Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blackboard & Open Source

From today’s Inside Higher Education

Blackboard, the dominant player in course management software, has the ability to inspire devotion and, for the more fervid open-source adherents, not a little contempt. So today’s announcement may cause a stir among those more apt to liken Blackboard to the devil than a gentle giant: The company is partnering with Syracuse University to develop a way to integrate Blackboard with Sakai, one of the primary open-source alternatives.

Once the project is completed late this year or early next year, the company hopes it will have created a platform that any campus can adopt to import Sakai data into Blackboard or vice versa. The solution, which is being developed in-house at Syracuse with support from Blackboard, will be released as a “Building Block,” or software plug-in, that will itself be open source.

The announcement comes as part of an increased effort at Blackboard to reach out to proponents of open-source software who have in the past bristled at the company’s tactics or its proprietary, license-based model. In addition to the Sakai partnership, the company is pursuing a similar arrangement with another university to develop integration with another open-source course management system, Moodle.

Andy Guess The original story and user comments can be viewed online at http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/15/sakai.

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