Top US colleges team up to build open source online learning platform

edX, the open source online learning platform backed by Harvard and MIT, just got a new big partner. Today, Stanford University will officially join the developer team of the open-source edX platform.

edX is the online learning site which was initially launched by Harvard and MIT early last year. Last month, they open-sourced up the XBlock software,  the underlying architecture supporting edX course content. On edX, all of the course content, from videos and text to interactive periodic tables and online circuit simulators, is built from XBlock. And by opening up this source code, developers from all over the world can now add their own content modules or “blades,” as edX calls them. Eventually, the rest of the platform will be published with an open-source license. At that point, it will be easier for educators, developers and students around the world to not just contribute new content but integrate with edX in a variety of ways.

Stanford also has their own open-source online learning platform, called Class2Go. The platform was designed to support the university’s online classes and research. In addition to being open, the platform was intended to be inter-operable with other services and portable. But due to the new collaboration, Class2Go will be ceased and all efforts now will be focused to edX.

The two organizations gave few details on how the collaboration would actually work. But they said that Class2Go’s analytics tools, which can track how long students watch a given video, which sections they repeat and other kinds of student activity on the site, are an example of the kinds of features that will be integrated with edX.

In addition to the Stanford partnership, edX also announced that on June 1, it will release the entire source code for the online learning platform.

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