Celebrating Open Education Week 2014!

A celebration of the global open education movement, Open Education Week showcases the impact of openly-licensed content on teaching and learning worldwide. The third annual Open Education Week, organized by the OCW Consortium, takes place March 10-15 with local and online events around the world.

Open Education Week globe

Educational Materials Anyone Can Reuse, Adapt

At Open.Michigan, we work with faculty, students, and staff to openly license their work, so that the public can remix, use, and adapt the content to suit their own needs. In 2009, our dScribe Matthew Simpson, wrote a blog post, “Why Open Matters.” In his essay he cited four major areas of importance, including health equity, learning from other students, working in the global health setting, and improving health. It was true then, and it is true now.

OER can take a lot of forms, including  lectures, reading lists, syllabi, instructional modules, and simulations. Our Open.Michigan OER repository includes thousands of these resources you can browse, download, use, and share.

Did you know Wikipedia is the world’s largest and most used OER? When you make your work available as OER, you enable others to use your work on YOUR terms.

Free Textbooks for All Learners

Openly-licensed materials help learners. With the soaring cost of textbooks, openly-licensed textbooks become important to help keep education attainable. There are several University of Michigan courses that use open textbooks that are free and are available in the Open.Michigan repository, like a wikibook about parallel spectral numerical methods; statistics workbooks and lecture notes; an open textbook about python for informatics; a book about household politics in early Early Modern England; and many moreHere is another great collection of open textbooks.

Creating OER through Collaborations

Frequently, Open.Michigan partners with an individual or a department to create some amazing resources, including books:

Another way OER appears in the academic realm is as Open Course Ware (OCW). This happens when an entire course is released via Creative Commons licenses. A good example of OCW in our Open.Michigan collection is SI 410 – Ethics and Information Technology. Paul Conway, associate professor, School of Information, was the first University of Michigan faculty member to share all his courses as OCW. Find out why.

Making a Global Impact

The global impact of openly-licensed information cannot be overlooked nor underestimated. Established in 2008, the African Health OER Network  is a collaboration between the University of Michigan, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and African health sciences institutes. The Health OER Network develops and distributes health education information throughout Africa. One example of a successful collaboration utilized low-cost technology to reach areas with no or limited internet using a device called Raspberry Pi.

Translations play a big role in the African Health OER Network. Read an interview with Eve Nabulya: Luganda Translations For My Community. A large-scale project using crowdsourcing and volunteers launched in 2013 to bring multilingual video captions to the Open.Michigan YouTube Channel. Thanks to volunteers, more than 139 non-English captions have been translated into 18 languages.

Hope you have a great Open Education Week! Keep up the good work!

Open Access Week 2013, October 21-27: Redefining Impact

Open.Michigan welcomes guest blogger Jacob Glenn, a science librarian at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Science Library. Jacob is blogging on behalf of the library’s Open Access Committee, which is responsible for organizing Open Access Week activities here on campus. For more information about the committee and about Open Access Week, please contact the committee’s chair, Jean Song.

October 21-27 will see a number of opportunities for University of Michigan faculty, staff, and students to get involved during Open Access (OA) Week. Now in its sixth year, OA Week is an international effort organized by SPARC and programmed by libraries and research institutions worldwide. With events taking place both online and in many locations around the globe, OA Week is a time for the U-M community to find out about the benefits of Open Access and to share what they’ve learned with colleagues. This year the University of Michigan Library has put together an exciting lineup of events for OA Week in collaboration with other campus units.

The week will open with a keynote by Brandon Weiner, co-founder and Executive Director of Creative Rights, a local non-profit organization that provides free legal representation, educational opportunities and project coordination services for Michigan artists and creators. Creative Rights helps artists by pairing them up with attorneys who have a strong background in the arts, a model inspired by its founders’ particular combination of legal expertise and artistic interests. Brandon’s talk will examine the practical and existential obstacles encountered when implementing projects with strong Open Access principles.

This year’s OA Week theme is “Redefining Impact,” a reminder of changing approaches to the evaluation of scholarly work driven by the possibilities of publishing on the open Web. On that theme, capping the week will be a closing keynote by Mike Buschman, co-founder of Plum Analytics, a company building the next generation of metrics for scholarly research. Plum’s metrics cover a wide variety of artifacts — much more than just books or journal articles. Source code, figures, online videos and many other research products are tracked and author level metrics are aggregated into a researcher graph. In his talk Mike will reflect on two years of experience collecting, analyzing, and visualizing alternative metrics for academic research, showing how those metrics are being used today by research institutions as diverse as the University of Pittsburgh and the Smithsonian, scholarly publishers, and individual researchers.

Naturally there will be plenty of exciting events in between, including lightning talks, a publishing workshop for Medical School faculty and a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. See the complete schedule of events for times, locations, and links to registration.

School of Open, Round 2: Open for sign-up through August 4, Classes begin August 5

Hi Open.Michigan Community!  Please help support the School of Open by signing up for one of their courses and sharing this information with your colleagues and friends.


The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period; sign-up closes Sunday,  August 4 and courses start on or after Monday, August 5. All courses are free to take and open to reuse under the CC BY-SA license.

The School of Open is a community of volunteers from around the world passionate about peer learning, openness, and the intersection of the two. These volunteers helped launch the School of Open in March. And now they invite you to join them in the following courses.

To sign up for any of these courses, simply go to the course page and click ‘Start Course’ under its left Navigation column.

Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) (7 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on Australian copyright law as pertains to education. This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. Facilitators: Delia Browne and Jessica Smith

Copyright 4 Educators (US) (6 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on US copyright law as pertains to education. The course is taught around practical case scenarios faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. Facilitator: Laura Quilter

Creative Commons for K-12 Educators (7 weeks) – This course will help K-12 educators find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. It will also help them incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. Facilitator: Jane Park

Designing Collaborative Workshops (4 weeks) – This course brings together case studies of some great collaborative workshops that have been run in the past with an open invitation for you to share your own experiences with either running or participating in a workshop that worked well (or didn’t). Facilitators: Mick Fuzz and Jane Park

Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond (6 weeks) – If you can read Wikipedia, you can learn to build it! In this course, you will learn about the software, the rules, and the cultural values that drive and support this ubiquitous and community-built online encyclopedia. It will focus on articles about openness in education. Facilitators: Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow *This course runs on Wikipedia; follow instructions to sign up at the course page

Open Science: An Introduction (4 weeks) – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Facilitator: Billy Meinke

Why Open? (3 weeks) – This course will facilitate discussion on the different meanings of openness, how openness applies to different domains, as well as participants’ views of what it means to do things openly. Participants will engage in open activities, and examine the benefits and potential issues with openness. Facilitators: Christina HendricksSimeon OrikoJeanette LeePete Forsyth, and Jane Park

Too busy to take a course this time around? Don’t worry, we’re around for a while. Sign up to be notified when we launch our next round of facilitated courses, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at anytime.

Don’t see a course you want to take but are full of good ideas? Help us build the courses you want to see with others. Join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your “open” interest.

Forward this to your friends

Want to take a course with your friends? Do these 3 things and call it a day.

1. Tweet this: Open for sign-up: free facilitated #schoolofopen courses on #OER #openscience #wikipedia #copyright #whyopen http://creativecommons.org/?p=39060

2. Blog/forward this: School of Open, Round 2 is open for sign-up! Take a free, facilitated online course on open science, collaborative workshop design, open educational resources, copyright for educators, Wikipedia, CC licenses, why open? — and more! at http://schoolofopen.org/. Take this course with me: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/39060.

3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.




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.

Interviews with Participants from the A2DataDive 2013

Last week, I shared some highlights of outputs from A2DataDive 2013 and outcomes from A2DataDive 2012. Now I want to take a deeper look into the motivations that bring volunteers and nonprofits together to devote their weekend to the great experiment that is a datadive. After this year’s final presentations, Dave and I had an opportunity to sit down with one of the client representatives and one of the returning community volunteers to learn more about why they chose to participate in the event and what they learned from the experience.

Interview: Amy Wilson from 826Michigan, A2DataDive 2013 Nonprofit

Now that you’ve been through your first datadive, what did you think of the experience?

In a nutshell, I’m very impressed. I’ve been working with our data ambassador since mid-October. The A2DataDive team contacted 826Michigan last fall to recruit us as a client for the event. As a nonprofit, we have to be economical about staff time and resources. We were a little skeptical at first, but realized in the back of our minds that this is valuable. As we continued our conversations with the data ambassadors, the value became clearer to us. I admit, I still wasn’t entirely sure what this weekend would look like when I showed up on Saturday.

As the event progressed and I saw the concrete projects that were coming out of volunteers, I became increasingly blown away. I had neutral expectations coming in – the data ambassador did a great job at managing expectations. The event exceeded my expectations. I’ve been impressed with the volunteers, their quality of work, and with the organizers.

What are your key takeaways from this event?

This gave me new insight into the community of data and the diversity of approaches to collecting and interpreting data. The volunteers approached it many different angles – everything from looking at numbers and words in various ways to analyze and to inform how we engage our customers. The level of detail necessary for collecting normalized, meaningful data was new to me. It will change how I approach data in my work and how the organization approaches data collection and analysis in the future.

What was the most interesting finding from your group’s final presentation?

There were a lot of interesting findings. I was really impressed. One that stood out in particular to me was the one where a volunteer did a comparison of pre and post surveys of student tutors. There was a side-by-side bar graph of responses to a question about whether students felt comfortable for asking for help. There was a huge jump in confidence after the tutoring. Before the event, I suspected that was true but I didn’t have such a clear way to demonstrate or quantify that. That’s huge for us, because so much of our mission is about the idea that there should be no stigma to asking for or needing help. This data demonstrates that 826michigan is a place where that stigma can start to fall away for our students.

Now that you have the volunteer analysis from the event, what’s next?

It’s going to be interesting to see how this is implemented. I learned some new techniques, but I’m also really hoping that some of the people who volunteered will continue to volunteer and help our data collection and analysis.

Interview: Mandar Gokhale, A2DataDive 2012 and 2013 Volunteer

What motivated you to come back a second time?

I’m a network engineer by profession. I’m an alumnus of the University of Michigan College of Engineering. I enjoy creating interesting visualizations of data in my spare time. I thought the objectives last year were accomplished fairly well, and the client derived some value. I decided to come back this year to contribute more and to have fun.

To me, the datadive means I get to do some something fun that also helps the community.

What did you work on for the datadive?

This year, I worked with one of the same volunteers as last year. Both times I worked with visualizations, last year with networks for the African Health OER Network and this year with time-based data from Food Gatherers. This time I did more statistical and predictive analysis.

What new data sleuthing techniques did you learn this year?

This year I re-learned linear regression and a few more tricks in R, including how to analyze and present time-based information in calendar heat map For the statistical analysis in R, I mostly looked up instructions and examples on the Internet. I had read the profiles of some of the participating nonprofits, and skimmed through their objectives beforehand, so I had some sort of idea of what I wanted to do before I showed up for the event.

What is your biggest takeaway from participating in both years?

The event brings together people from many specialties. But all these groups need to talk to each other more often, to produce more meaningful data. Typically what happens is the clients collect data in a way that makes it really hard for the processing people to work with it later. We made some recommendations in our final presentation to try to address this. There’s a need for getting more knowledge out there about how to collect good data and how to analyze it in order to make it easier.

Nonprofits should talk to data scientists more often.

Championing data analysis at the second A2DataDive

One year ago, Ann Arbor welcomed its first datadive, a weekend-long event open to the campus and local community that brought together data geeks, people who were curious about data analysis, and people from nonprofit organizations looking for help answering some research questions about their data sets. As one of the clients last year, we learned immensely from the A2DataDive debut. This year, School of Information masters students Nikki Roda and Claire Barco resumed their leadership roles for its second manifestation.

The A2DataDive is always a jam-packed, super productive weekend. I’ll try to do my best to give you a very condensed overview of the event. After I give you the low-down on round 2 of the datadive in 2013, I also want to highlight some outcomes from round 1 last year. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog post with highlights from interviews with this year’s participants.

Photo CC BY Regents of the University of Michigan. Taken by Dave Malicke.

Overview of A2DataDive 2013

There were four local nonprofit organizations and over 100 registered participants for this year’s event, which was coordinated by the School of Information, with Open.Michigan included among the sponsors. This year, the organizers arranged several short data jams lead by a resident data librarian at the university to introduce people to some of the nonprofit datasets and basic principles of data analysis several months before the weekend-long event. Also new this second round, the organizers created the role of “data ambassadors,” who are student volunteers that liaise with the nonprofits months ahead of time to prepare the data and research questions for the big weekend.

Here are the final presentations:

Outcomes from A2DataDive 2012

For A2DataDive round 1, the Open.Michigan initiative was in the unique position of both co-organizer and client. The two clients were Focus Hope and the African Health OER Network. The African Health OER Network is one of our flagship projects here at Open.Michigan. It’s not technically a nonprofit organization but rather a joint project of University of Michigan and several other nonprofit educational institutions. The datadivers invited us to be a client anyway.

Our African Health OER Network datadive project had two paths – one to analyze our YouTube analytics data and another to analyze our social network from CiviCRM. We left the event with a few new tools, useful visualizations, and deeper insights into our audience and collaborators for the African Health OER Network. Some concrete examples of how Open.Michigan has integrated our new knowledge over the past year:

  • One of the groups did a word frequency cloud of the comments on our YouTube videos, which showed the words “thanks” and “thank you” were among the most frequent terms from users. We included that tidbit in multiple reports and presentations about the project. We even ran updated analyses several times since then as we received new user comments. We were pleased to confirm that the theme of gratitude was still strong.
  • The month following the 2012 datadive, we had a funding opportunity to send one colleague from an African partner institution to present at an international conference. In order to identify which individual to send, we consulted one of the network visualizations, which showed the most- connected, most-active individuals based on their participation in past events.
  • In October last year, I facilitated the Health OER Tech Africa Regional Workshop in Ghana, which brought together technologists, multimedia specialists, and instructors from health sciences institutions across Africa. The 3-day workshop included 22 staff members from 12 institutions across six countries. On the second day, we had a 90-minute data jam (a mini datadive) where participants analyzed YouTube analytics data from participating institutions.
  • Last year, in prep for the datadive, some of us from the Open.Michigan team wrote Python scripts to pull data from the YouTube and Google Analytics APIs, which generated the spreadsheets that we used the A2DataDive in February 2012 and which I adapted for the mini-datadive in October 2012. We’re now working on a project to share those analytics in real-time on the associated course and resource pages on our website. We’ll keep you posted!

Edit-a-Thons with the Michigan Wikipedians

On Thursday, February 7, the Michigan Wikipedians came together to support an edit-a-thon sponsored by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.  Editors new and old collaborated together on various Gerald Ford topics, such as the article covering Ford’s inauguration.

edit-a-thon at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Of the roughly 20 attendees, about a third were newcomers to Wikipedia editing, but members of the Michigan Wikipedians were quick to be of assistance.  The event was likely to have been the first Wikipedia edit-a-thon ever to take place in the state of Michigan, but another one with the University Museums is now in line for next month.  Stay tuned for details!  In the meantime, happy editing!

The Michigan Wikipedians meet weekly at 4041 Shapiro Undegraduate Library, Thursdays, 8pm.  All are welcome.