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Blackboard Debuts Cloud-Based Learning Object Repository

Blackboard has started beta testing a new LMS-agnostic, cloud-based learning object repository, xpLor. Seventy-two K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have joined the beta program as of Nov. 5, Blackboard reported.

According to Blackboard, xpLor will be the first repository of its kind to support multiple learning management systems. Institutions participating in the beta program include users of the open source learning management system Sakai; Moodlerooms joule, a learning management system built on the open source learning management system Moodle; Angel LMS; and Blackboard Learn.

As Blackboard described it: "By supporting multiple LMS systems, xpLor aims to make it easier for educators to manage and share rich content regardless of what system they are using or their institutional affiliation. xpLor would also make it easier for educators to collaborate in--or crowdsource--the development of course materials."

Among the features Blackboard is looking to bring to the learning object repository space are:

  • Focus on open standards;
  • The ability to create or import IMS Common Cartridge-supported materials for sharing within or between institutions using disparate learning management systems;
  • Tagging and rating of those materials;
  • Gradebook synchronization using the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability specification; and
  • Rights management for content creators.

"Just as learners need to collaborate to be successful, so do content authors and course builders," said Stacey Fontenot, vice president of product marketing at Blackboard, in a prepared statement. "xpLor plans to let users create, share, and deliver content in an utterly new way, and to collaborate regardless of what learning platform is being used."

The beta is expected to run through December 2012.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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