A few years ago, when Blackboard bought NetSpot and Moodlerooms, many Moodlers were left scratching their heads.  What was Blackboard going to do with open source?  Was it serious about its investment?  How would it participate in the community?  Honestly, many people at Blackboard didn’t really know the answer to these questions.  Everyone knew that there was a business opportunity around providing great service to Moodle institutions, but Blackboard had never really done open source before.

The first few years were business as usual, which I experienced first hand.  The Open Source group and the historic Blackboard seemed to live side by side, but separate.  It wasn’t just how the company was organized, we almost spoke different languages.  Our technology, processes, marketing messages, team members…they were all different.  It was a mistake.  Why?  Because in the end, our goals were actually the same: impacting education through the use of technology.  Operating separately made our Moodle business smaller, and it made the rest of the business less open.  We weren’t leveraging the strengths of both companies.

Today, that’s changed, and we’ve seen huge growth in our Moodle business because of it.  This year, we will sign more new clients than we ever have to use our Moodle services.  Additionally, we’ve done several acquisitions that have greatly expanded our Moodle reach and have more than doubled the size of our Moodle team.  In April, we acquired Remote Learner UK, which made us the largest Moodle provider in Europe.  In August, we acquired Nivel Siete, which made us the largest Moodle provider in Latin America.  Both of those acquisitions came with amazing teams of people that give us a Moodle presence around the world: from Adelaide, to London, to Baltimore, to Bogota.

Just as important, though, is how we have integrated with the rest of Blackboard to give you more capabilities, tools, and support.  We’ve trained over 350 global employees and partners on Moodle. We’ve launched the new Collaborate integration with Moodle.  We acquired a Moodle Analytics product called X-Ray, which is now supported by a global team of data scientists.  We’ve hosted Moodle forums in more than 25 of Blackboard’s global events.

We started the year with about 800 clients using Moodle, and we will finish with over 1300. The questions about Blackboard’s investment in Moodle have changed.  Today, our clients around the world are asking about what’s next.

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