Some interesting developments with regard to content:
Blackboard partners with McGraw Hill: “Well, It represents the deepest integration of publisher content within a learning management system to date. Faculty can get single sign-on access to a comprehensive teaching and learning platform that will keep their students actively engaged with high quality, media-rich content. With video, labeling activities and eTexts, homework will be fun and students will be more successful.”
Pearson buys TutorVista: “TutorVista operates in four areas providing technology and content to private and government schools, online tutoring to more than 10,000 students per month, a network of 60 centres across India delivering tuition courses and a full schools development service.”
The acquisition is small, but Pearson is *the* company to watch in the education space currently (see their intent to offer degrees).
Education is in the process of being globalized, as is evident through integration of various service provided by big companies (content, LMS, synchronous classrooms, testing/evaluation). While we’re tinkering away with “web 2.0″ and social media, power within education is increasingly being consolidated and models for content roll out and delivery are being scaled up – streamlining production and scaling systems to gain economic advantage reflect the global aspirations of education companies. Fairly soon, the system will require small colleges and universities to partner with the big content providers because they (colleges) simply cannot provide the technological infrastructure and content needed to attract students. Blackboard is developing end-to-end learning systems. As is Pearson.
The integration of publishers, teaching content (i.e. video lectures, tests, not only textbooks), LMS, synchronous classrooms, and evaluation (see Knewton) is the most significant trend in education today. The financial crisis is assisting in a move in this direction. It’s a huge opportunity for some. A nightmare for others.