Discussion forums are central to massive online courses’ learning experience. It is where community interaction happens and students speak with professors or one another. However, if not built properly, forums can be frustrating when you try to find something or have a functional conversation. Humanities-related boards face more challenges than scientific ones wherein students look for sets of right answers.
Main changes in the new forums are made to differentiate between “questions” that are meant to be answered authoritatively –requiring the right answers– and “discussions” which are meant to be pursued discursively.
EdX has just released a new version of its platform that allows students to sign into the edx.org educational portal with their existing Google or Facebook accounts. In addition, edX has decided to highlight the importance of LTI cloud-based apps by including a more stylish way in the LMS (or users’ view interface) to show external components. See what it looks like:
Sef Kloninger, one of the leading engineers of the Stanford Open edX initiative, has left this organization to join a start-up called Wavefront. “I’ve heard the siren’s song of the startup”, is the only explanation he provided regarding his departure from Stanford University –although he will continue as a member of the EdX Technical Advisory Board.
What does it mean for the edX community?
Mr. Kloninger, a gifted developer and technology visionary, built the Class2Go platform and contributed many features in the edX code (i.e. theming, course email and instructor analytics, etc) along with an engineering team from Stanford. One of his main achievements was to convince key people in Stanford University and MIT and Harvard in Boston to make the edX platform open source software. So, in a way, he is one of the fathers of Open edX.
He reflects on his website: “I’ve spent a lot of my own time helping to make sure the Open edX project a healthy open source project. It’s not enough to just open up the code, to have a thriving community you have to conduct your development out in the open. Beyond helping other institutions get up and running I’ve worked to drive the open-source agenda overall.”
The edX universe is moving fast and new people with different views and agendas are emerging. The first Open edX conference, taking place this November 19 in Boston, will be an opportunity to picture the future.
Today we have launched our first adwords campaign through Google. “What a news story”, you may think. Does it even deserve a post?
It does. So far, in 18 years on the Internet software business, we have done no digital advertising for our company. Last month we launched the first Open edX guide under the most permissive Creative Commons license; we did it as service to the community.
Yesterday we got a Google coupon of $75 (which is available to anyone), and suddenly we decided to try Google ads. And we are enjoying the experience!
With 2.7 million users around the world and 3 billion records of data related to student activity, the edX platform is “a particle accelerator for learning”. That is what the president of edX, Anant Agarwal, said during the LinuxCon conference in Chicago.
“We can learn how students learn by mining the big data of learning”. For instance, the big data analysis found that between 6 and 9 minutes is the ideal length of time for an educational video. Anything longer and students begin to drop off.
We have finally launched “The Ultimate Guide To Open edX” ebook.
It is free to download, it doesn’t require registration, it contains no ads, and it is released under a Creative Commons license. It will be continuously updated –just check the version number on the second page.
You can download it through our webpage wherein we will comment on developments.
This book is the first guide related to Open edX disruptive technology. Created by MIT and Harvard, and supported by Google, Stanford and 45 international universities, Open edX is a global success:
It powers the edX.org educational portal of more than 2.7 million users.
Innovative universities such as George Washington are using this technology to launch groundbreaking open education initiatives.
The eBook, written by education and media entrepreneur Michael Amigot, is divided into the following sections:
2. MOST-EXCITING SAMPLES
3. TWO EXCELLENT DEMO COURSES
4. OPEN-SOURCE INITIATIVE
5. THE PLATFORM
7. ADDITIONAL AUTHORING TOOLS
8. WAYS TO EXTEND OPEN EDX
9. CREATING COURSES WITH EDX STUDIO
10. TEST PLATFORMS
11. DEVELOPERS’ CORNER
12. NEWS STORIES AND VIDEOS
13. ABOUT IBL STUDIOS EDUCATION / 14. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
One of the revealing conclusions of the Learning With MOOCs conference -celebrated last week in Cambridge, Mass., with participants from MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Goole, the Gates Foundation and Kaplan– is that MOOCs and open virtual courses are part of the much larger trend towards open online learning, regardless of the success or failure of existing providers such as Coursera, edX or Udacity.
What open online learning and teaching –and open should not be confused with free– will look like in 2020 is unpredictable. But one thing is for sure: many of the brightest educators in the planet are committed to create this future together, as it was shown in the conference.
Here is the complete program with all of the recorded keynotes and roundtables –over thirty videos to watch!
For us one of the most interesting sessions was this one: How MOOC Platforms Enable Learning. Panelists included Anant Agarwal (edX), Vivek Goel (Coursera), Melissa Loble (Canvas), and Mark Lester (FutureLearn). The moderator was Diana Oblinger (EDUCAUSE).
This platform, sponsored by Amazon and Nvidia, has been designed and built with IBL Studios Education’s technical support. The first course, titled “Practical Numerical Methods with Python”, offers an innovative experience based on distributed knowledge and open education. The on-campus course at George Washington will be connected with three other simultaneous courses, at Southampton University (UK), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia), and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.