January 24, 2007

Sitebuilder versus Blackboard debate

Writing about web page /stevencarpenter/entry/blackboard_and_firefox/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Looking beyond the expensive sales pitch into the reality, here is a very telling blog entry by a Blackboard user.

I comment with an important phrase:

decentralised customer led content creation and delivery workflows

...which is precisely what we have here with Sitebuilder, on a really huge scale, but also what commercial VLE users desire with increasing futility. Sitebuilder is deeply embedded across the institution, much more so than any commercial VLE installation that I know of. Why is this the case? I can give three good answers:

  1. Sitebuilder (and its associated skillset) is used for research, corporate and personal communications, and teaching, a VLE only does one job. Could we expect people to learn Sitebuilder and a VLE? Not likely.
  2. Sitebuilder’s functionality and features have evolved with the institution, guided closely by its users.
  3. Sitebuilder is a very high quality product, designed by people who really understand and care for useability and the customer. Blackboard, as you can see from Steve’s blog entry, is not.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Robert O'Toole

    And for evidence of how useful it is to have your learning environment developers on site and easily contactable:

    Fri 19 12:30 I have a meeting with Steve Ranford of the Centre for Student Development and Enterprise, he raises the idea of a term based view in our Sitebuilder calendar system, I say yes, that’s a great idea, it could be used for…I’ve been thinking about that, perhaps you should put a message on the Sitebuilder forum.
    Fri 19 15:45 Steve posts a message on the forum.
    Fri 19 15:57 I respond to the message adding my support.
    Mon 22 10:00 I raise the issue in the E-learning Advisor Team Meeting, all agree its a good idea.
    Mon 22 11:35 John Dale adds it as a feature request.
    Tue 23 12:29 Steve Ranford provides a mock up of how it could look.
    Tue 23 12:38 Developer Mat Mannion is already working on ways to make it happen.
    Thur 25 09:30 I meet with the History Department to see how they will use it. They are very ineterested, and we have plans to use it in the new Online MA, then im other big modules. I agree to create a demo for them.
    Thur 25 11:30 Mat tells me it’s already done and deployed.
    Thur 25 13:00 I return to my office, set my personal calendar to term view, and print it off on A3 as a personal planner.

    What would be the turn around time for a single department in a single university to get a new feature in Blackboard? Months? Years? We did it in about 5 working days.

    25 Jan 2007, 14:07

  2. Robert O'Toole

    See the example here

    25 Jan 2007, 14:07


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