What's Happening with OpenMRS Professional Development & Academy

Over the past month, @jayasanka @erica @jmpango @antoniomacheve @marinachichava @wodpachua @suubi7 @jonathan and I have been reflecting on our achievements and strengths when it comes to supporting OpenMRS professional development, some of our challenges, and what we can do in 2024. ICYMI, you can watch this 5 minute video for a quick summary and check out the notes from our September 25th call.

When it comes to OpenMRS Academy in 2024, we’ve decided that a key action is to set up a one stop OpenMRS Academy shop on our website where we can share links for more information, registration, and access to all tutorials, courses, bootcamps, and mentorship opportunities.

The team has already started working on an OpenMRS Academy landing page mockup. We already have some fantastic feedback from Grace, which I’ll add to this thread. It’s very much a work in progress - and we’d love your insights and suggestions! Please share them here or join our weekly PDM calls on:

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So glad to see the Academy idea coming to fruition!! I was so inspired seeing the CHT Academy and I know we can knock ours out of the park :smiley:

So I clicked the Canva link, and this got me thinking, instead of redesigning layouts from scratch, it might save us a lot of time to use this or similar tooling. So I had some ideas:

  • Can we copy how CHT did it? Answer: No, not easily. Digging into the CHT Academy, I discovered this is not a custom website page - they used the OSS project OpenEdX; specifically, through the vendor distribution called edunext. OpenEdx seems like you either need to set up your own hosted instance (not really something we have bandwidth for I don’t think) or pay a vendor - I wonder how much edunext charged the CHT folks?
  • Is there an alternative that would host our Academy tech/server for us, that others in the industry are using too? Answer, kind of. This donor-funded service would host the content for us, gives us the editing tools, etc. How to Partner with atingi | atingi Collaboration Guide However this looks mostly focused on GIZ-funded projects and I assume we’d be dependent on GIZ continuing to fund atingi. FWIW here’s a sampling of existing materials different orgs are hosting there; they’re not super well aligned with the DPGA/GG industry specifically, and I do find their UI a bit clunky:
  • The Best of Both: Maybe there’s a better Atingi alternative… this got me thinking, what did OpenHIE Academy use? I inspected their academy and found they used this: https://www.learndash.com/learndash-lms At just $200/year this seems like a good idea - and I especially like that they have ecommerce integration so that would mean expert community Orgs could create OpenMRS Academy content and charge for it, if they really really wanted to.

BUT maybe I’m misunderstanding the initial goals… @jennifer are you thinking that the website page would just link out to existing links / easily maintainable pages on our Wiki instead? This would definitely be faster to set up and maintain right now. We’d just be missing out on the Quiz/Step-by-Step experience of a course product.


Thanks for sharing the link to the CHT Academy and for your ideas @grace!

Today, we looked at the CHT Academy - and last week, we looked at OpenHIE Academy, DHIS2 Academy, Miro Academy, Google Tech Dev Guide, and Atlassian University. There are some things we like and don’t like about these different landing pages and their main course pages:

The first step is to simply get an OpenMRS Academy page up on our website featuring the onboarding & professional development activities we know we (and hopefully other orgs) will be doing in 2024. This is what the Canva mock up is intended to do - give us a space to play around some format ideas (sans full content) that we can then build & flesh out on our website.

Trying to get a whole LMS designed and running is going to take more time than we have now. And I don’t think it needs to be a blocker. Google’s Tech Dev Guide might give us an idea of what we can do now: their materials for a particular collection (like this one) link directly out to YouTube videos, online tutorials, etc. We have a lot of the content already, and while we may need to do some updating, polishing, and fill in some gaps, it’s not as much of a lift.


@jennifer done some mockup on a new page here


please check it out …

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@jonathan Awesome! I love how you lay out the different details that we might want to show on a tutorial or course “card” - who should take it, if there’s a cost, dates, how long it will take, etc.

At some point, we might want to think about “bundling” some of our content and unpacking it on a different page. If people with OpenMRS experience are looking for a tutorial and course, we want them to come to this page and see that there’s something for them without having to scroll to the bottom. Some of the sites that we looked at do this in different ways - I think Google Tech Guide calls them “collections” and DHIS2 might even group them as Academy “levels.” So looking at the new page you added, what would we like to see on the landing page - and what would go on a separate page just for newbies, or BAs, or devs?

And the great thing is that we already have quite a bit of real content that we think about putting up - like the tutorials & guides listed here on the O3 prerequisites page of the O3 Dev Guide and we can also look at what we’ve done for the OpenMRS Fundamentals Academy, our virtual Dev Track: Fundamentals & hackathons that we did over the past year. We’ll have to take a look and figure out what we want to put up, what is out of date, etc. It’s a good starting point!