworthy lectures, MOOC and DEI course content).
- To enable the discovery of these materials in a way which ensures that our University’s reputation is enhanced.
3. ‘Edinburgh’s treasures’: Making available online a significant collection of unique learning materials available openly to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural well-being.
- Identifying a number of major collections of interdisciplinary materials, archives, treasures, museum resources to be digitised, curated and shared for the greater good and significant contribution to public engagement with learning, study and research. (E.g. Archive collections drawn from across disciplines e.g History of Medicine/Edinburgh as the birthplace of medicine/ Scottish history/ social change)
- To put in place policy and infrastructure to ensure that these OER collections are sustainable and usable in the medium to longer term.
I suspect the expertise ( although not the resources*) to deliver each of these strands exists within the University through partnership between Schools and Information Services. This vision would build upon work, custom and practice already in place within the University but offers an opportunity to take a strategic approach to publishing open educational resources at scale. What else should be included?
*The annual cost of running MIT OCW is about $3.5 million