Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Earlier I said I was not a hater. Oops, turns out that I HATE Blackboard.
From some very smart people:

Jay Cross:
"When I was a poker player in college days, the only table I refused to join was one where a player did not understand the rules. One guy could ruin a game for everyone by doing things so stupid that no one expected them. Which brings me to the U.S. Patent Office. This morning, Harold Jarche gave me the news that Blackboard has won a patent for the learning management system and sued a major competitor. The breadth of the patent is staggering.

By the way, I'm filing a patent on learning. It's a process by which the brain of a human being connects neural pathways in response to outside stimuli. The patent includes, ipso facto, hearing, sight, smell, taste, talking and feeling. If you don't cease learning immediately, you will hear from my attorney, ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia, ab irato, et audentes fortuna iuvat."

Stephen Downes:
"The person who has cut into line ahead of you may appear to have gained something at your expense. My my belief is that a life led thusly is not one that profits. It is a life led solitary and alone. The essence of living in a community is to respect the interests, rights and desires of the other members. Those who disregard that essence soon find themselves excluded from the community, and from the benefits to be derived from the community."

"This applies to people, it applies to corporations, and it applies to life. Blackboard's action tells us more about what sort of company Blackboard has become than anything else. Blackboard has turned its back on those who have built it up from scratch. It has embraced the corporate world and the corporate ethos. It's a sad and disgraceful day for learning."

Wesley Fryer:
Is it possible for a company to patent “online learning” and then sue other companies in the online learning business? I wouldn’t think so, but apparently that is what Blackboard is doing in a recent lawsuit against Desire2Learn.

Crazy. Were the people in the US Patent Office really thinking clearly when they have this supposed “patent” to Blackboard? Will this have negative implications for Moodle in the US? Let’s hope not."

Stephen Downes (again):
"Now, the Blackboard patent was filed June 30, 2000. Here it is. Read both and judge for yourself. But let me say this: what Blackboard claims to have invented in 2000 is almost an exact clone of what I described in 1997 and published in 1999. Now Blackboard may be suing a company today - a Canadian company, naturally. But my response to Blackboard is this: where do you get off taking my invention, which I shared freely with the rest of the world, in order to advance learning, and claiming it as your own? Is this the model of learning to which you subscribe, to use the legal system to deny learning to people who cannot afford it?"

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