As Online Learning Booms, Education IT Gains Power
Online learning products are booming, giving teachers a smorgasbord of options and IT professionals in education influence they haven't enjoyed in years.
7 Ways To Create E-Portfolios
(click image for larger view)
As online distance learning booms, it's rattling the already large market for online learning tools. There's new energy around online learning universities and school districts, and IT leaders in academia have influence they haven't enjoyed in years.
"You had a decade where customers didn't have a lot of power. Now, there's a lot more power in the hands of higher-ed institutions," said Phil Hill, a partner at Mindwires Consulting in Los Gatos, Calif., and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog.
Much of that change is the blunting of the power of Blackboard, he says. Blackboard established its position on top of the market for learning management systems in part by buying its major opponents, and trying to sue a rival out of existence. But open-source alternatives such as Moodle, Sakai and Canvas, plus the rise of MOOC platforms such as Edx and Coursera, have diminished Blackboard's market power. Hill says it's also refocused the market on customer needs.
In addition, traditional textbook publishers such as Cengage, McGraw-Hill and Pearson offer a variety of online tools, including learning management systems. The potential to have access to a variety of integrated content is one reason why California College of the Arts is piloting Pearson's learning management system, OpenClass, and its open-text library, Exchange.
Mara Hancock, CCA's CIO, says she thinks the ability to develop content for and gain access to open content in Exchange "will be really valuable."
Hancock said that because it is IMS compliant means the school should have more access to mixing open content with pieces of published texts. She hopes this will create less of a lock-in effect, a complaint that some CIOs have with higher-ed platform providers. But contracts and license fees are not the only ways to trap a customer. Hancock noted that the College of the Arts already uses Pearson's Equella Digital Repository. For now, she is piloting the Pearson LMS with a low-residency program where students earn a master of fine arts in comics.
The Pearson products span what had been different categories. Online learning software for schools had clumped into asynchronous tools, such as Blackboard Learn, and synchronous ones, such as Blackboard's Collaborate platform for teaching.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.