edX, the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s NPO that offers free massive open online courses (MOOCs), announced it has found a friend in Google (News - Alert), which will work with edX to make its online course platform more accessible to aspiring developers.
The site, MOOC.org, is an open-source online platform that will allow for the expansion of free blended and online learning. The site will expand MOOC offerings beyond colleges and universities and is expected to launch in the first half of 2014.
Right now, edX offers free online courses from 28 colleges and universities, including MIT (News - Alert), Harvard University, Berkeley University of California, The University of Texas System, Australian National University, TU Delft, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Georgetown University.
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With this partnership, Google and the pros at edX partner schools will use the open-source learning platform Open edX that will allow for more users to take courses and more institutions to offer them. This will all be built using Google technology, of course.
“Google and edX have a shared mission to broaden access to education, and by working together, we can advance towards our goals much faster. In addition, Google, with its breadth of applicable infrastructure and research capabilities, will continue to make contributions to the online education space, the findings of which will be shared directly to the online education community and the Open edX platform,” Google wrote in a blog post.
Currently, MOOC.org is accepting requests from educators, institutions and businesses that wish to add courses to the site.
As higher education systems continue to grow, it makes sense to look at different ways of teaching more people, perhaps even more efficiently. MOOCs may well be a part of the answer, although they’ve been received with both optimism and skepticism.
Some feel it disrupts the institution of higher education.
“Any MOOC course that I have seen so far is a poor substitute for a real academic course,” said Thomas L. Dumm, an Amherst College political science professor, according to The Harvard Crimson.
Amherst’s stance on partnering with edX has been negative.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to help our residential students, and [it] wasn’t clear exactly what the MOOCs would allow us to do which we couldn’t do in other ways,” said Stephen A. George, a professor of life sciences at Amherst who introduced the motion against participating in edX. “It was really the massive, synchronous MOOC that did not seem to fit with our goals and values,” the report says.
Despite criticism from higher education facilities, MOOCs provide students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and pursue their interests without dedicating fixed periods of time and money to fit a college or university schedule.
The model is too new to criticize or boast heavily, but MOOCs are certainly changing the way people learn today.
Edited by Alisen Downey