Free Blackboard for instructors is now widely available according to a message sent to registered users of the site. CourseSites.com is the free Blackboard classroom site available to instructors. Through it’s service faculty/instructors can create and deliver courses on the modern Blackboard Learn platform at no cost.
For Blackboard competitors this is an important milestone which signifies the LMS bohemoth’s willingness to compete with it’s own variation of free. For teachers at any level without access to an LMS, Coursesites is one additional brand name now competing to get “a foot in the door” with new users at the early adopter level. It will be interesting to watch how the service adapts and develops.
The user experience overall is top notch, there are loads of themes and tools to customize sites and course creators familiar with Blackboard Learn already will appreciate the additional course format templates available to help differentiate and optimize a course design and navigation.
According to the announcement from Jarl Jonas, Blackboard Sr. Program Manager,
I am pleased to announce that CourseSites will enter General Availability tomorrow, Thursday, February 10, 2011. I want to thank all of our pilot participants once again, along with those instructors who experimented and taught actual courses during our two month Early Release period. It’s because of your participation and insightful feedback that we’ve been able to put forth the most powerful online teaching tools to high school teachers, higher education instructors and community educators. We look forward to your continued feedback through the Instructor Community!