Things are about to get crazy.
Last fall, Google announced Course Builder, an open platform that allows users to build their own MOOCs for free. It is an experimental platform that was created in response to the demand for online education. Everything from game theory to philanthropy has been created and offered to curious individuals from around the world.
We know that Google doesn’t like to take a slice of the pie – they top the whole cake. So, it was no surprise when they announced in September that they would be partnering with edX, the MOOC provider led by Harvard and MIT. The new service will go live in 2014, and it will allow any academic institution, business or individual to create and host an online course. Risky? Maybe. Creatively ingenious? Possibly.
The new platform will be called Open edX, and it will be rolled out on the site MOOC.org. It will combine the best of Course Builder and edX, and as the President of edX has announced, it will hopefully become the “YouTube for MOOCs.” The goal is to advance online education opportunities and support a diverse education ecosystem by working together. Interestingly, the partnership makes perfect cohesive sense.
EdX has flourished in its effort to provide students with university professors from MIT and Harvard, as well as 72 online courses. Google, on the other hand, is familiar with the tools and infrastructure of the online world. When coupled together, MOOCs may have a brighter future than some predict.
Both Google and edX admit that there is still plenty of experimentation that is needed to meet the educational needs of students across the world. And, when you’re addressing world needs, the goals get more complicated. Still, the driving force behind Open edX is to reach students who want to continue their educational experience and develop their skills whether they reside in the U.S., Europe or South Africa.
Course Builder will remain open, but Google will nudge students to Open edX and work on expanding MOOC.org. With innovative technology, personalized services and large scale demographics, Google hopes that learners will be able to pick up new skills and concepts at any time, furthering their careers, academic experiences and individual goals.