Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reaction to D2L vs UEN lawsuit article

So, I just read this article from the SL Trib: UEN Sued Over Contract Award.

For those to lazy to read the article, it basically says that Desire2Learn (D2L) thinks that Instructure couldn't possibly get the award because they are too small and there are alegations that an Instructure employee who use to work for UEN might have had influence over the decision.

This is a load of crap. Sorry for being crude, but seriously, I HATE it when companies are bad losers.

When Westminster College agreed to use Canvas as our LMS for the Project-Based programs, the competing company could not believe that they lost to Instructure. They went straight to the President of the College and complained (seriously!?!). This company brought up Instructure being too young, or not experienced enough were brought up, but fortunately the decision was made with plenty of input and the issue was quickly put to rest.

When new companies start, they have to get their first big contract somewhere, perhaps D2L needs to remember when they landed their first big contract. Everybody has to start somewhere. To me, this sounds like Desire2Learn is just cranky because they are still upset about the legal issues they had with Blackboard. Perhaps the attourney is on retainer, so they were thinking "Hey, since we are paying for this anyway, lets sue UEN! Money! Money! Money!"

I do not represent Westminster or any other group (including Instructure) when I say this, but I think Instructure is on the right path! After talking with them and seeing what their product can do it is hard to say no to them. They have the vision right, and are doing things right. Sure, they have some room to grow, but they are way ahead of everybody else because they aren't using crappy tech from the 90's and they aren't stuck with huge institutions who wont allow them to change anything.

Ok, one more conspiracy theory then I'll try to get off my soap box. D2L prides themselves as the anti-Blackboard. They have probably gotten a lot of business because schools right now don't like Blackboard (for too many reasons to bring up now). I call this the "anything is better than Blackboard" erra of the LMS. So, with D2L enjoying the success of being #2 (pun-intended) they don't want anybody else moving in on their territory. Small start-ups like Instructure are a direct threat to them. So, they are going to do the same basic strategy that Blackboard did to them for years; tie them up in expensive legal battles hoping that the cost of the legal fees alone will be enough to crush the competition.

Sorry D2L, you are barking up the wrong tree. Your lawsuit is going to just bring more attention to Instructure. This might be the best thing to happen to Instructure! The one thing Instructure needs is more publicity- and this just might be the biggest opportunity they get.


  1. Searching through the comments on twitter about D2L has been entertaining. D2L is not getting any sympathy and I won't give them any either. They spent 3 years in a legal battle with Blackboard, emerged victorious and then turn around and do the same thing to Instructure. They are taking a page from Blackboard's playbook. It goes to show that D2L is scared because the UEN consortium has a huge amount of influence in the education and LMS realm and D2L is scared of what this change will do to their potential client base and existing customers.

  2. I think Canvas is tons better than blackboard ever was or could be. Small or not, they certainly are doing a great job their product. Do they have more work ahead of them? Absolutely, I have read a considerable amount about them and their product and it seems that more than others, they are on the right track. Much like you have said yourself.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. I like the fact that the developers of Canvas took the time to talk to admins, faculty, and students and really listened to what they said about how an LMS or a learning situation online should be. If Blackboard and D2L did the same thing, they would have better products and more customers. Instead, these two companies seem to try to either buy up the competition (Blackborg) or try to bullying to get their way (D2L) which neither works. Try listening to your customers for once and create your product based on THEIR needs.