Blackboard has launched a free hosted course management service, one aimed at wooing individual instructors who lack access to automated course management or who are disaffected by the systems in use at their schools. The system, CourseSites is an online platform that enables faculty members in K-12 and higher education to set up Web-based class sites where they can post course materials, communicate with students, encourage collaboration, monitor performance, and manage grades.
As the company spelled out in a statement on the CourseSites Web site, “There is no license fee, no hosting fee, and no additional setup required for instructors to get started.”
The new service is based on Learn 9.1, Blackboard’s latest version of its popular commercial LMS. It’s intended, Blackboard said, as an option for instructors looking to preview and test Blackboard’s teaching and learning software before their institution makes a purchasing decision. It can also serve as a production-quality pilot environment for instructors whose schools are preparing to upgrade to the latest version of Learn 9.1.