2b) An understanding of your target learners

For the purpose of this section my “target learners” are my peers and colleagues who are part of the connected communities of learning technologists, open learners and networked scholars who I engage with as an open practitioner and a learning technologist.

As an open education practitioner, I see peer learning and networked participatory scholarship as being fundamental aspects of my practice. I am continually engaging with colleagues within my institution and across the open education community and learning technology domain more widely, through a wide range of networks and social media channels in order to keep abreast of discussions, explore current issues, and understand concerns and challenges.  This allows me to actively contribute to these communities and enables me to provide current, timely and informed advice and guidance to colleagues within the University of Edinburgh

Within the domain of learning technology, I am an active member of the ALT community, as a Trustee of ALT [1], and an officer of both the ALT Scotland Group [2] and Copyright and Online Learning SIG [3].  I regularly attend and contribute to ALT events including the annual ALT Conference, the ALT Winter Conference and the annual ALT Scotland Symposium.  This enables me to gain a broad understanding of current topics of debate within the community and how they may be relevant to my peers and colleagues within the University of Edinburgh.  I find the ALT Scotland Symposium and the informal meet up that the group holds at the annual ALT Conference to be particularly informative for learning about issues, concerns and key developments within the Scottish Higher Education sector.  

These networks proved to be invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic when learning technologists across the UK were grappling with the unprecedented challenges of the online pivot and supporting students and colleagues in the subsequent shift to hybrid teaching and learning.  For example in October 2020, at the height of the pandemic, I participated in an ALT Copyright and Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic [4] webinar on the topic of lecture recording and virtual classroom policies.  This was an area of policy that was particularly pressing for many institutions at that point in time as staff were faced with the prospect of recording not only their lectures, but also their seminars and small group teaching sessions, in order to ensure that different cohorts of students on campus and online, had equitable access to their classes. Together with my colleague Neil McCormick, Education Technology Policy Officer, we presented the policy approach taken by the University of Edinburgh, and in the subsequent discussion explored issues of interest and concern raised by participants. I captured some of this discussion and reflected on points raised in a blog post [5] which I shared back to the community and with colleagues in the University of Edinburgh, through the Open.Ed blog

As a Learning Technology Service Manager at the University of Edinburgh I engage with my peers and colleagues through a number of channels within the institution, including the Teaching Matters blog, which I follow and contribute to [6], the University’s Learning and Teaching Conference, our eLearning Community, and Information Services Group (ISG) Reading Group.  The digital skills workshops I facilitate for the OER Service [7] and Academic Blogging Service provide me with a direct route to engage with colleagues and to learn more about their unique contexts and requirements. For example, when a participant on my Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile workshop raised concerns about her safety, as a minority woman of colour, if she was to blog openly using her own name and identity, I took her concerns on board, reflected on the implications of potential online harms for marginalised individuals, and amended the workshop materials to include guidance on online safety [8] [9].   In addition, we also find that our workshops often open the door to follow up discussions with colleagues which provide an opportunity for more detailed conversations about their concerns, ideas and requirements.   Working with student interns employed by the OER Service and across ISG also provides me with an invaluable opportunity to learn from our students’ lived experience of teaching and learning, and understand how they engage with open practice and open education resources. 

As an open education practitioner I also engage with a broad international community of open educators and advocates through social media networks, including blogs and twitter.  I am an active member of the femedtech network and established the femedtech open space [10] to provide a channel to amplify marginalised voices in the open education and learning technology community.  I regularly attend the OER Conference, which provides me with a broad overview of issues relating to open education policy and practice, which I synthesise through reflective blog posts [11].  I am also a member of the ALT Open Education SIG mailing list and the Creative Commons Open Education Platform.  I participate in Open Education week, by following, contributing to and scheduling events.  I have participated in a number of twitter conferences including PressED and HeyPressto!  which provide an interesting snapshot of innovative projects and initiatives around the UK and internationally. By working in collaboration with other open educators and contributing to courses (e.g. Digital Learning and Open Practice [12], at City, University London) and events (e.g. Open all Ours [13], University of the Highlands and Islands;  H818 Networked Practitioner Conference [14], The Open University;  OER Conference 21[15], ETH Zürich) at universities throughout the UK and beyond, I’m able to gain a broader understanding of colleagues’ and learners’ contexts and perspectives. 


As a member of the connected community of learning technologists and open education practitioners, I believe it is important not only to understand the learning needs and priorities of colleagues within my own institution, but also to have a nuanced understanding of the diverse perspectives, concerns and priorities of the wider Higher Education community.  This means continually engaging in critical reflective practice, challenging my own prejudices and biases, questioning my own assumptions and those I make about others. To do this, I try to engage with a wide range of colleagues whose social and cultural backgrounds, domains of expertise, and experiences of learning technology and open education differ from my own. I try to seek out and listen to the quieter voices and not just be swayed by the dominant discourse.  This helps me to challenge my own perceptions, privileges and experiences of working as a learning technologist, and reminds me that my experiences are not universal.  This is particularly critical in the broad domain of open education, as we all experience open practice from different positions of (dis)empowerment, privilege, inclusion and exclusion.

My engagement with the ALT community is crucial in helping me to understand current key issues facing the learning technology community in the UK.  As an organisation that is independent of both institutions and vendors and is driven by the needs of its members,  ALT’s special interest groups, conferences, events, communications channels, annual surveys and policy initiatives provide me with invaluable critical insight and understanding into the learning technology sector and the key issues impacting learning technologists across Higher Education. 

I am also grateful for the opportunity to work with, and learn from, student interns at the University of Edinburgh.  By sharing their thoughts and perspectives on open education through reflective blog posts, interviews and presentations, our student interns never fail to challenge and expand my understanding and appreciation of the affordances of open education policy, practice and resources.  I frequently include quotes from our student interns in conference presentations and keynotes [16]  and I find that their insight never fails to resonate. 


  1. List of Trustees of ALT
  2. ALT Scotland Group Officers
  3. ALT Copyright and Online Learning SIG Officers
  4. Copyright and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Link to recording of a webinar I contributed to.
  5. Campbell, L.M., (2020), Open Policy for Learning and Teaching, Open World. Reflection on points discussed in the above webinar. 
  6. My contributions to the Teaching Matters blog. 
  7. Some of the digital skills workshops I facilitate for the OER Service. 
  8. Campbell, L.M. (2019), Professional Blogging: Acknowledging social media harassment, Open World. 
  9. Guidance on digital safety added to the Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile workshop.
  10. Femedtech Open Space.  A co-authored blog and website which I built and help to maintain. 
  11. Campbell, L.M., (2019), OER19 – Stories of Hope, Open World. My reflective post on the OER 19 Conference. 
  12. Digital Literacies and Open Practice.  A course at City, University of London which I contribute to.
  13. Campbell, L.M., (2019), Into the Open: Exploring the Benefits of Open Education and OER.  My keynote at Open All Ours: Open education, what it means for you and for the university, University of the Highlands and Islands. 
  14. Campbell, L.M., (2021), Open for Good – Open education and knowledge equity for all.  My keynote at the Open University H818 Networked Practitioner Conference conference.
  15. Campbell, L.M., (2021), A Culture of Sharing: Strategic Support for OER at the University of Edinburgh.  Talk I presented at the ETH Zürich and ZHAW OER Conference 21.
  16. Campbell, L.M., (2019), Into the Open: Exploring the Benefits of Open Education and OERCampbell, L.M., (2020),  A Common Purpose: Wikimedia, Open Education and Knowledge Equity for all.  Two examples of keynotes where I quoted student interns.