Google partners on new online learning site, platform

Google will team with the online-learning consortium backed by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and others to build out a new site that can be used to host courses online.

Google will take on the core development work for the open-source Open edX platform that will be the basis of edX’s new site MOOC.org, which will be open to use by academic institutions, businesses, and individuals to create and host massive online open courses online, the company and consortium said on Tuesday. Consortium members also include UC Berkeley, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland, and Tsinghua University. The collaboration will extend to research into how students learn and how technology can transform learning and teaching on campus and beyond, according to a joint press release.

Together, Google and edX want to broaden access to education, Dan Clancy, director of research at Google wrote in a blog post.

A year ago, Google released Course Builder, its own experimental open source platform for online education which has been used to create courses on everything from game theory to philanthropy, Clancy wrote. “We are taking our learnings from Course Builder and applying them to Open edX to further innovate on an open source MOOC platform,” he added.

MOOC.org will be built on Google infrastructure.

Google’s Course Builder will be maintained, but the focus will be on Open edX and MOOC.org, Clancy said. An upgrade path to Open edX and MOOC.org from Course Builders will be provided in the future.

”Our industry is in the early stages of MOOCs, and lots of experimentation is still needed to find the best way to meet the educational needs of the world. An open ecosystem with multiple players encourages rapid experimentation and innovation,” Clancy wrote.

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