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Google releases Course Builder, takes online learning down an open-source road

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Google is well-known for projects with unexpected origins. It's almost natural, then, that the code Google used to build a web course has led to a full-fledged tool for online education. The open-source Course Builder project lets anyone make their own learning resources, complete with scheduled activities and lessons, if they've got some skill with HTML and JavaScript. There's also an avenue for live teaching or office hours: the obligatory Google+ tie-in lets educators announce Hangouts on Air sessions. Code is available immediately, although you won't need to be grading virtual papers to see the benefit. A handful of schools that include Stanford, UC San Diego and Indiana University are at least exploring the use of Course Builder in their own initiatives, which could lead to more elegant internet learning -- if also fewer excuses for slacking.

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