We recently announced an integrated solution using Moodle on Amazon Web Services that provides a highly scalable option for schools and Universities running or interested in running Moodle. This give us the option to do single sign-on integration with DigitalChalk and offer a combined package that will work both inside and outside the Amazon cloud. The really interesting thing about this deal was how rapidly were were able to create this solution using open source. From inception to delivery took about six weeks to complete. Most of the development actually fell into our codebase, the open source SSO server and Moodle required very little work. For almost two years we have struggled to address SSO with the commercial market leader, Blackboard. Their building blocks toolkit were poorly documented and questions about supporting authentication outside their app architecture was addressed by telling us that Blackboard must be the primary athentication mechanism and they will provide very little to the external app.
Our announcement about Moodle on the Amazon Cloud got picked up by a prominent ZDNet blog about open source (thanks Dana!). The Blackboard World conference is going on right now and someone chimed in on comments to tell us how great the new Blackboard is. One thing is for sure, Blackboard has remained on a very Web 1.0 archtecture for many years. Feeling the heat from open source may have forced them to innovate and catch up. Disruption in the marketplace always forces innovation! (See the BB reps comments below)
Keynote speaker Blackboard CEO Michael Chasen demonstrated the power and direction of Blackboad NG at today's afternoon session of Blackboard World '08 in Las Vegas. TRULY a Next Generation product that makes any institution's 'learning' go everywhere. + It will now wrap Moodle & Satai. + Courses will be available from Facebook and other social networking sites. + Content displays on iphones, cellphones and other mobile devices + Open API's and Open Source code development for Building Blocks, Modules, add-ons and more! Blackboard is no longer a stand-alone Learning Management System---it just made "learning" ubiquitous to a new generation of users. The glimpse on their web site (http://www.blackboard.com/projectng/) is only a peek compared to what CEO Chasen demo'd today! (not a Blackboard employee but someone who was at the presentation and more impressed with NG then ANYthing I've seen in a decade of online learning/teaching/CMS/LMS)