Today’s keynote had a couple of huge announcements, one of which may have an incredible impact on one of their partner vendors, TurnItIn.
CIO Michael Chasen announced that starting today all of the Blackboard Learning Systems: Blackboard, CE and Vista are able to download and install via either Building Blocks or PowerLinks, a new anti-plagiarism tool, SafeAssign. The tool can act either stand-alone locally or, like TurnItIn, it can upload student work to a centralized database that will then “protect” a student’s intellectual property from inappropriate use by other user’s of SafeAssign. There were a couple of interesting features such as a direction citation tool that identifies the specific resource that appears to have been used and the ability to allow students to “opt in” to the service (which I believe can be turned off administratively thereby effectively mandating use of the service). I wonder what kind of financial impact this will have on TurnItIn when Blackboard institutions learn that they can save the tens of thousands of dollars they spend on their annual subscription costs?
In other news, Chasen also announced the availability of a new tool intended to bridge the three learning environments. Available with the licensing of one of their three systems: Community, Content or Outcomes, is their Learning Environment Connector. Although a QA tech I was speaking with thought it was already available, I haven’t been able to find it on their site to link to as of yet. The idea is that schools will be able to bridge users to other Bb LMSes, as well as to the three Systems. This is big news as it is the first sign that the company is working to bring the formerly disparate environments together. In our own university system in New Hampshire, it means that Plymouth State which employs the Campus Edition version of the LMS may well be able to leverage the community and content systems that both UNH and Granite State College were only able to access as they were Blackboard sites. Rather than worry about the differences in our LMS, we can now focus on developing points of collaboration and tangency for our respective and some times cross-pollinating student bodies.
[tags]blackboard, bbworld07, chasen, turnitin, safeassign[/tags]
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