You asked for Blackboard to play a leading role in standards and I’m pleased to provide a progress update.
This summer we announced our plans to ship support for two key educational standards managed by the IMS – Common Cartridge and Basic LTI. I’m happy to share this interim report that we’re on track to do so (for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1) before the end of this year. We’ll demo both at an IMS technical meeting in Texas this week.
We’re working closer than ever with members of the industry to confirm the many decisions we need to make in order to support these standards in our products in ways that will be most helpful. We’ve relied heavily on members of the IMS staff including Jeff Kahn and LTI evangelist Chuck Severance to do so. Our partner Softchalk is helping prove integration across vendors. And Stephen Vickers of the University of Edinburgh provided groundbreaking contributions from within the Bb technical community.
Our next quarry: after we complete our work with LTI and Common Cartridge we’ll take up our shovels on other standards challenges. There are three newsworthy efforts, all of which will be explored in more technical depth by Blackboard developer John Fontaine on his blog.
First, the emerging “LIS” standard has become a major point of interest in the student information systems arena. We believe this standard can help our clients integrate Blackboard systems with others more easily and reliably. We’re committed to supporting it, and are working out the details of our implementation with key partners across the industry at meetings like the one this week.
Second, we’ve joined the InCommon Federation, a major force in the implementation of the Shibboleth standard. This standard is rapidly becoming a cornerstone for cross-institutional models of sharing that are important to our clients. We’re piloting this technology with key clients with a view to developing a broader offering.
Third, our SCORM integration is getting a major upgrade. We’ve partnered with the good people at Rustici Software, who produce the most highly rated SCORM engine in the industry. The Rustici engine will soon become a part of our key online learning products.
So our mission to improve the openness of our product continues, along with our commitment to developing key education standards. But perhaps even more important, we’re actually making use of these standards ourselves. We’ve recently announced a major partnership with McGraw-Hill to deliver integrated learning products with the Blackboard system. We’ve boasted that this is the tightest integration of our product with a publisher’s works to date. And I’m pleased to share that we achieved this result by relying on LTI, one of the standards I’ve mentioned above. By committing ourselves to using these standards to run our business we can affect what may be our most important contribution to standards – adopting them.
Statements regarding our product development initiatives, including new products and future product upgrades, updates or enhancements represent our current intentions, but may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior notice and there is no assurance that such offering, upgrades, updates or functionality will become available unless and until they have been made generally available to our customers.