People's Choice Award: Most Open Resource

mitten territory
Mitten Territory by Pieter Kleymeer CC BY, adapted from Marty Hogan on Flickr

We are honored to announce that Open.Michigan is the Education-Portal’s People’s Choice Award Winner for Most Open Resource. Hurrah! Thank you so much for voting for us and sharing the link with your friends and family. We really appreciate the feedback, and it energizes us to do more. Thanks, Education-Portal, for including Open.Michigan in this competition and for giving our community the opportunity to show their support.

Since the University of Michigan Medical School officially launched its Open Education activities in April 2008, it’s been rewarding to see the collection of openly licensed content at the University of Michigan grow exponentially. But even more rewarding is the growth of a culture of sharing and open practices at the university.

Throughout the past four and half years, we’ve had a lot of discussions about open – what it is and why it matters. During a recent fellowship at P2PU, Open.Michigan team members Piet and Molly helped to author a philosophy statement for the School of Open which concisely captures our approach to open as a process, not just a deliverable: “Open practices include using the content, tools and processes shared with us, enabling others to use, share and adapt what we create, and supporting transparency in our content, tools and processes.”

We’ve also been inspired by the qualities of open (transparent, participatory, collaborative) used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Transparent Participatory Collaborative

Image CC BY Regents of the University of Michigan

Beyond an ethos of open, we think a number of our projects embody open practices through these core values of participation, transparency, and collaboration:


We’ve worked with faculty and graduate student instructors to create adaptable and effective course resources that can be used across different learning settings. These efforts enabled participants to envision how existing digital resources can be reused to create a model focused on student engagement in the classroom. The History discipline identified and collected digitized primary source documents (much of them in the public domain) to create an Interactive Syllabus to teach the History of the American West. This approach was flexible enough to allow student input and students reviewed content before the class. Using this time for discussion rather than lecture ensured that students stayed engaged and interested in the content.

Other examples of efforts to encourage participation:  


We captured all sorts of the activities that happened over one weekend where ‘science met service.’ This included documenting the data, education, process and outcomes from the 2012 A2DataDive.

More examples of our transparent practices:

  • Our infokit that includes our training materials, documents, infosheets, and more!
  • Our wiki that includes our research on legal and policy issues, evaluation and metrics, and badging.
  • Our processes that enable others to develop the same skills we use to promote open education.
  • Our tools to create and share open content.
  • Our dashboard, that shows off real time and just in time Open.Michigan analytics.


We’ve had some wonderful partners along the way – within University of Michigan and with institutions around the world. One of our longest-running international projects is the African Health OER Network, where we’ve partnered with multiple colleges of health sciences in Africa to create, adapt, and distribute their own Health Open Educational Resources, and in several instances start their own institutional initiatives for open. We even have a dozen or so learning modules that were jointly authored by University of Michigan, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and University of Ghana faculty (e.g. Laboratory Methods for Clinical Microbiology).

We not only create open content, we try to build on other’s open content too. We’ve re-purposed promotional material from Creative Commons, adapted videos about copyright and open culture for trainings, and we’re incorporating School of Open courses into our own training opportunities. We even collaborated to jointly write this post to thank you for your support.

More fun with friends:

  • Co-developing new models of self-publication with on-demand printing
  • Workshops with the CalState system about affordable learning solutions

And we won’t stop here. We can’t. This is too much fun.

Cheers from the mitten,
The Open.Michigan team

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