Some items re: Blackboard’s announcement of their Collaborate product:



Blackboard in a definitive agreement to be acquired

Blackboard to be acquired

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Blackboard’s next phase

Blackboard’s next phase — from by Steve Kolowich

Blackboard built its e-learning empire on its learning management system, trading legal blows with some competitors and gobbling up others as it raced to satisfy demand for a technology that had rapidly become de rigueur in higher education.

That period of conquest is now over. Last fall, close to 95 percent of institutions had some learning management system in place, according to the Campus Computing Project. Accordingly, Blackboard’s business strategy is changing: with the company adding four new, separately licensed products to its menu in the last three years, Blackboard expects that it will soon no longer rely on Learn, its popular learning management system, to bring home the bacon.

The fact that Blackboard is staking so much of its anticipated growth in the domestic higher education market on the success of its newer products could put colleges in a better position to haggle, Urdan added. “The whole notion of the market being saturated and [Blackboard] being reliant on new products to build their revenue stream — maybe the negotiating power is shifting a little more toward the client and a little bit away from Blackboard,” he said. This might be especially true given the gradual erosion of Blackboard’s market dominance in recent years.
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Cool Tools – Rapid e-Learning with Brainshark or Captivate — from Blackboard’s Next Level Learning blog

Let’s say your company has a new product update and you need to get the information out fast to your team of sales and product managers. Or maybe your company is growing quickly and you need to train a brand new team in a matter of days.  Did a new certification just get released and you need to get information out to your association members ASAP?  No problem!  This is where Blackboard and rapid e-learning tools like Brainshark and Captivate come in.

Also see:

  • Brainshark Mobile & QR Tags: An Exciting Combination
    QR Codes 101
    QR (“quick response”) Code or Tag is a square barcode that you can scan with your smartphone’s camera with the help of a QR Code app to immediately launch a link or URL on the mobile phone’s web browser.   Said another way, QR Codes are a simple way to connect the offline world with the online world. This represents a huge new point of delivery for Brainshark video presentations. Why is this important?  …Because you want your content available when and where your audience is primed for it.

Blackboard vs Moodle 2.0: 100+ metrics compared head to head — from by Joseph Thibault
This post is cross-posted at (comprehensive news and resources for all Learning Management Systems)

Ralf Otto of Ruhr-Universität, Bochum in Germany provided me with a wonderful resource he’s created recently.  Ruhr-Universität utilizes both Moodle and Blackboard (as a growing number of colleges and higher education institutions are doing) and over the last two weeks was charged with comparing the two LMSs head to head, he said in his message.

The comparison matrix covers 103 different aspects of the LMS and whether or not each is capable (and sometimes how).  How does each measure up?

For the full comparison that Ralf created please visit:

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Blackboard buys into data analytics

Blackboard buys into data analytics — from by Dian Schaffhauser

Blackboard has expanded its forays outside of its traditional academic realm by entering into the territory of administrative operations with the announcement of a new set of data analytics applications. The news comes just weeks after Blackboard quietly acquired iStrategy, a private company focused on data warehousing and business intelligence for higher education.

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Blackboard Mobile Learn 2.0 embraces multimedia, gets threaded discussions — from The Journal by David Nagel
Blackboard has also launched a new service to help institutions develop custom Mobile Central apps.

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Blackboard Exemplary Course Winners for 2010

Example excerpts from 2010 University of Nevada, Reno

Best Practices

When asked to identify three best practices achieved by this course, one course reviewer wrote: “In all honesty this course is so well done that choosing three is like saying you have a favourite child. I really can’t do it.”

Organized and intriguing layout

  • The overall layout of the course is great. Students should not have any difficulty with navigation.
  • The content is provided in appropriate chunks in both text and as narrated presentations with a text transcript. I think this would appeal students of all learning styles.
  • Overall organization and consistent,uniform design of modules makes the progression of learning intuitive and exciting. The modules include introductions and objectives, a variety of media, self-checks, and multiple assessments.
  • Each unit is clearly defined with goals and objectives. The instructor does a very nice job connecting one unit to the next by providing a welcome at the beginning of each unit which recaps the previous unit and introduces the new unit.

Innovative use of technology

  • The extensive use of video and screencasts is wonderful.
  • The active use of the Voiceboard tools is fantastic.
  • The use of voice chats and voice boards make interaction and collaboration more effective than the usual discussion boards.
  • This course strategically places these tools where they can best be utilized to meet the objectives – this course not only uses great technology, but also uses it in a pedagogically sound manner.
  • The Soapbox Moment blog is a wonderful tool that allows the instructor to voice his/her viewpoints in the most appropriate place, helping him/her to remain neutral in other discussions and let his/her students’ thoughts flow freely. The soapbox uses current issues that are directly related to the course and allows students to apply what they have learned to real-world situations.

Interesting content

  • The Getting Started Activities, including a course tour and the use of Camtasia for the first week Assignment, were a really great idea.
  • The orientation is execellent. The instructor does a great job explaining the course goals and objectives as well as taking time to make students feel comfortable. In the orientation you get the sense that this instructor is available and accessible for students.
  • The self check exercises and varied assessments are appealling. The proctored exams ensure the integrity of the course.
  • The interactions and outcomes, reflected in student testimonials, show a community at work!
  • The inclusion of guest speakers is a wonderful design practice. Students can gain some real world experience by interacting with subject matter experts, who have experience in particular content areas.
  • I enjoyed the final discussion project, which incorporates the use of peer-review. Students are given the opportunity to engage with classmates, receiving and providing feedback.

An island no more: A game-changing application suite for LMS — from by Trent Batson

…a “Google Analytics” for the LMS.

…perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of plugjam, allowing both students and teachers to intelligently search open educational resources (OERs) maintained by Merlot and 10 colleges and universities through the new OER Global Consortium inspired and supported by MERLOT, including Johns Hopkins, MIT, Notre Dame, The Open University, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Stanford University, Delft University, University of Massachusetts Boston, The University of Tokyo, and Yale University. Other institutions offer additional OERs, such as Carnegie Mellon, Rice, and others.

…essentially allowing faculty and students to create a portal with a live instantiation of the LMS interface on the same page as social software and other functionalities, literally putting your LMS into the social Web.

Why is all this important? The campus book library of 10 years ago has changed radically: It is now augmented (and perhaps surpassed) by the library on the Web, more easily searched, portable to any Web site, and potentially a broader-based, more up-to-date set of resources than was ever available before to the campus community. With many more Web academic resources becoming available everyday and the LMS, with plugjam, capable of becoming its own “lending library,” each course can be content-rich beyond imagination.

Blackboard to sell online courses through new partnership — from by Jeff Young

Anaheim, Calif.—Blackboard announced today that it is teaming up with a for-profit education provider, K12 Inc., to sell online courses to colleges that want to outsource their remedial offerings.

How to sell a migration to Moodle

How to sell a migration to Moodle — by Michael Feldstein

The folks at Wesleyan University have a blog up that is a stellar example of how to evangelize for an LMS platform to faculty when you’re facing the front end of a migration.1 For starters, their FAQ is rich with information, including analysis by peer schools.

Here’s a sample:

Why are so many schools switching to Moodle?

While we cannot speak for all the other schools, we imagine their motivation is similar to ours—Moodle is more cost-effective than Blackboard and we have more control over it.  A plethora of independent research on student and faculty satisfaction with course management systems show that users like Moodle as well as or better than Blackboard.

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Ohio calls on Blackboard to create statewide online learning clearinghouse — from The Journal by Dian Schaffhauser

Ohio’s Board of Regents will be working with Blackboard in developing a program to host distance learning courses in the state. Chancellor Eric Fingerhut chose Blackboard’s consulting team to build a new, statewide digital learning clearinghouse that will provide a common platform for online courses. The goal of the program is to use the courses to graduate more students, keep more of them at Ohio colleges and universities and in the state’s workforce, and attract more out of state graduates to pursue additional education and careers in Ohio.

Participating schools can both add and tap into the courses offered in the program. High school students could earn college credit through dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses or use remediation offerings. College students could attend a wider range of courses and other options for earning credits and completing degrees more quickly. The resources are also expected to help adult learners who want to pursue training to advance or change their careers and prepare for certifications.

Bb+Elluminate+Wimba: What I’m hearing — from Bb’s Ray Henderson

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