Last week Google and Pearson announced that they were entering the learning management system marketplace with a totally innovative product stating, "OpenClass is a new kind of learning environment that goes beyond the LMS, stimulating social learning and the free exchange of content. It’s open to everyone, easy to use, and completely free." There is no hardware to install, no licensing fees, and no hosting costs. That right there would make it a totally new way of approaching how we look at online education. However, Pearson and Google weren't content to stop there. They wanted to reinvent course interactions and activities to reflect the modern world.
The following is the description from the Google Apps Marketplace:
OpenClass integrates seamlessly with Google Apps for Education, enabling easy setup and single sign-on and includes tools that support the automatic import of content from external sources. Users can launch OpenClass directly from within their Google Apps experience and access their Google applications through OpenClass.
- Collaborative spaces for students to interact with coursework
- Ability to create and edit course content directly from within the platform
- Deep integration to Gmail, Google Docs and Calendar
Data access requirements
- Calendar (Read/Write)
- Docs (Read/Write)
- Email, new messages (Read only)
- User Provisioning (Read only)
Just the beginning
Out of the box, OpenClass has all the LMS functionality needed to manage courses. But that’s just the beginning. OpenClass actually advances education by leveraging modern social technology to encourage collaboration and communication for students, faculty, institutions, and administrators around the world.