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Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Ways to Search Online Content

While there are plenty of open-source course materials available to students and faculty, finding them remains a challenge. It’s also troublesome for content creators to be noticed.

However, solutions are beginning to pop up, such as Education Marketplace, launched recently by the education platform StudySoup. Education Marketplace is a one-stop location where instructors can find, create, and sell digital content.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Why is all this content decentralized?” Sieva Kozinsky, who founded StudySoup with Jeff Silverman, told eCampus News. “You have notes in your notebook, readings in your textbooks, content on an LMS. There are great resources out there, but there’s no systemized way of finding, using, and learning from all this material.”

In July, Pearson launched a searchable catalog of nearly 700,000 open educational resources that included video and content from Open Course Library though the expansion of its OpenClass Exchange. Education Marketplace is different because it allows content to be created and sold through the StudySoup online tools, which are already being used at more than 40 campuses across the United States.

“Really it allows anybody to create interactive content,” Kozinsky said. “You don’t even have to be tied to a university. Anyone can come into the platform and create material which can then be compiled into what we call a ‘course,’ and delivered to potential students.”

StudySoup has different pricing plans available and intends to keep 15% of the royalties from any course purchased. The company is also working on a peer-review and user rating system to ensure course quality.

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