Category Archives: BlackBoard

Did an Angel influence Blackboard?

In Blackboard’s press release on December 15th, 2009: Blackboard, Desire2Learn Announce Patent Cross License Agreement and Settlement of Litigation.

“We are pleased to have resolved our differences with Desire2Learn,” said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. “Bringing this matter to resolution is in the best interests of both of our organizations, our respective clients and the broader education community.”

Congratulations, it appears that level heads have prevailed and maybe we can assume Blackboard’s Chief B & L, Matthew H. Small, is no longer calling all the shots. I do hope that all players are able to return to a focus on serving their customers. An Angel must have intervened.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Time for my post on the current state of Learning Management Systems, LMS, or my take on Blackboard buying Angel Learning. I do not believe that the purchase of Angel by BB is in any way good, especially for the poor Angel customers. I love the argument that the greater resources of BB will be beneficial to Angel, LOL. The bottom line is that the economic model of the commercial LMS vendors can only work if the customers continue to be willing slaves to the commercial dictator. And they are because of the greater pain that would be required to ask faculty to learn a new system. I believe that BB customers still do not own the software and if they do not renew the contract they must show proof that they are no longer using it. That is ridiculous and always has been. Academic institutions should be ashamed to have allowed this type of lease agreement to persist over the years. The lease arrangement is the core of the problem. LMS software is not sophisticated, I know, I watched my own student worker create 2 significant LMS products. Why can’t you buy the software and pay a typical 18% maintenance fee? Because it is not even worth the 18%. If you have an open mind there is no question that Sakai or Moodle is essentially equivalent to BB and they probably get better support because the huge user community is allowed access to the code.

BlackBoard has a large revenue appetite that it will find to be more and more difficult to quench as more customers break free of the chains. So how do you think BB will manage that appetite? Who do you think will get fed?

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