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EdX Releases Open Source Tool For Building Interactive MOOC Courseware

EdX has released source code to the general public that supports interactive learning built specifically for the Internet.

The nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has released XBlock SDK, the underlying architecture supporting EdX course content.

XBlocks are a prototype second-generation application programming interface for hierarchically combined EdX courseware components such as video players and learning sequences. The XBlock source code allows course developers to combine independent XBlocks to create engaging online courses such as wiki-based collaborative learning environments and online laboratories, or create integrated education tools such as a circuit simulator for an electronics course or a molecular manipulator for teaching biology.

Furthering its mission to be a true open-sourced learning platform, edX has invited the public to participate in the development of its interactive courseware for the massive open online course (MOOCs) platform by releasing the source code under the Affero GPL open source license. By collaborating with others during the prototype stage, edX hopes to develop the XBlock into an industry standard. EdX also plans to enlist the input of independent developers in extending the functionality of XBlock in future open source initiatives.

The XBlock source code is available now for download at

"From its beginning, EdX has been committed to developing the world's best learning platform and tapping our global community to help us get there," said Rob Rubin, EdX vice president of engineering, in a prepared statement. "We look forward to working with the world's developers, educators and researchers to help evolve the platform and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to the world-class education that EdX provides."

EdX is a MOOC platform founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Harvard University to offer online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a global audience at no charge. For more information, visit

About the Author

Sharleen Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Springfield, Oregon. She can be reached at [email protected].

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