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Thomson Learning Embraces Sakai

Academic publisher Thomson Learning this week announced that it's adopting technologies from Sakai Foundation for the delivery of its learning products for higher education.

A company spokeswoman said that the move comes as the education community recognizes the growing importance of open-source technologies in higher education.

"Recently," the representative said, "Blackboard announced that it would not pursue patent disputes against developers who create similar programs collaboratively through open source, recognizing not only the popularity of open source communities but also its importance within the education industry. Thomson Learning, looking to embrace the evolving open source technology for higher education, has announced a strategic partnership with the Sakai Foundation to create an open-source platform that will enable higher education institutions to utilize world-class learning products and services through an enterprise-scale platform."

Blackboard last month released a pledge stating that it would not pursue legal action against open-source developers who would other wise be infringing on the company's e-learning patent. (Please see our article on this topic here.)

“Thomson Learning is truly breaking new ground in its industry," said Chuck Severance, executive director of the Sakai Foundation, in a prepared statement. "The company’s commitment to making significant software investments in the open source community is the first in the publishing industry. We hope that all members of the higher education learning environment recognize the benefits of adopting open source and contributing to the greater good of the community and follow Thomson Learning’s commitment.”

Specific plans for the implementation of Sakai's technologies were not available at press time. Thomson did say that it will "work closely with the Sakai team and other commercial affiliates, including Unicon, to continue the overall effort to keep the open source models vibrant.  The commitment to provide ongoing contributions to the Sakai Foundation in a number of methods, including software contributions and open standards support, is essential to this partnership."

We'll bring you more details when they become available.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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