The second Open edX meetup in the U.S. will take place in New York’s McKinsey Academy headquarters on April 9th. The title of the event is “Open edX in the Spotlight: The Future of Online Education”. 

Prominent leaders from NYU, George Washington University, edX, McKinsey and PepperPD will be speaking.

The registration is free and the event will be live streamed and recorded by IBL Studios Education. Beer on top and pizza will be served. McKinsey, WeWork and IBL sponsor the meetup.

This is the line-up of panelists:

–– First Presentation

edTech Learning: 2 years in
Michael Keany – McKinsey Academy
General Manager


–– Second Presentation
An Introduction to the NYU Innovation Sandbox

Richard A. Matasar – NYU
Vice President for University Enterprise Initiatives


Thomas A. Delaney – NYU
Vice President for Global Technology & Chief Global Technology Officer


Dr. Peter J Morales – NYU
Global Lead – Technology Innovation in Teaching and Learning


–– Third Presentation
Building a Sustainable University Strategy for Online Education

Paul Schiff Berman – The George Washington University
Vice Provost of Online Education and Academic Innovation


–– Fourth Presentation

Building Opportunities Around Open edX

Beth Porter – edX
Vice President of Product


–– Fifth Presentation
Building a National Professional Learning Center With Open edX

Dr. Jack McLaughlin  – – Public Consulting Group

[Open Community Portal: Open edX in th Spotlight: The Future of Online Education]

[The third Open edX meetup will take place in Spain, on April 20th in the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid’s campus]



Instructors can now embed Google Drive files and Calendars into courseware on edX and Open edX. This improvement was added to the Open edX platform on the March 5 release.

The Google Drive files – Docs, Drawings, Forms or Surveys, Slides, Sheets – and Calendars appear in the body of the course just like any other content.



An additional possibility for the students is to add the Google Course Calendar to their own personal calendars. The course information will appear along with the students’ information.


[edX Guide for Students: Embedded Files and Calendars]

[edX Guide for Instructors: Google Calendar ToolGoogle Drive Files Tool and XBlock]


History can now be learned in a new, engaging way with the help of one of the largest collections of objects and artifacts.

The Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex, founded in 1846, will offer three interesting MOOCs on All courses, developed with the National Museum of American History, are currently open for enrollment.

  • Objects That Define America. This course, co-produced in partnership with the The Great Courses, looks at the History of America through the lens of key historic objects, artifacts, and exhibits in the Smithsonian collections –from the Statute of Liberty to the Model T.
  • Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture. Iconic creator Stan Lee will participate in this course. Learners who sign up and earn a verified certificate will receive a credential featuring original artwork with both Stan Lee’s and Michael Uslan’s signatures.
  • Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects. This course, geared to middle and high school social studies and history teachers, will offer new teaching techniques designed to engage students in the process of historical inquiry.

“The launch of SmithsonianX on edX is one way that the Smithsonian is sharing its collections and scholarships with a global audience,” said Jacqueline Moen, Vice President of SmithsonianX. “This initial portfolio of courses with Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will offer new perspectives on understanding the American experience.”


Microsoft will offer seven courses on the portal in April.

These courses, taught by Microsoft experts, are now open for enrollment.

  • Introduction to TypeScript, a design-time language that enables JavaScript programmers to manage projects on any platform. This course is co-authored by Anders Hejlsberg, creator of Turbo Pascal, Delphi, C#, and TypeScript.
  • Introduction to Bootstrap, an open-source UI framework created by Twitter to enable the creation of responsive, mobile-first web pages. Bootstrap has become a de facto standard for web design.

Microsoft has already developed an Xblock to enable course creators to embed Office Mix lectures into their edX courses.

The software giant plans to continue investing on edX and Open edX ecosystem through new software developments.


“The Past, Present, and Future of the Federal Reserve” and “Business in a Political Age” are two signature MOOCs that the George Washington University (GW) will start offering in April.

These spectacular free courses, offered on a new Open edX platform, “are designed to educate the world”, said Paul Schiff Berman, Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation.

“These are courses that no other university is offering, and perhaps no other university could offer,” he added.

Registration is now open to the public.

[GW Today: New Online Course Offerings for GW]
[Disclosure: IBL Studios designed and powered the platform]


What does the Open edX architecture look like?

The first version of the diagram illustrating the many components of Open edX is displayed above. It contains various blocks that are scheduled for development but not necessarily in the current version of the Birch release.

In addition, this page explains the current architecture of the platform. It contains also a larger image of the diagram.


EdX has launched the new Open edX Community Portal, aiming to put together the resources and documentation that were spread across different sites.

This portal offers a single destination for Open edX-related links and resources, but is it not meant to replace the edX documentation on Read the Docs or the Confluence wiki.

The current version includes:

Molly de Blank is the coordinator of this project. She is reachable, for feedback and suggestions, at

The Open edX “Birch” version has finally been released!

EdX explained that “between Aspen and Birch, we changed almost 2,500 files, removing almost 90,000 lines and adding over 130,000 new ones”.

This “Birch” release contains several new features for students, course staff, and developers.
These are the main ones:

All the documentation is here.The next version, “Cypress”, will be released in three or four months.