Carnegie Mellon University

OpenSimon FAQs

Need a little more explaination about OpenSimon? Want to know how to start implenting a specific tool? Take a look at the frequently asked questions below.

Working with the Simon Initiative

All OpenSimon tools are free to use. In fact, most tools require no installation, and some can be used with just a web browser. However, almost all require an account. Visit the individual tool project pages to find out more about access to each tool and how they can be put to use for you.

One goal of the OpenSimon project is to develop better models for sustaining the development and ongoing improvement of our resources. While individual institutions have an ability to deliver online content to students, we hope to provide a shared infrastructure where users are able to pay a small course fee, via individual student or via institutional contribution, that can then be used to continue to improve the infrastructure. This would also create pools of funds for the faculty who are improving their courses. We can provide funding through faculty course release agreements and/or stipends, or even help with hiring experts, such as a learning engineers or additional programmers.

In addition, we are always eager to partner with institutions around research and development grant opportunities that help to support course development. If you have a project in mind, or an idea you would like to explore, please contact us.

While the OpenSimon toolkit officially launched on May 7, 2019, as part of the second-annual EEP Summit, this is just the latest chapter in a half-century-long history of Carnegie Mellon University developing learning science research, tools, content, and technology to fuel new advances in student success and learning science.

Read more about OpenSimon's origin on the About page.

We are always looking for ways to engage and open to ideas about collaborations and projects. The easiest way to work with the Simon Initiative is to adopt and use the tools that are in the OpenSimon Toolkit. Most only require an account and a web browser.

If you are an institution or developer, another way to engage with us is to dig into the codebase to modify and customize the tools.

Researchers might be interested in collaborating on research projects and partnering around grant proposal submissions.

Use these links to find out more about the ways you can engage with us, or tell us what you are most interested in:

Beyond the immediate tools, content and techniques, you are getting access to a larger community committed to a more evidence-based approach to improving learning outcomes for all learners. Ultimately, OpenSimon can connect you with others like you. We continue to collaborate closely with the Empirical Educator Project (EEP) and its community.

We are always open to collaborating with partners in implementing innovation, and connecting those who are in need of guidance with those who provide it in areas of learning design, analytics, educational technology and research.


The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) offers starter content from courses that were built with OER materials as a base. Check out our catalog and contact us if you are interested in using any of the courses in full, or as a starting point for your development efforts.

In addition to course content in the form of text, activities and quizzes, OpenSimon offers a number of cognitive tutors in areas such as mathematics, language learning, computer programming, chemistry, genetics, and logic. And it's not all just post-secondary education content. We offer a number of activities and tutors for the K-12 domain as well.

OLI courses can include your own activities and content generated using other technologies and sources. We currently have content embedded in our courses that came from products such as Adobe Captivate and Unity, to name a few.