The face of education is quickly evolving. Edudemic, a leading education technology site, reported in a worldwide study that within three years, 43 percent of schools would offer online interactive courses available to anyone around the world with 84 percent saying they believe these online courses complement residential education. Over the last year, the energy and excitement in the online sector has been amplified by the entrance of top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford into the market. Now, the University of Oklahoma has launched its own online interactive learning community called Janux, a unique open platform that features some of OU’s top faculty and innovative social learning technologies connecting learners in real-time around the globe.
The University of Oklahoma has partnered with NextThought to develop Janux Interactive Learning Community available to anyone with internet access. Janux was developed as part of OU’s broader efforts to use technology to improve the student experience and broaden access to higher education and academic content.
Starting Monday, Oct. 21, the site will be open to the public, and anyone with an internet connection will be able to access the content of the courses hosted on the platform. Six courses, including “Law and Justice” and “Understanding the Global Community”, are live and operational. In spring 2014, Janux will add 14 additional classes – for a total of 20 classes – including History of Science, Introduction to Computer Programming and Science of Hydraulic Fracturing. OU students may enroll in the courses for credit, while others can experience the lectures, readings, discussions and quizzes for free and without earning credit.
The 20 open courses offered by Janux sets the record as the highest number of classes offered in the first year by any other university. By comparison, the University of Texas system launched in the Fall of 2012 and so far has offered four courses.
“What OU is doing is genuinely exciting,” said Kyle Harper, Senior Vice Provost at the University of Oklahoma. “It puts powerful new technology in the hands of professors and students. It opens OU’s amazing resources to the world. This is the future.”
Janux allows students to connect, collaborate and discuss the courses in which they are enrolled all online. Courses on Janux feature short, high-quality video lectures to help students master difficult concepts and online quizzes allow them to test their progress. Interactive whiteboards allow students to communicate and understand concepts in a more visual and convenient way. Janux goes beyond other platforms by allowing students to share notes, form groups, live chat and interact with other students and professors throughout the entirety of the course.
“Janux is the next generation of learning technology,” Harper said. “It meets digital natives where they live, bringing the power of social networks to the education space. This is how our students want to learn. They learn by interacting and collaborating with one another – no matter the distance – one concept at a time.”
Through the online community, students can stay connected and develop their own social networks. According to the study, continued shifts in education may result in more diverse methods for learning that incorporate technology and social resources. “The purpose of the internet is sharing, connection, and access,” Harper said. “Janux reflects that purpose.”
Janux is a new interactive learning community created by the University of Oklahoma. Janux connects learners and teachers through high-quality courses. Built in partnership with Oklahoma technology leader NextThought, Janux pioneers the field of social learning and is the first of its kind in open courseware. With Janux, students are able to use interactive learning tools and collaborate with other students and professors in real time. Videos, tests, quizzes and other learning resources are integrated in on online space. For more information, visit Janux.OU.edu.
NextThought is a technology company that offers an integrated approach to education. NextThought’s platform enables rich social interaction inside courseware and educational materials, including videos, assessment and text. The company also provides video production and content development services. Founded in 2011, NextThought works with a number of leading universities and professional education organizations around the world. For more information, visit www.NextThought.com.
About the University of Oklahoma
Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except health-related fields. The OU Health Sciences Center, which is located in Oklahoma City, is one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. Both the Norman and Health Sciences Center colleges offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 31,000 students, has more than 2,600 full-time faculty members, and has 20 colleges offering 165 majors at the baccalaureate level, 157 majors at the master’s level, 80 majors at the doctoral level, 29 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 28 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $1.7 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.