After 16 years of developing classroom software, Blackboard is getting into the massive open online course (MOOC) business. The company plans to provide free hosting for MOOCs that are offered by existing customers and expects to generate revenue by providing additional services to the institutions.
Blackboard said it wanted to take its time to understand the phenomenon of MOOCs. Its results showed colleges use MOOCs to offer educational material to the widest possible audience, to experiment with new forms of online teaching, and to attract students by featuring their top instructors.
“Institutions need more flexible options for experimenting with MOOCs and running online courses that meet their individual needs,” said Katie Blot, president of education services. “As schools better define how they want to experiment with MOOCs, it’s becoming clear that the best platform is usually the one they already have.”
The Blackboard plan allows institutions to connect their learning management systems and MOOC platforms in areas such as content and social learning. A mobile application through the Blackboard Learn platform also provides students and instructors access to MOOC content through iOS and Android devices.