Rise of the Franken-Video Conference

Blackboard recently announced that they have melded the two video conferencing services they bought (Wimba and Elluminate) into one service. The new service is being called a new version of Blackboard Collaborate. The usual language accompanied this news – they took the best of both worlds, tested it with universities, got feedback, etc. Blackboard always promises these kinds of things and delivers mixed results (at best). The thing that bothers me is that I never, ever heard a single person make a comment like “wouldn’t it be great if they mixed Wimba and Elluminate and kept the best of both services to create something awesome?”

And how do you mix the “best” of two services that do a lot of the same things?

I’m going to go out a limb and say that the people that went with Wimba probably went with it because they liked the way it worked over Elluminate, and those that went with Elluminate were the same in regards to Wimba. Mixing the two will probably just make everyone upset because now no one is getting what they originally wanted.  The problem with Collaborate is that you are forcing a product on the market that nobody wanted. That has never been a good idea. Anyone remember New Coke?

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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