I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Barbara Klett at Central Oregon Community College. I simply started with, “Can you tell me about your relationship with Blackboard?” Her response pleased me to the point that I asked if I could share her sentiments with the Blackboard community through our blog. I’m thrilled to let you in on our discussion. And, thanks, Barbara, for your willingness to share with others your thoughts on what you are seeing from Blackboard.
Here are some excerpts from my conversation with Barbara…
After reviewing and piloting several learning management systems (LMS), The Pennsylvania State University has decided that the University will continue to use Blackboard Learn ANGEL Edition, and will explore future options with Blackboard’s mobile learning capabilities.
With the announcement that Blackboard is extending its support for the ANGEL platform, Penn State’s e-Learning Strategic Committee determined that continuing the University’s use of ANGEL was the most cost-effective solution among the options evaluated.
University officials cited the desire to continue its positive relationship and collaboration with Blackboard’s product development team, as a reason for the decision to stay with ANGEL.
I met Paul Lefavi at BbWorld three years ago, so it’s only fitting that he would share his reasons for attending BbWorld 2012 with me and the rest of the ANGEL community. Since our first meeting, I have relied on Paul’s perspective many times and appreciate his involvement in the ANGEL community programs. Thanks, Paul, for contributing your thoughts, and I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!
Guest post by Paul Lefavi, Director of eLearning Technology, Indian River State College
As I make plans to attend BbWorld 12 in New Orleans, I have been asked by a couple of colleagues why I make a point of going to this conference each year. Is it the fun and exciting places, Orlando, Las Vegas, and now the Big Easy, where the conference has been held the past few years? Is it just the allure of getting out of town? While both reasons would most likely crop up in a bulleted list of motives to attend, BbWorld is so much more than a few days away at a fun destination.
Yesterday we made a series of company announcements that drew the attention of many across the education industry and beyond. But the news that we are going to continue to support the ANGEL platform indefinitely
is an announcement I’d like to pause on for a moment – as this is an important announcement for the entire ANGEL community.
Blackboard acquired ANGEL back in 2009 and was planning to End of Life the platform in 2014. However, as announced yesterday by Ray Henderson, “We recognize that clients continue to be successful with ANGEL, and we want to support that work as part of our larger strategy to support multiple learning platforms.” Blackboard will continue to provide support and maintenance to the ANGEL Community indefinitely. While ANGEL won’t see the significant enhancements that Release 9.1 and the Moodlerooms platform Joule will see, we plan to provide regular service packs for ANGEL 8.0 along with select enhancements, on which more information will be shared at BbWorld in New Orleans this summer.
Commentary from the media, analyst and client community has been very favorable of this news:
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Kaufman of Ashland University for the first time this past July at BbWorld in Las Vegas. It was an exciting conference with a positive vibe and many great announcements from Blackboard executives. As I continued to communicate with Steve and get feedback from him on some of the tools and resources we are building for ANGEL clients, I asked if he’d be willing to share his thoughts with the larger community. So, I’m happy to be able to post today Steve’s perspective on what’s happening at Blackboard. Please share your thoughts as well!
Guest post by Steve Kaufman, Associate Director of Learning Management, Ashland University
It’s been an interesting two years since the acquisition of ANGEL Learning by Blackboard. I attended the ANGEL User Conference in Chicago where Blackboard announced the purchase and I’ll be honest, I was surprised, a bit angry and fearful for what this would mean for my institution. Like many other universities out there, we wanted to bring in a learning management system that really covered all the bases. We needed amazing assessment tools; grading options, flexibility in course design, standards and objectives tracking, course automation, and most of all, a system that was easy to use. ANGEL has all of these things, and so our logical choice was to go with them.
It is important to mention that we performed due diligence when making our decision. We looked at Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, and ANGEL, and we compared features side-by-side. ANGEL is where we wound up. So, when I heard about Blackboard purchasing ANGEL, I thought my world was going to get much more complicated and difficult.