2023-08-08 TOC Meeting Summary



  • Ferdi Alimadhi(MIT)
  • Stefania Trabucchi (Abstract Technology)
  • Samuel Paccoud (FUN)


  • Julie Davis, Vice President of Technology for Learning Platform, will be filling the 2U TOC seat vacated when Ashley Bradford left 2U in June.
  • Axim is coordinating a refresh of the Open edX demonstration course. The demonstration course is distributed with the platform for the purpose of introducing its capabilities to new users and providing a simple option for smoke testing code changes. The current course was created in 2014 and is quite dated and inaccurate. Axim is working with an instructional designer from the community to refresh the content and improve the course structure. The draft outline is available here.
  • We are still having conversations with potential hosts for the 2024 Open edX Conference, but a site has not been finalized. We are hopeful that we will be in a position to announce a location by mid-September.
  • Contribution Review Discussions: there is an active discussion within the community about improving our ability to review more contributions with more reasonable delays & predictability, see this forum thread. It touches on a few different important topics for the project health: getting more of the codebase covered, sharing of responsibility within the community, and trust. Comments from TOC members would be useful! Pull Requests Review Delays.

The TOC will take this topic up for a future discussion. We are currently unable to measure PR lead time in an accurate way due to a data availability limitation in our GitHub tooling. However, as a pilot, our Community Project Managers, Michelle Philbrick and Tim Krones have volunteered to manually record the times that PRs changes status so we can determine accurate lead times and where PRs are waiting between when they are submitted and merged or rejected.


The TOC had an open-ended conversation about how the project should position itself and the platform vis-a-vis emerging generative AI.


  • What threats and opportunities do we see for learning management systems and learning delivery platforms like the Open edX platform in particular?
  • How should the Open edX platform embrace generative AI?

A set of overarching themes related to generative AI were discussed:

  • How can the technology be used to better support learners?
  • How can the technology be used to better support instructors and content creators?
  • How should we think about learner privacy, concerns about bias, and data ownership?

Given all of the possible opportunities, the TOC members agreed that investments to enable the whole community to build tools and features very quickly would be the best investment for the open-source platform.

Ensuring that the appropriate APIs and extension points exist that enable ready integration with any number of technologies, including generative AI, should be the priority.

There are a number of on-going initiatives that will make the platform easier to integrate with external tools in ways that meaningfully support learners and instructors. Specifically, the development of the Hooks and Filters extension framework; the addition of robust event bus options to the platform; investments in the Aspects data replatforming; content manipulation APIs; and investments in content modularity will all enable platform users to better integrate assistive technologies.

As a specific next step, the TOC agreed that we would meet with teams from the community who have built systems for content recommendation and personalization, and systems for identifying learners at risk of abandoning a course to understand points of friction that they encountered. Several specific projects were highlighted by TOC members. Understanding the platform’s current limitations will allow us to prioritize investments to improve overall extensibility. These findings, once compiled, will be shared via the Product Working Group.

Additionally, the TOC agreed that we would not publish a general statement about the project’s use of and sentiment toward generative AI at this time. However, we acknowledged that it is important to have a point of view on the appropriate use of generative AI in the Open edX platform and for online learning generally. As an open-source project, with a strong commitment to transparency, we are in a good position to be one of the leaders of the conversation from an open source and open education perspective. We will consider whether there are other organizations to partner with to develop guidelines focused on always helping, and never harming learners; protecting learner privacy and their data; ensuring bias is addressed; and more. We will continue to discuss potential partnerships for this effort.

The TOC also agreed that it is important to allow the use of open source AI technology, to not tie the project to only proprietary AI services. For example, if/when integration points are developed for the Open edX project, they should allow the use of multiple AI services, including open source solutions.