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Microsoft Office Mix: No-Teacher-Left-Behind Course Authoring 27

theodp (442580) writes "While they aim to democratize learning, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement has, for the most part, oddly left K-12 teachers out of the online content creation business. ZDNet's Simon Bisson reports on Office Mix, Microsoft's new PowerPoint plug-in and associated cloud service, which Bisson says makes it easy to create and distribute compelling educational content (screenshots). GeekWire's Frank Catalano also makes an interesting case for why Office Mix's choice of PowerPoint, "the poster child for delivering boring presentations in non-interactive settings," could still be a disrupter in the online content creation space. By the way,, the collaboration of edX and Google which also aims to help "teachers easily build and host courses for the world to take," is slated to go live in the first half of 2014. It'll be interesting to see how's authoring tools differ from Google Research's Course Builder effort."
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Microsoft Office Mix: No-Teacher-Left-Behind Course Authoring

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  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @11:07AM (#47082925) Homepage Journal

    The only problem with PowerPoint is that anyone can use it, and most people aren't capable of making compelling content. I know some people who can do great things with PowerPoint, but just like any skill, it is only possessed by a small percent of the population. The average person can't sing, dance, cook, act, paint, draw, or code exceptionally well, either. It would be like blaming Word for an abundance of badly-formatted, boring stories.

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @02:25PM (#47083735) Homepage

    We already have advanced, powerful, flexible learning management systems and promising new ones appearing all the time, e.g. Instructure Canvas. The better ones are easily good enough for most online learning and teaching needs and most learners and teachers only use a small percentage of the features on offer (some claim 80% using 20% of features). For all its sins, Moodle has been a pioneer in this respect and one that many are trying to emulate.

    Then there's open educational resources (OER): Creative Commons licensed learning and teaching resources that anyone can download, edit, use, and redistribute with no strings attached except respectful attribution. UNESCO are leading a large co-ordinated effort to make this the new standard in education: []. There are dozens of repositories of resources, worksheets, media, learning activities, and whole courses available today and the number is growing. Anyone can set up an installation of Moodle as a courseware "hub" from which other Moodle's can import learning content from. Here's's official hub: []

    So what are Microsoft and Google bringing to the table? What we already have plus PR, marketing, and wholly unethical blanket surveillance? Do they intend to "fudge" important issues and manipulate education systems to generate yet more revenue for themselves, regardless of any detrimental effects on learning outcomes? Remember that the people we're teaching today are the ones who have to take care of us and fix the messes we've created tomorrow. I'd like them to be smart, insightful, intuitive, creative, analytical and critical thinkers rather than the rather uninspiring products of common core standards and bureacractic mediocrity.

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