Stanford University is teaming up with edX to work together to develop edX’s software platform, which will soon be freely available to developers across the world (a key part of its software is already freely available.) In so doing, Stanford has implicitly distanced itself from Coursera and Udacity, the two for-profits created by Stanford faculty.
Stanford is making efforts to maintain control of its brand, which has sometimes been appropriated by pundits to describe Coursera or Udacity.
The head of edX, the MIT professor Anant Agarwal, said the resulting open source software will allow a “planet-scale democratization of education” – a bold claim amid an ed tech boom full of bold claims.
“This is a great endorsement of the open source, nonprofit approach for MOOCs,” Agarwal said – a remark that invites comparison to for-profit companies in the same industry, though even his nonprofit will have to find a way to make money.