OER14 homeApplication › Mr Brandon Muramatsu

Missing link found! Evolving from open content by embedding open assessments

Tuesday 14:30-15:00 (1), Grainger Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: MOOCs and open courses

http://openassessments.org #oer14 #abs78


Mr Brandon Muramatsu, Sr. Educational Technology Consultant-Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, [email protected]
Mr Justin Ball, Chief Technology Officer, Open Tapestry, [email protected]
Dr Joel Duffin, Chief Executive Officer, Open Tapestry, [email protected]
Mr Jeffrey Merriman, Associate Director-Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, [email protected]
Dr David Wiley, Co-Founder, Lumen Learning, [email protected]



Open Assessments are an unexplored area in the Open Educational Resources (OER) community. A collaboration between researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brigham Young University (BYU) and Open Tapestry are developing an infrastructure, tools and item banks of openly licensed assessments (for twenty of the highest enrolling courses in the U.S.) that can be embedded in any digital learning resource with Web access.

One of the defining characteristics of Open Educational Resources movement has been the focus on educational content—that is primarily content and course materials. In particular, the OpenCourseWare and Open Textbook communities have focused primarily on static representations of learning experiences and often times do not include sufficient quizzes or other activities that learners can use to check for understanding and that instructors can use to track engagement and performance. Research shows that embedding assessments in texts increases student completion rates and learning. The Open Embedded Assessment project complements these existing OER efforts by providing tools to allow instructors to embed “live”, automatically evaluated assessments in any OER, and to create shared item banks to provide a growing collection of items and assessments that can be included in OER.


MIT, Open Tapestry and BYU are developing tools and services to allow instructors and authors to embed assessments directly in any content (e.g., in any OpenCourseWare course) thereby providing a richer learning experience. And BYU is developing shared collections of validated item banks for twenty high enrolling university courses (in the U.S.).

The Open Embedded Assessment team is focusing on formative assessment—that is those assessments designed to help the learner gauge his/her understanding of the material and to provide feedback to the instructor on the student’s progress. One of the more interesting instructional design approaches being popularized by the MOOC providers is the interleaving of content and automatically evaluated formative assessments. To interleave content and assessment typically requires that either the learner is using a dedicated, purpose-built system (e.g., the edX, Coursera and Udacity platforms) that present both content and assessments together, or the learner is required to leave the content to take an assessment in a separate quiz system breaking the flow of learning. The tools MIT and Open Tapestry have developed differ greatly from these existing approaches; they allow any assessment to be embedded inline in any web content.

Embedding these “Open Assessments” in existing OER can dramatically increase their usefulness. They can turn static OERs such as most OpenCourseWare sites and many Open Textbooks into interactive learning experiences with a relatively small change to existing development processes.


The Open Embedded Assessments team has developed a working system that enables OER providers to embed a multi-item multiple choice assessment in any web content. The team is continuing to further expand the item types supported, is adding in simple confidence measures (to allow learners to rate their confidence in their answer and/or provide supporting reasoning), and is developing tools to link the embedded assessments with learning outcomes. In addition, the development of shared openly licensed item banks in twenty top enrolling courses is underway.


The Open Embedded Assessment team will describe progress and provide access to the tools and assessments that have been developed to date.

Funding acknowledgements

Portions of this work funded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Further details

Keywords: OER, Open Assessments, Open Embedded Assessments,

Website: http://openassessments.org

Mr Brandon Muramatsu, Sr. Education Technology Consultant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Twitter: @bmuramatsu

Twitter abstract: Missing link, found! Open assessment tools allow learners to show understanding in all OER content. OER world rejoices!