Saturday, May 23, 2009

On upgrading technology

My posts have been few and far between lately because we've been in the busiest part of the semester-- the end. And there are changes. A new campus health plan. Hopefully a new dean of my college.

And the most anticipated change-- switching from Blackboard to ANGEL.

Blackboard is a service that allows teachers to integrate technology into the classroom. It creates an easy way to communicate with students, form discussion boards, post assignments, create online exams, manage a gradebook, and much more. It allows classes to be offered more easily online, rather than in a classroom.

But Blackboard was limited in what it could do. I've been using it since I was a GA at Baylor and have long since been frustrated with it. The ITS guys at SBU got tired of the high costs and bad service. Like many universities, SBU decided to switch to ANGEL.

ANGEL is a competitive company that created a better product with better service. ANGEL will allow me to do three times as much. It's ridiculously detailed and customizable. I can incorporate video, RSS feeds, hold virtual office hours, and create automated processes that will do stuff for me, all in one place. Hopefully in the end the only real work I will have to do is lecture.

But then Blackboard sent an email to IT departments around America-- "we have acquired ANGEL." Alas, it was true. And IT departments all over the country expressed their frustration, as shown below (as most IT guys are Star Trek fans).

Blackboard is now the proud owner of ANGEL. SBU still will have a 2-year contract with ANGEL at predetermined rates, but it remains to be seen how Blackboard will modify (ie: screw up) the product.

Blackboard shows us the ultimate in anticompetitive behavior--if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. Blackboard had a monopoly and was able to build up a significant amount of cash. When ANGEL began to rapidly take market share, they simply bought it as fast as they could.

Nonetheless, I'm still cautiously excited about integrating ANGEL and am trying to figure out a way where I don't have to actually lecture anymore.

Really, I just liked the graphic above and felt it required a blog post.

Going on vacation to Kentucky next week, should be a busy time.

1 comment:

Keith Walters said...

I like the pic above too and Allison hates blackboard as well. UK just upgraded to the newest addition and she said that it is evenworse than before!!!

If you haven't gotten that phone yet and have a surplus of cash laying around check this out