And high time. Blackboard was designed for the technology of the 1990's. It is cumbersome, outdated and limited. Coursekit co-founder and CEO Joseph Cohen says that Blackboard currently controls 57% of the market for Learning Management Software (LMS) — down from 83% in 2009. He believes that Blackboard’s $400 million in revenue is leaving a huge amount on the table. Cohen believes that with the advent of social networks like Facebook, there is an opportunity to create an academic social network that uses the latest social technology to enhance learning.
They have already raised over $1 million in seed money. In raising capital, Cohen pitched Coursekit as a chance to get a piece of what he believes is a $10 billion market — only $3 billion of which is currently being tapped by the likes of Blackboard.
The service will launch later this summer in time for the Fall semester. It’s a place where teachers can post their syllabus, reading materials, grades, calendars, links, and so on. It is designed as a way for professors to manage their course and interactions with students.
But it is also a social messaging system for students to communicate with each other. “We want a 300 person lecture feel like a 20 person seminar,” says Cohen. Students can share links, videos, MP3s, and other files like PDFs. In this way, they can bring in relevant material from the Web to enhance the course and teach each other.