Blackboard Buys WebCT

Blackboard has acquired WebCT (press release). I first read about this news on Stuart Yates, eduCause, and Assorted Stuff. This appears to be either a move by Blackboard to eliminate its primary competition by acquisition or an attempt to strengthen itself to take on open-source powerhouse Moodle.

Either way, it reminds me of why we dropped WebCT over three years ago. The school had invested a lot of money and professional development time on WebCT, then WebCT upped the minimum number of seats required to obtain a license to 1000. Because we are a school of only 400 students, that would have more than doubled our annual license fee. We decided instead to build our own web pages in Dreamweaver, which also required considerable skill acquistion. Now, Moodle has arrived, boasting a comparable features set to Blackboard or WebCT, and has required very little training in order for teachers to get course web sites up and running. I imagine that a larger, more powerful Blackboard will not be terribly responsive to the needs of small, independent schools while trying to protect its vulnerable higher education market.

Comments are closed.