Blackboard have released version 9 of their virtual learning environment. A product overview tour can be accessed at http://www.blackboard.com/release9/
Insidehigered.com reports that Blackboard is billing the newest iteration as more open and flexible — allowing colleges to use the platform “as an open foundation for whatever complementary technologies they need to support their approach to teaching and learning.”
The new release will feature expanded Web 2.0 and “social learning” tools, such as blogs and journals, enhanced notification capabilities (i.e., “Your paper is due in four hours” – or four days), and a redesigned, customizable user interface.
Blackboard ships with SafeAssign plagiarism detection software bundled in, as opposed to it being available as an add-on. And it includes integrations to allow open-source course management systems — such as Sakai and Moodle, to which colleges have increasingly been gravitating — to be accessed within Blackboard.
Check out Keith Russell's blog review of Blackboard version 9 here.