By fall 2014, Blackboard at UNC will be a thing of the past.
The Information Technology Executive Steering Committee passed a motion Monday to begin a three-year transition from Blackboard to Sakai as UNC’s learning management system, starting next year.
The Sakai Pilot Study at UNC began in fall 2008 with 18 courses. This fall it has grown to 81 courses with 120 sections.
Jeffrey Pomerantz, a professor in the School of Information and Library Science, said Sakai has several advantages that make it a qualified replacement.
“Sakai and Blackboard are functionally very equivalent,” he said. “Sakai makes it easier to create subgroups in a course, and tests and quizzes are easier to manage.”
Sakai’s cost also gives it a significant advantage.
According to the study, the current cost to support Blackboard on campus is approximately $620,000 per year. This fee does not include failover and disaster recovery capabilities, which would require a one-time upgrade of $250,000 plus $100,000 annually.
Sakai is estimated to cost $332,000 per year. Unlike Blackboard, Sakai is open-source and carries no licensing costs.
These differences will allow site administrators to tailor Sakai more to their individual needs, committee members said during the meeting.