State of Product Working Group (March 2023)

Date: Mar 14, 2023



The Product Working Group focuses primarily on understanding the needs of our community, defining core product features, and developing new or improved product features to meet our community’s needs. Our primary goal is to provide product leadership in the community. Our group is guided by the .

Consider this report as a compilation of what we’ve done over the past year, what we’re looking at doing in the next 6 months, and a wider vision of the group’s future beyond that.


Over the past year, our major accomplishments were:

  • Defining the Core Product (OEP-57), codified in an Open edX governance document known as an “OEP” (Open edX Enhancement Proposal). This OEP defines a set of product guidelines for the Open edX platform, including a Product Narrative, Product Offerings, and Component Tiers, and describes how these principles impact the community. This has shaped how our group thinks about product leadership and areas of focus.

  • Breaking ground on full public feature development. This means that a group of people working on a project open up their thinking about possible approach and requirements to the community, for the community to review and provide feedback on. Crucially, these projects also incorporate this community feedback. Some examples include:

  • Making significant improvements to the Product Review process of community contributions. While this is an ongoing project, the work we’ve done thus far to enable any product manager to complete reviews and to articulate expectations for authors and product managers has unblocked work, some of which has been stalled for months.


Further, we’ve made significant progress on the following initiatives:


  • Product Narrative: Creating and coalescing around the high-level vision statement for the Open edX project. It succinctly articulates the value proposition and impact of the project, the features which differentiate it, and the values and characteristics that position it as a market-leading solution. Milestones include:

    • Community survey to land on a community-driven value proposition for the project

    • Instance landscape data, to provide a comprehensive view of the organizations using Open edX, including their location, engagement level, sector and more. By understanding how the platform is being used, we can identify areas of focus and investment.(@Faqir Bilal can you please provide an update?)

  • Defining the “Core Product”: this initiative aims to categorize all the features of the Open edX platform and determine which features have enough of a broad-based appeal to warrant inclusion into a minimal version of an Open edX distribution we call “Core Product”

    • Part of this work includes describing a product’s “health”, an instrument which aims to measures how well a feature meets baseline product requirements such as internationalization, accessibility, and usability

    • Another part of this work involves understanding where the feature lies in the landscape of education; this includes comparative research (looking at other platforms like Moodle and Coursera to see if/how they use the feature) and academic research (is there a case to be made this is a valid academic tool?).

  • : The goal of this project is to bring more flexibility to authoring and delivering learning experiences, by making all parts of the course independent, composable, re-usable and deliverable as stand-alone learning products. Benefits include: reducing course authoring time; offering more flexible pathways to designing modular learning pathways; positioning the platform to readily integrate with adaptive tools and services. The first two milestones are underway:

    • Studio copy/paste feature: Will enable authors to copy any component, unit, subsection or section and use it in another/many other course(s).

    • Content Tagging: Will enable authors to align any part of the course to a taxonomy or controlled vocabulary.

Concrete Plans - Next 6 Months

Over the next six months, we hope to execute on much of the groundwork we’ve spent the last year laying. By September 2023, our primary goals are:


  • Pull request review guidelines, as described above (target completion: @Santiago Suarez )

  • Product Narrative work (@Faqir Bilal describe what will be done/completed or milestones hit in by September 2023)

  • Modular Learning:

    • Launch V1 Studio copy/paste feature

    • Launch MVP Content Tagging Tool

  • Core Product work as described above:

    • Aim to complete product health & landscape research for 40-50 features within the next 6 months

    • With this report, determine how we are to proceed with features we think do not fit in the “core”: options include deprecation, conversion to plugin/XBlock, or putting behind a feature flag