Schoology: The strongest LMS you’ve never seen

LMS evaluations are typically painful ordeals for not just committee members but also for the vendors. They have to provide multiple demos, have lots of Q&A, and write 100+ page proposals based on extensive feature requirements and perhaps even more painful terms and conditions. But there is one case that might be worse – not even getting to compete when your product appears to be an excellent fit. And that is the situation that Schoology finds it in for the majority of higher ed evaluations.

Schoology’s original market was aimed US-based K-12 institutions, and for paying school or district LMS selections Schoology is probably one of the two strongest competitors, along with Canvas. Schoology does have an international presence and over the past year and a half have targeted an expansion into higher ed. Michael wrote a post after the company raised $32 million in new funding last fall, largely to fund this expansion. I described the institution-wide adoption by Wheaton College in Spring 2016, following the Colorado State University Global Campus adoption in early 2015. But what I don’t see is a real acceleration in the higher ed market yet. There are a few significant LMS active evaluations that include Schoology, but the majority of higher ed LMS evaluations over the past two years have not treated Schoology as a real competitor. Based on what I’ve seen, this lack of evaluation is not based on the product itself. Continue reading

Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Instructurecon 2016: Why This Company is Still Formidable (and Misunderstood)

When I talk to Instructure competitors or critics, I usually hear two complaints about them:

  1. They “open wash” or are “fauxpen.”
  2. They have no vision.

Having attended Instructurecon 2016 a couple of weeks ago, my answer to the first complaint is that the critics don’t understand what Instructure and their customers mean by “openness.” In some respects, Canvas is the most open ed tech project I know of in ways that strongly differentiate it from its competitors. Full stop. The second complaint is more plausible. But if I were competing against Instructure, I wouldn’t take too much comfort in that.

Continue reading

Posted in Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

MoodleMoot US 16: Playing small-ball

At the MoodleMoot in late June in Los Angeles, which serves as close to a users conference for the open source Moodle LMS community as any other event, there was a strong sense of continuity and general improvements. Rather than aggressive rearchitectures and product lineup changes, the Moodle roadmap is based on hitting singles and running the bases and not worrying about getting the big hits.

In an interview with Moodle HQ founder and CEO Martin Dougiamas last fall, I asked him to respond to my observation that Moodle is at an inflection point based on Blackboard acquisitions of Moodle Partners, the creation of the Moodle Association, and Remote Learner leaving the Moodle Partner program. Martin’s response was interesting and is consistent with the message at the conference this summer. Continue reading

Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MarketsandMarkets: Getting the LMS market wrong

New LMS market analysis with a leader list that includes a company that is retiring its LMS and ignores the company who has a 5x lead in new implementations for its core market? Sign me up.

Over the next week or two, we plan several posts at e-Literate based on the various LMS users conferences we recently attended. We already covered Sakai and Blackboard, and we will have commentary on Moodle, Schoology, D2L, and Canvas soon. But before we do so, I wanted to call out the recent analysis by MarketsandMarkets, which requires some commentary as it is leading to some media coverage that could misinform those trying to understand the LMS market. The headline of their recent market report:

Learning Management System (LMS) Market Worth 15.72 Billion USD by 2021

According to a new market research report, “Learning Management System Market by Application, Delivery Mode (Distance Learning and Instructor-Led Training), Deployment (On-Premises and Cloud), User Type (Academic and Corporate), Vertical, and Region – Global Forecast to 2021”, published by MarketsandMarkets, the LMS market size is expected to grow from USD 5.22 Billion in 2016 to USD 15.72 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 24.7%.

Continue reading

Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Reprise: How Much Do Community College Students Actually Pay For Textbooks?

[ed. The basic arguments in this post were covered here at e-Literate in 2015 and in The Chronicle more recently. The data has been updated into a new post based on recent news events.]

Last month the nonprofit advocacy group Achieving the Dream announced a new initiative to fund 38 community colleges who are willing to build entire programs with open educational resources. While this is a noble effort aimed at reducing financial barriers for students to get two-year degrees, the group perpetuated the same myth that has plagued higher education for years.

The annual costs of textbooks are about $1,300 per year for a full-time community college student and amount to about a third of the cost of an Associate’s degree.

In the Washington Post’s coverage, they add this description.

A community college reform group has selected a handful of schools in Virginia and Maryland to develop degree programs using open-source materials in place of textbooks, an initiative that could save students as much as $1,300 a year.

Are they right? Do community college textbooks cost “about $1,300 per year,” and is there a chance to help them save this amount? The short answer is no. Community college students actually spend just over half this amount — approximately $700 per year — despite the rising list prices of textbooks. Continue reading

Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments