Blackboard courseware opens up for open classes, CC-licensed materials


20 Responses to “Blackboard courseware opens up for open classes, CC-licensed materials”

  1. Teirhan says:

    I used blackboard all through high school and into college.  my junior year of college I participated in the transfer of the school off of blackboard and onto an open-source platform I’ve forgotten the name of (we called it WISE) named Sakai.  Sakai wasn’t perfect, but blackboard by that point had become so ludicrously complex and arbitrarily difficult to use that even the most conservative of the professors were overjoyed to see it gone.

  2. xunker says:

    One of Blackboards’ main competitors, Instructure, already did this like forever ago:

    Disclosure: I don’t work for instructure and have never used their product, but I’ve met the founders a few times.

  3. Scott Feldstein says:

    From an administrative perspective, I’m filled with questions.  Like how to you protect student FERPA info if instructors can allow “anyone” into the course site?  How do you stop rebel instructors from making their course public for the express purpose of circumventing the registration process? (The registrar would take a dim view of that, I imagine.)

    • AlexHalavais says:

      FERPA needs challenged. Right now, instructors (like Cory above and like me) can do all of these things–and often actually have a workable system–by circumventing Blackboard all together. And I certainly hope that they will make their courses open to non-paying students. I (again, like many others) already do this. The registrar doesn’t seem to mind. Tuition -> credits. Simple enough (for now!).

      • Scott Feldstein says:

        Yes, tuition -> credits.  But when young Britney finishes her basket weaving course and gets no credit for it because she didn’t actually register for the course through the student information system, she could be surprised.  I run into profs all the time who want people added to their course sites as TAs.  When I ask if they are in the SIS as TAs, I get blank stares.  I literally have to ask if these people are getting paid, getting credit, getting whatever it is they’re supposed to be getting before I get a flicker of recognition for why we have these processes.  I’m all for more openness in educational materials and technology. But I’ve also seen the other side, what happens when your online learning system has wild west rules.  And it’s students who end up paying the price for it.

    • cuchlann says:

      I don’t know about the second question, but wouldn’t the free students just be in like regular students? My students can’t see one another’s grades now. I’m not sure that would change with the addition of the free students.

  4. EH says:

    Blackboard has several competitors nipping at its heels, and many many users who are clamoring to jump ship, if only it wasn’t for institutional contracts preventing it.

  5. PhosPhorious says:

    Blackboard is a pain in the ass.  I once did what Cory did, used a bunch of free, web based products that more or less duplicated Blackboards functionality.  Blogspot for the course blog, Classmarker for administering quizes, and a couple of others which I forget.

    Technically not as powerful, but a zillion times easier to use.

    Blackboard sucks.

  6. dan attwood says:

    Moodle ( is a fully open source Virtual learning Environment, free and with a very active community and many many installs. The newest version, Moodle 2, embraces many creative commons aspects – such as the ability to search and embed CC licensed images from Flickr. It also has the Moodle Hub which creates a federated resource where colleges can share Moodle courses and information. 

    Sounds to me like Blackboard are just catching up with the competition.

  7. teflaime says:

    Too bad Blackboard still sucks. It sucks even worse now that it bought out it’s only competitor…

  8. MrEricSir says:

    Blackboard sucks for students, but the professors I talked to had a much worse opinion of it than I did.

  9. Thorzdad says:

    I can’t recall ever using a software suite that sucked so hard as Blackboard. The suckage seemed so purposeful, too. Like they really *tried* to make it as bad as possible. And that was from the instructor side.

  10. Baanrit says:

    I have to second that recommendation for Canvas by Instructure. I teach courses with at my college and it is a great system. We recently moved from BlackBoard to Canvas and I couldn’t be happier. The system is quick and has great integration with social media, SMS and Google Docs. For instructors it’s an easy setup, however, for students, it can be a little jarring since it is different from what they have traditionally been using.

  11. teufelsdrochk says:

    Blackboard steals technologies from other learning management systems (LMS), patents them, then sues the company they stole it from. Wikipedia created an entire page on the history of LMS in order to document the shenanigans. See also

  12. teufelsdrochk says:

    Sorry for the double post; edit’s not working.

    See also for an explanation of how blackboard, from their darth vader headquarters in DC, have come to rule LMS with crap software through a combination of bullying, stealing, and patent trolling.

  13. Gotanda says:

    Second dan attwood. I used Moodle for years at one uni, then moved to a uni that had Blackboard. I gave it a go for one semester. This term I set up Moodle for my own classes. Students cheered when I told them the first day of class that we weren’t going to use BB. Then they groaned when I told them I had something else. Blackboard had really poisoned the well. But, after a quick orientation (or for one particularly sharp class, just an email with link and login info) we were off. No complaints everyone left the classes happy. Pretty good participation online so far–much more so than on Blackboard.

  14. BenMS says:

    Too little too late, Blackboard. My institution of higher learning (Monash University in Melbourne, Australia) is moving wholesale to Moodle next year, and quite frankly I couldn’t be happier.

    The fact that Blackboard seemed to want me to revert to Internet Explorer 6 to get the “most” out of it was simply ludicrous.

  15. Liz Stevenson says:

    Fucking Blackboard. How does it work? 

    It doesn’t.

  16. Mina Estevez says:

    Blackboard is horrible. I use Blogger now, may use Moodle in the future. Students are happy to leave the gated community of BB behind. It teaches no skill set except how to use BB; when they use BB, students learn nothing useful, practical or wonderful about the internet…

  17. We install and customize ILIAS ( based learning management systems for our clients. It is open source and so no user licensing costs. Unlike Moodle, it is SCORM 2004 3rd (soon to be 4th) edition certified and compliant and far easier to customize. As for Blackboard, it’s now really outdated as a learning management system.

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