Openness plants seeds for future innovation. The work of many universities around open content has contributed to an ecosystem for innovation. Einztein is the latest company to try and add a value layer to freely available educational material. More and more of these companies will appear in the near future offering a combination of aggregation of open content, a central place to discover courses, tools to run aggregate courses, discussion forums for learners, and general course management tools (enrolling, sharing with other profs, grading, etc.).
And, while emphasizing the growing ecosystem of innovation in open education, it’s worth drawing attention to the points raised in the excellent article Understand the Web:
Think about that word; ‘web’. Think about why it was so named. It’s nothing to do with rich applications. Everything about web architecture; HTTP, HTML, CSS, is designed to serve and render content, but most importantly the web is formed where all of that content is linked together. That is what makes it amazing, and that is what defines it. This purpose and killer application of the web is not even comparable to the application frameworks of any particular operating system…Want to know if your ‘HTML application’ is part of the web? Link me into it. Not just link me to it; link me into it. Not just to the black-box frontpage. Link me to a piece of content. Show me that it can be crawled, show me that we can draw strands of silk between the resources presented in your app. That is the web: The beautiful interconnection of navigable content. If your website locks content away in a container, outside the reach of hyperlinks, you’re not building any kind of ‘web’ app. You’re doing something else.