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02/10/2011

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Ray - This is a brilliant idea and a very efficient way to address the very real issues that you mention. Nice work. I already made my first Bb course last week on CourseSites. I particularly am excited about the support for Basic LTI in CourseSites - it allows unprecedented flexibility for *individual instructors* to extend their learning environment by empowering instructors to easily plug tools into their CourseSite.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm a middle school teacher, and I am working on setting up my two coursesites so that my students can become familiar with LMS early on. I would NEVER have been able to purchase Blackboard to use! Thank you so much!

Ray- this is truly great. I have a friend who is an elementary school teacher that is going to go nuts when I pass this on to her. I am wondering if her school district might invest in this for the long run?

Ray, this is both visionary and a schrewd business strategy. And as an online instructor it's very exciting. As a CIO of a university it also raises some questions.

As "CourseSites" are adopted, even by segments of the market not mentioned, there are important considerations that include (but are not limited to): the university brand, ease-of-use across multiple courses, support implications, variety of facilitated interaction with people, integrated views of information from multiple sources, organized access to aggregated course materials – combined with the degree to which an individual is provided the ability to also rate, comment, share and create their own content "within" this environment...

As educators with responsibility for the stewardship of personally identifiable information and copyright material, we also need to be mindful of our obligation to manage information about a course (e.g. the syllabus and participants), information used in the course (e.g. copyright protected learning materials and licensed information resources) and information generated from the course itself (e.g. grades and online interactions).

Then of course there is the technological framework that provides the functional characteristics of the interactive network learning environment. Here we do need to consider the features and functionality of the software platforms provide, the degree to which they support interoperability standards (e.g. “LTI”), the ability to accommodate authentication to and from other applications, the roadmap for continued development, and the manner by which users can “mash-up”, “plug-in” and “add-on” both content and widgets from the “cloud”.

Lots to think about.

Anonymous -
Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you think CourseSites will be seen as a valuable resource. At present, to comply with federal mandates, our Terms of Use do require that users be 13 years of age or older. We have recently amended the policy and are considering other revisions to the design and some technical solutions that would allow parents and legal guardians to authorize use for users under the age of 13. That said, your friend and his/her colleagues are surely welcome to experiment with CourseSites to see how the technology could assist her with creating an online learning environment to make curriculum and resources available for students. Regarding use for the district, many school districts license Blackboard technology to help supplement classroom instruction with powerful teaching tools, and support professional development programs. Please let us know if this would be of interest and we can connect your friend with the account representative to schedule a further conversation and demonstration of our enterprise software. We look forward to seeing you online!

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