BlackBoard Launches Education Social Bookmark Service

Course management system giant Blackboard has launched a social bookmarking service--"customized for education"--and aimed at Blackboard and WebCT customers.

The service, called Scholar, will be integrated into the Blackboard Learning System. It is the first offering of the company's "Beyond Initiative," designed to connect its users "worldwide, across education segments and disciplines, and thus leverage the wisdom of the community for teaching and learning," according to Blackboard.

The service has all the features of bookmarking services like del.icio.us, including tagging and RSS feeds, but is designed to make it easier for students to tag Web content for a particular course or major. Course tags are automatically generated based on students' enrollments in Blackboard.

Scott Leslie, a blogger on higher education technologies, wrote on his blog EdTechPost that Blackboard will likely get "demonized" from the social Web community for offering the service. "Me," he wrote, "sure I'd love to see systems that instead of creating additional silos and enclaves, allowed users to move in an authenticated form from the institution's systems to ones out on the general Web, you know, have my cake and eat it too," Leslie wrote.

"But the customers (that's you, right) have got to demand this, not expect vendors whose whole business model is 'lock in' to simply just provide it. And the sad fact of the matter is that none of the Internet-wide identity plays seem really up to this. Yet."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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