Blackboard enters the MOOC fray

15 colleges will host MOOCs on Blackboard’s platform.

Learning management system (LMS) giant Blackboard, Inc., announced July 10 that the company would provide a free massive open online course (MOOC) platform for existing customers.

Blackboard, which made the announcement at the company’s annual conference in Las Vegas, has experimented with hosting MOOCs with a platform called CourseSites. The company said 15 colleges and universities — all existing customers — would host MOOCs using Blackboard technology.

“One of the reasons we chose to work with Blackboard to run our MOOC on disability was the platform’s recognition of accessibility,” said Stephanie Richter, instructional technologies coordinator at Northern Illinois University. “It is very important to us that the platform itself embodies the ideals of the course, and that course navigation and content is accessible to everyone.”

The participating schools include Northern Illinois University, Rollins College, Rogers State University, Northern Illinois University, Montgomery College, and Genesee Community College.

The MOOC subjects will range from vampire fiction to disabilities to sociocultural systems.

“When it came to choosing a platform, we looked at all the different systems out there before choosing to work with Blackboard,” Peggy Brown, director of instructional design at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, said in a release. “The platform’s ease of use, system uptime—and this was the most important factor for us—excellent customer service and support made this an easy decision.”