Student Award

Hannah Rothmann

University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

In a time of home schooling, remote working and hybrid teaching – and when many have felt disconnected and powerless – University of Edinburgh student Hannah Rothmann went to work in lockdown to empower staff, students and members of the public that they had agency to improve the information freely available online.  

The resources Hannah created have been shared in playlists on open licenses to YouTube, the University’s Media Hopper Channel and curated on a new 41 webpage website. All with the aim to break down the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Wikipedia so that any course leader can embed learning about Wikipedia into course programmes and Virtual Learning Environments; to make sharing knowledge openly super easy to learn and engage with everyone. And thereby increase the diversity of editors contributing to Wikipedia and the diversity of content shared online. 

Her resources and advocacy have already yielded impact; being put to good use by UNICEF, the University of Toronto and course programmes at the University of Edinburgh inc. projects on: Global Health Challenges; Translation Studies; Islamic Art; and Scotland, Slavery and Black History.

Sample of her work:

Hannah advocated collating these new resources (and the best existing resources) into ONE place, to make contributing to Wikipedia much easier to navigate. In the age of Covid-19 when open knowledge has never been more vital, she designed and created a new 41 page website which provides clear guidance on best practice when learning 21st digital research skills along with scaffolded open-licensed resources to show how anyone can get started with the sharing of open knowledge for the benefit of all – whether it is communicating fact-checked knowledge on inspiring women in STEM, Covid-19 research, Black History, Climate Change or any other topic.  

Her videos have already been put to good use by the Wikimedia Foundation and UNICEF in a partnership on the “Voices of Youth” project, where they invited 100~ participants aged 14-22 to create content about “Life after COVID”.  They shared a video Hannah made (a quick intro of how Wikimedia Commons works) so the participants could upload the content they created on a free licence.

The output that Hannah achieved, working from home at her parents, in the midst of a global lockdown is incredible. She has stated that this work helped her to focus, kept her sane and motivated. The impact that these resources have already had, and will continue to have, for the global sharing of open knowledge could be far greater, as awareness grows.

Hannah has continued to make herself available and speaks regularly at events to help promote awareness of these resources and speaks passionately and persuasively, about why open knowledge is important; winning new converts to ‘open’ everywhere she goes. 

About Student Award

This award honors the outstanding endeavors of a student who has advocated for or benefitted academically from the use of open educational resources (OER). The award is presented to the student whose achievements may inspire others to pursue degree programs that utilize open resources and/or someone who played a prominent role in advocating successfully for the promotion and advancement of OER and open education.