Pearson recently made a major move to increase access and collaboration in higher education by launching the beta version of OpenClass. A key component of Pearson’s vision to increase access, achievement and affordability, OpenClass offers institutions and instructors the ability toengage and interact with their students using the collaborative technologies that students are embracing—at no cost.
OpenClass is a new kind of learning management system (LMS) delivered from the Cloud. It is easy to use and completely free. There are no hardware, licensing or hosting costs, thus enabling widespread adoption of new learning approaches that encourage interaction within the classroom and around the world.
“Now, educators and students are able to communicate and collaborate in new ways across institutions and around the globe—providing a richer, more personal and more connected learning experience. At no cost,” said Matt Leavy, CEO of Pearson eCollege. OpenClass integrates seamlessly with Google Apps for Education™ and will be available starting this week in the Google Apps Marketplace™, Google’s online storefront for Google Apps™ products and services. With single sign-on and a unified navigation bar, instructors and students can launch OpenClass from within Google Apps or access their Google applications from OpenClass. Launching OpenClass in the Google Apps Marketplace™ provides institutions with the easiest path to adoption and an avenue to reach institutions already familiar with the benefits of cloud-based solutions. “We’re excited to have OpenClass in the Google Apps Marketplace,” said Obadiah Greenberg, Google’s Business Development Manager for Education. “OpenClass is tightly integrated with Google Apps for Education, our free suite of communication and collaboration applications. Through the Google Apps Marketplace, schools will have access to OpenClass. We are happy to offer this complementary learning management system to the millions of students, faculty and staff already using Google Apps.”
“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.”
Pearson, working closely with its design partners, will rapidly advance the capabilities of OpenClass to leverage the rich data and social foundations of the platform and the ability to release new functionality frequently. Design partners include Abilene Christian University, Arizona State University, Central Piedmont Community College, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Monash University, Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Rice University, the University of Wisconsin Extension and Columbia University. Many of these institutions are already teaching courses on OpenClass this fall.
“We truly believe that OpenClass is a disruptive technology for education,” said Kevin Roberts, Chief Planning and Information Officer at Abilene Christian University. “Pearson’s commitment to providing an open and free platform is monumental. The days of ‘business as usual’ in higher education are gone. OpenClass is a powerful tool to help us move forward into the connected, mobile and open world that we live in.”