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Monday, August 28, 2006

Open LMS versus Closed LMS

I think this is a fascinating discussion and I'd like to enter my two-bits in the Blogosphere. A recent article rekindled my thinking:


It's about Blackboard Inc.'s announcing a patent last month to some of the basic features that facilitate e-learning. Some say they are trying to claim ownership of e-learning itself. There's also an interesting statement that Blackboard supports Open Source rivals like Moodle and Sakai (hmmm, really). And, here's the link to the Wikipedia article mentioned:


Blackboard gobbled up WebCT, looks like Desire2Learn is next (in one way or another).

The basic Open Content premise here, I think, is the most interesting. Here we have a large digital Content Producer (Blackboard whose content is a Learning Management System) who is protecting its Intellectual Property (by suing its rivals). Now, I'm not against protecting Intellectual Property, as its protection in fundamental in a thriving, progressing, capitalistic society. What I'm against is the high amount of discussion occurring (usually in the print and broadcast media, supported by large corporations/lobbyists) and the comparatively low amount of discussion about alternative Open Models (although the discussion has been gaining steam in recent years).

I, for one, believe that any digital Content Producer who spends more time and money protecting its Intellectual Property than it does in innovating is employing a losing model. Open Business Models are beginning to prove themselves viable and I believe they are the lasting digital content models of the future. Consumers want them. These are the customers of digital content producers. Let's make them happy and give them what they want. We (as content producers) can even make money doing so. This is even and especially true in the realm of Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Good luck Blackboard. Better luck Moodle and Sakai.