OpenStax Launches Learning Platform

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 11, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Rice University's OpenStax, which once upon a time was known as a free textbook site called Connexions, has launched Tutor Beta, an online learning platform that will make three courses -- biology, physics and sociology -- available this fall. I'm thinking that the textbook project felt it was missing out on the MOOC phenomenon (MOOCS: still not dead). "Tutor Beta breaks OpenStax’s textbooks into smaller chunks, testing students with short answer and multiple-choice questions. The platform also feeds information about how students are learning to instructors." They want to integrate with a "major learning management system" as well. And there's another commercial MOOC trend they have been missing out on: revenue. "Tutor Beta also represents a new revenue stream -- $10 per student per course." Because in the brave new world of open educational resources, nothing says "free" like a subscription charge.

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