You don’t have to be a friend or follower of connectivist MOOCs to recognize LMS folly and that “everything Blackboard Learn does can be done through a combination of free blogging services.” The same goes for other course management platforms, although some are more open and less annoying than others. What roles do surveillance and analytics play in this expensive administrative preference?

M.G. Piety

Portrait caricatureThere’s an interview in this morning’s Inside Higher Education with Katie Blot, the president of Blackboard Education Services. Universities pay millions of dollars to Blackboard and similar companies for online learning services that are, in fact, available for free on the internet. Everything Blackboard Learn does can be done through a combination of free blogging services, Vimeo/Youtube, Facebook, traditional email and Skype (and, in fact, done much faster and more efficiently than Blackboard’s lumbering counter-intuitive platform does it). And how is it that university administrators can be so far behind the times that they do not know this and hence are willing to pay millions of dollars for unnecessary services that are then passed on to students who can ill afford to have such extra costs tacked onto their already through-the-roof tuition?

“Are you aware,” reads one of the comments that follows the interview,  “that no single piece of academic…

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