We are delighted to announce some of our Open edX Conference 2023 sessions, tutorials, and featured speakers! 

Our conference speakers represent experts within online education, with expertise in a variety of industries, including higher education, corporate learning, nonprofit, government, NGOs, and more. 

The presentations of the Open edX Conference 2023 will discuss innovative uses of technology within the areas of: 

  • Pedagogy & Instructional Design
  • Product Development
  • Developing & Operating 


Our event’s keynotes are leading experts in academia, learning science, and open source technology. The three keynote speakers, who will present at the Open edX Conference 2023, include Justin Reich, Director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, Anant Agarwal, Founder of edX and Chief Platform Officer at 2U, and Karl Fogel, Partner at Open Tech Strategies, LLC.

Highlighted Sessions & Speakers

Spanning the three tracks mentioned above, the event’s featured speakers offer attendees the knowledge, leadership, and inspiration to shape the path for delivering online education globally, via the world’s leading online learning platform, the Open edX Platform.

Below is the list of several highlighted sessions that will be showcased at this year’s Open edX Conference. 

Pedagogy & Instructional Design:

Working with SME’s: Strategies for Learning Design Success

A learning designer’s relationship with their client’s subject matter expert can make – or break – the course design process. This session will review a typical online course lifecycle – from project discovery to the design, development and delivery – and describe how to collaborate with a subject matter expert at each stage. Drawing upon experience with Open edX corporate, education, and non-profit clients, this session will cover specific strategies to help ensure successful course creation.

Author: Ildi Morris, Learning Design Consultant, Morris Learning Design

The Two Way Street: how on-campus and MOOC classes influence each other

We originally built online MOOCs to share with the world based on our on-campus experiences. We tried to replicate what worked in person while also adding new features that were only available with the online platform. In 2020, when our campus shut down, we then adapted those MOOCs to run our courses for students at our own institution who were no longer on campus. Now that we are fully back in person on campus, this experience continues to influence how we teach.

Author: Jennifer French, Digital Learning Lab Scientist and Lecturer of Mathematics, MIT & Michelle Tomasik, Digital Learning Lab Scientist and Lecturer of Physics, MIT

Thinking Out Loud: Bringing Social Annotation to Your Open edX Course

Effective learners annotate – add margin notes, mark up rough drafts, highlight or underline key ideas – and they collaborate – share ideas with others to mutually reinforce their learning. Social annotation combines both activities to make both expert and novice thought processes more deliberate, visible, and mutually intelligible. In this session we’ll discuss the why and how of social annotation, identify Open edX annotation options, and explore specific use cases and challenges.

Author: Xandi Wright, M.Ed, Learning Designer at 2U/edX

Product Development: 

2023 Open edX Product Strategy: Getting to a Core Product

The 2023 product strategy is developing a Core Product (OEP-57). The Core Product is an articulation of which features are supported in the community-maintained installation. Goals are: streamlining releases, simplifying user experiences, easier customization, and enabling extension and innovation. This talk covers work underway: definition of use cases and feature sets; considerations for consistent UX; overhauling the configuration landscape; and curated catalogs of apps and extensions.

Author: Jenna Makowski, Senior Product Manager, Axim Collaborative

Product Review is Here For You

One challenge the Open edX project has grappled with is developing a standardized Product Review process for open source contributions. This has resulted in a long backlog of stalled contributions. All Open edX stakeholders – and ultimately, end users – have been impacted. The Product Working Group has proposed a systemic overhaul to the Product Review process. This talk provides an overview of the proposal’s key tenets, its impact, and case studies. We will also discuss our learnings.

Author: Santiago Suarez, Product Manager at eduNEXT & Ryan O’Connell, Senior Director of Product, 2U

Product Roadmap Roundtable

This talk will bring together product managers representing organizations from across the community, including 2U, Axim Collaborative, OpenCraft, eduNEXT, Edly, and MIT. We will host a participatory roundtable. Each product manager will provide a brief update about major feature developments, enhancements and contributions from the past year, and current and future contribution plans for 2023. We will update the Community Roadmap in real time.

Author: Product Working Group

Developing & Operating :

Unlocking LTI: How We Decoupled the LTI 1.3 Launch from the edX Platform

LTI is a powerful standard defining how learning tools can be integrated in learning platforms. edX’s implementation of LTI was coupled to the XBlock, severely limiting its potential outside of the platform. Not anymore! This talk discusses how we decoupled the LTI 1.3 launch from the XBlock, unlocking broader use of LTI within the edX ecosystem. I’ll review the obstacles we encountered, how we addressed them, potential uses of a decoupled LTI 1.3 launch, and how the community can get involved.

Author: Michael Roytman, Software Engineer, 2U/edX

Safer: The History and Future of Open edX Security

Ever wonder about how to manage security issues in an Open edX project? Join us as we walk through how security issues are managed in the Open edX ecosystem and what you would ever need to do for a security issue as a maintainer or operator.

Author: Alison Langston, Software Engineer, 2U; Phil Shiu, Software Engineer, 2U; and  Feanil Patel, Software Architect, Axim Collaborative

Don’t Miss the Event Bus

Come hear about the newly available event bus in the Open edX platform. Learn about its architectural advantages, its early successes and challenges. Share our experience in how to implement events safely. Hear about what’s underway, and how it will affect the future of Open edX deployments.

Author: Robert Raposa, Principal Engineer, 2U

Highlighted Tutorials 

Pedagogy & Instructional Design: 

Designing Peer Review Assignments at Scale

We will review the relevant literature, discuss various approaches to peer review, and consider how to align your peer review approach with the learning goals of your course. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a case study exercise where they will work collaboratively to design a peer review exercise that meets desired learning outcomes. We will also discuss advances in artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT and brainstorm ideas and implications for assignment design.

Author: Meghan Perdue, Digital Learning Scientist, MIT & Jessica Sandland, Digital Learning Scientist, MIT

Product Development & Developing & Operating: 

What the RST?? Documenting Open edX Processes

This 90-minute tutorial will teach attendees the basics of product feature documentation, and in particular, how we do that in the Open edX project. It is aimed at developers as well as product/content experts and will teach Diataxis (how we think about docs) and ReStructured Text (RST, the system we use to write docs).

Author: Sarina Canelake, Engineering Manager, Axim Collaborative & Feanil Patel, Software Architect, Axim Collaborative

Developing & Operating:

Micro-Frontend Micro-Workshop

This 90 minute tutorial will give potential micro-frontend developers a chance to learn what it takes to start building a micro-frontend for the Open edX platform.

Author: Brian Smith, Senior Software Engineer, Axim Collaborative & Adolfo Brandes, Principal Frontend Engineer, Axim Collaborative

Stay tuned for the full conference schedule, which will be posted in the coming week, featuring all of the conference’s sessions, tutorials/workshops, lightning talks, and unstructured networking opportunities and register today to secure your seat!