I heard from a few of my education friends after posting yesterday's report from Blackboard World. To be honest, several asked point blank what I was thinking to take a positive stand on this particular acquisition development in higher education learning tech. I know that some were surprised because I have been such an Adobe fangirl in recent years. (And yes, it's true. I am a great fan of Adobe Connect.) Some remembered my own challenges working to get Adobe products better integrated within the various WebCT and Blackboard platforms, and frankly asked me if I have lost my mind. And perhaps I have. But I do have a reason for this particular stand.
Here is my position on the subject. In my mind, there is no question that Adobe Connect is a great conferencing product. I think it's the best one out there. The challenge though, is that a good education product that lives in a non-educationally focused company doesn't get the enterprise, sales or customer service support that are essential for successful and sustained adoption.
I would LOVE to see the rock-star Adobe .edu team leverage this with the AdobeConnect product team (hint, hint, hint). But this is where my cynicism kicks in. I just have a few too many battle scars from fighting that good fight to have much hope for that.
And so I look for silver linings. With all respect to those who want to build open systems and find open resources, sometimes its just really important to have the option of a dependable integrated product that pulls all the pieces together for those us us that don't want to "roll our own" education technology. Does that mean that I think people should rush out and buy? Well, only after you've done your due diligence and if it makes sense. Mostly what I want is for people to take a deep breath and consider alternatives for getting their work done reliably and effectively. That demands choice. There ARE choices.
(Some positive news for those that are still freaking....I have heard here is that Elluminate and Wimba - the new Collaborate platform will continue to be available independently from Blackboard Learn.)