Google has partnered with EdX, the platform founded by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to develop an online education site where anyone can create and post courses.
Open EdX will allow businesses, governments and individuals, as well as universities, to build massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, where tens of thousands of students from anywhere in the world can enrol in the same class.
Anant Agarwal, president of EdX, compared the new site, which will launch next year, to YouTube, Google’s online video platform. The technology company’s developers would assist with building the site, host it on its cloud computing service and help the organisation work out how to generate revenue, he said.
“It is very exciting that the leader in the MOOC movement and the leader in the web space are teaming up to help online education. I think it is a really good thing for the world,” he added.
EdX’s existing platform hosts courses created by 28 universities worldwide, including Berkeley and Tsinghua University, which are used by 1.2m students.
Schoolchildren in emerging markets have made headlines by taking advanced courses online on sites such as EdX and its rivals Coursera and Udacity to help them gain entry to top universities.
The EdX partnership is not Google’s first foray into online education. It launched Coursebuilder last year to help people design courses, and has run its own classes, for example, teaching developers how to make their websites accessible to the visually impaired.
Dan Clancy, director of research at Google, said it would now focus its efforts on developing Open EdX while maintaining Coursebuilder. “For learners, we believe that a more open online education ecosystem will make it easier for anyone to pick up new skills and concepts at any time, anywhere,” he said.