This is pretty amazing (emphases added):
Blackboard today announced that the US Patent Office had awarded it a patent “for technology used for internet-based education support systems and methods.” Things covered by this patent include client-server online courses in which users are defined as either students or instructors, the use of online drop boxes in an instructional setting, online grade books, online assessments, and many other common systems and methods that folks in higher education had utilized for years before the June 30, 2000 filing date of Blackboard’s patent request.
So, geez, what online elements of a course are not covered by this patent? And what does this mean if I use an online tool — like a blog or a wiki — to manage my course and I use one of the above types of items (e.g. posting an online quiz)? Do I owe royalties to Blackboard?
That filing date of June 2000 is eons ago, when measured in ed tech years. Alternative means of online course management, like blogs or wikis, didn’t really even exist then. One wonders if the Patent Office thought of that.
[Hat tip: Academic Commons]
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