Are the Natives Ever Going to Get Restless Enough to Do Something About Blackboard?

I read an article about some new lawsuit Blackboard is filing against someone that they really shouldn’t because… well, the Borg has so many lawsuits out there now that I just can’t keep the details straight.  But the deal is… it’s another lawsuit.  That million dollars your institution is spending to use with Bb over the next few years is probably going straight into some lawyers pocket.  I’m gonna bet that Blackboard has now taken the number one spot in the “most litigious educational companies ever” list.

Are we ever gonna see change here?  Two exhibits to consider:

  1. Five Companies Google Might Buy Next

    Blackboard is listed as one of those companies (thanks Katrina for the link!).  That is probably not going to happen, but I find the Wall Street Journal’s description of the Borg particularly interesting: “Once a school begins using Blackboard software for their students there are high switching costs as class guides, exams, results, etc are all stored within the blackboard system.”  Wow – if a non-educational company only writes one paragraph about your company, and they choose to highlight one of your worst features… you gotta realize that maybe your business model has drifted too much over to the dark side.

  2. Mark Smithers posted an interesting list of various LMS Evaluations he found.  I haven’t read through every report on the list exhaustively, but I did notice some trends.  In all but one case where Moodle was evaluated against Blackboard, Moodle won.  In any case where there wasn’t Moodle but there were other platforms, Blackboard won.

So, the natives are getting restless, and people are noticing…. but is it enough?  Should we be happy that our institutional money (and by extension, our tax money when an institution is a state college) is going to a lawsuit happy near-monopoly?  What would it take to get Blackboard’s attention?  The Wall Street Journal article shows that everyone is starting to notice the questionable practices of Blackboard.  Mark Smither’s list might possibly indicate that there is another LMS option that is winning evaluations, but most of the other options out there still don’t seem to be gaining ground.  Do we need to get more people to realize that Blackboard is hurting education in general, or do we need to get Blackboard to realize that they need to change course?  Or is this just the immovable object meeting the irresistible force?

Personally, I just want to call for Blackboard to  give it a rest and move on.

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.

One thought on “Are the Natives Ever Going to Get Restless Enough to Do Something About Blackboard?

  1. Really – don’t they know that when you take all of the pie you get fat? Just take a slice and push away from the table….

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