During 2010 I shared a series of plans for Blackboard regarding Open Standards. My blog is replete with statements along these lines and frequent updates on our progress in this area.
Today it’s done. Common Cartridge 1.0 and Basic LTI support were shipped in our latest service pack for Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1, which includes an export feature for Common Cartridge. Educators using Release 9.1 will have an industry standard export format for content they’ve authored on our platform and we plan to continue to support these industry standards going forward.
So in the spirit of end-of-year prognostications, I’ll hazard that this is a milestone both for Blackboard and the industry. For us it marks another in a series of public commitments kept about positive change at Blackboard. They’re important changes in tone regarding our citizenship in the industry and the positive role that Blackboard can play in the development of the education technology marketplace.
For the industry, it marks the turn from an open standard for online learning content that’s coming soon to one that’s suddenly supported by the majority of major online learning systems. I think it marks our maturity in an important way. There’s now a standards organization that has proven that it can develop the trust from participants and sustain the energy required to help the industry reach compromises that move us forward. Three cheers for Rob Abel and his team of volunteers at the IMS Global. Together, they’re producing the most effective crucible for industry-academe collaboration on edu-tech standards that I’ve observed.
More broadly, I’m comfortable that we’ve improved our position as an education technology platform during 2010. Common Cartridge import and export ensure that content publishers, instructional designers and faculty will enjoy greater benefits from our platform. Developers and institutional researchers have praised the work we’ve done with our Open Database initiative. And as we’ve seen a significant percentage of our clients upgrade to version 9.1 of our Blackboard Learn platform, many commercial partners have observed that their plug-ins for Blackboard Learn through our Building Blocks integration program have required little or no modification for the new version.
There’s more to come in 2011. Please stay tuned.