Blackboard MOOC Gains 15 More Colleges – Education – Online Learning

The article today is from Information Week, and the content is not a bit surprising.  Blackboard MOOC Gains 15 More Colleges.  Here’s the reason.  “Schools that are currently licensing Blackboard’s learning management system, Blackboard Learn, will have access to the MOOC platform at no additional cost”.  

Yes, and schools using Blackboard can dip their toe into innovation in a non-threatening way that adheres to so many adult learning principles.  THIS is not all that different.  This is just using Blackboard in new ways.  Not a transformational, disorienting dilemma type of change.  Just a little change that ties an innovation to existing templates of knowledge.   It works, it fits with the real world (not the post-modern idealism that we often speak about in EdTech circles.)  This is for the regular folks, the schools that want to show innovative initiatives but without meandering too far from what they know.

An LMS is not software, and it is not just a learning management system.  It is an entire eco-system.  Yes, there is the software.  But there is the Support Desk, and Instructors already know how to use it, and Learners are comfortable with it.  The cost of changing to Canvas or D2L or Moodle or other alternative is not just about the software.  It is about that entire ecosystem, and the learning curve involved.  The cost of training, staff time, student time, instructors having to be sure students figured out how things work now – huge.

Using Blackboard, which is tried and true and familiar, is the perfect answer for so many schools.  Information week says “Although many schools wanted to try them, most MOOC platforms did not suit their needs.  ‘When you give a taste of your institution, you really want to make it look like a course,’ said Blot. ‘MOOCs at the beginning weren’t like that.'” Right.