Google Course Builder Will Allow Anyone to Create an Educational Course
Google hopes to empower regular people with the ability to share their expertise with the world.
After this week’s announcement of Class2Go, a fully online educational service offered by Stanford University, Google has unveiled their own educational platform: Google Course Builder. Unlike Class2Go or EdX, which is operated by Harvard, MIT, and the University of California at Berkeley, Google Course Builder is not linked with any collegiate insitution; instead, the open-source software will provide the tools to allow anyone to create their own instructional course for free.
Google Course Builder is the result of Google’s success with their own online course, “Power Searching with Google.” Over 20,000 students completed the course this July, which lead Google to decide to make the software used in the creation of Power Searching with Google available to anyone who believed they had the expertise to teach a class online. According to the introduction video provided by Google, the technical expertise of a webmaster, such as an understanding of Java and HTML, is all that would be required to use Course Builder.
Featured in Course Builder is step-by-step instructions on how to begin creating the course, as well as tips and tricks in how to best present the coursework and lectures, culled from Google’s own experience with “Power Searching with Google,” as well as other online teaching courses.
“Of course, we’re all still experimenting to find the most effective ways to offer education online, and that’s why we’re so excited to be offering this initial set of tools,” said Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, “so that there will be more of us trying different approaches and learning what works.”
This development could mean a lot for the democratization of education, in that it will now be possible for individual academics and scholars to leave the traditional education system entirely and offer their expertise to anyone willing to listen. Additionally, less affluent universities can now easily create and provide online courses without having to pay existing instructional sites or build their own.
While the credibility associated with an established college or university will likely not be as present in classes created by Course Builder as it is in Class2Go or EdX, it will be interesting to see just how many people will utilize these future courses, and to what effect. By allowing curious minds to explore a plethora of courses made by anyone enthusiastic and knowledgeable on a particular subject, we may see people of all backgrounds embrace life-long learning in a way never before seen.