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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blackboard Beyond Cites eLearning 2.0 as Part of Their Plans

Stephen Downes recent post pointed me to an interesting Blackboard press release that talks about how Blackboard is embracing eLearning 2.0.

Better yet - I think that they've done a really good job capturing key aspects of what eLearning 2.0 really is...

Blackboard Chief Executive Officer Michael Chasen explained

"Just as the Web 2.0 is facilitating a change in the way people interact
online, e-Learning 2.0 represents a transformational shift for how the Internet
can improve education. Blackboard is excited to work with our clients to help
shape and accelerate this transformation."

The four pillars of the initiative:

-- Extending the platform: e-Learning 2.0 is about personalizing the e-Learning environment to be more discipline and pedagogically specific to the educational activity at hand. This more tailored platform experience can be achieved through specialized software extensions developed by and for educators, as well as with rich, interactive digital resources. As part of the Initiative, Blackboard announces its plans to establish a Global Learning Objects Catalogue, in which any Blackboard user can publish to or search for learning resources to enhance their instructional experience.

-- Facilitate Social Networking: e-Learning 2.0 is about enabling a social experience that recognizes the course is but one social-organizational group in a broader education environment. To help foster academically oriented relationships outside of the class environment, Blackboard announces plans to connect students and faculty across disciplines and across institutions through a new Web service. will provide users with the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with other experts in and outside of their discipline and fields of interest.

-- Enable Lifelong Learning: e-Learning 2.0 is about integrating the educational journey students take from elementary school to higher education to the workplace. As more and more faculty and students use e-Portfolios to store and showcase their scholarly achievements, Blackboard announces a unique "e-Portfolios-for-life" service that will allow Blackboard users to post their portfolios to a central site for long-term use.

-- Create Network Learning Environments: e-Learning 2.0 is about moving beyond the course towards a more holistic conception of a networked learning environment. One consequence of this shift is a hunger by educators to conduct research and benchmark various e-Learning strategies and programs using data from peer institutions. As part of the Initiative, Blackboard announces a collaborative data warehouse service which will allow clients to anonymously share relevant data and gain better insight into best practices.

1 comment:

Lee Kraus said...

Tony, Do you think they can take something designed to support an individual in completing course delivery tasks and turn it into some that supports these new concepts? One approach that I have been working on is to just develop what the new user interface would look like, then map it back to the older functionality. But I think it's tricky. One of the tenets of web 2.0 is a simplified user interface. How do you create a simple to use interface that allows for "specialized software extensions developed by and for educators." I'm not saying that Blackboard isn't embracing it, I just think it is going to be hard to pull off. (Disclosure: I work for a small company who is developing a new version of our LMS.)

A tool or set of tools that can support these four pillars might be challenging. Google isn't saying we are building a computing platform (Indvidualized Home Page) to help you live within and interact with a social network (Google Reader and Chat) and we will manage your portfolio (Google Desktop), all while supporting live-long learning (search). They say search here, mail and chat here, share here.

Can Blackboard create a popular destination that an instructor or learner opt into or out of any single or multiple component? Will it inherently improve the more people use it?

Just some thoughts.