Forget March Madnees — it’s MOOC Madness in the world of education; it seems like every day there is breaking news about online open courses or commentary from professors and policy makers weighing in on legislation around MOOCs.
Some of the most recent news in the space comes from edX, the nonprofit backed by Harvard and MIT that offers online courses. EdX just a few days ago released their XBlock SDK, inviting anyone to develop independent course components.
The company opened up its source code to allow more people to create interactive tools that can be incorporated into various courses. For example, edX pointed to the tools such as the circuit simulator used in the Circuits and Electronics course (6.002x) and the molecular manipulator found in Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life course (7.00x) as examples of tools, or modules, that can be integrated into online courses.
The goal? According to edX, they are aiming to become the leading open learning platform.
We reached out to edX to learn why they feel an open source path is best. Anant Agarwal, President of edX, explained:
EdX is the only major MOOC provider focused on offering an open learning platform. When we released our XBlock code last week, it represented the first step toward our vision of creating an open, online learning platform that mirrors the collaborative philosophy of MOOCs themselves and leverages a global community of developers to deliver the world’s best and most accessible online learning experience. We believe that the open source path is the right one to help us achieve that goal because it allows us to tap the brainpower of the entire world’s developers to constantly enhance and improve the edX platform.
With a dozen universities on board offering edX classes and over half a million students signed up for the nonprofit’s free courses, edX is continuing to grow while taking one step closer to becoming a truly open learning platform.