MOOC, LMS, and Other Acronyms in Education

Short Form


One-hundred sixty thousand students signed up for the Stanford AI course. I use the phrase "the Stanford AI Course" because it is the one my colleagues use. In 2011, when Professors Sebasian Thrun and Peter Norvig taught their course on artificial intelligence online, open to any English speaker with an adaquate internet connection, they taught the first successful Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Stanford, however, was far from the first to offer online courses, but those are talked about significantly less. In the mid-2000s, as an undergrad, I took a medical ethics course Carnegie Mellon was teaching under their Open Learning Initiative. The OLI, which was first funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in 2001, created a system for creating, hosting, and taking courses online. This was around the same time the same foundation also funded MIT's OpenCourseWare (disclosure, I used to work there). MITOCW, among other things, helped to set the Creative Commons Atribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA) as a standard among open education resources.


Online education is becoming more prevelant inside and outside of universitities, used by hundreds of thousands of pepole all over the world—from professors in India to 12 year old girls in Hawaii. Some of the biggest projects use free and open licenses for their platforms and content. This session will provide a tour of existing tools and resources, including a discussion on licensing and the impact of communities.


education, edtech, lms, mooc, OER

Speaking experience

Free, Libre, Open Source, edX - Open edX Con 2014, Cambridge, MA.
Nurturing Non-Coders, LibrePlanet 2014, Cambridge, MA (with Deb Nicholson)
Free Software is Hard, Software Freedom Day 2013, Cambridge, MA
Open Education Tools for Mentoring and Learning, Open Source Bridge 2012, Portland, OR

I have not given this talk before.


  • Mdeblanc coffee


    Molly de Blanc is interested in things like education, science, and software. She works on the Open Team at edX. For fun, she grows carnivorous plants and algae, organizes lightning talks, and hangs around the internet as mollydb.