“Moving Towards a More Inclusive, Comprehensive Open edX Community”

Zoe Mackay, Chris Dowhan | IBL News

John Mark Walker, Open edX Community Lead, said in an interview with IBL News that “we are moving towards a more inclusive, comprehensive [Open edX] community, where we hope to be the home for learning practitioners in an open source collaborative way.

He reflects after the 2019 Open edX conference, which took place during the last week of March in San Diego.

With 5 years of progress, Walked reminisces on the community that edX has fostered, and looks to the future of growing this community.

Over time, we found a lot of companies, like IBM, Microsoft, Redis Labs, Mongo DB…these are all joining the party because they are seeing the power of online learning.” These companies, says Walker, utilize Open edX because of the deeper engagement with their communities, customers, and partners. “It becomes a key component of a community and marketing strategy.

The idea of offering training to everyone who uses software as a service is relatively new, but now with things like Open edX, with an open source platform, and a growing number of people that know how to use it… you’re now getting this convergence of practitioners that are expanding the universe of online learning.”

With 20 years of experience in open source software, Walker identifies the different approaches taken by edX. These other companies were very circular, in that “it was technologists creating technology for other technologists.” When he came to edX, he found that edX incorporated their community, and strived for collaboration.

There is a lot of demand for this combined world where technologists and course designers and educators can come together and collaborate with each other, and that’s what we are focusing on.

edX aims to tailor its future approach toward instructional designers and researchers. With each Open edX conference, Walker says he realizes the need to expand and give these different groups of the edX community the attention they deserve. The Open edX community “really is the most positive community I’ve ever worked in. It is the most inclusive…and you feel that energy.”

To watch John Mark Walkers full comments following the 2019 Open edX Conference, please see the interview below.