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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday August 19, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Steven Stegers

Steven Stegers

Executive Director , EUROCLIO - European Association of History Educators

Presenting the Opening Up Historiana project

The Opening Up Historiana project was a Europeana Generic Services Project which ran from October 2018 to June 2020. The project created new ways for history educators to create, share and use eLearning Activities with content from the Europeana website. In this post we describe the new features that were developed, how educators can access them, and future plans for Historiana. 

main image
A teacher from Czech Republic during a feedback session of the project, CC-BY 4.0
Institute of the Study of Totalitarian Regimes

New tools to create eLearning Activities

In the project, we developed three eLearning tools, referred to as, ‘building blocks’. These are now integrated into Historiana, a web application previously created by EuroClio and Webtic for and with history educators across Europe. Educators can create eLearning Activities in the language of their choice by dragging and dropping building blocks in the eActivity Builder

An example of use of the Activity Builder, CC-BY 4.0
EuroClio – European Association of History Educators

Each building block is designed to support students to think critically by interacting with historical sources. The ‘compare’ block encourages them to compare and contrast visual sources, the ‘highlight’ block invites them to analyse texts, and the ‘discovery’ block is designed for students to make connections between sources. 

The development of each tool was led by a different project partner: the Museum of Slavonia has led the development of the ‘compare’ block, Stockholmskällan has led the development of the ‘highlight’ block, and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has led the development of the ‘discovery' block. 

New features for educators - reviewing student answers 

As part of the project, we also developed a way for teachers to review the answers students give for each eLearning Activity - a feature often requested by educators who work with Historiana. Depending on the building block, teachers can review student annotations, highlights, comments, source placements and written answers. 

Teachers can either look at the all answers of one student or the answers of all students in one specific block. They can also see the answers of students who started the activity, but did not finalise and submit it. This makes it easier and quicker for educators to assess the work of their pupils, and offers a flexible review process.

Teachers can add tags to the link that they create when sharing an eLearning Activity with students that indicates the class or year. This way they can use the same eLearning Activity with different groups over different years. The option to filter these links by class and/or year helps the teachers to find the right link and the right answers. 

Building partnerships

Within the Opening Up Historiana project, we also wanted to enable more people and organisations to benefit from and contribute to Historiana. We specifically wanted to engage programmers in the design of Historiana, and to work directly with cultural heritage institutes who have digital collections. 

The partner pages on Historiana, CC-BY 4.0
EuroClio – European Association of History Educators

To make this possible, we created partner pages where organisations can publish their own eLearning Activities and Source Collections and made a website with documentation for developers. The code of the new tools developed in the Opening Up Historiana project has been published on GitLab under an open license. 

Future plans

We are very happy with the progress made in the Opening Up Historiana project, but there is still more that we are planning to do. In the 2020-2021 school year, we will create an online course to help educators create their own eLearning Activities and offer a series of webinars that demonstrate how to design eLearning Activities with specific learning outcomes in mind. 

Through the partner pages, we will make it possible for users to search for sources from the digital collections of institutions who give access to their collections via Europeana, using licenses that allow for use in education. We will also build a dashboard which offers insights into the educational resources of our partners, and make it possible to add more sources from the Europeana collections website to Historiana. 

In addition, we will research how students and teachers are using Historiana in practice to explore how to improve our website design and create more free resources with historians and educators from our network.

Find out more

For more information, visit the Historiana websiteexplore a webinar which demonstrates the new features of Historiana, or contact