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University of Edinburgh OER Service: Open Textbook Interview Series

March 4, 2024 @ 8:00 am - March 8, 2024 @ 5:00 pm BST

The University of Edinburgh has a long-standing commitment to providing and widening access to high quality online learning opportunities through open education and open educational resources (OER)This is supported by an OER Service and underpinned by our Open Educational Resources Policy that encourages staff and students to use, create and publish open licensed resources to enhance the quality of the student experience. 

This year we’re celebrating Open Education Week by publishing a series of interviews with staff and students across the University who have created and published open textbooks. Open textbooks are books that have been made accessible online free of cost and are also openly licensed to allow free modifications, use, and sharing.

Open textbooks have long been the common form of open educational resources in North America, with funding to support this activity, however to date, they have not seen extensive uptake in the UK, where there are different models of textbook use and engagement with OER tends to be supported by learning technologists rather than dedicated OER librarians.​ There has been renewed interest in open textbooks in the UK over the past five year as institutions face rapidly increasing e-textbook costs as they move away from print materials in response to the pivot to online learning triggered by the COVID pandemic, and longer-term trends in academic publishing.

In our series we speak to open textbook creators across the University of Edinburgh and hear why they decided to go down the open textbook path and what that journey has looked like. We’ll be publishing one interview each day throughout Open Education Week, but in the meantime here’s a wee introduction to each of our interviewees:

Rebecca Wojturska, the Open Access publishing officer, responsible for managing Edinburgh DiamondEdinburgh Diamond offers free publishing services to support books, journals and conference proceedings created or led by University of Edinburgh academicsstaff and students.

Dr Jill Mackay, Senior Lecturer (Veterinary Medical Education) at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, with a focus on interdisciplinary research methodology. Dr Mackay is a proponent of open science, and particularly exploring how education research can adopt open science practices. She has created and published multiple OER, including the open textbook R@R(D)SVS designed to help staff and students get to grips with with R programming.

Dr Peter BankheadReader in the Institute of Genetics and Cancer at The University of Edinburgh. Creator of digital imaging open-source software, QuPath, which has been downloaded close to half a million times, cited in about 3,000 academic articles, and is used all over the world, both in academia and industry. Dr Bankhead has published his open textbook Introduction to Bioimage Analysis using GitHub and Jupiter Books.

Dr Nikki Moran, Senior Lecturer in Music at the ECA. Niki is lead author and presenter of the University of Edinburgh’s Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Fundamentals of Music Theory, engaging 300000 active learners and recruiting around 500 new students per week. Fundamentals of Music Theory was the first open e-textbook published on Edinburgh Diamond as part of a pilot project in collaboration with the OER Service.

Mayu Ishimoto is an Architectural History and Heritage student who worked as an Open Content Curator intern with the OER Service over the summer of 2023. Mayu now works one day a week as an intern with the OER Service, and published the open textbook Birds of Midlothian as one of her summer projects.


March 4, 2024 @ 8:00 am
March 8, 2024 @ 5:00 pm
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University of Edinburgh
Old College, South Bridge, EH8 9YL
Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom
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