Blackboard + Angel = reason for open learning

In response to the Wired Campus article about Blackboard’s acquisition of Angel Learning,  Scott Leslie commented about moving beyond the LMS to networked learning options. His comment led me to this 2005 post where he saw the social software light and a later post looking for help making the case for “fully open” content.

I think it would be useful to go beyond open content to other aspects of openness, such as Downes’ open assessment. Beyond open content and assessment lie open problems worked in community. One of the problems, if students are working in the cloud, is how to manage the assessment of the distributed student work. WSUCTLT has been exploring how to gather assessments from the cloud, with an idea called Harvesting Gradebook. This has led them to look at teaching/learning practices along a spectrum from institution-based to community based (PDF). That work began with perspectives shaped by institutional contexts, but is now branching out to examine open learning outside the univeristy‘s walls.

Scott, as you suggest, part of making the case for open, is the potential for greater scalability. When the institution locks up the content and locks up the expertise in a course, then its hard to scale. MIT’s open content takes one step. Western Governor’s University takes another step with its “bring your own content and experience” strategies. Community based learning unlocks the content, the experts and the assessment, making for the most scalable solution. (Diagram of WSUCTLT thinking on these four models (PDF).)

2 Responses

  1. I thought you might be interested in knowing that we Usability-tested 4 students to compared Angel, Blackboard, Moodle and eCollege. Students prefer Moodle to other LMS’s. So for colleges that are looking to decide what alternative LMS they could use after the Blackboard-Angel acquisition, our usability test show students are likely to recommend and feel more comfortable with Moodle.

  2. Nils, thanks for sharing this continuum diagram as well as the diagram of the four models. This is very helpful. I know there is a travel freeze in Washington right now, but I urge you to consider submitting to the Open Ed conference we are hosting in August in Vancouver ( One of the themes is “open assessment and accreditation” and you would find a number of like-minded, forward thinking folks there to conspire with, including the team from BYU who are also working on a “loosely coupled gradebook” project too.

    Even if you can’t make it, I really appreciate you reaching out with this post and am REALLY excited to learn more about your gradebook work. I cannot state emphatically enough how critical this piece is for formal ed institutions to move forward in embracing real network learning and getting out from underneath the weight of the LMS.

    Cheers, Scott

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