I know it’s been a little quiet here on e-Literate since I started gearing up for my (awesome) new job. Posts are likely to be sporadic for a while longer yet. But fear not, Dear Reader, for I have not forgotten you. I do have a backlog of posts that I intend to get to whenever I can squeeze out some time.
I’m going to start with a topic that’s been in my queue for some time now. A while back, I wrote a post comparing Moodlerooms’ content deal with Cambridge University Press to Blackboard’s deal with McGraw Hill. It turns out that my assumptions about that deal were wrong. This matters for several reasons. First, I take pride in giving you accurate information, and in this case I didn’t. But beyond that, the nature of these deals can tell us a lot both about the shifting landscape of the relationships between LMS providers and publishers as well as the growth of new sustainability models for educational content. Both of these dynamics will be important to watch.
Cambridge Global Grid for Learning (GGfL) is a new and somewhat experimental division of Cambridge University Press. They refer to themselves as “digital content brokers.” They aggregate content from about 40 different providers, such as Reuters and Corbis. They then hand curate the content, weeding out items that aren’t appropriate (their current target market is primary and secondary, although they have plans for higher and further education) and tag it in ways that will make it easier for teachers to find. The assets are pretty granular, so articles and images and videos rather than whole courses. But all items in the collection have been copyright cleared for use in courses. GGfL has plans to begin pulling OERs into their collection as well, thus providing a single portal for finding free and fee content.
Pricing is relatively cheap. Right now, a high school can license their entire library for $1,795 USD. Their current model is one license for everything, but they eventually want to provide license options by collection or even by asset, and they want to link the content to metadata on learning outcomes. And contrary to my earlier reporting, their deal with Moodlerooms is quite different than Blackboard’s deal with McGraw Hill. According to Tom Murdock, Moodlerooms’ co-founder and Chief Architect, Moodlerooms customers will all have access to a basic GGfL subscription bundled with their Moodlerooms support contract, with the option to upgrade their GGfL contract for a fee. In return, GGfL will promote Moodlerooms to their customers who may be looking for an LMS. Unlike the Blackboard/MGH deal, which is essentially a portal deal in which MGH pays Blackboard for access to their customers, the Moodlerooms/GGfL deal is a cross-selling partnership. No money is actually changing hands between the two companies.