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How Stanford plans to teach the world with open-source online classes

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Online classes are nothing new, but the University of Western Australia wants to take the technology one step further with the help of Stanford's recently launched Class2Go platform. Using an open-source approach to content creation, Class2Go not only allows educators to fine tune their teaching material, but also provides a tool that can be used by anyone regardless of location or enrollment status. As explained by PhysOrg, David Glance, director of the Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia, feels that platform paves way to the new methods of learning used in universities, allowing students to take entire classes using their smartphone or tablet via an app.

"The whole idea of a course on a phone is very appealing"

Glance also believes that Class2Go's open-source nature is a critical feature that will attract other collaborators. He explained that, as part of the Worldwide Universities Network, UWA can potentially use the tool to share technology and research information across schools within the organization. As an added benefit, Class2Go provides educators with a back end that can be used to obtain invaluable teaching statistics — like how long students are staying on pages and if they're viewing entire videos or skipping ahead — so quick adjustments can be made to better suit the audience.

When it launched this fall, Class2Go accounted for two of the 16 free online courses, with more scheduled for the winter and spring. The University of Western Australia will be offering sociology and oceaonagraphy courses using the platform in March of 2013 for internal students as well as the general public in the form of MOOCs (massive open online courses). UWA plans to host an astronomy course in the near future as well, which will allow users to take advantage of the university's close proximity to the world's largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometer Array.

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