(Cross-posted on the Google Research Blog)

Google is passionate about online education. In addition to our own Course Builder project, we’re also partners with edX, a not-for-profit that shares our desire for scalable, quality education for everyone. Their software, Open edX, lets people make educational content and deliver it online to anybody, anytime, anywhere. It powers their own site, edx.org, and is also used by companies and universities worldwide.

Today we’re very pleased to announce that you can now sign in to edx.org with your Google or Facebook account:
Until recently, users who wanted to take advantage of the high quality content on edx.org needed to create a new account first. This is a painful, error prone process―really, who wants to worry about yet another password? So we added the ability to use over 60 external authentication providers to Open edX, with support for everything from open standards like OpenID or OAuth 2.0, to custom university single sign-on systems. For their edx.org site, edX decided to let users pick between Google, Facebook, and a custom username and password.

If you run Open edX, you can also use this feature now. The authentication module is extensible so you can add any third-party provider you want if your favorite is not yet supported. And the feature is completely configurable, so you can pick whatever third-party authentication systems are best for your users, including none at all. It’s totally up to you.

By simultaneously increasing user choice, convenience, and security, we hope to make open online education even easier and safer to use, whether people pick Course Builder or Open edX for authoring and delivering courses. We’re very grateful to our partners at edX for working with us in this exciting field.