Via Stephen Downes, is this post by Michael Feldstein that Blackboard (aka BlackWeb) has been granted a US patent on the learning management system (LMS). My initial reaction was indignation that a greedy corporation was once again trying to stifle innovation in education. Then I read Brent Schlenker’s reaction to my post on the lack of open source learning applications, and Brent correctly noted that there are a lot of learning applications, just not that many “educational” ones;
My point is that we don’t need any specific open source learning applications. That would be just another thing that people need to learn…another interface to learn…another login id and password to remember. We are at our best when we evaluate the existing technologies and leverage them for the purpose of learning. We are at our worst when we try to create our own little system and call it the Learning thingy.
The Blackboard patent may become a defining moment for learning technologies. Let’s use this as an opportunity to cast off the classroom and course metaphors:
In yet another aspect of the invention, provided is a method for providing online education, which includes the steps of establishing a course to be offered online, offering the course to be taken online to a group of student users; and providing access over the network to the course files to a student user who has enrolled in the course. The establishment of the course includes an instructor user generating a set of course files for use with teaching the course, then transferring the course files to a server computer for storage thereat, and then making access to the course files available to a predefined community of student users having access to the server computer over a network.
Let’s use all those wonderful Web 2.0 tools for learning, not schooling. Blackboard spent a lot of time and money filing for this patent and they can have it, because it has no value. It’s no longer about online courses, it’s about learning and performing.
LMS? We don’t need no stinking LMS!