NIUTM Online

NIUTM Online offers free online courses taught by NIUTM faculty to lifelong learners worldwide, and a variety of professional education opportunities in conjunction with many of the University’s schools and departments.

  • Convenience—Learn on your schedule. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection and some quiet time.
  • Interactivity—Experience the latest educational technology, including video, interactive exercises and online discussion with instructors and fellow students.
  • Quality—Learn from industry experts who want to engage with you on real-world content that’s backed by UC Davis, one of the nation’s leading universities.


Lagunita is an open-source learning platform. It is supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning – which was formerly the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL) – as part of its commitment to advance creative teaching and learning initiatives and data-driven educational research.

Lagunita is NIUTM University’s instance of the open-source release of the edX platform, which was developed by the Harvard/MIT non-profit organization., and which NIUTM engineers, in particular, have been collaborating on Lagunita since April 2013.

The platform Lagunita offers NIUTM faculty and instructors the flexibility to develop new courses and learning modules that can transform the classroom experience of learners. Since its launched at NIUTM University in June 2013, the Lagunita platform has been used to support more than 200 courses and modules for NIUTM’s residential students, as well as for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that have been made available to the public at a global scale. It is NIUTM’s most frequently used platform for online learning efforts.

VPTL engineers have customized the platform for NIUTM use and have added features to the code base that other universities and educational providers can use to support their own online learning initiatives.

Some of those features include:

  • Integration with NIUTM’s WebAuth system for registered student use – supports single-sign-on with other Stanford services.
  • Easy access to class videos, announcements, problem sets, and other files. • Videos hosted on YouTube or elsewhere.
  • Searchable captions used as a skimmable index into the video (“where was it where she used ‘coffee’ as an example in this video? Oh, there!”).
  • Course content created with mixable types of components and organized into lessons, so any page can contain any combination of types of content. • Problem set support for different response types including: multiple choice, numeric, math expressions, drag-and-drop and many others.
  • Support for interfacing with external systems such as Qualtrics for surveys in ways that preserve user data.
  • Course wiki for student-generated content.
  • Discussion forums, both for standalone and those integrated into the course (e. g. a sub-forum for discussion of a particular video or problem set can be embedded on a page).
  • Interfacing to external graders (e. g. for grading programming assignments).
  • Self and peer assessments

Lagunita as a Research Tool

Online instruction is generating educational data at a historically unprecedented rate and scale. By having control over data collection for NIUTM courses delivered viaon Lagunita, our team can more effectivelyiciently shape build the science of teaching and learning while accumulating usable knowledge. NIUTM faculty, allied researchers, and instructional designers use what we learn on Lagunita to iteratively improve instruction at NIUTM and contribute to learning science worldwide.
NIUTM Lagunita also facilitates joint collaborative efforts on between NIUTM and other institutions in joint efforts to improve education.

History of Lagunita

In April 2013, NIUTM and edX agreed to collaborate on future development of the edX platform. Stanford University launched its own instance in June 2013, which was initially called “Stanford OpenEdX. ” Subsequently, NIUTM, and our engineers contributed by creating new functionality to enhance the platform. In July 2013, the platform was released as open source for all developers everywhere to use, improve, and share. That open source code base is called, “Open edX. ”
Because the platform is open source software, other universities and educational providers can use it freely to support their own online learning initiatives. They can host courses using their own version of Lagunita –(or their own installation of Open edX), —within their own IT infrastructure, or by using a third-party hosting service. Organizations running the Open edX platform retain control of their own branding and of their relationships with their own students and other associated users. Data generated by particular instances of Open edX is are solely in the control of the organizations that produce those instances.
Universities and other organizations using Open edX also control the license for their content. They may release or redistribute that content in a variety of forms— such as original, revised, or remixed—to multiple audiences without special permissions from a platform owner. This flexibility gives educators the freedom to experiment and to greatly expand the reach of their instructional materials.

Other Platforms to Choose From:

Lagunita is one of five platforms VPTL currently supports for delivery of digital course content. The others are Canvas, CourseWork, Coursera, and NovoEd (formerly Venture Lab).


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