Google Launches Open Source Online Education Software

Google has released a new tool called Course Builder, which is powered by open source software designed to let anyone create online courses.

Earlier this year, Google ran a program called Power Searching with Google, a kind of Massive Open Online Course (Technapex readers should know by know they’re referred to as MOOCs) which attracted a sizeable audience of about 155,000 students from across the globe. The course allowed Google to join common online instruction practices with the company’s large suite of collaboration tools like Google Drive, Gmail and Google Docs. Google Docs are commonly used in many MOOCs, such as the ones currently underway on the University of Reddit.

The Course Builder is the next step in collaboration and communication and has the potential to make a large impact in the growing world of online education. Services like Udacity, Coursera and edX are growing year over year, and Google’s infrastructure may end up factoring into the user experience of students and professors on those services.

Google’s own director of research Peter Norvig pointed out the accessibility of the program and ease of use. “The Course Builder open source project is an experimental early step for us in the world of online education,” he said. “It is a snapshot of an approach we found useful and an indication of our future direction. We hope to continue development along these lines, but we wanted to make this limited code base available now, to see what early adopters will do with it, and to explore the future of learning technology.”