Chatting with John Baker about the future of D2L
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog, 2011/03/29

In this article on the future of Drsire2Learn, an interesting bit about Blackboard: "Since Feb. 2010, the [number] of shares sold short has increased rather steadily from 7.67 million to the current level of 13.48 million, which represents 45% of the float in Blackboard. Ouch. You've gotta wonder what that feels like to have so many people betting against you." I wonder what the stock analysts are seeing that I'm not. Today: Total:141 [Comment] [Direct Link]

LMS for Sale - But Probably Not D2L
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog, 2011/03/01

So Barry Dahl is asking the question, "what LMS company is for sale?" Here are the specs: "a private North American based technology firm", "a leading provider of Learning Management System (LMS) technology with prestigious clients", "on average an annual growth rate of 40% and earned just over $5.8 million in 2009", and "Approximately 4 million registered users of its learning management system." Nah, it's got to be a hoax, right? It could be anybody! Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard 138 Patent in the Ether?
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog, 2010/11/17

Barry Dahl notices that the infamous Blackboard '138 patent is no longer listed on the company's patent page, and ponders the implications of this. My take: it means "case closed" and I can go back to thinking of Blackboard as just another technology company. Today: Total:145 [Comment] [Direct Link]

D2L09 UNconference Video
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl writes, "The D2L UNconference was a blast last night at the Liffey, an Irish pub in St. Paul. Kyle Mackie did a great job as emcee or chief organizer. Here's a short video (4.5 mins) containing several snippets from the evening, although not all presenters are shown." More fun than function, but that's OK. Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard Hearts Angel
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl channels his mother and comes up with a post that has nothing (directly) negative to say about Blackboard's acquisition of Angel. "What a fabulous move by Blackboard! Once again, the Blackboard suits in the white hats have pulled a marvelous coup in the LMS market. Current Angel clients should embrace the fact that they have now been adopted by the mothership." Funny. Today: Total:153 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard Invented Nothing!
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

I think we all knew this, but now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is coming to that conclusion as well. As Desire2Learn states in its blog: "all 57 claims of Blackboard's 6,988,138 patent have been rejected - the original 44, plus the ones they attempted to add during the re-examination process." Oh, and a note to bloggers: pasted images of Twitter posts are user-hostile and useless. Don't do it. Use text to represent text. Today: Total:177 [Comment] [Direct Link]

ScreenCastle Wins Round One
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Another entry in the field of web-based screen-casting applications. This stuff is getting more powerful than can be imagined. Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Student Introductions in Online Courses
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

I'm not so keen on the playlist intro (I really don't like the idea of defining oneself through reference to popular culture) but the comic intro is pretty cool. Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Ed2Go Is NOT Higher Education
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog, 2011/01/27

Barry Dahl launches an attack on Ed2Go, a provider of 'turnkey college courses' that are offered by accredited institutions. "They aren't college courses. They aren't OUR courses. They aren't taught by our faculty. They aren't developed and vetted by us. Their web services aren't supported by us. The assessments aren't created and evaluated by us. Student successes (and failures) aren't determined by us."

But he's going to have to come up with more than that. Most college courses in the world were not produced by Lake Superior College. That doesn't make them bad, much less 'not college courses'. And Ed2Go has been widely adopted - a quick Google search finds information on Ed2Go courses at Selkirk College, at Keyano College, at Northern Lights College, at NAIT. These are all respected Canadian colleges; are they all in error? I'm not saying that there isn't a case against Ed2Go to be made, but I am saying that it hasn't been made.
Today: Total:346 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Desire2Pod Cast 18 - East Texas Law School Lecture
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl interviews a patent lawyer who, as he says, "regularly works in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas - also known as the Rocket Docket for patent cases in the U.S." The result is, as Seb Schmoller says, "interesting and funny". Today: Total:65 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Seeking Clarity About D2L Work-Around
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl effectively summarizes the issues in the post-trial period of the Blackboard patent lawsuit. A lot will rest on Desire2Learn's ability to effectively work around Blckboard's patent. Today: Total:141 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard Lies and Liars
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Before you call out the lawyers, please note that all my titles are citations from the article I am linking to, and not original assertions being made by me. That said, Barry Dahl doesn't pull any punches while proving the headline true as he compares what Blackboard said to the Department of Justice when asking for approval to merge with WebCT and, um, the truth. Dahl writes, "Blackbeard tells the DoJ that the WebCT merger should be allowed because it has ample competition in the market while specifically mentioning D2L, they don't tell the DoJ about the patent that would severely limit competition." See also Alfred Essa, Blackboard goes for the jugular. Today: Total:141 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Follow-Up With Kitchener Reporter
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl obtains clarification of the Kitchener Record report. "Blackboard's ultimate goal may be to force D2L to take out a license rather than to put D2L out of business. But it hopes to use the threat of an injunction - a ban on D2L sales in the US - to force D2L to do so." Today: Total:194 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Kitchener Newspaper Interview
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

The Blackboard Patent trial began today - here's the joint pretrial order (via Seb Schmoller) outlining the issues in 16 crisp pages - and the Kitchener Record, D2L's hometown newspaper, covered the opening by interviewing Bary Dahl. The article states that "Blackboard... wants sales of Desire2Learn's education software banned in the U.S.," which he says was "news" to him. To me, too, frankly, but I can't say I'm surprised. Today: Total:151 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Desire2Learn V Blackboard - Who Wins?
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

The big trial begind monday. Barry Dahl expresses the concern, "This case will be decided by people who have no idea what they are doing." That may be. But considering that the original patents were approved by experts, and that armies of expert lawyers and lawmakers have put us into the situation we find ourselves today and who continue to make bad decisions,, I would hardly say that bad decisions are the exclusive domain of people who have no idea what they're doing. Today: Total:175 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Web 2.0 Inside D2L - ProtoPage Widgets
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Lots of talk about widgets these days. Here's a post about using a Widget system called Protopage inside Desire2Learn (presumably this would work for just about any LMS). What people have discovered about widgets is that thy can contain dynamic content. That's why Tony Hirst has been trying things like creating an Open University desktop using a system called PageFlakes. He has also been rolling OU pages using Grazr (and showed us how using the Stringle Grazr studio). Today: Total:69 [Comment] [Direct Link]

E-Learning Mythbusters #3
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

I think that there is a point to this commentary. The suggestion is that, while community is important in learning, students do not want to create a community in their class (online or otherwise). Why? Because they already have a whole bunch of communities. So - the students are wrong, right? Well, not necessarily. Today: Total:59 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge seen before the opening reception.

Greetings from Duluth, where I am attending (but not presenting) at the Desire2Learn user conference, an unusual experience for me. Early impressions include taking note of some insider expression s ("publish up") and thinking that the white shirts worn by every D2L staffer (and there are a lot of there here) is a little bit cult-like. Today's presentation by Ruth Clark was weak, in my view; Will Richardson and Nancy White are on tomorrow and Wednesday. You'll get much more coverage of the conference at Barry Dahl's Desire2Blog site.

While I'm here, I need to made an important disclosure. The reason I'm at this conference is that NRC has signed a development agreement with Desire2Learn and the University of Moncton. I am very involved in that project. That said, I am not receiving any money from D2L and am not in any way paid or even encouraged to promote the company (this trip is being paid for with NRC project money, which is actually unusual, as almost all my travel is paid for by conference organizers). The advice I'm giving D2L is essentially the same advice people have been reading here for years - including the constant plugs for open source software and open educational resources. I won't be discussing project specific in this newsletter, but by the same token, I won't be giving D2L preferential treatment or a free ride in these pages. I hope that's a good enough disclaimer - it's the best I can do. If you need to know more, just ask. Today: Total:85 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Desire2Pod Cast 14: Ruth Clark
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Haven't heard much from Ruth Clark lately, but she has a book out, and in our odd world, that means automatic publicity. Hence, this interveiw (which I haven't had a chance to listen to, but can recommend based on the name). Today: Total:54 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Desire2Pod Cast 13: Nancy White
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

I haven't noticed Odeo audiocasts embedded in blog posts for a while (and had noticed that Odeo, which allows you to upload audio the way Flickr allows you to upload photos) was having read speed problems. This seems to be inversed - Flickr now seems to be throttling output (resulting in pages - that I see, at least - displaying only 6 thumbnail images out of a page of, say, 30) while Odeo seems to be loading smartly. Anyhow, Nancy White is always worth a listen. "In this 15-minute interview we learn about her background, her consulting specialties, and some of her thoughts about the keynote topic," Technologies for Communities of Practice. Today: Total:47 [Comment] [Direct Link]

E-Learner Authentication
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

If you want to read about the incursion of totalitarianism into learning, you will want to read about 'The Device': "The device includes a camera, microphone, and biometric reader (finger scan), the device software evaluates input and compares to a pre-set threshold for sound and movement, excessive movement or noise activates the camera and microphone." The shiny sphere looks oh so cool, and at just $115 (paid by the student, of course) a pop, it brings you into the world of 1984 faster than you can say 2+2=5. Of course, as Barry Dahl says, "if someone is committed to cheating, then even the sledgehammer approach of THE DEVICE probably won't stop them." Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard Stuff
Barry DahnBarry Dahn, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Just keeping up on the Blackboard patent stuff. In case you missed it, here is the text of the EDUCAUSE letter urging Blackboard to drop its lawsuit. Michael Feldstein looks at the economic impact of the lawsuit - in the short run, things are OK, but in the longer run, things get ugly. So far as I can see, there is no future in the LMS market. To wit: 42 percent of institutions have implemented or chosen open source applications software such as Kuali Project, Sakai CMS , uPortal, Moodle CMS, or Open Office.. Also, Alfred Essa has recorded a podcast about Blackboard at EDUCAUSE. Today: Total:162 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open Source Integration
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Barry Dahl: "Very interesting project started about a month ago over at in an effort to integrate four useful open source tools into an enviromnet that would have lots of features for e-learning. The tools they are working with are Elgg, Drupal, Moodle, and Mediawiki." Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Black Market
Barry DahlBarry Dahl, Desire2BlogDesire2Blog,

Why is Blackboard suing Desire2Learn? This post offers a few possibilities. Among my favorites: "those who tested D2L said it was easier to go from Blackboard 5 to D2L than to Blackboard 6." See also: EDUCAUSE on the lawsuit. And Michael feldstein, What You Can Do About Blackboard, Part One, Part 2. Today: Total:148 [Comment] [Direct Link]


(Still working on this)