by Andrew Gordon on November 17, 2010 02:45pm

The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation at Otago Polytechnic, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Microsoft have worked together to develop an open source extension for Microsoft Word. The extension, written in C#, allows learning material developed in Microsoft Office to be saved directly to MediaWiki based repositories such as WikiEducator.

The free tool can be downloaded here and, once installed, adds a "MediaWiki" option to the standard ‘Save As' functionality in Microsoft Word. The source code, which provides a reference for others interested in adding custom ‘Save As' functionality to Microsoft Office, is available under the OSI approved Apache 2.0 license and can be downloaded here.

Peter Harrison, Vice President of the New Zealand Open Source Society, welcomed this release. "The Internet provides humanity with an unequalled opportunity to leverage our communication technology to educate people across the globe. Through collaborative technologies such as Wiki, people can work together to create rich common resources that are open to all. By enabling users to export their content from Word into MediaWiki, Microsoft are encouraging the availability of a far wider range of educational resources online," he said.

This project demonstrates the open, extensible and interoperable nature of the Microsoft Office suite suite the underlying Windows operating system, and further demonstrates the increasing connection between open source development and the Microsoft platform.

This project is complementary to Microsoft's continued investment in innovation in education through programs such as Partners in Learning (PIL). More information about PIL can be found here.

You can also find more information about Microsoft's Openness collaborations here.