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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

EdX Opens Source Code to Entice Developers

EdX released the source code of its XBlock software in March. Now, the massive open online course (MOOC) consortium has made its full source code available to developers in an effort to quicken the pace of advances to the platform.

“We want contributors,” said Rob Rubin, vice president of engineering, in an Information Week article. “We’d welcome any company’s contributions and any people’s use of the edX platform. We’re in the very early days in the development of the technology to support learning and research about learning. Let’s all contribute to the open-source effort to be able to rapidly evolve that for the benefits of the student.”

EdX had planned to release the code later this year or early next year, but moved it up because some of its members wanted to contribute code. For instance, Stanford University had code for real-time chat and bulk e-mail ready to go, while the University of California contributed forum and automated grading system software.

The move could also lead to MOOCs being scaled down into SPOCs (small private online courses), according to an eCampus News report.

“We want to encourage that,” Rubin said. “We are committed to improving accessibility and we think that’s a great application.”

The early release also helps edX keep pace with competitors such as Coursera, which just announced a partnership with 10 university systems to offer free courses on its platform.

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