The Most Open Free Courses:'s People's Choice Award Winner

Winner: Open.Michigan

Most Open-  Open.Michigan

The state of Michigan is shaped like a warm and inviting mitten. The University of Michigan is embodying that sentiment with Open.Michigan, an initiative that brings the best of the university's educational content to the world. There are courses, textbooks, datasets and interactive tutorials available for anyone to utilize. The people behind the initiative work tirelessly to provide plentiful content, from a public policy course in nonprofit management to a dentistry course in removable prosthodontics.

Aside from providing its own content, Open.Michigan is also notable for encouraging the development of open education resources beyond the university's boundaries. Part of the initiative's mission is to help people find and create their own openly licensed content. The site serves as an advocate, facilitator and hub for the movement.

We received effusive praise from our voters. One said, 'They've got such a variety of content!' Another noted that Open.Michigan is 'really committed to making things transparent.' The 'easy to use search options' were also commended. One of our voters said, simply, 'the name says everything.' You might even say that this is one mitten you'll never want to lose.

Finalist: ds106

Digital Storytelling, better known as ds106, takes the 'open' part of open education very seriously. This is a class anyone can join, at any time, for any length of time. It's a place to foster your skills in both technology and creative self-expression. Students in ds106 design or further develop their online identity, narrating the process as they go. That narration can include short stories, computer games, interactive stories and more. Along the way, you'll receive feedback from your peers and offer criticism on their creations. Our voters praised ds106 for being wonderfully 'interactive' and having a 'dynamic layout.'

Finalist: KSU Flexbook

Sure, you could lug around a heavy textbook all semester, one that was probably outdated before it even arrived in the bookstore. But why not try a flexbook? A flexbook is a free and open source textbook that is built and edited collaboratively. That's exactly what Kansas State Univeristy (KSU) offers with its KSU Flexbook. The flexbook, which includes text, video and still images, is used for an intermediate-level nutrition course at KSU, but it's freely available for anyone to utilize and improve. Our votes described it as 'well organized and intuitive to use,' 'truly innovative' and 'music to an undergrad's ears.' As a testament to its effectiveness, one voter even noted that she'd use KSU's model for designing her own flexbook.

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