Blackboard CEO’s First 100 Days: Reorganization and Learn Ultra Updates

Just over four years after Providence Equity Partners acquired Blackboard and three years after they brought in Jay Bhatt to replace co-founder Michael Chasen, the company hired Bill Ballhaus as its new CEO at the beginning of January. 100 days in, Ballhaus is starting to make changes to the organization and providing some insights into future corporate directions.

The most significant change is a reorganization that combines strategy, product management and marketing in one group under Katie Blot. In an interview Michael and I had with Ballhaus and Blot earlier this week, they described the primary motivation for the organizational change as the need to more tightly align those functions. Also significant is that this change means the departure of Mark Strassman, SVP Product Marketing & Management, and Tracey Stout, SVP of Marketing & Sales Effectiveness. Blackboard provided the following statement. Continue reading

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Pop Quiz

Which CEO has recently said or done all of the following:

  • Suggested to an audience of VCs and ed tech entrepreneurs at the GSV conference that the importance of big data in education has been overstated
  • Told that same audience that the biggest gains from adaptive learning come when it is wrapped in good pedagogy delivered by good teachers
  • Asked former CIOs from Harvard and MIT, both of whom are senior company employees, to develop collaborations with the academic learning science community
  • Accurately described Benjamin Bloom’s two-sigma research, with special attention to the implications for the bottom half of the bell curve
  • When asked a question by an audience member about an IMS technical interoperability standard in development, correctly described both the goals of the standard and its value to educators in plain English

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State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Spring 2016 Edition

This is the eighth year I have shared the LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for (mostly) US higher education. The original idea remains – to give a picture of the LMS market in one page, highlighting the story of the market over time. The key to the graphic is that the width of each band represents the percentage of institutions using a particular LMS as its primary system.

This year marks a significant change based on our upcoming LMS subscription service. We are working with LISTedTECH to provide market data and visualizations. This data source provides historical and current measures of institutional adoptions, allowing new insights into how the market has worked and current trends. This current graphic gets all of its data from LISTedTECH. Where previous versions of the graphic used an anchoring technique, combining data from different sources in different years, with interpolation where the data was unavailable. Now, every year’s data is based on this single data source.

This graphic has been in the public domain for years, however, and we think it best to keep it that way. In this way we hope that the new service will provide valuable insight for subscribers but also improve what we continue to share here on the e-Literate blog.

Since we have data over time now and not just snapshots, we have picked the end of each year for that data. For this reason, the data goes through the end of 2015. We have 2016 data but chose not to share partial-year results in an effort to avoid confusion.

LMS_MarketShare_20160316

A few items to note:

  • As noted in previous years, the fastest-growing LMS is Canvas. There is no other solution close in terms of matching the Canvas growth.
  • Blackboard continues to lose market share, although the vast majority of that reduction over the past two years has been from customers leaving ANGEL. Blackboard Learn lost only a handful of clients in the past year.
  • While the end-of-life occurs next year, Pearson’s has announced LearningStudio’s end-of-life for the end of 2017.
  • With the new data set, the rapid rise and market strength of WebCT becomes much more apparent than previous graphics.
  • There is a growing line for “Other”, capturing the growth of those systems with less than 50 active implementations as primary systems; systems like Jenzabar, Edvance360, LoudCloud Systems, WebStudy, Schoology, and CampusCruiser.
  • While we continue to show Canvas in the Open Source area, we have noted a more precise description as an Open Core model.

For a better description of the upcoming LMS subscription service, read this post and / or sign up for more information here.

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Signup For More Information On LMS Subscription Service

As we roll out our upcoming LMS subscription service here at e-Literate (see Michael’s post for initial description), we suspect that many of the e-Literate readers will be interested, but not all. We value the community here at e-Literate and want to ensure that the blog site itself remains as it’s always been – ad free, uncluttered, and with the same rough amount and breadth of content and discussions.

To help maintain the blog site’s feel, we have created a second email subscription for those people who would like more information on the LMS subscription service – when it’s going to be available, what the reports will look like, summaries of LMS analysis from the report and curated from the blog site, etc. You should see this new signup on the top of the right column in the desktop view, right under the signup for e-Literate posts. We will also include the form within posts that are relevant to analysis of the LMS market.

We are not going to automatically add current e-Literate subscribers to this new list, so if you’re interested in learning more on the service and getting content updates, sign up for the new subscription at this link.

Update: I apologize for any confusion as we test the signup button. The fields embedded in the post were not working in all cases, so we have replaced with a link to a web signup page. Thank you for your patience as we fix any remaining issues.

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The First e-Literate Subscription Product

Not too long ago, Phil and I wrote a post about our long, slow process of realization that our blogging at e-Literate and our consulting at MindWires are not two mostly unrelated things but really two halves of a whole. And we teased the idea that these two worlds would be coming together soon.

Today we’re ready to pull back the curtain a little bit on what we’ve been working on for the short term and offer some hints about what we’re thinking about for the medium term. We have some fairly audacious ambitions for the long term, but we don’t expect to get there overnight. In fact, we are going to start with a humble and somewhat unlikely (but hopefully useful) first paid subscription offering, which we will be making available in just a couple of weeks under the e-Literate brand. It will provide information and analysis above and beyond our continuing free content here on the blog (to which we remain strongly committed).

We’re going to be releasing an LMS market dynamics report, in partnership with LISTedTECH. We’d like to explain why we’re starting there, what we hope the report will accomplish, and where we will go from there.

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