Blackboard, the Hopeless Optimist

The nets are ringing today with the shot heard ’round the LMS: a federal appeals court finally invalidated Blackboard’s silly 1999 patent.  I  have to admit, at one point I had lost hope that sanity would ever prevail in this case.  This is far from over, but at least someone out there in our court system can actually read prior art and do the right thing.

What a second.. far from over?  Sadly so, that is probably the case.

(pause for pathetic sigh)

Blackboard is so far vowing to press on.  Which should be really shocking: this whole case has generated a ton of negative press for the ‘borg.  I say ” should” be shocking, but defiance has become the common reaction from Blackboard. Normally I would quote some weird statement by some senior officer at Blackboard about now, mock them for how they think we are stupid, and then end with a cutsey Blackboardwalla video.

But that’s been done a million times here, and I have grown tired of Blackboard’s insistance that they have any intellectual property disagreement with Desire2Learn.  Or anyone for that matter.

Maybe resistance really is futile.  If you try to run to a competitor, the ‘borg will end up assimilating them someday.

But, really… how long can a poorly run business stay afloat in this economy?  Much wiser companies than Blackboard have vanished overnight because of their minor missteps.  Bb is making massive mistakes and has still managed to hang on.  Might be something to consider if you are thinking of sinking any more money into any form of the Bb LMS.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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