Attending the Digital Media & Learning Conference leads to more badging ideas

Exit strategy image of Chicago skyline as approached by Amtrak train (from south)
Exit strategy by bagaball on Flickr. CC BY license.

It was inevitable, taking the train to Chicago and spending 3 days with a super-diverse crowd of learners, educators, hackers, makers, academics, and civil servants was going to lead to a badge-fest of some sort. Open.Michigan has spent some time working in the badge-o-sphere, helping with advisory on the Mozilla Open Badges Infrastructure, piloting badges for our open community at the University of Michigan, and proposing some research on making badge systems more tuned to differences in cultural capital. Day One of the conference, Mozilla’s entire Open Badges team showed up and launched Open Badges 1.0, after a couple of years of hard work pulling together specs and building an incredible backpack display service. No matter what people actually do with badging, this system is slick, simple to use, and has loads of potential for peer and professional recognition of identity, skills, and engagement. Given the passion, organization, and money behind badging, I’d say it’s going somewhere and its our job to make it useful.

And that’s when I learned the newest high school in my area is gearing up for badging. Led by a forward-thinking group of students, educators, and academics, the Skyline High School is exploring how badges can be used to recognize learning and skill development both inside and outside the classroom. One of the content areas they’re interested in is Health and Medicine (warning: auto-audio on this page!). As I looked closer, I noticed that Skyline students can participate in a summer camp focusing on health and biomedical engineering. As an official employee of the University of Michigan Medical School my jaw dropped. Badges! For medicine! For everyone!

I’ve since reined in my excitement slightly, but I’ll be talking with the Skyline badging group in the coming weeks to see what’s going on there. Here’s where I think Open.Michigan and the Office of Enabling Technologies (within Medical School Information Services) can help:

  • provide infrastructure for awarding and displaying badges (through Mozilla’s Open Badges Backpack and through Open.Michigan’s platform: OERbit)
  • connect Med School faculty with Skyline teachers
  • develop mentorship opportunities through the badging system or in conjunction with it
  • provide guidance on identity-based learning development in health and medical education
  • bring awareness of badging to Med School admissions and faculty
  • provide infrastructure for Skyline students to develop and share artifacts of learning (evidence behind earning associated badges)

The list could go on, but these seem like immediately possible avenues of congruency. Honestly, there’s nothing more exciting than traveling long distances only to come upon something cool happening in your own backyard. A win for the DML Conference. A win for community.

New Language Captions for Health Videos: Translation Update

Approximately eight weeks ago, we put out an appeal to our global community: help us translate two of our video collections into other languages. Our vision: make some of our educational content more accessible to non-English speakers. We decided to target 31 videos from our collection: 12 clinical microbiology videos co-authored by instructors in Ghana and Michigan and 19 disaster management videos co-authored by seven schools of public health in East Africa. We chose these two collections because they were both collaboratively authored by educators in multiple countries and they both had already attracted an audience in countries where English is not the native language.

Image CC BY NC SA Tobias Mikkelsen (Flickr)

Our community responded to the call with tremendous enthusiasm. We are very grateful to our collaborators Philomena and Julie at the Language Resource Center, who helped us recruit local multilingual talent through the Translate-A-Bowl and the Language Bank. We also received many responses from outside University of Michigan through the connections we have developed around the world as part of our Open.Michigan outreach and institutional partnerships.

The translation campaign was an enormous success.

Now we have 70 caption tracks in other languages: 28 in Spanish, 16 in Portuguese, 14 in French, 7 in Russian, 2 in Danish, 2 in Swahili, and 1 in Luganda. Woo hoo! Most captions were completed by a single translator, but some had two: one to translate and one to review.

Through this translation experiment,  we have learned a lot about the processes for crowd-sourcing captions and translations. Additionally, we have affirmed the importance of captioning for increasing accessibility, for improved ease of searching within videos, and for enabling translations. We have already begun adding English captions to additional videos in our collection for further translation activities and have even added a tag “multilingual” for our learning materials to make them easier to identify.

It’s not too late to get involved. 

We will continue to invite translators for those 31 videos and will post new languages as the translations are completed. Volunteers can sign up to translate at:

Details: Volunteer roster

To date, we have had 34 volunteers sign-up. Of those volunteers, so far 21 people have completed at least one caption. Here is the team roster:

  • Samuel Scherber – 12 videos – French
  • Liliane Tambasco – 10 videos – Brazilian Portuguese
  • Andre Scholze – 8 videos – Brazilian Portuguese
  • Juliana Salomón, BA, Argentina – 8 videos – Spanish
  • Maria A. Ramos – 7 videos – Spanish
  • Sonia Ordóñez – 6 videos – Spanish
  • Ksenia Skrypnik, Russian Cancer Research Center – 4 videos – Russian
  • Jennifer Alonso, translator – 3 videos – Spanish
  • Sophia Shishatskaya, English- and French-Russian translator – 3 videos – Russian
  • Philomena Meechan – 2 videos – Spanish
  • Renata Lucena Dalmaso, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina/University of Michigan, Fulbright PhD Student – 2 videos – Brazilian Portuguese
  • S. B. Swae, Michigan Undergraduate, Linguistics – 2 videos – Spanish
  • Dr. Gabriela Gorelik, University of Michigan – 2 videos – Spanish
  • Beatrix M. G. Nielsen, University of Copenhagen – 2 videos – Danish
  • Laura Laborda Martínez – 2 videos – Spanish
  • Paula Corbacho, IES Lenguas Vivas “J R Fernández”, Buenos Aires, Argentina – 2 videos – Spanish
  • Eve Nabulya, Makerere University – 1 video – Luganda
  • Nixon Opiyo Omollo, translator – 1 video – Swahili
  • Sarah Labetoulle – 1 video – French
  • Schuyler Cyprian Wood, SUNY Downstate Medical Center – 1 video – Swahili
  • Kathleen Ludewig Omollo, University of Michigan – 1 video – French

To our outstanding volunteers: Thank you very much! Muchas gracias. Obrigado. Merci bien. спасибо. Mange tak. Asanteni sana. Mweebale. (I hope I got those right!) Your contribution makes a big impact in increasing access to and visibility of these videos around the world. We are delighted that we are now able to to share these videos with an even wider audience of learners and educators around the world.

I would also like to acknowledge some of our Open.Michigan student staff who completed the essential first step of adding English captions to those 31 videos so that we had a foundation for other language tracks:

  • Trisha Paul
  • Andrea Matsumoto
  • Bilal Baydoun
Image CC BY woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

Details: Languages, per video

Here is a review of the languages per video:

Collection: Laboratory Methods for Clinical Microbiology

Video Caption Languages
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) English, French, Danish
Intro to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) English, French, Spanish, Russian
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) English, French, Spanish, Russian
Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) to detect antigens English, French, Spanish
Agglutination assay to detect antigens English, French, Spanish
Staining of a Gram-Positive Bacterium English,  French, Spanish, Russian, Danish, Swahili
Staining of a Gram-Negative Bacterium English, French, Spanish, Russian
Measuring Serum Antibody with an Agglutination Assay English, French, Spanish
How to Prepare a Gram Stain English, French, Spanish
Microscopic Staining for Blood Parasites English, French, Spanish
Fecal Parasite Examination – The Formol-Ether Concentration English, French
Preparing an Acid-Fast Stain using the Ziehl-Nielsen Method English, French


Collection: Public Health Emergency Planning and Management for Districts

Video Caption Languages
1.1a: Intro to Disaster Management Training English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Luganda
1.1d: Introduction to Disasters English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
1.2a: Epidemics English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian
1.2b: Epi-zoonotic Diseases of Importance in the Region English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian
1.2b: Introduction to Epi-zoonotic Diseases English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian
2.1: Principles of Disaster Risk Reduction English, Spanish, Portuguese
2.2: Communication in Disaster Situations English, Spanish, Portuguese
2.2: Mass Casualty Incidents English, Spanish, Portuguese
2.3a: Complex Emergencies English, Spanish, Portuguese
2.3b: Rapid Needs Assessment English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.1: Fire English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.2: Policy Framework for Disaster Management English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.3a: Introduction to the SPHERE Standards English, Spanish
3.4a: Principles of Disaster Planning English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.5a: Settlement of Displaced Populations English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.5b: Drought and Water Scarcity English, Spanish, Portuguese
3.5c: Floods and Landslides English, Spanish, Portuguese
4.1: Developing Your District Disaster Plan English, French, Spanish
5.1: Writing the Plan English, Spanish


U-M Open Education Advocate Receives Prestigious Award (It’s Emily!)

Someone near and dear to us recently received a prestigious award! You will recall that Emily Puckett Rodgers was the Open Education Coordinator for the Open.Michigan initiative from 2010 to 2012. Now a special projects librarian for Operations, Research, and Learning and Teaching at MLibrary, Emily continues to be an advocate for open sharing and a tireless community builder/networker within the University and beyond.

We aren’t the only ones who have noticed her excellent work. Emily has been named a “Mover & Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication, Library Journal. The award, which was announced on 15 March 2013, coincided nicely with Open Education Week. In their press release Library Journal stated “Emily Puckett Rodgers was selected because of her commitment to librarianship and dedication to developing open educational practices across learning contexts.”

We couldn’t agree more!  Congratulations to Emily, on behalf of everyone in the Open Community.

My Experience Adopting an Open Lifestyle

Happy Open Education Week!

Let me start by introducing myself: I’m Trisha Paul, an editorial assistant at Open.Michigan. I’m a junior here at UM concentrating in English and aspiring to attend medical school. After speaking about my experiences with open education at the MLibrary Lightning Talks yesterday, I was inspired to write about them. In this blog post, I’ll be exploring what interests me about open education and how I’ve integrated open educational practices into my life.

A year ago at this time, I didn’t know what open education was. Copyright laws were entirely foreign to me, and I had never encountered Creative Commons licenses before.

Open.Michigan has opened my eyes to the world of open, and I’ve enjoyed learning and understanding the process of creating open educational resources.

What fascinates me the most about open education is its potency. Open education creates a space of collaboration, enabling an incredible sharing of knowledge. By encouraging this community centered around accessible education, openness supports creators who develop materials, instructors who implement them, and, perhaps most importantly, individuals with a desire to learn.

Learning about open education has allowed me to integrate openness into my life. In addition to openly licensing my own blog, I’ve particularly enjoyed sharing openness with STEM Society, a UM student organization that creates and implements lessons in science and math to teach high school students. Through STEM Society, I have been able to inform other UM students about openness, and we have been able to openly license our lessons as open educational materials.

STEM Society members have been incredibly receptive and enthusiastic about open education, which I think says something about the potential of open education. I think the greatest challenge that stands for open education today is awareness: once exposed to the world of open, it’s hard not to appreciate its benefits. If more faculty and students just knew about open education, I think that there would be an overwhelming amount of support.

In honor of Open Education Week, I think it’s important for us to both reflect on just how far open education has come as well as to look ahead to the future of open education. Openness has truly transformed education into an opportunity that can be accessible to everyone, and as more people become involved, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.

Open Education Week 2013: Celebrate Globally and Locally March 11-15

Open Education Week 2013

Open Education Week is taking place from 11-15 March 2013 online and in locally hosted events around the world. Open Education Week raises awareness of the open education movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide, participation is free and open to anyone.

Local Open Education Week activities are being hosted by MLibrary, refer to the Open.Michigan events page for information. One U-M event will be a talk “The (not really) Secret Life of Wikipedia” by Cliff Lampe, Assistant Professor of Information. Prof. Lampe will discuss how evolving social processes and tools can help both consumers of and contributors to Wikipedia make the most of the site.

In conjunction with Open Education Week, the School of Open is launching its first set of courses. The School of Open is a community of volunteers developing and running online courses on the meaning and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and beyond. Among the offerings you’ll see Open.Michigan’s course dScribe: Peer-produced Open Educational Resources.