A round-up of coverage of this morning’s edX announcement

A number of good pieces today on this morning’s edX announcement.  Here are some excerpts.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed:

The move is a merger of sorts between two previously competing software-development projects with the same goal. EdX has long said it would make the software it built to power its MOOCs freely available to anyone as an open-source package. And Stanford was working on Class2Go, its own free software for online courses. Now the two software teams will work together and focus on developing a single platform.

Here’s where it gets confusing. Despite the joint work on software development, Stanford has no plans to join edX as a partner, and it will not offer courses via edX. Instead, Stanford will create its own branded presence, with the jointly built software platform powering it in the background. Stanford will also continue to deliver some courses through Coursera, a company started by two Stanford professors that is now working with highly selective colleges around the world. Read more.

From Tech Crunch:

When it comes to innovation in learning, particularly MOOCs, it’s probably safe to say that Stanford takes the cake. While it’s hardly alone on the MOOC bandwagon, the University has long provided access to its courses and lectures online, through iTunes U, among other channels. Beyond creating a “Vice Provost of Online Learning” position within its faculty, Stanford is also in some way responsible for the most popular MOOC platforms. Coursera, Udacity and the lesser-known, group-based Venture Lab all emerged from Stanford.

Last September, the University produced yet another MOOC player, called Class2Go, which aimed to bring a new spin to the online learning model. Founded by eight engineers in Stanford’s CS Department, the non-profit platform committed itself to building (arguably the first) open-source MOOC platform — designed to be both free and interoperable with other platforms to encourage collaboration from teachers and other institutions.

Today, the other well-known name in the MOOC arena, edX, has decided to join Stanford, rather than work around it. Founded by Harvard and MIT (and launched last May), edX was East Coast Academia’s response to Coursera, Udacity and the MOOC fever beginning to grip higher education. In what is somewhat of a surprise, it isn’t the homegrown Coursera or Udacity that will be teaming up with Stanford in pursuit of open-source MOOC-ness, but the brainchild of Harvard and MIT.  Read more.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Stanford had been working on open source online learning software of its own, known as Class2Go, since last fall. But Mitchell said Stanford developers had been in contact with the edX team for a “number of months” and this week’s announcement just means the two tracks will publicly merge, so edX and Stanford can pool their work to improve online education.

Mitchell compared the Stanford/edX effort to the evolution of Webkit, an Internet browser software package developed by Apple to compete with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Apple used Webkit to create the Safari browser – which comes installed on every Mac, iPad and iPhone – but kept the underlying Webkit software open source. Google eventually used Webkit to create its own browser, Chrome.  Read more.

The Los Angeles Times:

EdX, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., will release the source code for its entire learning platform on June 1 and features of Stanford’s existing Class2Go platform will merge with it.

“We hope to have a platform that really makes online learning better for everybody in the world,” edX President Anant Agarwal said. His nonprofit organization was founded by MIT and Harvard University last year and now includes 12 universities who have put massive open online courses, or MOOCs, online or will do so by next year.

Agarwal, an MIT professor, likened the Stanford agreement to having formerly rival car manufacturers deciding to work together to design a new car; the result, he said, will be a faster and more efficient vehicle that then can be used for many different types of passengers and trips. Read more.

Also see the official news from Stanford and MIT. We’ll keep an ear out for more.

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