There is plenty of room in the EdTech town for as many giants who want to.
On Monday, EdTech company Blackboard, famous for its eponymous LMS; and “lifecycle” learning support company Anthology announced their intention to merge under a new name yet to be made official. Both companies have agreed to the deal which is pending regulatory approval, and is expected to be closed before the end of t he year.
According to the press release, Anthology’s CEO and Chairman, Jim Milton, will keep his duties in the new company. Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Blackboard, is expected to remain in the new company.
In another sensible LMS-SIS type of pairing, Blackboard takes care of the teacher-supporting, student-facing technology; while Anthology will fill in with the administrative, managerial and operational side of running a learning-focused organization. Describing the agreement, “data-driven” is a main qualifier for the new company’s ambitions.
What is Anthology
Of course, describing Anthology as an SIS provider comes off as reductionist. The provider of enterprise education applications including SIS, ERP and CRM and other supporting administrative tools is the result of a merger between Campus Management, Campus Labs and iModules in mid 2020. Anthology became a top contender in its wide, yet U.S.-centric space, following Ellucian and above Jenzabar.
Blackboard is one of the most recognizable names in the LMS space. It held complete domination of the Higher Ed space in the US until recent years when Instructure Canvas took over. However, it’s likely that Blackboard is the largest LMS provider in the world, a fact that public data suggests but cannot ascertain. According to the release, Blackboard currently serves 150 million users from K-12, higher ed, government and corporate sectors in 80 countries.
In any case, the giant is an influential figure in the space, often pioneering technology, practices and adoption of new standards. In addition to the Learn and Ultra LMS, Blackboard provides videoconferencing (Collaborate), analytics, accessibility (Ally) and other companion products, many of them available for non-customers.
In 2020, Blackboard spun off it’s Moodle-based business unit, which was acquired by LTG under the name Open LMS.
Disclaimer: LMSPulse is an Open LMS company.
Check out the highlights of BbWorld, the company’s main annual gathering, and learn about the roadmap of its flagship products.