Today Blackboard issued a strange letter to clients announcing that, in parallel with its existing proprietary platform, it will be offering a new business to support and host open source learning management systems, and also the acquisition of two teams to help guide that work, Moodlerooms and NetSpot.
The letter states:
We are committed to continuing our deep focus on quality and innovation to make sure Blackboard Learn meets your needs—now and into the future. But we also know that different approaches to online learning require different strategies. So we’re broadening our focus to help clients select and manage the right technologies within and beyond the LMS to support all aspects of the student experience.
Our new effort, the Blackboard Education Open Source Services group, will support clients using open source learning platforms with guidance from the leadership teams from NetSpot and Moodlerooms that bring deep expertise in this area. At Blackboard, these teams will operate independently as separate units to support their clients. We’re also announcing today that Chuck Severance, a longtime leader in the Sakai community, will join Blackboard to guide our efforts to support clients using Sakai.
Is Blackboard eating its own tail – or growing two tails? If so, which tail will win? Talk about hedging your bets!