Monthly Archives: August 2006

New Battle of Waterloo

p2pnet.net News:- A Waterloo, Ontario company spends years developing new technologies that leverage the power of the Internet. It develops a global following. Then, seemingly out of the blue, it’s hit with a patent infringement suit by a US company, instantly facing the prospect of years of costly litigation in US courts. With limited resources, it must defend itself by arguing that the patents are invalid.

Blackboard, a US-based LMS company that recently merged with Canadian-based WebCT to become the largest company in the market, took the academic community by surprise late last month when it announced that it had been granted a broad patent in the United States covering 44 claims related to learning management systems. It added that it expects similar patents to be granted in nearly a dozen countries around the world including Canada, Australia, and the European Union.

On the same day that it publicly disclosed its patent, Blackboard initiated a patent infringement suit in a Texas court against Desire2Learn.

The open source software community has also reacted with alarm, since there are several ongoing open-source LMS projects that have gained increasing popularity in recent months. These projects, which include Moodle and Sakai, are freely available and therefore represent a significant competitive threat to the proprietary LMS vendors such as Blackboard and Desire2Learn. Noting that Desire2Learn was the first legal target, open source developers have wondered aloud whether they might be next.

Interestingly, open source and Internet tools are emerging as the first line of defence against the Blackboard patent and lawsuit. Angry educators have launched an online petition calling on Blackboard to drop the lawsuit and to agree to forego any future patent suits.

http://www.p2pnet.net/story/9576

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Cerritos College Expands rSmart Sakai CLE Implementation

Phoenix, Arizona. rSmart, the leading open source application software company serving education, today announced that Cerritos College is expanding the use of the rSmart Sakai CLE after completing a successful summer pilot. The rSmart Sakai CLE was carefully chosen over proprietary course management products such as Blackboard and WebCT.

Cerritos College is a two-year institution located in Norwalk, California. The college offers degrees and certificates in 87 areas of study in nine divisions. With 1,200 students successfully completing their course of studies each year at Cerritos, M.L.Bettino, dean, Technology Training, Staff Development & Distance Education, believes that implementing the rSmart Sakai CLE is “a strong step in the right direction towards enhancing and growing our eLearning offerings and capabilities.” During the next 12 months, Cerritos College expects at least 150 faculty members and more than 6,000 students to use the rSmart Sakai CLE.

http://www.rsmart.com/news/cerritos-college-expands-rsmart-sakai-cle-implementation

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Blackboard Patenting Educational Groupware

“Online learning provider Blackboard announced the other day that it has patented the Learning Management System (LMS). The very same day it went after Desire2Learn for Patent infringement in a truly Salt Lake City kinda way. A great many educators are a bit shook up by this, and are stockpiling prior art all over the place. ”

I can’t imagine this isn’t a long term strike against the Open Source LMSs out there. There’s no real commercial competition anymore in the field with WebCT gone. Desire2Learn, Angel and the rest are ants under the feet of the Blackboard elephant, but Sakai and Moodle are getting real traction- the real buzz at EDUCAUSE isn’t at the BB booth but at Sakai talks…

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/02/1217219

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Firm sues competitor over online learning patent


Blackboard said the US patent office has issued it a patent for technology used for Internet based education support systems and methods.

Blackboard has already taken legal action against another online learning comany, Desire2Learn Inc, alleging it has breached patent number 6,988,138 – “Internet Based Education Support System and Methods”. That patent was granted on the 17th of January this year.

The granting of the patent has drawn concern and ire from a number of sources. A filing at this web site said the Blackboard patent could become “a defining moment for learning technologies”. Academic Commons says here that the patent threatens open source initiatives like Moodle and Sakai, and also schools using blogs or wikis for courses.

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33396

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Oracle and Unicon, Inc. Unveil Plans to Create Next-Generation Academic Enterprise Environment

New Platform will Streamline and Centralize Learning Performance Management, Curriculum Accreditation Processes, and Outcomes Evaluation while Extending Collaboration

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Oracle today announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Unicon, Inc., a provider of enterprise portal, collaboration, learning, and integration technology for higher education institutions, in connection with the delivery and support of a next-generation academic enterprise environment for the higher education and K-12 markets worldwide. This new solution — which will create a comprehensive environment by leveraging the Sakai open source code and integrating with Oracle’s market leading solutions for the education industry — will extend support for learning performance management, competency-based outcome initiatives, curriculum management, accreditation processes, research collaboration and other requirements that support the academic enterprise.

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060801/sftu055.html?.v=71

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CT: Open Source Success

How to ensure a winning implementation on your campus.

Here, Angell offers a number of intelligent ways to help open source implementations succeed.

http://www.campus-technology.com/article.asp?id=18954

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