Finally, arrived what should have come for long. At his moment, Google is making the first steps to the Learning Management Systems (LMS) / Learning Content Management System (LCMS) market introducing Course Builder.
Let us face it: this step is both logical and necessary. Online-education may become a major segment of the zillion dollar higher-education business, and it is actually hard to find good arguments why it should not. The appearance of major software companies in this field is more puzzling than surprising. Google has everything to be a major player, and has already many of the tools are ready.
- Google Docs, Google Books, Google Maps etc makes an already tested, excellent starting platform for content creation and content management. Have you heard about Google Body or Google Mars?
- Google is present in many schools and universities already through the Google Apps for Education program. You need an email server for your university? Google offers you free emails, calendars, docs and all in already for a coupe of years.
- Google Apps offer infinite opportunities for costume made software integration to any system, therefore universities can make their own interfaces, software libraries or whatever they want organically embedded.
- Google’s social network experiment, the Google+, tries to introduce a deeper, more controllable experience than Facebook – and let us admit, Google+ desperate needs active users.
Putting whole universities on Google+, make then actively engaging throughout their education using the Google Course on long term can potentially make a killer social network. University students and young professionals are the early adapters of such technologies, and now Google just would get them join and actively participate as a class requirement. While the Facebook is great platform to share party photos, maybe not that great platform to maintain professional and semi-professional connections and to discreetly split the professional and personal life for most of us. Google+ circles however offer a much more sophisticated way to make both your boss, your clients and your old school pals on the same network without boring your clients with the latest LolCats news.
So my vote? Go, Google, Go!