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Lagunita is an open-source learning platform. It is supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning – which was formerly the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL) – as part of its commitment to advance creative teaching and learning initiatives and data-driven educational research.

Lagunita is Stanford University’s instance of the open-source release of the edX platform, which was developed by the Harvard/MIT non-profit organization edX. Stanford engineers have been collaborating on the open source platform since April 2013, and Lagunita first launched as Stanford Open EdX June 2013.  

Lagunita offers Stanford faculty and instructors the flexibility to develop new courses and learning modules that can transform the classroom experience of learners. The platform has been used to support more than 200 courses and modules for Stanford’s residential students, as well as for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that have been made available to the public at a global scale. It is Stanford’s most frequently used platform for online learning efforts.

VPTL engineers have customized the platform for Stanford use and have added features to the code base that other universities and educational providers can use to support their own online learning initiatives.

Some of these features include:

  • Integration with Stanford's WebAuth system for registered student use - supports single-sign-on with other Stanford services.
  • Easy access to class videos, announcements, problem sets, and other files.
  • Videos hosted on YouTube or elsewhere.
  • Searchable captions used as a skimmable index into the video.
  • Course content created with mixable types of components and organized into lessons, so any page can contain any combination of types of content.
  • Problem set support for different response types including: multiple choice, numeric, math expressions, drag-and-drop, and many others.
  • Support for interfacing with external systems such as Qualtrics for surveys in ways that preserve user data.
  • Course wiki for student-generated content. 
  • Discussion forums, both for standalone and those integrated into the course (e. g. a sub-forum for discussion of a particular video or problem set can be embedded on a page).
  • Interfacing to external graders (e. g. for grading programming assignments). 
  • Self and peer assessments.

Lagunita as a Research Tool

Online instruction is generating educational data at a historically unprecedented rate and scale. By having control over data collection for Stanford courses delivered via Lagunita, our team can more effectively shape the science of teaching and learning while accumulating usable knowledge. Stanford faculty, allied researchers, and instructional designers use what we learn on Lagunita to iteratively improve instruction at Stanford and contribute to learning science worldwide.
Lagunita also facilitates collaborative efforts between Stanford University and other institutions to improve education. 

History of Lagunita

In April 2013, Stanford University and the edX organization founded by MIT and Harvard agreed to collaborate on future development of the open source version of the edX platform. Stanford University launched its own instance in June 2013,  initially called “Stanford OpenEdX ” and Stanford engineers contributed new functionality to enhance the platform. In July 2013, the platform was released as open source for all developers everywhere to use, improve, and share. That open source code is available today and called, “Open edX. ”
Because the platform is open source software, other universities and educational providers can use it freely to support their own online learning initiatives. They can host courses using their own installation of Open edX within their own IT infrastructure, or by using a third-party hosting service. Organizations running the Open edX platform retain control of their own branding and of their relationships with their own students and other associated users. Data generated by particular instances of Open edX is are solely in the control of the organizations that produce those instances.
Universities and other organizations using Open edX also control the license for their content. They may release or redistribute that content in a variety of forms— such as original, revised, or remixed—to multiple audiences without special permissions from a platform owner. This flexibility gives educators the freedom to experiment and to greatly expand the reach of their instructional materials. 

Other Platforms to Choose From:

Lagunita is one of five platforms VPTL currently uses for delivery of digital course content. The others are CanvasCourseWork, Coursera, Kendenze, and NovoEd (formerly Venture Lab). 

More Information:

If you would like general information about the open source platform, please see or join the mailing list hosted on Google Groups. 
If you're on the Stanford University campus and are interested in Lagunita, join the email list for instructors
To receive announcements about the platform or to  request a platform demo, contact our Course Operations team.