Blackboard began adjusting to schools’ open-source migration in the midst of its legal back-and-forth, unveiling an instant messaging service in April.
Professors and their students can discuss lesson plans and homework questions with the instant messenger’s pre-populated class rosters, which provide connectivity between classmates who might be encountering the same problems in preparation for quizzes and tests. Pre-populating the IM service ensures that professors are not assigned the tedious task of collecting student IM addresses and plugging them into the course web site.
Desire2Learn’s LiveRoom includes a chat function and a virtual whiteboard space that lets online tutors conduct lessons in real time. The platform also allows students and professors to download files and presentations, and it lets faculty members track attendance and create online polls.
The LMS legal fight took several contentious turns, including a motion filed by Blackboard charging that Desire2Learn was in contempt of court after Desire2Learn changed the name of its LMS product.
Desire2Learn officials said their latest course-management software, version 8.3, did not violate Blackboard’s patents, adding in statement they would “defend version 8.3 vigorously.”
In a July 2008 response to Blackboard’s motion of contempt, Desire2Learn said: “Blackboard bases its motion on nothing more than a series of flip-flops, distractions, and misstatements.”
Blackboard officials argued that, despite name changes to Desire2Learn’s LMS products, their functionality had not been altered enough to satisfy requests to avoid patent violations.
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