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Blackboard Brings Collaborative Tools to Moodle, Sakai, D2L

Following up on a commitment made at the time it acquired the two companies, Blackboard has announced that Collaborate, its new collaborative learning suite that taps into technology from Elluminate and Wimba, will work with competing learning management systems. This will allow Collaborate to pull user, course, and enrollment data from the various LMSes.

The new integrations are built on open application programming interfaces and are expected to work with Blackboard's Learn, Angel, and WebCT, as well as open source offerings Sakai and Moodle and proprietary products Desire2Learn Learning Environment, Pearson LearningStudio, and others.

Wimba Pronto Universal Integration connects Wimba Classroom, a virtual classroom environment, and Wimba Voice, a live audio tool, with Desire2Learn. According to the company, the integration code meets the IMS Global Learning Consortium's standard for Basic Learning Tools Interoperability.

The company also released a new version of the Elluminate Bridge for Moodle. Elluminate Live is a set of tools that includes note taking features, two-way interactive video, archiving and automatic indexing of e-learning sessions, organizational tools for teachers, whiteboarding, and other collaboration utilities.

"Blackboard gets it: they get that students learn from practice, they get that most learning experiences begin with informal learning moments, and most importantly, they understand that to build a tool, you first consult with the tool wielders," said Christian Pruett, assistant executive director for e-learning and instructional technology at Mississippi State Board for Community and Junior Colleges. "They build an online version of what we already know and love: informal meeting spaces, classrooms, and corridors where we can learn from one another--and let us connect it to the course management system of our choice."

"Our goal is to support teaching and learning wherever it happens, regardless of what learning management system is being used," said Maurice Heiblum, president of Blackboard Collaborate. "To that end, we continue to invest in open, standards-based integrations that increase availability and choice for institutions and ensure that our existing customers and prospects are well positioned for the future."

At the time the acquisitions of Wimba and Elluminate were announced, Ray Henderson, Blackboard Learn's president who was initially designated to lead the team to integrate Learn, Wimba, and Elluminate, expressly stated Blackboard's intention to continue supporting the two companies' support of products from open source and commercial LMS vendors. "I'm confident in our ability to maintain positive experiences for clients and learners in all contexts, regardless of which learning management system is used," he said in July 2010.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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