OSPRI Lab: Open Source Education Technology (2017-2018)


OSPRI (Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation) is a partnership between Duke University and Red Hat that is jointly housed in Duke’s Social Science Research Institute and Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Integrating open source principles and methodologies into teaching and learning, communicating and creating within and beyond educational institutions, OSPRI Lab is building a 21st-century open learning ecosystem. The vision for the OSPRI Lab is to pilot this innovative pedagogical model while developing open source education technology focused on social, adaptive and customizable learning.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project addresses the gap between how learning occurs outside and inside academic settings—between the participatory, social, crowdsourced, self-organized learning students authentically engage in beyond the classroom and the industrial-era, one-to-many, hierarchical-driven teaching occurring in many classrooms.

The project team will pilot a viable, scalable and replicable open source pedagogical model, and develop a beta version of open source education technology focused on social, adaptive and customizable learning. Depending on students’ interests and team composition, team members will write and submit an article to an open access publication; design and publish open education resources and a website; and submit an application to participate in at least one academic conference to present the pedagogical prototype and their education technology product

The project has the potential to make a significant impact on the critical societal issue of preparing students for 21st-century learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning defines these skills as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration. The Lab has the potential to serve as a prototype for future broad-based infrastructure and curricular innovations at Duke and other universities.

Related Courses

Students may be interested in these optional courses:

  • Computer Science 308: Software Design and Implementation
  • Computer Science 408: Delivering Software: From Concept to Client
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship 290: Open Knowledge and Education Innovation

Anticipated Outcomes

Open source pedagogical model piloted; beta version of open source education technology produced; article submitted to an open access publication; open education resources and website produced; presentation at an academic conference

Student Opportunities

The team will meet once a week to discuss theoretical frameworks, workshop and iterate on key deliverables, strategize research methodologies and cocreate work products. Team members will also collaborate within smaller, knowledge-area teams such as Education Innovation, Research and Design and Programming.

Students will have an opportunity for experiential and mentored learning with companies such as Red Hat, which will further increase exposure to and critical reflection about collaborative, team- and project-based learning. They will gain competencies in creating open education resources across media; employing design thinking and iterative methodologies; developing open source education technology; understanding student-focused learning theories (such as connected learning, personalized learning, competency-based pacing); designing surveys and conducting focus groups; educating conference audiences about innovative curricular models and education technology; and contributing to an open access publication.

This project will use competency-based pacing to evaluate and assess student learning. The team’s work will be deeply collaborative and connected; thus, students will be given deadlines by which to complete scaffolded assignments and key deliverables. However, emphasizing the iterative nature of knowledge-making and technology development, students will work closely with team leaders, project consultants and their peers to receive feedback and determine when they have demonstrated clearly defined competencies. Once students have demonstrated the competencies of an assignment, they may move on to begin working on their next milestone.

The team will include undergraduates, graduate and professional students and ideally one postdoc from such areas as education, computer science, innovation and entrepreneurship, psychology, public policy, engineering and English. Desired skills include survey and focus group methodologies, graphic design, design thinking, project management, programming, teaching, UI/UX, publishing, communications and marketing.


Summer 2017 (optional) – Spring 2018

Team meetings will take place on Mondays, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

  • Summer 2017: Team leaders complete project guide and design key assignments; research assistants conduct literature reviews of social, adaptive and customizable student-centered learning theories and case studies of the education technology landscape. Students may serve as research assistants over the summer but are not required to join the team until Fall 2017.

  • Fall 2017: Develop theoretical understanding of open knowledge, open access to information, key 21st century skills and learning competencies, student-centered learning theories; gain familiarity with peer-to-peer education technology landscape, design thinking and iterative methodologies, survey and focus group methodologies; design and complete case studies, surveys and focus groups; design education technology prototype
  • Spring 2018: Build, test, iterate education technology; share knowledge at an academic conference; publish open education resources; complete article for submission to an open access publication


Independent study credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding

This Team in the News

New Course Explores Open Source Principles

Open Project Collaboration from Elementary to University Classrooms

Faculty/Staff Team Members

Aria Chernik, Social Science Research Institute*
Robert Duvall, Trinity - Computer Science*
Michael Faber, Innovation Co-Lab; OIT
Shawn Miller, Center for Instructional Technology
Kristen Stephens, Trinity - Program in Education
Susan Wynn, Trinity - Program in Education

Undergraduate Team Members

Min Chul (Mitchell) Kim, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Statistical Science (AB2)
Cam-Ha Nguyen, Public Policy Studies (AB), Asian & Mid East Studies (AB2)
Sharon Peng

Community Team Members

Multiple Contibutors, Google (potential)
Multiple Contibutors, Red Hat
Multiple Contributors, Creative Commons
Multiple Contributors, Facebook (potential)
Keith Sawyer, UNC - Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship

* denotes team leader