By Ry Rivard
LAS VEGAS — After a year watching the hype over massive open online courses and keeping its distance, Blackboard said Wednesday it would join in.
The company, which is by far the largest provider of classroom management software to American colleges, said it would provide free MOOC hosting for its existing customers, which already use Blackboard for their for-credit courses.
The company is also taking a dig at revenue-sharing agreements the main three MOOC providers — Coursera, edX and Udacity — are asking their partner universities to sign. In an interview, Ray Henderson, Blackboard’s president of academic products, called the revenue-sharing agreements MOOC providers are asking for “onerous” and “aggressive.” While Blackboard will not charge its existing customers to host MOOCs that are free and not for credit, the company expects colleges that use its MOOCs will want additional services, for which the company will charge.
In trying to get a piece of the MOOC action, the company said it was playing to its 16-year history developing classroom software.
Katie Blot, the president of Blackboard education services, argued the company was better positioned to help educators than are newcomers like Coursera, the largest MOOC provider.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/11/blackboard-largest-provider-classroom-management-software-enters-mooc-fray ]