Blackboard Mobile Learn Support

Last week about this time both Blackboard Mobile Learn and SafeAssign were experiencing an outage. Both were resolved by the afternoon. However, Support Bulletins, how I have come to expect to receive notifications about Blackboard issues came only for SafeAssign. I complained about this to my support representative by CC’ing him on an internal message. Wednesday afternoon we had our normal conference call where I went into more detail. Thursday morning he wanted more details. I probably went too far when I wrote, “I am just looking for Mobile to put on its big boy pants and alert us through the appropriate support channels.”

Before I continue, here is what I understood about Blackboard Mobile Learn. Mobile Learn is a new acquisition of Blackboard. According to TechCrunch’s CrunchBase…

In July of 2009, Blackboard Inc. acquired Terriblyclever for $4mil, at which time TC had 5 full time employees, most of whom were close friends and current students at Stanford University.

Rather than being completely rolled up into the Learn division of Blackboard, Mobile is a separate division. Well, even if it has been added to Learn, there is the possibility like with Angel it would have been allowed to do things their way. I heard Ray Henderson say a mistake Blackboard made in buying WebCT was to try and integrate the support structures too soon. With 5 employees there was not so much a support structure at TC as maybe a half to full person? Plus supporting a couple dozen clients is far different than opening up to thousands of clients who have tens of millions of users. So the big boy pants comment was about integrating with the rest of the company rather than sitting off to the side doing their own thing.

Anyway, I got an email from Francois Hedouin asking to pick my brain about planned improvements to Mobile Learn support. I will not go into the specifics of what he and Mobile Learn are planning. I liked what I heard. He seemed to like my input. He had done his homework and knew about me and my organization. I probably drank the Kool-Aid, but I came away feeling like any client should: The vendor understands my needs. A conference call a couple weeks ago about Mobile Learn left me feeling like we got a sales guy who was on his first day at the job because he did not say anything about the product that was not already in the advertisements we had already read.

2nd Blackboard Blog

A blog without comments to me isn’t a blog. Blog posts are about stimulating discussion, so the comments are most important feature. Content without feedback is a publicity or news story not a blog. So Blackboard Blogs at educateinnovate.com isn’t really a blog.

Steve Feldman, Bb performance engineer, had the first Blackboard Inc blog with Seven Seconds. He mysteriously stopped last fall. 🙁

Ray Henderson, new Bb President for Learn, has a blog. Read this introduction post. He specifically wants discussion and dialog. Someone at Blackboard who understands The Cluetrain Manifesto? I am hopeful this is a sign of positive change.