Blog Archives

Hot off the Press: Three new case studies are go!

We’ve published a number of interesting case studies and best practice examples over the past 6 weeks. To help keep you up-to-date, here’s a quick round up of the latest posts. Explore these and other case studies on

  • Collaborating to build “a city of information literacy, a city of Wikipedia” features Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at The University of Edinburgh. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Wikipedia ensures entries contain “fact checked information”, ideas for using Wikipedia in your teaching or are curious about what an edit-a-thon is you’ve come to the right place!
  • Find out more about how the Social Innovation Academy led by Edinburgh’s People Know How use OER to enable community focused training in partnership with a range of organisations. How did the scheme benefit participants and what’s next for this exciting collaboration?
  • Read more about how students are using Wikibooks to co-create open textbooks and critically engage with their own use of social media platforms as part of The University of Stirling’s Digital Media and Culture module led by lecturer Greg Singh in Using OER to Test Assumptions…  If you’re thinking of using open knowledge platforms in your teaching, don’t miss reading Greg’s advice!

Have you got an idea for a case study or open educational practice you want to feature? Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. Tweet @BeckPitt and @OEPScotland or email for more information.

Beck Pitt

Picture credits: 

Group brainstorm photo (People Know How: Used with Permission); Greg Singh (used with permission) and Edinburgh Gothic – Wikipedia editathon for Robert Lewis Stevenson Day 09.jpg by Mihaela Bodlovic ( [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Seminar: Open Educational Resources – An International Perspective

Tuesday 27 September, 2pm – 4pm

Common Room, The Open University in Scotland
10 Drumsheugh Gardens
EH3 7QJ Edinburgh
United Kingdom

To book please go to Eventbrite – spaces are limited.

The seminar will be presented by Rory McGreal who is the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning/International Council for Open and Distance Education Chair in Open Educational Resources at Athabasca University. He is also co-Editor of IRRODL and founder of the OER KnowledgeCloud, a repository of research articles. Previous positions include AVP Research and Executive Director of TeleEducationNB, a Canadian elearning network.


The presentation argues that the world’s knowledge is a public good that should be made available to everyone. The free and open sharing of educational resources can serve to promote the building of knowledge societies and the reduction of the knowledge divide that separates nations, as well as the divide within societies themselves. Open Educational Resources (OER) are becoming more widely available. The ability to reuse OER or repurpose, mix, mash, them without restriction is a major advantage in supporting online collaborations and self-directed learning. The relevance of OER is augmented by the exponential growth in online accessibility internationally.

There are user rights that are relevant in supporting the growth of learning internationally. These rights include the right to use content under licences that favour access over proprietary limitations on any technological platform of the users’ choice. Portability should be paramount. This includes rights to highlight, annotate, print, and share content within the spirit of fair use and copyright. Other rights include the right to receive a file that is not locked or crippled and subject to recall by the publisher; the right to convert files to different formats for use on a variety of devices and computer platforms. An essential right for learning would be that of allowing other users to access content either for shared learning or for future use by additional classes. OER, by definition, fit this description. They have minimal if any restrictions. They are technologically neutral, transmittable on different platforms and when built using commonly accepted or open software conforming to international interoperability standards, can be transported with little effort or concern by the users.

The internet houses the world’s treasure of knowledge. In this context the role of OER in providing learners and teachers with learning content, applications, games etc. is becoming increasingly more relevant. The internet is the world’s intellectual commons and OER renders this knowledge accessible to all. The world’s knowledge is a public good that should be made available to everyone. The free and open sharing of educational resources can serve to promote the building of knowledge societies and the reduction of the knowledge divide that separates nations, as well as the divide within societies themselves.




Heriot Watt Workshop: Thinking about Open

by Beck Pitt (OEPS project)

Yesterday Bea, Martin, Pete and I visited Heriot Watt University for the first of our Thinking About Open workshops. We had a great day with the Heriot Watt team exploring different facets of openness and sharing examples and experiences. A slide deck of activities is available on the OEPS project Slideshare account.

In the morning participants explored the concept of openness and examined different examples of open practice. We also utilised an adapted version of an activity Catherine Cronin had developed, which encourages people to reflect on their own practices and which generated some interesting discussion (thank you, Catherine!)  You can see some of the morning’s activity below. During the afternoon we looked at examples of where openness is making a real difference (including OpenStax College textbooks and the DigiLit project in Leicester) before finishing up with a look at Creative Commons licensing. There was a strong interest in MOOCs and discussion on the quality of OER, role of social media, intellectual property and copyright, how and what to share and why one should (or shouldn’t!) share material.

Martin also gave a great keynote presentation on his recent book The Battle for Open. You can revisit or watch the presentation:

A big thanks to Kathryn and Gill at Heriot Watt for making the workshop possible, and to all the participants.  Bea and I will be reflecting on our experiences of the workshop and reviewing feedback over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you’d like us to come and visit your institution check out our Workshops page or email us!