FAQS

User Accounts

Who can join OPOSSEM?

OPOSSEM welcomes any instructors at secondary, undergraduate, or graduate institutions who teach social science research methods, including both qualitative and statistical methods. Though initially created by a group of political scientists, OPOSSEM welcomes instructors in any discipline, from economics to anthropology, who are interested in teaching students effective research skills and methods. 

Whenever I try to login, I get an "Access Denied" message. What's going on?

Make sure you have cookies enabled in your browser settings before you attempt to log in to the site.

What do I do when my email address changes?

Simply go to your user page: http://opossem.org/user after logging in and choose the Edit tab. This will take you to a form that enables you to change your email address, without losing your account history.

Please do not simply create a new account. The new account will not have your uploaded instructional materials or user points.

What are “ratings”?

OPOSSEM allows registered users to use a 5-star system to ‘rate’ both instructional materials and web links. Users can only rate an item one time. This helps users find materials and links that are considered particularly helpful by other members of the community. No one can see who rated their material or what rating an individual user gave the material or link. This is to reduce measurement error in the rating system. This is similar to the "karma" system on Slashdot (http://slashdot.org) and other user-moderated sites.

OPOSSEM Badges are awesome! How do I earn a higher level on my Badges?

Users attain higher Badges based on their activity on the site. Users earn points for posting instructional materials, new discussion topics, and commenting on existing instructional materials and discussion topics.

What are OPOSSEM Badges?

Badges are a way to recognize OPOSSEM users, especially those who are particularly active within the community. So far, we're focusing on three key areas of user activity on the site: connecting with others, engaging with our content, and moderating our comments. We're highlighting these three areas and recognizing the top users in them.

Can I change my profile picture?

Yes, you can always make changes to your profile picture. On your profile page (http://opossem.org/user/), choose the Edit tab. You will see an area labeled "Picture." In this area you can upload a photo from your computer. The image should be in .gif, .jpg, or .png format.

I would like to include my contributions to OPOSSEM in my tenure or promotion file. How should I do this?

OPOSSEM members are encouraged to include their OPOSSEM contributions on their CVs as a teaching-related activity. In addition to the citation, which appears on your materials page, OPOSSEM recommends that you include the number of page views, total number of file downloads, average rating, and number of ratings. Because this information is included on each page of your uploaded materials, colleagues interested in verifying your information can visit the pages themselves. If your content is among the top downloads or views on the site, you may also want to indicate this and include a link to the relevant top download or view page. 

How should I list my OPOSSEM content on my curriculum vitae (CV)?

OPOSSEM suggests that you list your contributed instructional materials as contributions to your teaching activities on your CV. In addition to the citation, which appears on your materials page, OPOSSEM recommends that you include the number of page views, total number of file downloads, average rating, and number of ratings. Because this information is included on each page of your uploaded materials, colleagues interested in verifying your information can visit the pages themselves. 

Where can I change my password?

After you are logged in, you can change your password by visiting your profile at http://opossem.org/?q=user. Click on the “EDIT” tab to change your password. 

Where can I change my screen name?

After you are logged in, you can change your screen name by visiting your profile at http://opossem.org/?q=user. Click on the “EDIT” tab to change your user name. 

Where can I add/edit my profile?

After you are logged in, you can visit your profile at http://opossem.org/?q=user.

I can't remember my username/password! What can I do?

Use the following form to request a new password: http://opossem.org/user/password. You can enter either your screen name (usually your full first and last names such as “George Washington”) or the email address that you used to register for an account. An email will be sent to you with a temporary link to set a new password.

 

If you believe that you have an account, but OPOSSEM does not recognize your email, you might have used an alias or a different form of your address. If you cannot recall either the email address that you used when you registered or your screen name, you can use the advanced search options to search for your name at http://opossem.org/search/node/. You can enter the screen name that is displayed on your profile into the password reset tool. You will need to check all of your email accounts for an email from OPOSSEM.

 

If you are certain that you have an account, but neither of these strategies helps you find your account information, you can email the site editors at admin@opossem.orgfrom the email account that you think you used to create the account. The editors cannot access your password, but they can look up your username and request that OPOSSEM send a password reset email to the email address on file.

What should I use as a user name?

You should use your full name, or first and last names, as your user name so that you can be correctly and easily identified throughout the site when you post content. Your user name is included in the recommended citation for shared instructional materials. You should avoid using an Internet handle such as “lovinstats83.” 

Where can I create an account?
Where is the login page?
Why do I need to create an account?

Anonymous users who visit the site can read any discussions and download or browse any content without creating an account. However, to contribute to discussions and share materials, OPOSSEM requires users to register an account. 

How can I get involved?

You can start by creating a registered user account. Registered users can post to discussion forums, share their instructional materials, add new links, and comment and rate current content. OPOSSEM also relies on a handful of editors to help approve new accounts, moderate the discussion board, and respond to user queries. If you are interested in serving as an editor, please send an email to the current editors at admin@opossem.org.

Subscriptions, RSS, and Email Notifications

How can I be notified of new instructional materials or discussions that are in my field of interest?

OPOSSEM mainly accomplishes this using RSS. RSS is a broad application that is used to aggregate content from different web sites. (If you'd like more background information, we have an FAQ on RSS.)

To create your notification, first create a search that matches your interests. Maybe that involves a simple free text search on "market rate surveys" or maybe it's a more complex search of "subsidies" with the addition of a filter by state for "Illinois."

If you just want a general notification of anything new, you can click on the search box without entering any terms. This lists all of our resources.

Once you're constructed your search, look in the righthand column of the search results page for a section titled "Subscribe via RSS." At this point you have a few options: basic RSS, Google Reader, or Yahoo Alerts.

If you want to receive email notification, use Yahoo! Alerts (for studies). If you'd rather receive notification through traditional RSS, you can use any of the first three options listed below.

  1. Basic RSS 
    Basic RSS is like bookmarking a typical Web page. You won't recieve an email telling you that new resources have been added, but every time you visit that bookmark, you'll see a list of only those resources that have been added since you were last here.
  2. Google Reader 
    If you wish to use Google's RSS utilities, you'll need to have a Google account and you will be presented with two choices: add to Google homepage or add to Google Reader. The Google homepage is a portal page that might include news headlines, weather, links to Gmail, and other Google-related services.
    The Google Reader is strictly focused on RSS feeds, and is all about compiling raw information from a variety of sources. It provides a column on the left listing your information sources, and lists the headlines on the right.
  3. Yahoo! Alerts 
    Yahoo! Alerts enables you to receive notification via email, Yahoo! Messenger, or directly to your mobile device. You can received alerts as they happen, or once a day at most. You will need a Yahoo account to take advantage of this service. Please note this is only available for studies.
How do I subscribe to RSS?

RSS readers come with the following Web browsers automatically:

  • Internet Explorer 7 (Windows)
  • Firefox (Windows/Mac)
  • Safari (Windows/Mac)

In addition, some readers are available as desktop software that you can download and install on your computer. The reader you choose will have instructions for how to subscribe to RSS feeds.

Other Resources on RSS (links to other sites)

 

How can I be notified of new resources/studies that are in my field of interest?

Opossem accomplishes this using RSS. RSS is a broad application that is used to aggregate content from different web sites. (If you'd like more background information, we have an FAQ on RSS.) To create your notification, first create a search that matches your interests. Maybe that involves a simple free text search on "market rate surveys" or maybe it's a more complex search of "subsidies" with the addition of a filter by state for "Illinois."

If you just want a general notification of anything new, you can click on the search box without entering any terms. This lists all of our resources.

Once you're constructed your search, look in the righthand column of the search results page for a section titled "Subscribe via RSS." At this point you have a few options: basic RSS, Google Reader, or Yahoo Alerts.

If you want to receive email notification, use Yahoo! Alerts (for studies). If you'd rather receive notification through traditional RSS, you can use any of the first three options listed below.

  1. Basic RSS 
    Basic RSS is like bookmarking a typical Web page. You won't receive an email telling you that new resources have been added, but every time you visit that bookmark, you'll see a list of only those resources that have been added since you were last here.
  2. Google Reader 
    If you wish to use Google's RSS utilities, you'll need to have a Google account and you will be presented with two choices: add to Google homepage or add to Google Reader. The Google homepage is a portal page that might include news headlines, weather, links to Gmail, and other Google-related services.

The Google Reader is strictly focused on RSS feeds, and is all about compiling raw information from a variety of sources. It provides a column on the left listing your information sources, and lists the headlines on the right.

  1. Yahoo! Alerts 
    Yahoo! Alerts enables you to receive notification via email, Yahoo! Messenger, or directly to your mobile device. You can received alerts as they happen, or once a day at most. You will need a Yahoo account to take advantage of this service. Please note this is only available for studies.
What are RSS feeds?

 

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are free, updated content sent to your computer via the Internet. RSS feeds enable a user to view content from multiple Web sites on one screen, stripped of all site-specific navigation, advertisements, and branding.

For example, a user might visit multiple news sites in any given week to keep up-to-date on recent events. Without RSS, the user must go to each news site individually and find the desired information through each site's own navigation.

With RSS, the user subscribes to each site through the browser's built-in subscription functions, or via a standalone news aggregator (also called a news reader) that may be downloaded and installed. The user can then view the aggregated information through a consistent display that automatically sorts the information according to his or her needs.

When the user opens his or her browser and goes to the RSS view, it automatically downloads the latest information from the subscribed sites. Most RSS browsers also let you search the articles (essentially enabling the user to search across multiple sites), sort by a variety of fields (such as title, date, or author), filter/subset by date or source, and customize the amount of information that displays on screen.

RSS also presents an alternative to receiving notifications via email. Unlike email, RSS feeds don't get filled up with unwanted solicitations.

How can I find out about changes to OPOSSEM?

Periodically (about four or five times a year), OPOSSEM editors may post news items to the site about upcoming events or changes on the site. You can visit this page to see what’s happening with the project. Also, if you follow OPOSSEM on Facebookor Twitter, you will see any new news item on those pages. Finally, if you prefer, you can subscribe to the news items by email. 

How do I subscribe to a specific discussion topic to be notified of replies?

If you created the topic and have the “Auto-subscribe” option enabled (link to FAQ), you are automatically subscribed and will receive email notifications if you’ve chosen that option. If you do not have the “Auto-subscribe” option enabled or you want to subscribe to a discussion topic begun by someone else, you may subscribe by visiting the topic page and clicking the “Subscribe” link at the bottom of the original topic post. You can later manage your subscriptions (including “unsubscribing” from discussion topics) in your user profile (http://opossem.org/?q=user).
If you comment on a discussion topic, you will have the option to receive notifications when others also comment on it. Again, after you have subscribed, you can manage your subscriptions (including “unsubscribing” from discussion topics) in your user profile (http://opossem.org/?q=user). 

How do I subscribe to a discussion forum?

There are two ways to subscribe to a discussion forum. First, you can subscribe via RSS feed using the feed address listed at the bottom of the forum page. For example, the feed address for the undergraduate teaching forum is http://opossem.org/forums/undergraduate-teaching/feed, which can be found at the bottom of http://opossem.org/forums/undergraduate-teaching. Second, you can have new topics and posts for particular forums sent to you in an email message. Visit your user profile page, choose the “Subscriptions” tab, and then choose the “Categories” option.   

Can OPOSSEM tell me when someone comments on my content?

On pages with discussion topics, instructional materials, and Web links, click on the word “Subscribe” to choose subscription options. You can edit your subscription preferences by visiting your profile page. There, you can choose to be notified by email of updates to those types of content, including your own.
You can also manage these settings in your user profile subscription settings. After logging in to the site, visit your user profile (http://opossem.org/?q=user), choose the “Subscriptions” tab, and then modify the “Auto-subscribe” options under “Settings.”

Sharing Instructional Materials and Intellectual Property

What is the largest file size that I can upload?

The maximum upload size is 7 MB. If you have a datafile that you would like to post that exceeds this limit, consider compressing the file (as a .zip or .tar).

What types of files should I upload as instructional materials?

That depends.

If you have chosen the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/), then you would probably want to upload a file format that is difficult to manipulate or modify, such as a password protected Acrobat (PDF) file.

On the other hand, if you choose the license that encourages others to modify or improve upon your work as long as they cite your original contribution (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0); http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ ) , you should upload a file format that will be usable by the greatest number of users and which will stand the test of time. For instance, rather than upload a document in Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), consider uploading a document as a Rich Text Format (.rtf). Instead of uploading a Stata file (.dta), consider uploading tab-delimited (.txt) or comma-delimited text file (.csv).

What types of files can I upload as instructional materials?

Currently, only files with the following extensions may be uploaded:

  • Graphics: jpg jpeg gif png eps tif
  • Open document formats: txt rtf pdf csv pps ps
  • Microsoft: doc xls ppt pptx
  • Open Office: odt ods odp
  • Tex/LaTeX/BibTeX: tex dtx ltx bib bbl bst idx ist clo cls sty def ldf fd cfg

If you need to upload another file type, please let us know by emailing admin@opossem.org.

How do I upload my instructional materials?

Once you have created a user account, you may upload your instructional materials (lecture notes, lecture slides, problem sets, in-class exercises, etc.) by visiting: http://opossem.org/node/add/instructionalmaterials. You may attach multiple files and file formats to one page. For instance, if you have both lecture notes and in-class exercise hand-outs that belong together, you can add both documents to one page.

What are “ratings”?

OPOSSEM allows registered users to use a 5-star system to ‘rate’ both instructional materials and web links. Users can only rate an item one time. This helps users find materials and links that are considered particularly helpful by other members of the community. No one can see who rated their material or what rating an individual user gave the material or link. This is to reduce measurement error in the rating system. This is similar to the "karma" system on Slashdot (http://slashdot.org) and other user-moderated sites.

Do I keep my copyright?

Applying a Creative Commons license is a means for sharing and distributing a work, but it does not change the legal copyright status of the work. You retain the copyright to any of your intellectual property. Furthermore, you have the option of removing your own work from OPOSSEM at any time.

What are Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons is a way to license copyrighted works that allows others to use and distribute the work under certain conditions. Educause, a non-profit association that promotes the use of information technology to advance higher education, has a short publicationthat helps explain the uses of Creative Commons licenses for academic work. 

How do I remove materials after I have uploaded them to OPOSSEM?

You may edit or delete any of your uploaded materials at any time. After logging in to OPOSSEM, just visit your profile page (http://opossem.org/?q=user)to find all of the materials that you have uploaded. Visit any instructional material page and choose the “EDIT” tab at the top of the page. There you will have the ability to edit the page text, delete attached files, upload new files, or delete the entire page. If you delete an entire page, you will also delete all of the comments, ratings, and usage statistics (view and download counts). 

My lecture notes include equations from published commercial textbooks. Can I still share the notes?

Pure math cannot be copyrighted. 

My lecture notes include examples or text from published commercial textbooks. Can I still share the notes?

This depends on how extensive the example or quote is and whether it is properly documented or cited. Some academic uses of others’ intellectual property are permitted according to principles of fair dealing or fair use. If you are unsure whether your use is “fair,” then you should remove those portions of your lecture notes or assignments before sharing them on OPOSSEM. 

I publish my lecture notes on my personal website. Why should I also add them to OPOSSEM?

There are several advantages to adding your instructional materials to OPOSSEM in addition to posting them on your personal website. First, by posting them to OPOSSEM, you make them available to other instructors who are expressly looking for materials like yours. This increases the likelihood that you will have an audience. Second, posting materials to OPOSSEM provides a way for other users to give you feedback on your materials, including corrections, through the comment system. In this way, you harness the power of the community to help improve your materials, which you can edit or revise at any time. Third, by including suggested citations on your instructional materials page, OPOSSEM helps remind users that they should cite your work in their own instructional materials, which they may be less likely to do unless you include such recommendations on your own site. Fourth, by attaching a specific Creative Commons License to your instructional materials through OPOSSEM, you are also licensing the use of your materials in a highly visible manner, which also increases the likelihood that those who consult your materials will adequately cite them in their own instructional materials. Finally, by publishing page views, download counts, and peer ratings of content, OPOSSEM provides third-party confirmation of the extent to which your materials have been accessed and the average ratings provided by users. This information should be useful for documenting your contributions to enhancing methods instruction for promotion purposes, including reputation, as measured by views, downloads, and ratings within the OPOSSEM community.

Printed and E-Reader Versions

Some of the source files are in LaTeX format. Where can I learn how to use LaTeX to customize those materials?

LaTeX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTeX) is a document markup language that is particularly useful for displaying formatted math characters. More information and an introduction to using LaTeX is available at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX.

Are you planning to produce versions for e-readers such as the iPad and the Kindle?

Definitely, as soon as those formats stabilize. Again, the intermediate form for these will probably be LaTeX. In the meantime, these readers will accommodate PDF files.

I have students who still want a bound paper copy: can you provide that?

There are several companies providing this service for sites using the MediaWiki format, and we intend to contract with one or more of these so that physical copies can be obtained with a few clicks from the site (and a credit card or PayPal account, of course). We will also produce PDF files with some collections of the chapters most commonly used in courses so that these can be obtained with only a single click rather than going through the process of assembling the text chapter by chapter. We anticipate updating these every semester to reflect the new content of the site.

The "print/export" is not as nice as what I'm accustomed to distributing to my students: is there some way that I can improve it?

The MediaWiki formatting used for the wiki is very similar in structure to HTML and LaTeX, and there are several utilities, written in languages such as PHP, Java and Python, that will convert those formats to HTML or LaTeX. Like the "print/export" utility, the conversion isn't perfect, but gives you a document that can be manually corrected according to your aesthetic tastes. You can also export selection pages from the site and any supporting files in an XML format: see http://wiki.opossem.org/index.php?title=Special:Export

We are also planning to create a customized Python program that will generate OPOSSEM handouts and books as LaTeX files; this will take advantage of customized code embedded in the pages that cannot be dealt with by the more general MediaWiki formatting codes. The results should be of publication quality, or at least as close as one can get to this using LaTeX.

Is it possible to download the material for printing?

The "print/export" links on the bottom left of the page provide a variety of options for exporting one or more of the pages to a handout or book.

Overview

I put a lot of effort into my lecture notes and slides. Why should I share them online with anyone else?

The short and snarky answer is that if you are asking the question, you probably shouldn't participate in the project. OPOSSEM is part of a sea-change in the provision of collective goods through decentralized, massively collaborative projects. In theory, these efforts should fail. And many do. But others succeed, both on a very large scale, such as WikipediaLinuxLaTeX, and R, or on the small scale of the thousands of free applications available for the iPhone and Android.

The answer ultimately depends entirely on what makes you happy. OPOSSEM has neither plans nor the resources to send legions of jackbooted thugs (or rampaging packs of slobbering marsupials) to smash down office doors and wrench your precious lecture notes and problem sets from your cold, dying hard drive. Participation is entirely voluntary. Some people enjoy participating in collective efforts: if you are in any town anywhere in the world, you can probably witness more voluntary time expended on social, sports, charitable and civic activities on any randomly chosen weekend than we are likely to invest in the entire history of OPOSSEM. Others don't find such activities rewarding. It's your call.

But dudes, you are like totally messing with me here: rational choice theory says, definitively, that this cannot possibly work!

Okay, okay, calm down. So go to your bookshelf, and take out a journal, and open it to a rational choice article. How did the article get there? The author spent a great deal of time and effort writing it, and then sent it to the journal. For free. It was reviewed by multiple people. For free. A university paid an academic editor to handle to review process and possibly edit the article. The author, reviewers and university then pay to get the article!

Compared to that system, OPOSSEM is a paragon of rationality. You still submit the work for free, but you can get access to it for free. And our reviewers aren't anonymous—you can click the "History" tab to see the identity of everyone who has contributed and edited.

"Oh brave new world. That has such people in't!"

Who is sponsoring OPOSSEM?

OPOSSEM has received support from various sources. The initial development of the site was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), through a grant administered by the University of South Dakota. Staff at the ICPSR at the University of Michigan developed the site, and site hosting is provided by the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship and McMaster University Library. In 2012, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada will fund a workshop at McMaster to develop additional educational materials to be hosted on OPOSSEM. The OPOSSEM project is always looking to expand its community and network of partners. Interested parties should email admin@opossem.org.

How do I report a problem with your Web site?

If you are experiencing a problem with the Web site, please email admin@opossem.org. Please be prepared to provide the following information:

 

  • An exact description of the problem, including the URL where it occurs
  •  

    Please understand that without a detailed explanation of the problem, it is unlikely that we will be able to resolve the matter.

    • Information on which Web browser and version you are using
    • Details about your computer (operating system, connection speed)
    • Information on whether the problem is unique to your computer, or occurs on a number of computers at your institution (if you know)
    What are OPOSSEM’s account terms of use?

    Our terms of use are posted here: http://opossem.org/account-terms. When you create a user account on OPOSSEM, you will be required to agree to the terms of use prior to account creation.

    What is OPOSSEM?

    OPOSSEM, the Online Portal of Social Science Education in Methodology, is an online portal to facilitate sharing of various resources for teaching social science research methods (particularly statistical methods) among educators in secondary, undergraduate, and postgraduate settings.

    I'd like to meet some of my collaborators in three-dimensional space. Are you planning to get together at conferences?

    Definitely. OPOSSEM has already held panels and workshops at the American Political Science Teaching and Learning Conference, the APSA general meeting, and the summer meeting of the Society for Political Methodology. We are planning to continue to do this as opportunities arise.

    Other Site Features

    Can I do Boolean searching on OPOSSEM?

    You can't do true Boolean searching currently. If you enter multiple terms into the search box it treats them as if they were connected by a Boolean AND. If you use the options under the Advanced tab on the [search page], you can be more precise in your search strategies.

    Can I use an asterisk in the search to match partial words?

    No, because our search engine matches partial words automatically. Search terms are stemmed, meaning that partial-word matches will appear in search results.
    Example: a search for "network" will also turn up "networks" and "networked"

    Why is the text so small on your Web site?

    The default font size varies from browser to browser. We design our sites so that the user can control the font size. By doing this, we guarantee that users with low vision can access our content. See "How to Increase the Font Size on My Browser" for assistance resizing the text in your preferred browser.

    I found an error in some of the posted material, what should I do?

    If it is an instructional material posted by an OPOSSEM community member, you might consider posting a comment on the page where you downloaded the material or emailing the member directly to let him or her know of the error. If the member does not respond and the material is posted with the CC BY-NC-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License), then you might also consider posting a corrected version of the content to OPOSSEM with attribution and a link to the original.
    If you discover some error in the site that is not in user generated content, you can email the site administrators at admin@opossem.org.   

    What are “points”?

    Points are a way to measure the quantity of OPOSSEM members’ participation in the community. Different types of contributions to the OPOSSEM community generate a different number of points. For instance, sharing instructional materials earns more points than rating someone else’s instructional materials. 

    How can I use RSS to track content with certain tags?

    This is easy to do on OPOSSEM. You can browse the tag cloudof existing tags on OPOSSEM and choose any tag in which you’re interested. On that tag’s page, you will see an RSS icon at the bottom of the page. Imagine that you’re interested in following any posts of materials or discussion about the American National Election Study (ANES). You could visit the ANES pageand subscribe to its RSS feed.   

    What are “tags”?

    Tags help to organize information. They are key words or phrases that describe a page, discussion, or other content. Most items or pages on OPOSSEM can be “tagged” with keywords, which help users find information more easily. You can also help organize the information on OPOSSEM by adding tags yourself. When you begin to type in the tag box, a list of terms that begin with those letters should appear. 

    Creative Commons

    What's the difference between the two Creative Commons licenses used for OPOSSEM instructional materials? Why would I choose one or the other for my materials?

    OPOSSEM recommends that users choose 1 of 2 Creative Commons licenses for the materials that they share on OPOSSEM. Both licenses are “non-commercial” and “attribution” licenses. This means that others are not licensed to use your materials for commercial purposes. That is, they could not include your materials in commercial or for-profit publication without your permission.

    Both licenses also require that others cite your work if they want to use any of it for non-commercial purposes. The only difference between the two licenses is that the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) allows others to modify your work and redistribute it, provided that they cite your original work (attribution) and distribute the new work with the same license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). The Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/) allows others to use your material for non-commercial purposes as long as they attribute (cite) the material to you and do not modify it in any way.

    Which license you choose is up to you. If you want your materials to receive more widespread use, OPOSSEM recommends the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.

    What instructional materials are acceptable for uploading to OPOSSEM? What materials are not acceptable?

    You should only upload your own intellectual property (IP) to OPOSSEM. If you find useful information somewhere else on the web that is not your IP, you can add a link to it using the weblinks form http://opossem.org/node/add/weblinks.

    OPOSSEM welcomes any kind of instructional materials, including lecture notes, problem sets, videos, podcasts, etc. Since anyone can browse OPOSSEM without an account, you should NOT post answer keys, exams, or anything else you would not want your students to find because they WILL find it.

    Where can I find other open source teaching materials for social science courses?

    There are many open source projects that distribute teaching materials for the social sciences, and new projects seem to be developed all the time. Your best bet would be a Google search, like http://www.google.com/#q=open+source+textbooks+social+science, since any list we made would become quickly outdated.

    I downloaded a .zip or .tar file but can’t open it. What is the problem?

    In order to extract the contents of the file on a Windows system you'll need a program like 7-zip. Mac and Linux systems should automatically extract the contents when you double click on the archive file.

    Comment Policies

    Can I follow all the activities of any particular OPOSSEM user?

    Absolutely. Each registered OPOSSEM user has their own profile page. At the bottom of their profile page is an RSS icon that will enable you to subscribe via RSS to any activity by that user.

    There is a comment that I find insulting and in violation of your policy. What can I do?

    You can flag the comment as abusive by pressing the Flag As Offensive link on the below the comment. This alerts our editors. After “flags” from 3 different users, comments are automatically removed from the page.

    What is OPOSSEM`s Comment Policy?

    OPOSSEM is meant to be an online community of engaged instructors and actively encourages discussion in the forums and commenting on content throughout the site. We hope to maintain a respectful arena for discussion of various methodological and pedagogical issues.

    If your comments consistently or intentionally make this community a less civil and enjoyable place to be, you and your comments will be excluded from it. OPOSSEM does not tolerate direct or indirect attacks, name-calling or insults, nor does it tolerate intentional attempts to derail, hijack, troll or bait others into an emotional response. These types of comments will be removed from the community where warranted.

    To help ensure that discussion and commenting remains civil, most OPOSSEM pages include a “Flag as offensive” link, which users can use to notify site editors that a particular page or discussion is inappropriate. Once a page receives 3 “flags” from users, it is automatically taken offline (though the content is not deleted) until the site editors can review the content.

    What does the little “thumbs up” icon do?

    In the discussion forums, if you think a topic or a comment is particularly great, you can give it a “thumbs up” vote. This will help other users identify the advice that is found to be most useful in response to a topic.

    Can I include HTML in my comments?

    Yes. Below the comment box and above the Preview button, you will see a tab “Input format” which can be used to change the formatting settings of your comment.

    On several pages, I see a “Flag as offensive” link. What does that link do?

    To help ensure that discussion and commenting remains civil, most OPOSSEM pages include a “Flag as offensive” link, which users can use to notify site editors that a particular page or discussion is inappropriate. Once a page receives 3 “flags” from users, it is automatically taken offline (though the content is not deleted) until the site editors can review the content.

    Citing OPOSSEM Materials

    How will the OPOSSEM community know that I uploaded new instructional materials?

    The most recent additions to OPOSSEM's collection of instructional materials are displayed on the front page under "Newest Resources." Also, when users visit the main instructional material page, the most recent additions appear at the top of the list by default. Users who have subscribed to the instructional materials RSS feed http://opossem.org/instructional-materials/feed RSS feed will also see the newest materials at the top of their feed.

    How can I let another user know that I have used or cited their material?

    Users of OPOSSEM instructional materials are encouraged to leave a comment on the page where they downloaded the material. This will let the author of the materials know that their material has been used and give you an opportunity to give the author feedback.

    Where do I find the citation for instructional materials?

    Citations for user submitted instructional materials can be found on the page from which you downloaded the material. Regular citation formats for web pages can be used for citing posts to discussion forums or comments.

    Why should I cite OPOSSEM instructional materials?

    Citing the instructional materials on OPOSSEM in lecture notes/slides and other publications based on materials is important for several reasons:

    • Other researchers may want to replicate research findings and need the bibliographic information provided in citations to identify and locate the referenced data.
    • Citations appearing in publication references are harvested by key electronic social sciences indexes, such as Web of Science, providing credit to the researchers.
    • Data producers, funding agencies, and others can track citations to specific collections to determine types and levels of usage, thus measuring impact.