This week brought the announcement of a project I have been involved with for a number of months, Pearson Open Class. If not careful you might look at this new software and see yet another LMS, but you would be mistaken.
I have felt for a long time that education needs to embrace the social and collaborative web. Google Apps provides the best collaborative suite available but has not provided a “classroom” experience or LMS.
Traditional LMS systems continue to try and emulate the classroom experience by building walls around a section or instance of a course. The problem with this approach is that there are no walls online and information often must be re-built or lost from semester to semester. Traditional systems try to force students to use their tool, stay in their system and be part of their walled garden. Why?
When I was approached about CPCC joining the Open Class development project what caught my attention was the desire to break down the walls of education and provide a open, collaborative experience for both professors and students.
Open Class is providing social learning tools, Google Apps integration, content import from the open web (e.g. YouTube, other LMS system, websites and more), and is trying to transform the classroom from a walled garden to a open/collaborative forrest between students, institutions and disciplines.
I feel strongly that we can increase student engagement by going to where they are, utilizing the tools they use every day outside of school and transforming education from somewhere they go to something that is integrated into their everyday life. I feel Open Class is trying to accomplish these same goals.
It has been an exciting project. One of our instructors, Gary Ritter, was actually the first to pilot the system and has successfully been using it in his classes. The Pearson team has been amazingly organized, supportive and open to suggestions. There have been challenges throughout the process, but every challenge has been met by a great support team from Pearson.
I saw a quote today from a competitor that indicated Open Class would not “integrate” with the host College’s easily. I don’t know what project they have used, but we have been able to quite successfully integrate Open Class into our environment with the help of the Google Marketplace and the Pearson development team.
One of the best parts of this application, it is FREE!
I am excited about the future of the project, my teams involvement and the involvement of CPCC. If you want to learn more about Open Class visit the new website: http://www.joinopenclass.com/
Feel free to ask any questions about the project and our involvement.