[Offtopic] e-learning systems

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Feb 8 01:44:38 EST 2007

Hi all,


<quote> A year ago, Washington based Blackboard.com, which has about 60 
percent of the market for so-called "eLearning" systems, or the software 
used to manage online education courses, was awarded a patent that covers 
some of the basic features of the software used by colleges and 
universities to run courses over the internet. 

This week, facing sharp criticism from academic computing experts, 
Blackboard announced what it calls a legally binding promise that it 
won't pursue patent lawsuits against users of open-source online 
courseware technology.

According to its pledge, Blackboard says it will not "assert U.S. Patent 
No. 6,988,138 and many other pending patent applications against the 
development, use, or distribution of open-source software or home-grown 
course management systems anywhere in the world, to the extent that such 
systems are not bundled with proprietary software." 

As part of the pledge, Blackboard promises never to pursue patent actions 
against anyone using such systems, "including professors contributing to 
open-source projects, open-source initiatives, commercially developed 
open-source add-on applications to proprietary products, and vendors 
hosting and supporting open-source applications." 

Blackboard said it is extending its pledge to many specifically 
identified open-source initiatives within the LMS space, "whether or not 
they might include proprietary elements within their applications, such 
as Sakai, Moodle, ATutor, Elgg, and Bodington." <end quote>


Of these, Sakai (sponsored by hundreds of unis worldwide, including ANU) 
does seem a worthy, free alternative, though Moodle is also very popular. 

Any opinions regarding any of these systems?

For example: <http://sakaiproject.org/> 

About Sakai: Sakai is an online Collaboration and Learning Environment. 
Many users of Sakai deploy it to support teaching and learning, ad hoc 
group collaboration, support for portfolios and research collaboration.

Sakai is a free and open source product that is built and maintained by 
the Sakai community. Sakai's development model is called "Community 
Source" because many of the developers creating Sakai are drawn from 
the "community" of organizations that have adopted and are using Sakai.

For ag: http://sakaiproject.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=588


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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