Update 10/20/2011: This is NOT a joint launch of a Pearson and GoogleApps LMS, just clever advertising on Pearson’s part. What a relief!
Update 10/18/2011: Here’s a quick visual tour of the site.
Today Pearson, the publishing and learning technology group, has joined the software giant Google to launch OpenClass, a free LMS that combines standard course-management tools with advanced social networking and community-building, and an open architecture that allows instructors to import whatever material they want, from e-books to YouTube videos.
The program will launch through Google Apps for Education, a very popular e-mail, calendar, and document-sharing service that has more than 1,000 higher-education customers, and it will be hosted by Pearson with the intent of freeing institutions from the burden of providing resources to run it. It enters a market that has been dominated by costly institution-anchored services like Blackboard, and open-source but labor-intensive systems like Moodle.Source: Wired Campus
Like others — read HackedEducation’s take via Michael Penney (RemoteLearner) tweet– who read the news of a Google-Pearson partnership to integrate a free learning management system (OpenClass) into GoogleApps for Education (GAFE), I sat stunned for a moment.
Can the FOSS movement withstand the cloud computing venture capital being spent? Yes. Will it want to? Unsure.
Of course, this is all immaterial. There’s a lot of heavy-duty work being put into OpenClass, the LMS that rode in on a piebald horse. As Cory Plough mentions in a Facebook conversation, OpenClass isn’t the first LMS to be acquired by Pearson. Connections preceeded it…
- By Dian Schaffhauser 10/13/11
- Publishing and education tech behemoth Pearson has introduced a new, free, cloud-based LMS for higher education. OpenClass, as the LMS is named, is expected to appear in the Google Apps Marketplace for Education Oct. 18.
- Users will be able to launch OpenClass from within Google Apps or access their Google applications from OpenClass, which, the company declared, has no hardware, licensing, or hosting costs. “OpenClass has huge potential for higher education,” said Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of Learning Technologies at Pearson. “OpenClass accelerates what technology will do for learning with a free, open and innovative platform that easily scales and lets students work via social media, with an intense focus on learning that elevates achievement.”
- OpenClass, the application will eventually provide tools to enable an instructor to import existing materials from “most of the major LMSes.” Once inside OpenClass, both student and faculty users can access e-mail, documents, and calendars. The program has two primary feeds, “Activity” and “People,” which show up within an individual’s workspace, representing all of the courses he or she is in.
- A user can launch a chat session with somebody else through a native chat feature built into the service or he or she can launch a Skype session with audio, video conferencing, and screen sharing.
- Both students and faculty can create collaboration spaces, which allow groups of students to share digital artifacts and work on projects together; it also provides a way for instructors to monitor the evolution and dynamics of a group project.
- The program introduces Sharing, a blogging tool that lets a user write and post blog entries and bring in video content while also integrating with YouTube, photo-sharing site Flickr, and microblogging site Tumblr. What sets Sharing apart from the standard blogging tool is that Pearson intends to allow the user to share entries outside of the immediate course or campus by letting people “follow” each other and to make those entries available across institutions.
- Nine institutions are participating as “design partners” in the development of OpenClass. Those are:
- Abilene Christian University in Texas
- Arizona State University
- Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina
- West Virginia University at Parkersburg
- Monash University in Australia
- Kentucky Community & Technical College System
- Rice University in Texas
- The University of Wisconsin-Extension
- Columbia University in New York
- Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Piebald horse. http://www.knowitall.org/artopia/images/fullscreen/ptg5.jpg
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