Blackboard Official Announcements
On March 26th, Blackboard made four simultaneous announcements through press release. They also released two additional press releases based on these four announcements.
- Press Release 3/26 “Blackboard Announces Continued Support for ANGEL” – Blackboard canceled their end-of-life for the ANGEL LMS product, keeping it available indefinitely.
- Press Release 3/26 “Blackboard Appoints Sakai Foundation Board Member Charles Severance to Lead Company’s Sakai Initiatives”- Blackboard hired Charles Severance (Dr. Chuck) to lead this new group, and he laid out much of the rationale in his blog .
- Press Release 3/26 “Blackboard Acquires Moodlerooms, NetSpot” – Blackboard acquired two Moodle hosting and service providers – Moodlerooms in the US and NetSpot in Australia.
- Press Release 3/26 “Blackboard Launches Open Source Services Group” - Blackboard created an Open Source Services Group, which includes helping “institutions successfully manage open source learning management systems (LMS) including Moodle and Sakai”.
- Press Release 3/26 “Statement of Principles” – Key Blackboard executives and hires make a statement regarding their intentions on open source.
- Press Release 3/26 “An Open Letter to the Education Community” – Blackboard sends an open letter summarizing the changes, stating that “Blackboard is becoming a multiple learning platform company that supports both commercially developed software as well as open source solutions.”
Blackboard / Moodlerooms / NetSpot / Moodle / Severance Key Blogs and Interviews
Subsequently, several of the key players in the Blackboard announcements made statements through their own blogs or through media interviews.
- Ray Henderson Blog 3/26 ”Evolution Unbound: Blackboard embraces open source” – Ray Henderson, CTO and president of academic platforms for Blackboard, lays out the adoption of open source and multi-platform support in using a biological metaphor of punctionated evolution.
- Tom Murdock Blog 4/2 “News from Moodlerooms. Day 12″ – Tom Murdock, founder of Moodlerooms, lays out the timeline of the news over the past 12 days.
- NetSpot Statement 3/26 “A Special Announcement From NetSpot” – NetSpot gives a short description of the news, including statements from Allan Christie, managing director of NetSpot, and Martin Dougiamas, Moodle founder and lead developer.
- Mark Drechsler Blog 3/27 “Blackboard Education Open Source Services – a personal view” – Mark Drechsler, director of consulting for NetSpot, offers his personal view on the changes, and he sees continued independence for Moodle itself and new opportunities due to the acquisition.
- Dr. Chuck Blog 3/26 ”Connecting Blackboard, Sakai, and Open Source” – Dr. Chuck, not sure of his title yet, lays out his perspectives of the move, describing the long road to interoperability.
- Dr. Chuck Blog 3/31 ”Reflecting on a Week of Sakai, Blackboard, and Open Source” – After a week of questions, Dr. Chuck follows up with a passionate set of answers along with a challenge for the open source community to answer some additional questions.
- Ian Dolphin Blog 3/29 “Acquisitions and Realignment” – Ian Dolphin, executive director of Sakai foundation, describes Sakai’s relationship with commercial affiliates, takes a clinical view of the Blackboard announcement, and suggests a broader conversation around open initiatives.
Most of Blackboard’s LMS competitors (direct and indirect) have made public statements via blog post.
- Adrenna Academic – No public statement, but in the midst of releasing a new open source LMS based on the Drupal Community.
- Desire2Learn Blog 3/28 “A View on Recent Industry Activity” – Jeremy Auger, CTO and executive vice president, describes how the news is business as usual for Desire2Learn, “we’ve seen this before – a few times, actually.”
- Pearson eCollege (LearningStudio and OpenClass) decline to make public statements.
- Instructure Blog 3/27 “Blackboard Calls It Quits” – Josh Coates, CEO, makes a strong statement that Blackboard is out of the LMS business and provides a very skeptical view of Blackboard’s future support for open source and ANGEL.
- Coursekit Blog 3/27 “A word on Blackboard” – Joseph Cohen, CEO, makes a short statement about the legacy LMS market consolidation and products remaining lousy; real innovation will happen outside LMS industry.
- LoudCloud Systems Blog 4/4 “Statement by CEO Manoj Kutty on Recent Acquisition of MoodleRooms by Blackboard” – While wishing the combination well, Manoj Kutty doubts whether the alliance will help teaching and learning.
- Remote Learner Blog 3/27 “Remote-Learner Responds to Blackboard’s Acquisition of Moodlerooms and NetSpot” – Jason Cole, CEO, reiterated their continued support of Moodle and independence, stated that “they [Blackboard] have a lot to prove”, and questioned whether Blackboard can support such a vast product line.
- rSmart Blog 4/6 “The key is community: Why Blackboard’s changing strategy won’t change the landscape… much” – Chris Coppola, CEO, describes Blackboard’s core business and basis of relationship with customers remains LMS; this move is about market share acquisition. They to open source is community, not just the open license.