2.1.6 Compare WebCT and Blackboard

Through the process of evaluation, we reached the conclusion that Blackboard and WebCT were the major contenders for purchase for a pilot study. Both products are well-established, with substantial market share and a track record of being responsive to their user communities. They both explicitly deal with the ever increasingly important issues of accessibility and standards. Both these products have a wide user base particularly in UK higher education, which has two main benefits. Firstly training materials are already available and support is forthcoming in terms of email lists. Secondly it provides greater opportunity for future collaboration. Both products also have clear ‘development roadmaps’ for future functionality and customization. As such we recommend that further investigation be carried out into these products. The Learning Technology Group, in conjunction with ISD, has met with the software vendors and obtained more detailed information about the products. Most of the evidence of benefits, even in the case of the more established systems such as WebCT and Blackboard, still tends to be anecdotal, although studies in HE are beginning to investigate the impact of the various functions of the more established products in more detail.

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