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Stanford To Collaborate with EdX on Online Learning Platform

By Amna H. Hashmi, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: April 4, 2013, at 2:06 a.m.

Stanford University will collaborate with edX to advance the virtual learning initiative’s open source platform that will be released publicly in June, Stanford and edX announced Wednesday.

Stanford intends to incorporate key features of its current internal software for online courses, Class2Go, with the edX platform. By collaborating with Stanford, edX says that they hope the online platform’s technological infrastructure will be improved.

“This collaboration brings together two leaders in online education in a common effort to ensure that the world’s universities have the strongest possible non-profit open-source platform available to them,” said John C. Mitchell, Stanford’s vice provost for online learning, in a statement.

Stanford and its faculty have been trailblazers in providing accessible education online. It has a longstanding partnership with iTunes U, and members of Stanford’s computer science faculty also founded the for-profit online education platforms Coursera and Udacity.

Currently, Stanford does not plan to upload university courses on the edX platform and will instead focus on edX’s technical development, according to a press release.

The university will continue to maintain its relationships with Coursera and Udacity, among other platforms, to offer various avenues for faculty to leverage their coursework virtually.

“We will continue to use multiple online learning platforms and determine which platform and approach best serves the educational goals put forward by our faculty and what best matches their interests,” Mitchell said in a press release. “But we will focus our development efforts on a single, open source platform which makes the most efficient use of our time and resources.”

EdX leaders anticipate that open source software, which is publicly available, free, and usable by any developer, will encourage communal and international participation in its technological advancement.

Universities will be able to specify delivery methods, data collection, and branding through their access to the code.

“It has been our vision to offer our platform as open source since edX’s founding by Harvard and MIT,” said edX President Anant Agarwal in a statement. “We are realizing that vision, and I am pleased to welcome Stanford University, one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education, to further this global open source solution.”

—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at amnahashmi@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.

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