Massive open online course – MOOC is a hot topic, I also have written various articles in a relatively short amount of time due to the many developments and challenges, such as a viable business model, going on. The latest news is that a core element of EdX MOOC software is going open source. What does this mean for the market?
EdX announced last week it was releasing the source code to its XBlock software on GitHub under the Affero General Public License, a GPL variant designed for network server software. This is a first step toward open sourcing the entire edX software platform.
EdX is organized as a non-profit and founded by MIT and Harvard with a total of 12 universities now participating. EdX offers courses from leading universities for free, with many of the supporting textbooks and other materials published as open educational resources. edX is now opening up access to the software used to create interactive learning tools like the circuit simulator in its popular Circuits and Electronics course and the molecular manipulator in Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life.
Initially, the interactive course modules built around this code will only be usable with the edX service. However, as the rest of the code for the platform becomes available, institutions who are not necessarily part of the edX consortium will be able to host them.
MIT professor who serves as edX’s president, Anant Agarwal said:
“The fact that the platform is open as well is very much congruent with our vision for openness. The timeline for releasing source code for the rest of the platform has not been announced, but it will be soon.
Getting open-source developers to work on software that uses the XBlock code is important to edX’s strategy for expanding the types of learning that can occur on its platform, because a module developed for physics won’t necessarily be usable for a course in history or some other discipline.”
MOOC diffusion strategy diffusion
This is a great move to ‘openness’, diffusing the software and type of learning channel. In January I reported that Udemy has launched Teach2013, a new tool that enables industry experts and leaders to create their own courses and at the same time teach them as well. This is another diffusion strategy taken by Udemy to make sure their software is going to be used, although it could be a different target audience than edX.
The key will be MOOC’s business model or how it can cut costs of conventional courses.
How do you think the open source release will impact the educaional delivery models and the diffusion of MOOC?