Specialist Area 1: Open Education

For my first specialist area I will focus on Open Education and OER. 

I’ve worked in the domain of open education since 2009 and the specialist option in my original CMALT portfolio covered work I undertook in this domain from 2009 – 2017, with a particular focus on open education advocacy and the Open Scotland initiative, which I founded in 2014.  In 2017, I took up a new role at the University of Edinburgh, as a Learning Technology Service Manager with responsibility for managing the University’s central Open Education Resources Service [1], based in Information Services Group (ISG).  The purpose of this service is to provide staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER and engaging with open education. The service runs a programme of digital skills workshops and events focused on copyright literacy, open licencing, OER and open education.  We offer support directly to Schools and Colleges, work closely with the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, and employ student interns in a range of different roles, including Open Content Curation interns.  The OER Service also places openness at the centre of the university’s strategic learning technology initiatives including lecture recording, academic blogging, VLE foundations, MOOCs and distance learning at scale, in order to build sustainability and minimise the risk of copyright debt. The service also manages the Open.Ed website, a one stop shop that provides access to open educational resources produced by staff and students across the university.

As manager of the OER Service, I am directly responsible for the day to day management of the OER Service, including line management of the service’s single member of staff.  I oversee the service’s digital skills programme, ensuring it supports colleagues across the institution, and coordinating it with key strategic technical initiatives. I collate and submit quarterly KPI and highlights reports, and monthly service reports to senior management team.  I liaise with other services and divisions within ISG including the Online Course Production Service, the Learning Technology Service, the Academic Blogging Service, the Wikimedian in Residence Service, the Media Management Service and others.  I ensure the timely response of queries submitted to the service, providing advice and guidance on copyright, open licensing, open education, open textbooks and OER.  I design and collate the service’s Open.Ed Newsletter [2], and regularly submit news items to other institutional channels.  I manage the University’s collection of open licensed learning and teaching policies, and in 2021 I oversaw the revision of the University’s OER Policy [3].  I coordinate the University’s activities for Open Education Week, including a blog series [4] in 2019 and a public webinar, Open to the World: Open course development at the University of Edinburgh [5], in 2022.  I have also recently been invited to contribute a paper on Open Education and OER in the Curriculum to the University’s  Curriculum Transformation Programme [6]

Fundamentals of Music Theory open textbook coverI have managed a number of OER Service projects including Innovating with Open Knowledge and, most recently, the Open Textbooks for Access to Music Education Project [7]. This latter project was the brainchild of my senior colleague Dr Melissa Highton.  In 2021, I applied for and secured a University of Edinburgh Student Experience Grant, which enabled me to bring together staff and students from the Reid School of Music, Library & University Collections, and the Open Educational Resources (OER) Service to co-create an open etextbook by repurposing open content originally created for the Fundamentals of Music Theory MOOC and redeveloped for an on-campus blended learning course.  The project enabled us to evaluate a range of ebook platforms, gain experience of the practicalities of creating open textbooks, and resulted in the publication of the Fundamentals of Music Theory [8] open textbook, the first ebook published on the University’s new Edinburgh Diamond ebook service.  Together with our student interns, I have presented this project at the OERXDomains Conference [9] and OER22.  I also have forthcoming presentations scheduled the University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference

I am frequently approached by other institutions to provide advice and guidance on strategic support for OER and open education, including University College London, the University of the Highlands and Islands, University of Leeds, NUI Galway, ETH Zürich and Københavns Universitet.  In addition, I have been invited to present keynotes at national and international conferences and events, including the OER18 Conference, Open All Ours (University of the Highlands and Islands), OER Conference 21 (Zürich), H818 Networked Practitioner Conference (Open University), and the CELT Symposium (Galway) [10].

In addition to my role as OER Service Manager, I also engage with a wide range of open education and open knowledge initiatives outwith the University.  I am a regular contributor to City, University of London’s Digital Literacies and Open Practice module.  I engage with a wide range of open policy initiatives, as described in section 3b.  As a Trustee of ALT and Wikimedia UK, I support their strategic commitments to openness and knowledge equity respectively.  I am also a periodic Wikipedia editor focusing primarily on queer history, women’s history and maritime history. 

I continue to steer the Open Scotland [11] initiative when time allows, and in 2020, trialled shared curation for the Open Scotland blog. With support from organisations including ALT and Creative Commons, I continue to lobby the Scottish Government to endorse the principles of the Scottish Open Education Declaration, though with little success. 

I am committed to sharing my open practice and personal reflections on open education with peers and colleagues through my Open World blog [12], and I occasionally publish book chapters and peer reviewed papers through more traditional routes. 


I remain fully committed to the principles and practice of open education, more so than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted education for millions. In response to the pandemic, UNESCO issued a Call for Joint Action to support learning and knowledge sharing through Open Educational Resources (OER).  As a result of the University of Edinburgh’s strategic support for OER and open knowledge, the institution was able to respond rapidly to the uniquely challenging circumstances of the pandemic, and I’m proud that I was able to play a small part in that response. At the ALT 2020 Summer Summit I presented a paper “For the Common Good – Responding to the global pandemic with OER” [13], and I wrote and submitted an institutional entry for Open Education Global’s Open Resilience Award [14], which recognised exemplary leadership and open education practices implemented in the context of COVID-19.  Although we didn’t win this award, I remain immensely proud of the University of Edinburgh’s commitment to openness and I feel deeply privileged to work for an institution that has such a strong strategic commitment to OER, open knowledge and open education. 


Our entry for Open Education Global’s Open Resilience Award.  Script and voice over by Lorna M. Campbell, video editing by Stephanie (Charlie) Farley. 

Having worked in open education since 2008 I am interested in observing how the domain has changed and developed over the last 16 years. For example my OER18 keynote The Long View [10], explored changing perspectives on OER through eight years of OER Conferences. In recent years, I have developed my thinking and approach to open education practice to focus more on social justice and knowledge equity, which I’ll discuss in more detail in my Advanced Area. 

Photograph of Lorna M. Campbell standing behind a lectern wearing a red shirt.

Presenting my OER18 keynote. Public domain image by Alan Levine on flickr.

Managing the Open eTextbooks for Access to Music Education project [7] in 2021 provided me with a timely opportunity to learn first hand about the logistics and affordances of creating open textbooks. This is particularly valuable at a time when universities are moving from print to digital textbooks and are facing rising textbook licensing costs. Open textbooks have the potential to benefit the University by reducing textbook costs, benefit staff by providing access to easily customisable open textbooks, and benefit students by providing free, high quality digital learning materials.  Our open textbook, Fundamentals of Music Theory, has been downloaded over 2000 times in the six months since its publication, and I hope that our experience will encourage the University to explore the potential of creating more sustainable open textbooks for use across a number of courses. 

I am very grateful to be part of a global network of open education practitioners and scholars, who I connect with through social media channels and the ALT and Wikimedia communities. This network has been instrumental in encouraging me to sustain my open practice over many years, and was particularly important to me throughout the pandemic.  

I am continually learning from my peers including experienced open education practitioners, colleagues from across the University of Edinburgh, and student interns.  I really appreciate having the opportunity to work with students as they bring fresh perspectives and challenge my thinking around OER and open education.  At the same time, I enjoy having the opportunity to share my experience of supporting open education at the University, and my own personal open education practice, through various blogs, conferences, webinars and events. 

My personal commitment to open education has only strengthened over the five years since I submitted my first CMALT portfolio and I continue to believe in the transformational potential of open education to increase knowledge equity, ensure equitable access to high quality learning opportunities for all, widening access to scholarship, and enriching our shared knowledge commons.  


  1. Open.Ed.  The University of Edinburgh’s OER Service, which I manage. 
  2. Open.Ed Newsletter.  The service’s newsletter which I design and produce. 
  3. University of Edinburgh OER Policy, which I co-authored and helped to revise.
  4. Campbell, L.M., (2019), Open Education Week Roundup, OpenEd Blog. A blog series I organised for Open Education Week 2019
  5. Open to the World: Open course development at the University of Edinburgh.  Recording and resources from a public webinar I organised for Open Education Week 2022.  
  6. Campbell, L.M., (2021), Open Education and OER in the Curriculum, Open.Ed Blog. A report I was invited to contribute to the University of Edinburgh’s strategic Curriculum Transformation Programme hub. 
  7. Open E-Textbooks for Access to Music Education. A Student Experience Grant funded project I managed. 
  8. Edwards, M., Kitchen, J., Moran, N., Moir, Z., and Worth, R., (2021), Fundamentals of Music Theory, Edinburgh Diamond. The open textbook produced by the project I managed. 
  9. Campbell, L.M., and Moran, N., (2021), The Scale of Open: Re-purposing open resources for music education, OERxDomains Conference. Presentation about the above project which I wrote and co-presented with student interns. 
  10. Some invited keynotes I have presented on strategic support for open education and OER. 
  11. Open Scotland.  The voluntary open education advocacy initiative I steer. 
  12. Open World.  My personal blog where I share my open practice. 
  13. Campbell, L.M., (2020), For the Common Good – Responding to the global pandemic with OER, ALT Summer Summit. My ALT conference paper about how the University of Edinburgh’s strategic support for openness enabled it to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  14. University of Edinburgh’s Open Resilience.  The University of Edinburgh’s entry for Open Education Global’s 2021 Open Resilience Award, which I coordinated, wrote and narrated.