Blackboard: “embrace, extend, innovate”

In an new post from the Swansea Learning Lab we are pointed to some videos from Blackboard which showcase new features in the planned 2009-2010 release of Blackboard. I watched the videos, and in a comment on the videos, I noted a trend within Blackboard that reminds me of the famous 1994 memo “Windows: The Next Killer Application on the Internet” sent by J Allard to Microsoft executives. This memo was a call to embrace, extend, and innovate [the Internet] in order to make Windows the platform of choice in the newly visible “wired up” world. It was later alleged by the U.S. Department of Justice, that within Microsoft, this mantra became embrace, extend, and destroy.

Blackboard seems to have a similar strategy in the e-learning space. Innovations from Web 2.0 are embraced, extended and, if not destroyed, at least assimilated. Even the title of of the new Blackboard product Blackboard NG [NG = next generation] brings to mind those other great assimilators, the Borg. Resistance is futile?

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University