Saylor.org Partners With Google Course Builder to Offer More MOOCs
Google’s massive open online course (MOOC) Power Searching with Google this fall gained traction and buzz on the power of online learning to reach a mass audience as well as the importance of content curation in the information boom of the digital age. “We’re now living in a world where we’re overwhelmed with content, and we’re looking for ways to drown out the dross and hone in on just what we need/want,” said Jennifer Shoop, Content Development Manager at The Saylor Foundation. “One response to this phenomenon has been the trend of curated consumption, where we turn to those content curators, tastemakers, bloggers, and newspapers that we trust and let them do the searching and vetting on our behalf.” “We’ll always need content experts with a deep and thoroughgoing understanding of their specific fields,” added Shoop. “But as a citizen of the 21st century, the ability to not only find but vet content has become increasingly important due to the sheer volume of content to which we have access and to which we are exposed.” The Saylor Foundation recently announced collaboration with Google, Inc. to offer Saylor.org, free and open college-level courses, on the open-source project Course Builder, which allows the organization to scale educational offerings online. The Foundation is basing its course off the success of Google’s Power Search course. “We were impressed with the Course Builder interface when we first learned of the Power Search course. It was straight-forward, fuss-free, and open in its content structure, meaning that you could see at a glance the lessons you had in front of and behind you,” said Shoop. “These three considerations weighed heavily in the design of the Saylor.org platform, so we felt that there was a strong synergy between our models and that porting a few of our courses onto the Course Builder would be relatively simple.” She added, “Further, because so many of our students download our courses from our iTunes U channel, we were open to deploying our courseware on external platforms, and believed that Google’s Course Builder might yield comparable results.” “Platforms like Course Builder are exciting simply because they help innovators in education compete with traditional universities. As tuition costs rise it becomes difficult for people to pursue a secondary education which is damaging to society,” said student Montana Leet who has enjoyed courses on Course Builder. “Course Builder and similar platforms are critical to making education accessible to everyone while potentially forcing traditional universities to innovate and keep tuition reasonably priced. The adage that competition is good for consumers extends further than commercial goods and it’s delightful to see competition in education.” Individuals can register now for Mechanics I through the Course Builder open source project at http://cb-me102.saylor.org. The Saylor Foundation plans to roll out additional courses in the coming weeks. “In the long term,” said Shoop, “we hope that Google will be successful in inviting many more institutions to offer their courses on Course Builder such that we can all contribute to a searchable library of open access courses.”
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