Founded by MIT and Harvard, with a total of 12 universities now participating, edX is organized as a non-profit, whereas some of the other MOOCs are organized as companies that plan to profit from creating complementary products and services around the courses they offer for free.
"The fact that the platform is open as well is very much congruent with our vision for openness," said Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor who serves as edX's president. The timeline for releasing source code for the rest of the platform has not been announced, but it will be soon, he said.
According to the edX announcement, "XBlock is a component architecture that enables developers to create independent course components, or XBlocks, that are able to work seamlessly with other components in the construction and presentation of an online course. Course authors are able to combine XBlocks from a variety of sources -- from text and video to sophisticated wiki-based collaborative learning environments and online laboratories -- to create rich engaging online courses."
Initially, the interactive course modules built around this code will only be usable with the edX service. However, as the rest of the code for the platform becomes available, institutions who are not necessarily part of the edX consortium will be able to host them.
Getting open-source developers to work on software that uses the XBlock code is important to edX's strategy for expanding the types of learning that can occur on its platform, because a module developed for physics won't necessarily be usable for a course in history or some other discipline, Agarwal said.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
This inaugural episode of Business Matters explores the subject of leadership with former Air Force Brigadier General John Michel, the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer and President of MV International.