We’re excited to share that Microsoft is joining the Open edX 2017 as a sponsor of the evening reception on Wednesday, May 24. This is the second time they’ve sponsored the Open edX conference, and we greatly appreciate their support of both edX and the Open edX community!

We spoke to Microsoft about their unique perspective and extensive experience with online learning.

Tell us about Microsoft’s approach to online learning.

Learning is critical to Microsoft’s mission. In order to “empower every person on the planet to do more” we provide people with the best possible learning experiences to enable their journey. Microsoft makes extensive use of MOOCs running on edx.org and Open edX to realize this vision. As a leading corporate member of the consortium, we marvel at the number of people we’ve reached with our technical training, and love to consider how those learners are doing more every day as a result of the skills they have developed.

What are Microsoft’s goals with regard to online education and learning? What do you see as critical to being successful in this space?

Microsoft has a 30+ year legacy in learning. Innovation is core to achieving our goal of ensuring that it remains a key differentiator for our platforms, products, and services. Technical skills are needed more today than ever before. If learners develop these skills after discovering a free MOOC from Microsoft, it’s truly a win-win – the learner gains valuable new skills at no or low cost and, at the same time, gains familiarity and proficiency with Microsoft technologies.

Success requires two ingredients: 1) a great platform, and 2) great content. We feel proud to be a part of the edX consortium, which has made such an amazing platform available. We’ve also learned from the millions of learners who have already consumed our courses on edx.org, allowing us to refine our approach and improve our courses in response to learner feedback.

What can conference attendees look forward to hearing about from Microsoft?

We’re excited to share how Microsoft is using Open edX to expand our reach through partners and to innovate learning experiences for customers and employees. We’ll also share how we are hosting a scalable Open edX instance on Azure and how you can host your own instance leveraging our tools and resources.

Opportunities to hear from Microsoft at the conference:

Case Study: Microsoft Open edX for Corporate Learning and Professional Training Syndication

Seamlessly Deploying A Scalable, High Availability Open edX Solution on Microsoft Azure

Panel discussion: Recent Innovations in Corporate Learning

What are you working on right now that you’re excited to share with us?

We’ve done some great work to get Open edX running on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform and we will be sharing information about our contributions to the community like highly scalable and reliable ARM templates on Azure and our new Azure Media Services xBlock for streaming video worldwide. In fact, we at Microsoft are using the same deployment solution to provide free MOOC content to learners. Check it out here.

We will also be showing how Open edX helps us drive additional support for the Microsoft Professional Program by tracking course completions through our instance, partner instances and edX.org. We are also increasing the reach of Open edX on Azure by building our Learning Partner ecosystem and helping them transform their businesses with our Open edX Templates on Azure and access to Microsoft created content.

What are you looking forward to learning more about at this year’s conference?

Each successive release of Open edX brings exciting new features and functionality to the platform. We’re looking forward to hearing more about the platform roadmap, as well as ways that Microsoft can continue to contribute to Open edX to make it the best possible learning platform.

We also want to connect with the community to learn how others tackled some challenges with the platform and learn from them. We are also interested in hearing how the platform and community plan to handle new international laws around privacy and getting an update on the latest platform accessibility work.

Microsoft Professional Program team photo, people standing on stairs and a balcony

The team members of the Microsoft Professional Program; Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.