Open.Michigan: Education for All

For many schools around the world, Open Educational Resources (OER) are a hot topic. Universities are beginning to feel compelled to increase access to educational materials by making them available online and for free to any who desire them. One school leading the way is Ann Arbor's University of Michigan, whose Open.Michigan initiative hosts a number of projects dedicated to increasing knowledge on a global scale. Here are some of the many ways they're accomplishing that goal.

university of michigan open.michigan

University of Michigan

Hathi Trust Digital Library

In partnership with Google, the University of Michigan has committed to digitizing their entire print library. The whole catalog can be searched via the library's website or through Google Book Search. It includes the full text of works that are in public domain or have expired copyrights. As of this writing, 8,660,672 total volumes are available online.

Worldwide Interaction

Open.Michigan's website hosts a text developed by students entitled Student Handbook for Global Engagement that helps those interested in international projects learn to conduct themselves healthily and respectfully in other countries. Along those same lines, the University of Michigan has allied with schools and medical institutions in Africa to share knowledge and bolster health education curricula.

Open Data Fellowship

The University of Michigan has committed to sharing scientific data worldwide through collaborative research, conferences and forums. This means that those working on major research projects around the globe don't have to go it alone.

open.michigan university of michigan oer ocw

iTunes U

The University of Michigan maintains a significant presence on iTunes, a top distributor of digital media. Their offerings began with news and lectures from Michigan's dental school; in fact, the dental school was one of iTunes U's first participants. Since then, Michigan has shared materials as diverse as recordings of performances at the university, video lectures from the engineering department and even a popular scientific podcast called Saturday Morning Physics.


Open.Michigan also disseminates information through the massive video site YouTube, where it streams educational movies to users on demand. There students can view lectures on nanomanufacturing, watch addresses from the school's chancellor or see peers speak up about important campus issues. Various school branches, such as Michigan Engineering and the School of Dentistry, have their own YouTube channels with specialized content.


At the heart of the Open.Michigan initiative sits dScribe. More than another OER, dScribe is an innovative way of generating open content that involves both students and faculty. dScribes are volunteer students who collect, review, edit and clear course materials for publication. Although they work mostly independently, dScribes meet with both faculty liaisons and more experienced dScribe2s throughout the semester, especially if they need any help. Their ultimate job is to assemble usable open content that Michigan then shares with the world. Open.Michigan sees the dScribe process as a way to help spread the availability of OER worldwide.

Some publishers are required to make their books available to all. Read about the Open Access Mandate.

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