Wednesday 11 September 2013

Google and edX unite to boost free online courses

Google is taking on yet another open source project. The Internet giant has announced that it will be taking on the duty of developing software for online course platform edX. The company will serve as a contributor to the open source platform Open edX.

In a blog post announcing the move, Dan Clancy, Director of Research, Google, wrote that the company was taking cues from its own Course Builder in order to apply them to Open edX and further innovate on an open source MOOC platform.

For those not in the know, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses and is an educational website for edX, formed after MIT and Harvard came together for this project. Google had released its own experimental platform for online education called Course Builder last year. People around the world have already used Course Builder to create courses on various topics like game theory and philanthropy.

Now, Google will be working on, a new service for online learning which will allow any academic institution, business and individual to create and host online courses. Essentially, anyone can create a course using edX. Google will partner with institutions such as MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Western Australia, University of Queensland, and Tsinghua University. Google and edX together will also collaborate on research into how students learn and how technology can transform learning and teaching on campus and beyond.

"We have long admired Google's commitment to open access to information, and we believe they will be a perfect partner to work with as we shape the next generation of open education and learning," said Anant Agarwal, President of edX. "Google shares our mission to improve learning both on-campus and online. Working with Google's world-class engineers and technology will enable us to advance online, on-campus and blended learning experiences faster and more effectively than ever before." He also added in an interview to The Slate that he hoped the website, that is expected to launch in mid-2014, became the “YouTube for MOOCs”.

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