Microsoft has today announced a partnership with edX, a non-profit online effort created by Harvard and MIT to bring free online classes to the masses. The content is provided by some of the world’s best educational institutions in the form of videos, similar to the way Khan Academy delivers its content. Many of the lecturers use PowerPoint as a tool to present their information, and Microsoft hopes that Office Mix will make it a better experience for students.
“EdX and Microsoft share a vision to empower educators around the world to create high-quality courses, enabling students to learn wherever they are, for free. I have used Office Mix myself, and enjoy the simplicity of being able to edit video snippets from within PowerPoint. We are excited to partner with Microsoft as we continue to evolve open edX and provide teachers and faculty a richer set of course authoring tools.” – Anant Agarwal, edX CEO.
Office Mix is a PowerPoint 2013 add-in that allows educators to create interactive lectures using video, voice, digital ink, screen recordings and more. Best of all, the solution actually makes it easier to create rich PowerPoint presentations, something that was once a chore for educators to do in order to grab and hold on to the attention of their students. You can check out an example of an Office Mix created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates here.
According to Microsoft, its main goals in the partnership with edX are as follows:
- The development of an XBlock component for Office Mix. This solution allows educators to embed mix lectures hosted on OfficeMix.com directly into an edX course. Students will be able to view the mixes natively on edX.org.
- Open sourcing of the Office Mix XBlock component for distribution on GitHub. Open edX deployments will be able to reuse or modify the Office Mix XBlock for their needs.
- A commitment to interoperability as edX further extends and evolves the XBlock architecture.
“We are delighted to be partnering with edX. Authoring online lectures is hard today so most faculty don’t even attempt it, whether for MOOCs or for blended-learning scenarios on the campus. In partnering with edX, our goal is to democratize the creation of online lectures and courses.” – Anoop Gupta, Office Mix project lead and Microsoft Distinguished Scientist.
Microsoft will be providing a 180-day free trial of PowerPoint 2013 to edX educators so that they can develop Office Mix courses and experience its effectiveness for themselves.