The past week has witnessed an important development in the convergence of open course management systems for MOOCs.
In September 2012 Stanford released Course2GO - built on top of Stanford Courseware - as open source software.
Jane Manning, Class2Go product manager, explained that the idea started with a six-member team in Stanford’s computer-science department. The team built Class2Go using code from Stanford’s Courseware course-hosting platform, a similar platform from the nonprofit Khan Academy, and software for integrated online classroom forums hosted by Piazza
At the same time, Google released its open source CourseBuilder system. Google explained that
Course Builder open source project is an experimental early step for us in the world of online education. It is a snapshot of an approach we found useful and an indication of our future direction. . . . edX shares in the open source vision for online learning platforms, and Google and the edX team are in discussions about open standards and technology sharing for course platforms.
In June 2013 edX released its own open source MOOC management system.
At about the same time, Stanford announced that it would be closing Course2GO and partnering with edX for further development of open source MOOC management tools.
According to Stanford's announcement, open source online learning platforms such as edX will allow universities to develop their own delivery methods, partner with other universities and institutions as they choose, collect data and control branding of their educational material.In Stanford's news release, edX president Anant Agarwal predicted that the edX platform will now become the "Linux of learning."
While Stanford and its professors will continue to use several providers of online courses, including Coursera and Venture Lab, the university will stop developing its own platform, Class2Go. Instead, aspects of Class2Go will be incorporated into the program developed at edX, a nonprofit launched by Harvard and MIT last year. The resulting software code will become available, or open source, on June 1.
As Steve Kolowich reports in the Chronicle,
The new site, MOOC.org, will provide tools and a platform that “will allow any academic institution, business, and individual to create and host online courses,” says a blog post by Dan Clancy, a research director at Google. In an interview, Anant Agarwal, president of edX, referred to the site as a “YouTube for courses.”The resulting open source system will by 2014 enable anyone, anywhere, to develop MOOCs free from dependence upon commercial learning management systems like Blackboard.
EdX won't be all things for all people, but it promises to be both the Linux and the YouTube for massive online courses.