Wimba and Elluminate, both synchronous learning tools, have been purchased by the leading proprietary learning management company, Blackboard and have been re-branded already as Blackboard Collaborate.  The news comes as a surprise to many (considering the similar market of both companies).

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Implications for Moodle users are not yet known, but what is known is that Elluminate has been an increasingly popular synchronous learning plug-in for Moodle (Elluminate Live ELM).  According to Blackboard business will continue,

Will you continue to support integrations with competing LMS products?
The answer is YES. Our aim is to support learning and collaboration wherever it may occur, and wherever these products are used today. Both Elluminate and Wimba provide toolkits for integrating with open source and commercial learning management products, which we’ll continue… As a combined company we will maintain all existing service level commitments from Elluminate and Wimba. [link].
What do you think?  Is this a good thing for Moodle?  Will another player like DimDim reemerge as the “go to” synchronous tool for Moodle users?  Leave your thoughts in the comments or join the discussion at the Moodle.org’s Web Conferencing forum: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=7797.
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  1. This issue has me riled. You can read my post on why I believe Blackboard is bad for education on my blog linked above. The point I want to emphasize is Blackboard is under NO commitment to maintain support for either open plugins for Wimba/Elluminate OR to even continue those as stand alone products. Of course they are all going to say, “We remain committed…” but then they will just change their statement in a few years when people aren’t paying as much attention (Its called spin). Blackboard’s MO is up-selling and vendor lock.
    Why buy two companies that do the same thing for 20 times their yearly revenue? To create a monopoly.

  2. As you said, there’s no reason for Blackboard to continue supporting the Moodle integration. For an open source alternative to Wimba and Elluminate that also integrates with Moodle, check out http://bigbluebutton.org/

  3. I am very fearful of this turn of events. I liked Elluminate for its’ open platform, “No User Left Behind”, moderate cost/seat approach. Now that BlackBoard, Elluminate and Wimba are no longer independent competitors, I fear that:
    1) The “No User Left Behind” approach will be gone very soon.
    2) The cost/seat will rise dramatically within a year.
    3) The open platform development will slow to a crawl and it will become a Windows-centric LMS tool.
    4) Innovation and integration with other open-source tools such as Moodle will be cut-off.
    I certainly agree with Colin Matheson that Blackboard is only looking for a monopoly so that they can do what they want. Having Elluminate and Wimba join forces with Blackboard – Ewwww! Something definitely stinks in here!

  4. as Dennis noted above, i’d love to see BigBlueButton development improve as they’re only at version 0.64 right now. but the product does hold promise and i’d love to see it rapidly start to mature to where it can be competitive with the “new” Blackboard synchronous stuff. unfortunately, i think this move by Blackboard is just going to make it harder for many schools and universities (e.g., mine) to move away from Blackboard because of the total package that they’ve built and the promise of a stable future. i’ll keep my fingers crossed for Moodle, which should be fine. but other competitors (read: for profit competitors) are likely going to see the the end of the line in the not too distant future.


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