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US universities embrace open source online learning platform

Stanford University has joined forces with edX — the not-for-profit online learning enterprise founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to enhance the development of edX’s open source learning platform by provid...

On June 1, the source code for the edX’s entire online learning platform will be released for the Stanford to integrate features of its existing Class2Go platform into the edX platform. The integration will serve as an internal platform for online coursework for on-campus and distance learners.

This collaborative work between edX and other institutions will help further the development of the edX platform.

“This collaboration brings together two leaders in online education in a common effort to ensure that the world’s universities have the strongest possible not-for-profit, open source platform available to them,” said John Mitchell, vice provost for online learning at Stanford University.

He added that the open source platform will help universities experiment with different ways to produce and share content, as well as promoting continued innovation through a vibrant community of contributors.

Leveraging from the open source code, other developers from around the globe will be able to play a part in the ongoing development and refinement of the edX online learning platform. From June 1, the access will be made available freely including the access to the code for its Learning Management System (LMS); Studio, a course authoring tool; xBlock, an application programming interface (API) for integrating third-party learning objects; and machine grading API’s.

EdX will help provide support and guide the community of developers to enhance the online learning platform via collaborative environment for developer as well as offering technical and process guidelines to facilitate the developer works.

“It has been our vision to offer our platform as open source since edX’s founding by Harvard and MIT,” stated Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “We are now realizing that vision, and I am pleased to welcome Stanford University, one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education, to further this global open source solution. I want to acknowledge the key role played by our X Consortium member UC Berkeley, which was instrumental in fostering this collaboration. We believe the edX platform—the Linux of learning—will benefit from all the world’s institutions and communities.”

EdX’s objective to this collaboration is to pursue an open source vision to enhance access to higher education for the entire world. The key benefit of massive open online course (MOOCs) is the knowledge exchange and sharing environment of diverse students gathered in this community.

Open source platform for online learning is an effective route for the edX to both transform and deliver the world’s best and most accessible online and blended learning experience.

Open source online learning platforms 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. Further developing online opportunities through open source technology is a key objective of the partnership between edX and Stanford.

Stanford will continue to provide a range of platforms for its instructors to choose from in hosting their online coursework, including continued partnerships with Coursera and other providers. The university will focus its ongoing platform development efforts on the new platform, combining key features from the Class2Go open source platform with the open source edX code base.

The edX learning platform source code, as well as platform developments from Stanford, edX and other contributors, will be available on June 1, 2013 and can be accessed from the edX Platform Repository.

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