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Weekly News Digest

October 20, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Blackboard Announces New Open Education Initiatives

Blackboard Inc. announced a series of new initiatives to provide greater support for open education efforts. Working with Creative Commons, Blackboard will now support publishing, sharing, and consumption of open educational resources (OER) across its platforms. The company also updated its policy confirming the ability for education institutions to serve nontraditional users with Blackboard Learn without incurring additional license costs.

Support for OER enables instructors to publish and share their courses under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) so that anyone can easily preview and download the course content in Blackboard and Common Cartridge formats. The new functionality is available now for CourseSites, Blackboard’s free, fully-hosted and supported cloud offering launched a year ago and now used by more than 18,000 instructors from nearly 12,000 institutions in 113 countries. Similar support for OER will be available soon for Blackboard Learn.

Blackboard also clarified its license policy to formalize the ability for education institutions to extend course access in the Blackboard Learn platform—as well as ANGEL and WebCT—to nontraditional-, nonrevenue-generating students at no additional cost. The move supports engaging wider use of the platform to serve different types of “guest” users taking part in efforts including open teaching initiatives, auditing and accreditation activities, student recruiting programs, community outreach programs, and collaborative research efforts.

Blackboard is supporting a common format and framework for tagging the OER so that instructors can search for and find the resources on the web and in catalogs more efficiently. This effort builds on the principles, best practices, and work completed by organizations striving to make it easier to publish and discover educational content and products online, such as schema.org and IMS Global. Also, Blackboard’s OER initiative is closely aligned with the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), which is supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Source: Blackboard, Inc.



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