Google’s “Learning platform” clarified

Google rely heavily on people talking about their products and brands for free promotion but Cloudcourse was just an example of the consumer and the provider getting it horribly wrong.

Initially Cloudcourse wasn’t even designed for Schools as Irwin from the Cloudcourse team explains:

We actually didn’t design this system with schools in mind — we designed it as a course scheduling tool for enterprises. Nevertheless, CloudCourse can certainly help school teachers, who most likely don’t have the time or resources to worry about hardware hosting and dealing with traffic bursts like the ones that occur during class enrollment periods. We’d love to see schools/universities pick up this platform and code additional features on top of it to make it more relevant to the education ecosystem.

However several blogs released statements saying how Google have entered into the Learning platform market and the disruption it would cause..  I asked Irwin to clarify if Cloudcourse was a learning platform:

CloudCourse certainly is a tool today, and not a ‘learning platform’ as compared to other offerings which are branded ‘learning platforms’.

So that clears that up, thanks to Irwin for the clarification.  My recommend to those who jumped on the bandwagon based on this poor press release from Google is to fact check before posting and even to download the software or try out this hosted solution for you.  I have also asked Google to research their language used in Educational press releases/blog posts prior to clicking the Publish button.  There is a massive array of EdTech people on various social networks they could leverage to proof read/fact check these documents.

One last thing while we’re on the topic of Cloudcourse. Cloudcourse runs on Google App Engine which requires a “non open source” database so while the code may be open source, it’s not as if you can download the software and install it anywhere for free, and that is a shame.  Kudos for Google for releasing the CloudCourse platform open source although it really doesn’t compete with any of the current contenders in the market.

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2 thoughts on “Google’s “Learning platform” clarified

  1. “…it’s not as if you can download the software and install it anywhere for free, and that is a shame.”

    I see your point, but don’t entirely agree. CloudCourse is an open source extension to an open platform that is available at no charge to schools (Google Apps Education Edition) and small businesses and non-profits (Standard Edition). No, it can’t be downloaded and run on its own, but that would be rather missing the point since it leverages other elements of the Google Apps platform like email, calendar and general user management etc.

    I certainly would agree that a lot of people got the wrong idea as a result of the language used when Google announced the release of CloudCourse. This suggests to me that there is huge latent demand for a cloud based alternative to Blackboard.

  2. The interesting thing about Cloud Course is that you can use it as a new brick for online education platforms.

    We see a lot of small start ups which take parts of Google’s free services to build a small business / project on it. One example is which uses the Google Translation App for its vocabulary exercises another one is which again uses the translator.

    So my point here is that a slightly experienced developer can take this cloud course into the toolbox and combine it with the other Google Apps available to build something like, etc.

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