October 18th, 2011

Pearson Launches OpenClass, a Free LMS


In a major move to increase access and collaboration in higher education, last week Pearson launched a free learning management system (LMS) delivered from the Cloud. Dubbed OpenClass it offers institutions and instructors the ability to engage and interact with their students using the collaborative technologies that students are embracing.

OpenClass integrates with Google Apps for Education™ and is in the Google Apps Marketplace™, Google’s online storefront for Google Apps™ products and services. With single sign-on and a unified navigation bar, instructors and students can launch OpenClass from within Google Apps or access their Google applications from OpenClass.

“Now, educators and students are able to communicate and collaborate in new ways across institutions and around the globe—providing a richer, more personal and more connected learning experience. At no cost,” said Matt Leavy, CEO of Pearson eCollege.

There are no hardware, licensing or hosting costs, thus enabling widespread adoption of new learning approaches that encourage interaction within the classroom and beyond.

“We’re excited to have OpenClass in the Google Apps Marketplace,” said Obadiah Greenberg, Google’s Business Development Manager for Education. “OpenClass is tightly integrated with Google Apps for Education, our free suite of communication and collaboration applications. Through the Google Apps Marketplace, schools will have access to OpenClass. We are happy to offer this complementary learning management system to the millions of students, faculty and staff already using Google Apps.”

Pearson, working closely with its design partners, will rapidly advance the capabilities of OpenClass to leverage the rich data and social foundations of the platform and the ability to release new functionality frequently. Design partners include Abilene Christian University, Arizona State University, Central Piedmont Community College, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Monash University, Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Rice University, the University of Wisconsin Extension, and Columbia University. Many of these institutions are already teaching courses on OpenClass this fall.

For more information, visit http://www.joinopenclass.com, or stop by the Pearson booth at Educause this week for a personalized demonstration.

  • Berad

    Will Pearson slow development of their three other LMS systems? Should eCollege, Fronter, or Pearson Learning Studio clients be worried that their platforms will want for resources or development?

    If Pearson really wants to "free" the LMS, they could stop charging clients for eCollege, Fronter or Pearson Learning Studio access.

    And all this altruism brought to you by the same company that gave you the $200 textbook and $45 dollar online "extras".

  • S. Goddard

    I remember when Blackboard was free. I remember when Moodle was free. OpenClass (which is a horrible name for several reasons – it's not open source code and it's grammatically incorrect to name a few) is free today, but what about tomorrow? Free doesn't work in online education. It costs money to build, to store, and on and on. I noticed in the release that they're charging for "services" – what a nice ambiguous way to get around "free", no?

    How exactly is this new, quasi-functional LMS of OpenClass going to change online education at all? It's only partially usable with major LMS elements missing and this exchange piece isn't even functional. So how am I going to get all of this game-changing content into my course exactly?

    It's frustrating to see technologists trying to fix academia when they don't know the first thing about our problems, issues, or concerns. A few of our colleagues are going to need to step up, do a research study, and (hopefully) stop this "free" nonsense now. Bottom line – OpenClass was either released too early or is just a bad idea all around.