Open.Michigan and the Department of Family Medicine team up to publish Open Education Modules!


In 2007 Dr. Tara A. Master-Hunter, assistant residency program director for the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine, received a University of Michigan Graduate Medical Education Innovations Grant. This award powered the creating of several sets of learning modules authored by faculty members, fellows, and residents from the Department of Family Medicine, as well as others from the University and community practitioners.

Resident physicians within the Department of Family Medicine complete the modules as a graduation requirement on SiteMaker. In the past months the Department of Family Medicine  wanted to find a way to address some of the technical issues they were having with the modules. This included the need for a new platform to host the modules because the previous one was becoming outdated. Dr. Amy B. Locke, a Department of Family Medicine faculty member, learned about Open.Michigan during a conversation with a mutual contact that started our partnership.

Publishing Process

Before any work could be done, each module author was asked to complete the Open.Michigan permission form that allows the University of Michigan to use the author’s materials as open education resources, OER. Once a permission form is received, Open.Michigan is free to modify and assist with the distribution of these materials, thus beginning the review process. With the support of Dr. Grant M. Greenberg, the Department of Family Medicine Associate Chair for Information Technology, Stephanie Dascola, the Family Medicine project lead, was able to work with Dr. Master-Hunter to select a new platform and begin the process of converting the materials. Google Sites was chosen to be the new host for the modules. In addition to creating a better space for the modules, Open.Michigan’s goal was to help the Department of Family Medicine share them publicly. To do this and still allow for internal use by resident physicians, specific parts of the modules will contain authenticated login pages that contain pre- and post-tests, evaluation forms, and further learning materials.

The first step towards publishing the revived modules under a Creative Commons license was to review them for copyrighted images. Whenever an image was found that was copyright protected we searched for an appropriate replacement using Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and the Creative Commons search tool.

It was also important to review links, PDFs, videos, and audio files included in the modules. Many links needed updating and a few audio files were copyright protected. Videos created for the modules were downloaded and edited to include license information. They were then uploaded to the Open.Michigan YouTube Channel. Open.Michigan publishing assistants, Trisha Paul and Andrea Matsumoto, created English captions for the finalized videos to help make them more accessible to the public.

Mirroring the original format of the modules was not so simple due to the different features provided by SiteMaker and Google Sites. Even the idea of adding arrows to the pages posed a challenge; many decisions had to be made regarding arrow size, color, and location. This project was a good lesson in minding the details and meeting the requirements to create a consistent module composition.

Image courtesy of Amy Locke under a Creative Commons license: BY-NC-SA.

The first set of modules was rolled out at the beginning of May 2013. These included the following:

 Integrative Medicine Based Approach

  1. Asthma
  2. Depression
  3. Diabetes Type 2
  4. Headache
  5. Prenatal Care

Integrative Medicine: Body-Based Therapies

  1. Acupuncture
  2. Manual Medicine
  3. Massage Therapy

Integrative Medicine: Mind-Body Therapies

  1. Overview
  2. Guided Imagery
  3. Hypertension

Introduction to Nutrition

Musculoskeletal Examinations

  1. Knee Examination

They are currently available on both Open.Michigan and in their original format on the Department of Family Medicine Education Modules website.

Sharing & Future Plans

Many Department of Family Medicine faculty members are excited about these resources, and have eagerly shared the OER with peers from around the U.S., and even in other countries. Notable venues include the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine (STFM), the largest annual conference for family physicians from across the country; the Quito Project, a healthcare outreach program in Ecuador; a residency program recruitment fair in St. Louis, MO.; and Shizouka Family Medicine in Japan. Additionally the modules are being translated into Japanese, starting with the musculoskeletal knee examination videos, and eventually including all content. Several musculoskeletal knee examination videos are currently available in Spanish, with more to come.

In the coming year many more modules will be published. A complete index of the modules can be found on the Department of Family Medicine Education Modules Full List of Topics page. Additionally, if you would like to be notified of these publications or have any questions you are welcome to email us at