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Open Source Platform Allows Anyone to Create Online Courses

A new nonprofit project started at Stanford called Class2Go brings a collaborative, open source ethos to online learning.

Online learning options like Coursera, EdX, and Udacity have made classes previously accessible only through enrollment at one of the nation's top universities available to the world. But what happens to colleges and universities not partnering with these so-called Massively Open Online Course providers? A new nonprofit project developed by eight Stanford engineers called Class2Go might have a solution. They let anyone in the world use their open source platform to run their own online course for free.

Like many MOOC's, Class2G0 allows users to learn via videos and interactive quizzes. But because the creators "believe strongly that valuable course content shouldn't be tied to any one platform," the videos are housed on mobile device-friendly YouTube. That ethos of portability is at the heart of their Khan Academy-style practice exercises, too. Instead of the exercises "being trapped in a propriety database," they can be used anywhere, the founders say on their site. The creators simply "don't want to built or maintain more than we have to."

MOOCs are still so new we don't know yet which one is the modern equivalent of BETA and which is VHS—destined to be the platform that triumphs over all. The collaborative, free, open source nature of Class2Go could certainly help position it as a major online learning player.

While the creators are eager "to have others use the platform, or to work together with similar efforts in other places," two Stanford classes taught by their reknowned faculty—Computer Networking with Nick McKeown and Philip Levis and Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries with Bruce Clemens—are kicking things off with classes starting October 8th.

Perhaps they'll be willing to let anyone who has some serious expertise—think Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey, or even you—start their own course, too.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Ryan Somma

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