Yet Another Sign That the LMS is Dying – Blackboard “Embraces” Open Source

I’m a huge SciFi fan, but I have to admit there some Star Trek series I never got into. Star Trek Voyager was one of them. I did catch one episode that was pretty cool – it involved the Borg running into a species that was too much for them to handle. One scene in particular that I remember was a Borg soldier trying to assimilate an organic compound on the wall – with very little success. It just couldn’t understand that this goo on the wall just wasn’t assimilate-able and just keep sticking its interface in and out, never noticing that it wasn’t working at all.

To me, this is a pretty fitting description of what would happen if Blackboard ever tried to take over Moodle. They would just be this big corporation trying to assimilate something they don’t really understand.

But that would never happen, because you can’t buy an open-source project. Right? Oh, wait….

I guess they can (and did) buy a hosting provider for Moodle services. And now according to the press release, they are going to use this connection to start invjecting their tentacles… er… “ideas” into the Moodle project. Oh, and the Sakai project while they are at it.

(That sound you now hear in the collective sound of a million EduGeeks pounding their heads on their desks)

Blackboard even met with Martin Dougiamas of Moodle to get a start “in outlining areas where Blackboard can best contribute to the Moodle project as we set out on a journey.”

Don’t get me wrong – I owe a lot to Blackboard. I probably wouldn’t have my day job if I didn’t have to spend so much time explaining to people how to figure out the confusing thing that Blackboard refers to as an “interface”. In most cases, I usually end up doing most of the technical side myself, as it is just too complex for the average educational user to have time for. If an instructor has to choose between helping students learn and spending huge amounts of time learning how to get a test in Blackboard, I think they should go for the time with the student.

And now they want to send these interface and structure ideas back into Moodle?

So, is the LMS really dying… or being slowly chocked to death by The Borg? You be the judge.

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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