Cecily Plascott – Open Content Curator Intern 2018
Part of the University of Edinburgh’s mission statement is to, ‘make a significant, sustainable, and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK, and the rest of the world’. For the University’s impact to transcend the institution itself, the resources created within the University must be opened up to broader access on a potentially international scale. I am lucky enough to be working within the Educational Design and Engagement team as the Open Content Curator intern, which is moving towards this goal by facilitating the production and distribution of a variety of open educational resources. On the frontier of my role is the School of GeoSciences’ outreach programme, in which students engage with local schools and produce different types of teaching resources as their final project. These resources are then distributed across relevant repositories online and are free for anyone – teachers, students, curious browsers – to access, download, and benefit from.
This role appealed to me because education is something I have started to think about seriously over my time studying in Edinburgh. Throughout my History degree, I have focused a lot on mid-20th Century American liberalism, the pinnacle moment of which was perhaps Lyndon B. Johnson’s proclamation of the ‘Great Society’. On the subject of education, he stated, ‘The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents’. This positioning of access to education and the sharing of knowledge as a necessary right and fundamental component of improving quality of life has stuck with me. I believe there should be no physical limit imposed on education; knowledge should transcend borders and everyone, in my mind, has an equal right to learn.
The movement by the University of Edinburgh to encourage the creation of OERs and the continuing opening up of resources therefore not only aligns with its mission statement, but with my own views on education. It is exciting to see the expanding opportunities to offer and promote new resources, and, while most of my initial focus has been on the GeoSciences’ programme, there are some interesting potential projects which would open up different types of content in alternate subject areas. All in all, I am very excited for the summer ahead and my part in helping get some of the amazing resources created at the University out there for everyone.