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Educational Design and Engagement

Educational Design and Engagement

Enriching the student learning experience & supporting development of on campus and online courses.

EDUCAUSE Horizon Report case study

The 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report on Teaching and Learning was published yesterday and it includes a short case study on the University of Edinburgh’s strategic support for OER.  The report identifies six key technologies and practices that will have a significant impact on higher education teaching and learning; artificial intelligence, blended and hybrid course models, learning analytics, microcredentialing, open educational resources and quality online learning.   On OER, the Horizon report notes:

The global pandemic threw into stark relief the growing importance of open educational resources (OER)—in particular, resources that are “born digital” and that are freely available for students to access from anywhere and from any device.


Affordable textbooks and resource options are gradually gaining traction. In numerous states, student government associations have enthusiastically promoted the adoption of free or lowcost learning resources. Many of these efforts were already afoot well ahead of the pandemic, but it remains to be seen if the pandemic will have any lasting impact on awareness and adoption once students begin returning to face-to-face instruction.


The 2021 Horizon Report exemplar OER projects provide a vision for how far and wide the definition of “open content” now extends.

The report includes a short summary of the University of Edinburgh case study, which is published in its entirety here.

Open.Ed at the University of Edinburgh

At the University of Edinburgh, we believe that supporting OER is strongly in keeping with our institutional vision; to discover knowledge and make the world a better place. Our OER Policy encourages staff and students to use and create OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience and enrich our shared knowledge commons. This strategic support for OER has enabled the University to respond to the uniquely complex challenges of the global COVID-19 crisis.

As the pandemic spread, our Masters in Critical Care team rapidly launched a FutureLearn course for clinical staff supporting COVID critical care patients. Over 5,000 learners enrolled the day the course launched and over 40,000 learners from 189 countries accessed the open learning materials during the first 6 week run. Our Critical Care team worked with partners from FutureLearn and the NHS, to make something positive happen at a time of crisis, motivated by the knowledge of how valuable these open resources would be to staff on the frontline of critical care.

All across the University our academic colleagues have made a generous contribution to the global knowledge commons by sharing over 4,000 open licensed media resources ranging from high quality MOOC videos, recorded lectures to study skills resources.

Our community has also made a significant commitment to the world’s biggest open educational resource – Wikipedia.  Supported by our Wikimedian in Residence, staff and students have created hundreds of Wikipedia entries that redress gender imbalance, center marginalised voices, diversify and decolonise the curriculum, and uncover hidden histories.

Our commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach also extends to the school sector and we share a growing collection of interdisciplinary teaching and learning materials, co-created by undergraduate students, and aimed at primary and secondary school level, covering topics as diverse as climate change biodiversity, and LGBTQ+ issues.

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