Firstly, you must read Michael Korcuska’s article here:
It is apparent to me that Bb is trying to move beyond the T&L silo and by moving up the administrative and IT hierarchy, eventually running into Oracle and Microsoft. The connector product is consistent with that strategy: “Hey, run multiple systems if you want. We’ll be the container and try to aggregate the results for you.” The connector product is also consistent with the interpretation that Bb is looking for a veneer of openness/interoperability without really being committed to either–once can see this as Bb wanting to “own” all the data. You’ll have to be your own judge. Or, as others have suggested, see if they are as eager to connect with Sakai/Moodle in the other direction or to implement and drive standards like Common Cartidge and Learning Tool Interoperability.
And, FWIW, the lack of revenue growth in HE teaching and learning (and likely corresponding reduction of R&D in that area) is why I think, in the long run, innovation in HE teaching and learning will come from open source communities and, therefore, why the success of Sakai is so critical.
Great article Michael and an opinion I agree wholeheartedly with. I was at a conference in March where a Bb board member gave a talk on the future direction of Blackboard. We saw the ‘new’ interface – nothing spectacular – but also some slides on the Sakai connector – it raised a bit of a laugh, seen as the big bad vendor (actually thats a quote from his talk) saying ‘We are embracing open source’ – some would argue the Bb patent is still hanging overhead.
We were given a release date of late 2009 to early 2010. Thats 18 months to 2 years away. Two years. Picture the internet two years ago. Social networking was in its infancy – MySpace was king, Facebook was gaining ground. Two years on and the scene has completely changed. In regards to online environments, Cambridge has done ground breaking work with their MyCamTools package – widgets that dissolve the gap between you and your online environment. Facebook, iGoogle, your own desktop, any where you are you can be connected without logging in to a specific application.
I’m really excited to see where the next two years takes Sakai. And then Bb release their connector.