An open source curriculum (OSC) is an online instructional resource that can be freely used, distributed and modified. OSC is based on the open source practice of creating products or software that opens up access to source materials or codes. Applied to education, this process invites feedback and participation from developers, educators, government officials, students and parents and empowers them to exchange ideas, improve best practices and create world-class curricula. These “development” communities can form ad-hoc, within the same subject area or around a common student need, and allow for a variety of editing and workflow structures.


OSC repositories such as Curriki – Global Learning & Education Community, MIT OpenCourseWare and Connexions are one way in which the concept of open source curriculum is being explored. With these online repositories, a curriculum framework for a particular course is created by an instructional designer or author in conjunction with content experts. Learning objectives are clearly identified, and learning activities and instructional sequences and assessments are developed and offered to support the attainment of the objectives. However, all users (from students to educators) are empowered to add, delete, and modify the learning activities, resources and generally contribute to the learning environment. In short, each user contributes to the repository and is able to select curricula based on individual interests.

The Open Content Curriculum Project was initiated with MediaWiki software in 2005, and offers a standards-based K-12 curriculum that is collaboratively edited, contains teacher- and student-created resources, lesson plans, and instructional resources. All 7,800 pages of content is Creative Commons licensed, and the system is used daily by the Bering Strait School District, an Alaska school district roughly the size of Minnesota. The project welcomes use by outside teachers, students and other interested parties.

OpenEducator, a non-profit organization launched in March 2006 using the open source Drupal CMS, aims to support an open source curriculum development community for K-12 educators. Another project, the Open Source Learning Project, is an open source curriculum project initiated by JTG Learning Open Learning Project. This project is focused on a curriculum and training materials for emergency services and developing a resource for emergency services related research. The LAMS Community is a repository of "Learning Designs" (also known as digital lesson plans) which incorporate both content and collaborative activities into a structured flow of tasks that can be run with Learning Design software such as LAMS.


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