If you haven’t seen this yet, here are some videos of what is brewing at Blackboard Project NG (Next Generation):
One thing that I find funny: they are really hyping how you can have one account that lets you log in as a teacher or a student for different classes. They still think they invented that. Even though it existed as far back as 1994 in distance education (and Blackboard came in to existence in 1997).
One thing that really bugs me: Am I the only one that notices how they ripped off iGoogle for their interface? Maybe they worked with Google on this – but I doubt it. Maybe Google open-sourced that designed – who knows. The part that bugs me is that BB is suing those that they think copied them – but here they are blatantly ripping off another company. Just not right in my book.
It does seem like Blackboard has listened to customer complaints, and has stopped burying content and activities under so many layers of links. You can also manage classes in other LMS programs from inside Blackboard (Moodle, Sakai, and WebCT are mentioned – but so Desire2Learn… no shock there) so you can see updates, due dates, and other stuff like that – I assume. Nifty – but I wonder if Blackboard is going to do anything to make that functionality go both ways. I doubt it.
Sadly, some of videos also don’t load. Some do. But I still don’t see anything groundbreaking here. I see stuff that is badly needed in online education – but nothing that hasn’t been seen somewhere else before.
(I must give a disclaimer here – I have pretty much given up on BlackBoard because of the patent and lawsuit silliness. Usuallly, I am not against the big companies, like Microsoft, having a right to exist – even if I presonally don’t like that companies products. But BB has crossed some lines that I feel shouldn’t be crossed.)