Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blackboard's Patent for LMS

I got this through a colleague who is working with Sakai where is it causing many points of discussion to thrown around. I don't know if I like the idea of patenting an LMS and without reading the entire massive document, it seems that they don't address piece meal LMC/CMS "systems" that some people may cobble together because they don't like the institutionally provided beast. This does however seem to want to patent any learning system that integrates more than one learning tool. The patent also mentions other institutional systems, payments and registration in particular. I do however like this one element that makes it seem not so evil:

Open Web Environment The present invention may be used as an open platform environment, where anyone with access to the Internet may register as an instructor to create, administer, and make available a course to anyone else with Internet access. Thus, by entering a publicly available website such as, a user may register as an instructor and be provided with an instructor control panel for creating course as described herein. To create the course, the user will define course parameters such as a description, enrollment options, announcements, assessments, course materials, etc., and provide them in the various web pages as described above. The user can then let others know about the availability of the course online, and a potential student may access the publicly available web site to enroll in the course. In this manner, anyone can create a virtual classroom without the need to be affiliated with an institution, and disseminate knowledge through the course as previously unavailable.
Is this last part through the goodness of their collective hearts or something else? PS - Thanks for reading everyone from WebCT in Canada and Blackboard in the US. If you have anything to add to this, please let me know via the comments, there are many people who are frightened and awed at what this means to eLearning in general and LMS/CMS in particular. Some are even pointing to this as another failure of the US Patent system. Michael Chasen, (if you are reading) could you fill us in a bit? Technorati Tags: , , ,