Washington -- Nov. 5, 2012. Seventy two institutions have joined Blackboard in a beta program for xpLor, a cloud-based learning object repository that will be the industry's first to support multiple learning management systems (LMS), Blackboard Inc. announced today. The beta is the largest ever offered by Blackboard, and includes the participation of institutions using Blackboard Learn, ANGEL, joule from Moodlerooms and Sakai.
By supporting multiple LMS systems, xpLor aims to make it easier for educators to manage and share rich content regardless of what system they are using or their institutional affiliation. xpLor would also make it easier for educators to collaborate in – or crowdsource – the development of course materials.
"Just as learners need to collaborate to be successful, so do content authors and course builders," said Stacey Fontenot, Vice President of Product Marketing at Blackboard. "xpLor plans to let users create, share, and deliver content in an utterly new way, and to collaborate regardless of what learning platform is being used."
Content in xpLor could include materials created by individual instructors or shared by institutions and foundations. Users would be able to create or import any type of content supported by the IMS Common Cartridge standard, including rich documents, discussion boards and assessments. Content could be tagged and rated, making it easy for users to find items that their peers found to be valuable. Using the IMS LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) specification, grades could be synchronized with the LMS gradebook and activity is recorded when items are used in a course.
xpLor also plans to offer content authors a variety of choices to apply rights and permissions, from All Rights Reserved to Creative Commons open sharing to enable crowdsourcing collaboration and remixing of content.
The design team working on xpLor includes some of the most experienced developers in the LMS space who have deep expertise in building and improving commercial and open source systems. To support the delivery of content to different LMS systems, xpLor is being developed with an emphasis on open standards, especially IMS LTI and IMS Common Cartridge.
Beta program participants include K-12, higher education and professional education institutions that will provide feedback on the system's design and functionality prior to its release. The beta program is expected to run through December.
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
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