4 minute read  written by  . Published on April 23, 2018

Next month, the educators, developers, researchers, administrators, and entrepreneurs who form the Open edX community will be heading to Montreal for this year’s Open edX Conference. Open edX is the open source platform used by edX and made available for use as a course management system by other institutions and organizations. Class Central will be attending the Open edX Conference as a media partner.

Open edX has become the WordPress of online course management, meaning that it is the go-to solution for self-hosting courses. Over 800 organizations, institutions, and governments are running instances of Open edX. Two of the world’s top MOOC providers – edX itself and XuetangX – run on Open edX, as do many national platforms such as MexicoX, France’s FUN, ThaiMOOC, and others. The Open edX Conference offers a chance for these various players to come together, learn from one another, share what’s working (and what isn’t), and exchange ideas with edX leadership.

With about a month go to before the conference, Class Central has spent some time digging into the conference agenda, which contains a healthy mixture of academic research, technology sessions, best practices in online teaching, and administrator experiences.

Below is a list of the sessions we’re most excited about attending. Visit the Open edX Conference website for more information about this year’s conference.

Wednesday, May 30th

10:00 am – 10:30 am. Reimagining Education (Keynote): Anant Agarwal, the founder and CEO of edX, will speak about how edX and Open edX are reimagining education and what they hope to accomplish in the next 5 years

10:30 am – 11:00 am. Keynote address by Fiona Hollands: Dr. Hollands is the Associate Director and Senior Researcher at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her recent research has focused on MOOCs and online learning, with topics including automated detectors of affect and engagement, how decisions about acquiring education technology are made in higher education, and the costs and benefits to learners of earning alternative credentials. In her keynote, Dr. Hollands will present her most recent findings on MOOCs and online learning initiatives.

1:25 pm – 2:00 pm. When data meets education! The secret life of data in education:
Data and analytics have transformed educational instruction. Increasingly, large-scale data is available on student behavior and interaction, allowing researchers to model and track many elements of student learning. These models can be used in prediction of long-term student outcomes, and to analyze the factors driving long-term success of students. Rizky Ariestiyansyah of IndonesiaX presents research using aggregated data from the Open edX Platform.

3:15 pm – 3:50 pm. Building an online M.S. with Open edX: Elliott Visconsi of Notre Dame discusses how Notre Dame created a for-credit graduate program on Open edX.

4:00 pm – 4:50 pm. Keynote address by Zvi Galil: Zvi Galil is the Dean of Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing. Together with Sebastian Thrun, Galil envisioned and led the creation of Georgia Tech’s MOOC-based online Master program in Computer Science. In his keynote, Dr. Galil will walk through the successes and pitfalls of launching this industry-leading program at Georgia Tech.

Thursday, May 31st

10:00 am – 10:35 am. What can be learned from Natural Language Processing of MOOCs?: Researchers from Tokyo Tech used Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze 75 of edX’s most popular MOOCs. This session explores their findings.

10:45 am – 11:20 am. Global Learning – Social Impact, Social Responsibility: In this session, Krishan Meetoo from Proversity will use case studies to demonstrate how an online learning platform can encourage peer networking, problem solving, and accountability on social issues e.g. climate change, human rights, humanitarian need.

3:40 pm – 4:15 pm. Designing Tools to Scaffold Collaborative Learning within MOOCs: The University of Queensland has developed a range of tools to extend the social polling and collaborative tools available within the Open edX platform. In this presentation, UQ faculty will discuss how these new tools can encourage decision making, enhance a sense of community, improve critical thinking and reflection, and facilitate the co-creation of knowledge.

4:25 pm – 5:00 pm. MOOC-PILOT, MOOC Analytics: Students/Learners Automatic Follow-up Analytics: French researchers used grant funding to develop a set of new tools to allow teachers and CEOs to simply and easily monitor student progress in a MOOC. Michel Plantié from the Ecole des Mines d’Alès will discuss these new tools.

Class Central is a media partner of the 2018 Open edX Conference.