Office Mix is an application to the Microsoft Office platform that makes it easier for users to create PowerPoint presentations. EdX, the massive open online course (MOOC) provider, collaborated with Microsoft on the project, which it’s betting will make online learning more interactive for student and easier to use for instructors.
The initiative allows developers to create new learning courseware for the online learning platform. Office Mix includes a software development kit using the XBlock platform that allows instructors to include editable audio and video, hyperlinks, white board-style writing, animation, and clip art into lectures.
Through the app, course creators can embed programs into their presentations, such as quizzes and polls, and applications in support of concepts being taught. An analytics feature provides instructors with insight on how the course keeps students’ attention, allowing for quick changes when necessary.
The focus is on keeping things simple for teachers, letting them create lessons one slide at a time while giving them the ability to update as needed. In addition, the courses can be shared on the Office Mix website and published on edX.
“The motivation and action for the Office Mix project was that we believe online and blended learning will be big, and we want to create tools that will be used to enable new scenarios for students,” said Anoop Gupta, a Microsoft scientist who worked on the project.