Purdue News

October 13, 2005

Purdue IT expert can discuss Blackboard, WebCT merger

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University information technology expert can discuss the business and technical issues of Blackboard's acquisition of WebCT announced Wednesday (Oct. 12), which will result in a merger of the two biggest players in course-management software.

John Campbell, associate vice president of Information Technology at Purdue, said the two companies, which provide software to manage and enrich university classes using online resources, control more than half of the higher education market. Campbell's area of responsibility and expertise is teaching and learning technologies.

"You're talking about the No. 1 and No. 2 companies worldwide in course management software," Campbell said. "This is a big shift in the market, and while the companies say transition will be seamless for customers, there are justifiable concerns in terms of costs and software issues."

While the merger is expected to close late this year or early in 2006, Campbell said there may be antitrust concerns because of the two companies' dominant market share. Both companies have found themselves faced with increased competition from Desire2Learn, Angel and open-source packages, including Sakai and Moodle.

Professors use Internet-based course management to put syllabi, assignments, supplemental readings and running grades online for students. The software also allows students to engage in online discussions of course materials, and professors can monitor students' access of materials and participation in discussions.

"At Purdue we support a collection of tools that we've integrated through the course management system to deliver instruction effectively," Campbell said. "We're anticipating change from both the Blackboard and WebCT sides, and that's something we will need to evaluate and manage effectively."

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Source: John Campbell, (765) 494-1289, (765) 412-2466, jpcampbe@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Related Web sites:
Washington Business Journal story on Blackboard-WebCT merger


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