Project NG is about bringing the best of Blackboard and WebCT together—in products and in service—and about making the experience better than ever. As we work through multiple application packs to bring NG to life, we must consider the diversity of the features across the existing versions of Blackboard Learning System software. In some cases, one or two versions have a feature that the others do not have. In other cases, all of the products offer a feature, but the experience of using it and the overall set of solutions that are provided vary. How do we bring all of this together?
One approach is to just keep everything, smash it together and cover it in a unified look and feel. Another approach is to consider each of the similar features, pick the most loved variety and just add them to new releases under NG. These approaches are, in a word, unappealing. A better approach is to work with users across all product lines to discover answers to these questions:
What is working well? What is missing? What are the related problems? What other ideas are out there about this feature? And, most interestingly, what is the user trying to accomplish?
When we look at product features in this light, we get innovation. We have already started this type of work in many areas of the product. One result is already available to see: the Grade Center of Release 8.