Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blackboard's Last Chance

Desire2Learn has lobbed a softball directly at Blackbeard (err, Blackboard). We'll see if the Presidential Pirate (Michael Chasen) can hit the ball out of the park.

From the D2L Patent Info blog, we read that D2L's John Baker made the following proposal to Blackboard's Chasen:

  • Blackboard drop its recently-filed suit in a timely manner.
  • In return, Desire2Learn will donate $1,000,000 to non-profit schools and educational organizations.
  • Blackboard is invited to join us with its own donation.
  • Up to 50% of the Desire2Learn donation will be directed toward schools in need in and around Washington, D.C., the home of Blackboard.
Obviously, Blackboard hasn't been willing to do the right thing up to this point, and the amount of badwill that they have incurred over these lawsuits has to be a great deal more than they estimated when they undertook this path against D2L. Here's a chance to do the right thing - quite possibly the last chance for Blackboard to begin repairing their image with much of the educational community.

Baker is giving Chasen a chance to be the good guy (not sure that he is interested in such a moniker), and I think he would be wise to take it. Blackboard will most certainly disagree with my next statement, but I believe that the lawsuit is a major contributor to their continued loss of clients.

The 2008 ITC survey "Trends in e-Learning" (will link when website comes back up) was completed by 139 schools. 58% of those schools report that they are using one of the BlackCT products for their LMS. A year earlier the same survey (not exactly the same repsondents) showed a 77% usage rate for BlackCT (that's Blackboard and WebCT combined for the unitiated). "This continues a trend in the decline in usage of Blackboard/WebCT over the past four years." Additionally, 37% of the respondents indicated that they were considering a switch in their LMS platform in the next few years. Obviously, many of those are Bb users. The survey last year also indicated a large number of schools considering a Blackboard dump.

Here's a chance to put this nonsense to rest - to save everybody a ton of money (except the lawyers) - and to put education/teaching/learning at the forefront as it should be. Even Chasen should be able to see that slow-arcing pitch and lay the wood to it. (I was reading today about how men overdo the use of sports analogies, so I couldn't resist.)


Leonard said...

The disapproval of Blackboard's conduct over the last few years has been so strong that 100% of the tertiary institutions in my city (5 of them) - all of which once used WebCT - have now already migrated, or are in the process of migrating to, other platforms.

They could have kept us all if they'd conducted themselves with a modicum of integrity.

Anonymous said...

No one likes a bully!