Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Friday, March 25, 2011

and while I'm co-signing

This is exciting to hear about:

Joseph Cohen says he’s fed up with Blackboard. The leading course-management software is overloaded with features and dreadfully designed, making simple tasks difficult, says Mr. Cohen, a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. . . . Mr. Cohen and a classmate, Dan Getelman, have launched Coursekit, a stripped-down online learning-management system that offers a discussion board, a calendar, a syllabus, and related resources for courses at Penn. Mr. Cohen says he hopes Coursekit’s simple interface and Facebook-inspired tools will help make online discussions in a course as social as the course itself.

I hope Coursekit flourishes. Blackboard is a terrible, terrible, terrible system: bloated, ugly, confusing. The Blackboard motto seems to be, “Why Do Something in Two Clicks When You Can Do It In a Dozen?” I don't know anyone who uses it for one minute more than absolutely necessary. But something like Blackboard would clearly be valuable to teachers and students everywhere. Since Blackboard ate WebCT (which was equally bad), competition in this arena has been badly needed. Maybe Coursekit can provide it.


  • Oh, gosh yes. I remember coming from Wheaton, which uses Blackboard, to grad school at Missouri, which uses WebCT, and asking myself, "How can both of these programs possibly be so bad?" Then I read that the companies had recently moerged, and my question was answered. No competition means no innovation.

  • John Schwenkler said...

    Amen to this. At the Mount we've recently switched from Blackboard to Moodle, which is open-source and saves us about $35k a year.

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