Blackboard to adopt OKI specifications
Scott Wilson, CETIS staff
May 20, 2002

Blackboard have announced their intention to adopt the specifications of MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.

According to a Blackboard press release, the intention is that "Blackboardís Building Blocks open architecture will base future releases on key OKI specifications, enabling a broader variety of 3rd party applications to work seamlessly with Blackboard".

The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) is an effort to produce an open-source architecture for educational systems, with publicly-available application programming interfaces (APIs) allowing developers to produce software that 'plugs into' the OKI infrastructure.

Blackboard's Building Blocks programme was initially viewed as a competing approach to OKI, with Blackboard providing an overall framework within which applications operated using the proprietary Building Blocks APIs.

To an extent the announcement can be seen as pre-empting the move by IMS towards producing 'behavioural' specifications; both OKI and Building Blocks use an API-driven approach to interoperability, while the current crop of IMS specifications are still very data-centric. To quote the press release:

"This announcement represents an important endorsement of the emerging OKI specifications and will help accelerate OKIís status as an industry standard in the higher education market. Through their relationship as common members of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Blackboard and OKI institutional partners are working together with other IMS members to help define the next generation of interoperability standards for educational technology"

For more information, read the Blackboard press release.