The True Angel
There has been a lot of discussion in recent days about what effect the acquisition of Angel by Blackboard will have on the LMS community and maybe more specifically on the commercial LMS community. That is content for another post. This post is simply a personal congratulation to the Angel team for the rewards that they deserve. The sense of the market was that Angel provided as good if not a better product; that they offered better support and actually listened to and cared about their customers. I think that is all true and it was not just a business policy, but it was more about the foundation of the company that was built on strong moral principals.
The creator of Angel, Dave Mills, is truly a good guy and I was never surprised when I heard people speak kindly of Angel Learning, knowing that much of it was a reflection of Dave Mills. Angel was always a fitting name for his product. He was one of my first student workers at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. An older student who had to work harder then the typical undergrad, but was doing it to provide opportunity for his family. This was 96-97 and the Web was showing promise so Dave wrote a CMS application so that the school’s faculty could have a way to use the Web in their classes. I think he wrote it in Visual Basic and it was good but undiscovered. He was influenced by one of his professors, Ali Jafari, and he started designing the concept of an LMS. We found a way to let him work on this and the outcome was Indiana University’s OnCourse LMS system that found it’s way into Sakai. So Dave and Ali with some support form IU and our school started Cyber Learning Labs, which birthed Angel, and the rest is history.
So I congratulate the Angel Learning Team and most of all Dave Mills. I know all who got a chance to work with him have probably benefitted in ways far beyond technology. I hope all who contributed to the success are richly rewarded and I hope their influence can be carried into the Blackboard business world.
Update – IUPUI get $23 million, Ali Jafari is a multi-millionaire (his goal all along) and some are saying that IUPUI soldout Angel to Blackboard. This may make for a new discussion on Higher Ed’s business involvement with these LMS companies.
*** Word is that Indiana University wants IUPUI’s money. I can tell you from experience that some of the best State Higher Ed politics takes place in Indiana relating to control of IUPUI. This money battle could be real interesting especially looking back on the fact that Indiana University would not even consider using Angel even though they could have for free all along. IU hated the fact that it was developed in a Purdue School.