Blackboard’s contributions to open source

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The debate surrounding the acquisition of Moodlerooms and NetSpot by Blackboard has died down over the past few months.  Without much news from the Open Source Services group since then an important announcement was made recently which highlights the continued efforts of NetSpot and Moodlerooms to remain good stewards of the Moodle Partner badge.

WIRIS

NetSpot was a major contributor to the 2.3 release, specifically the Assignment module rewrite.  As covered Friday Moodlerooms has released its 2.x Flexpage course format which actually provides the tools to make a more “Blackboard-like” navigation system within a Moodle course.  From the press release,

The new assignment module, developed by Australia-based NetSpot, has been included in the newest release of the Moodle’s “core” software, Moodle 2.3, released globally to users in June. NetSpot developed the module in close partnership with the Moodle HQ development team and a consortium of Australian universities, greatly enhancing Moodle’s ability to manage electronic submissions and simplifying its use for educators and students.

The Baltimore-based Moodlerooms team has made Flexpage, a tool for organizing the layout of materials and content on a course page, available as open source code to the Moodle community. The tool helps educators and instructional designers create more engaging and visually appealing courses by streamlining the organization and presentation of their content.

While both of these projects may have been underway far before Blackboard made its purchases it’s a great display by the company to stay true to the mission and goals laid out during the acquisition announcement.

Blackboard needs to establish itself as a team player and a major contributor of solid code to Moodle.org.  This is definitely a step in the right direction.