According to Blackboard, Inc.’s press release on March 26, 2012 the learning management system giant that has powered online and collaborative learning has acquired Moodlerooms and NetSpot. This is an interesting move for the proprietary giant that is Blackboard as the acquisition will serve as a strong addition to its Education Open Source Services group.
Technology journalist, Audrey Watters (@audreywatters), provides a unique perspective to Blackboard’s acquisition. To summarize, Blackboard has made some steps to create a more open product, but will they be able to leverage the most important piece of the open source model, the community. Will the community still submit code to a project that is now a part of Blackboard?
Utilizing both Blackboard and Moodle while at university I share the same concern. Moodle is a great product, but by becoming Blackboard’s newest toy kill off the development advanced from the community? What interest will Blackboard have in the continued development of these open learning management systems (LRM)? To quote Joseph Thibault of Opensource.com, “Before Monday Blackboard was the largest proprietary LMS company on the planet. After Monday Blackboard is the largest LMS company on the planet.” Is this a sign that Blackboard is finished innovating and will simply gobble up the competition? Time will only tell, but this could be concerning news for students and faculty globally as the education market begins to make leaps into the digital age. Publishers are moving to digital materials and online classes are starting to gain popularity in major universities. If innovation halts in the LMS product the education market will continue to stay in the stone age until another viable solution rises up.