Open online courses (MOOCs) - platforms and portal

Unit offers Open edX and Instructure Canvas to use for open online courses (also known as MOOCs) to Norwegian universities and university colleges

Brief description

The service offers two learning management systems for open online courses:

  • Canvas
  • Open EdX

Furthermore, Unit administrates the portal to provide a complete catalog of all Norwegian open online courses regardless of learning platform.

The service was established at BIBSYS in 2015 and transferred to Unit in January 2018.

Service manager: Elisabeth Stephanie Guillot

Organizing structures and governing:

  • Advisory comittee: Council for teaching services
  • Academic comittee for education
  • Board of digitization

Payment and payment terms: The cost of the service is based on the yearly operating cost per course. In addition there is a one-time setup fee for new organizations starting to use the service. A yearly adjustment in accordance with consumer price index is to be expected. Please note, the service is billed separately from Unit's regular yearly billing process, and is not mentioned in the yearly cost notice from Unit. 

For 2021 the prices are as following*:

  • NOK 22.500,- per course per year (ex. VAT)
  • NOK 12.500,- one-time setup fee (ex. VAT)

*Designated server (for example for Open edX) is priced in accordance with size/activity. For a high amount of courses in Canvas a different price can be offered. Please contact us for further information.

Setup and development of further functionality and services are available upon agreement based on available resources at cost of elapsed working hours (currently NOK 1.125,- per hour ex. VAT in cases where internal resources are available. Cost can be higher if external consultation is needed).

Support:​​​​​​ Unit only provides operation and technical support for the learning platforms.
Students, teachers etc.: please contact the institution organizing the course for help with issues.

Errors: Errors are to be reported to Unit contact address.

Operation: Unit is responsible for operating the platforms, including concurrent updates, adjustments, backup and monitoring, in addition to some support for administrators during setup.

Risk and security evaluations of the service/platforms have been conducted and are available for members upon request.

Contact Unit with inquiries about ordering and changes of the service. Open 08:00-16:00 on working days.

The service is subject to Unit's General service and delivery conditions unless other conditions are stated in the specific service agreement. In cases where the service agreement covers topics described in the general conditions, the service agreement precedes the general conditions.

Description of service

The service Open online courses provides operation and management of the learning management systems (platforms) Instructure Canvas (IC) and Open EdX for open online courses in the higher education sector. The systems are aimed to offer open online courses, and are not to be used as regular learning management systems for registered students. This, however, does not prohibit registered students to participate in these open courses. The IC-platform is offered as part of Units framework agreement with Instructure, and is used in a specific agreement between Unit and Instructure.

The platforms are delivered as-is from the respective providers, and Unit mainly operates and maintain the platforms. Exemptions are minor changes Unit has capacity to perform in agreement with the organization/client. This means that accessibility standards will be in line with what is currently available in the respective platforms.

Area of use

Organizations/course providers can create and offer open online courses to participants. Participants self-register in the service with either a local user, user from social network, or FEIDE. Participants sign up to courses through the course catalog. Participants can follow course modules, turn in assignments, respond to surveys, and communicate in groups and channels in the platform.

The organization/course provider can require payment for course participation or for issuing course certification. Issued course certification is stored in the platform and can be downloaded by the participant.

Course administrators have statistics of number of course users, geographic affiliation, participant performance, and other details pertaining to course execution in the system.

Open EdX is delivered operated and partly configured by data processor. Instructure Canvas (IC) is a cloud-service delivered directly from sub-processor Instructure Inc.

Processing of sensitive personal information is not permitted in the service.

Service level

Unit monitors uptime between 08:00 and 21:00 on weekdays and 08:00 and 15:00 on Saturdays. The platforms should have an uptime of at least 99,9% in the aforementioned timeframe. Error fixing in the production environment is given the highest priority.

Service level and availability of integrated services/systems is defines by agreements/contracts for the respective services.

Hardware and software

Unit commits to manage Open EdX and, along with accompanied databases and network connection, and assure that necessary computers, infrastructure, software, and capacity for this purpose is procured, installed, and maintained. Unit is responsible for assuring the services are available on the specific URLs and for the network connection to defined interconnection point (currently Uninett). Instructure Canvas committed deliveries are defined in contract between Unit and Instructure.

Security and privacy

The organization/course provider is responsible of assuring satisfactory information security in using the service, following provisions of eGovernment regulations (eForvaltningsforskriften) and Law on personal data. The organization must implement relevant safety measures to protect information conveyed using the platform from breach of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Evaluation and implementation of necessary safety measures should occur within the organizations information security framework.

The organization is data owner in the platform. All information, data, results, plans, sketches, text, files, links, images, videoes, sound files, notes, or other material uploaded using the organizations user accounts in the service, remains the organizations property (program content). The organization can export its content using the systems' export function during the agreement duration, and for 6 months after the agreement has expired. Unit is not obliged to store the organization's content beyond 6 months after contract expiration. Courses' video and sound content is stored on external servers the organization is responsible for and is referred to from the learning platform.

The organization/course provider is, without exemption, responsible for all content on the respective platforms and assuring that content follows provisions of applicable laws and regulations. When relevant, the organization provides relevant licencing regulating content availability to third-parties. The individual user is responsible for local computer equipment and software used for Units services.

The organization/cours eprovider is responsible for privacy and possible data proceccing agreements for other third-pary integrations and/or extentions/plugins to the learning platform, when required. This also applies to changes in user interface, where the organization is responsible for changes and possible consequences they may have for executing courses. Translation to Norwegian bokmål and nynorsk in Open EdX is very comprehensive work and cause maintenance costs. Therefore Unit recommends using English in Open EdX.

Privacy Statement - English

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