For the majority of my academic career as a contract researcher I have worked on national or international projects and services with distributed teams of colleagues, or in outward facing liaison roles that require me to communicate and engage with a wide range of peers and organisations in the domains of open education and learning technology. This will change later this year when I take up a new role in the department of Education Design and Engagement at the University of Edinburgh. Although I will still be working in the broad domain of open education, my role will be focused more on embedding and supporting open knowledge, open education and OER within the institution. I will be working to ensure that OER creation and reuse is incorporated into a range of academic development programmes and initiatives across the university and exploring the development of OER for schools and colleges to meet the university’s widening access agenda. I also hope to become more familiar with the institution’s internal systems and explore how these can be used to support open education. I plan to further develop my Wikimedia skills and become more familiar with editing Wikipedia and Wikidata so that I can help to ensure that the use of Wikipedia as a tool to engage staff in digital literacy and open knowledge creation is embedded across the institution and continues to be supported after the university’s Wikimedian in Residence post draws to a close at the end of the year. As my new role will involve line management of a small team of colleagues, I will also aim to refresh my people management skills and familiarise myself with the university’s equality and diversity policies and guidelines. I’m looking forward to having greater opportunity to share the experience I have gained over twenty years working in learning technology with colleagues at the Edinburgh and I hope I can use this experience to support the university’s vision for open knowledge, OER and online learning.
For the sake of my own personal and professional development I believe it will also be important to maintain the global network of open education peers and practitioners I have built up over the years and I hope that I can balance my new role with continuing to engage with international open education policy and practice initiatives.
I will honour my commitments to ALT, Wikimedia UK and the Open Knowledge Open Education Group whose boards and advisory groups I sit on. I hope I can develop my skills and experience as a board member and make an active and meaningful contribution to these organisations.
Through Open Scotland I will continue to work with colleagues to promote the benefits of open education policy and practice to support all sectors of Scottish education and will continue to lobby the Scottish Government to adopt open licences for publicly funded educational content.
And perhaps most importantly, I hope to continue developing as an open education practitioner, and to use the wide range of social media channels I am privileged to have access to to reflect on my own professional practice, to learn from the experiences of peers and colleagues, and to be guided by the principles of openness and inclusivity.