Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blackboard-Sakai Connector: Blackboard as Academic Hub??

Here's a report about a new Blackboard add-on in the works that will integrate Sakai and Blackboard via Bb's "Building Blocks" extension program.


In general, Syracuse is on the right track, figuring out how best to integrate multiple learning systems. However, the following quote by Bb's CEO reveals Bb's world view: Blackboard as the center of the academic universe.
“Students should not have to worry about whether different technology is powering their online learning environments for different classes,” said Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “With a single login users should have access to all of their courses and course material. There should be one place they can go to get all of their course information.”

At Wisconsin, we agree in principle with Chasen. However, we have chosen to have our campus portal be that hub for course information. We have built an "Academics" tab within our portal where students can find links to their Desire2Learn courses, their e-Reserves, and even their Moodle courses. These systems send their data to our portal's "Resource Bridge" that connects the various system's data to the students and presents it in a single coherent module within the "Academics" tab.

Constructing a campus academic hub that is Blackboard-centric, increases complexity and risk during this era of CMS turbulence. However, like I've mentioned before, Blackboard deserves credit for playing in the open-source field.

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