Has Blackboard embraced lessons from their acquisitions?

Once Blackboard (Bb) acquired WebCT, there was a lot of discussion about Bb learning from WebCT’s strengths, such as outstanding customer service. Several years post-acquisition, Bb customers were wondering: Was anything learned from the WebCT merger/acquisition? Bb has recent (last year) acquired Angel, and once again, people are wondering: Is Bb learning from the acquisition of a company that provided outstanding customer service and support, as well as some great LMS features? Read the article below and decide for yourself.

Blackboard’s Ambassador

May 10, 2010

By Steve Kolowich

WASHINGTON — As president of Blackboard Learn, Ray Henderson’s job is to translate evolving customer demands and market landscapes into coherent business strategies for the learning-management giant. As a blogger and unofficial ambassador of Blackboard’s executive circle, his job has been to build confidence in the company and its services.

Henderson, formerly an executive at Angel, which competed with Blackboard before Blackboard bought it out for $75 million exactly one year ago, met with Inside Higher Ed this week at Blackboard’s slick new offices here to chat about the company’s newest version of its widely used learning-management system, the future of social media in teaching and learning, and the small but growing threat from open-source learning-management platforms, which have chipped away at Blackboard’s market share over the last few years.

“There are numerous things we have done to respond to openness,” Henderson says in the podcast interview. “And I would just say baldly that we’re taking inspiration from the open-source movement.” For example, Henderson last June began blogging occasionally about ideas and challenges being discussed inside the company. When Blackboard dropped its patent lawsuit against Desire2Learn in December, Henderson posted an essay detailing his own feelings about the lawsuit (that Blackboard’s patent assertions were not well-founded) and why the company was backing off (the backlash from many in higher education was becoming a problem).

Full article available at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/05/10/blackboard

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