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I develop software for a living. What Blackboard sells is a single source, well integrated educational solution that works.

Certainly a school can get open source and have their computer science department make it work. And it may well be better than the Blackboard solution. But in 4 years when the students graduate and the professor moves on, what are they going to do?

Since software is fundamental to the school's on going processes, the school needs stability and reliability in this area. Thus they purchase commercial, supported, growing software from a company like Blackboard; they do not rely on a bunch of flakey computer science geeks (and I am such a person).

I don't know the cost per student of the Blackboard software, but I'll bet it is a trivially more than a home grown solution. I think if we fast forward 10 years we will see that schools in many countries will evolve to use Blackboard's solutions. But now. I have.

Thanks for reading,
Richard Marks
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