Blackboard snaps up Aus Moodle partner

Australian open-source services provider NetSpot has been bought up by online learning firm BlackBoard, along with US-based Moodlerooms.

Australian open-source services provider NetSpot has been bought up by online learning firm Blackboard, along with US-based Moodlerooms.

Netspot and Moodlerooms were obvious targets as the two largest global partners for the Moodle e-learning platform, according to Blackboard senior vice president, Global Sales Operations & Strategy, Mark Belles. There was also little overlap between them, making it an easy decision to purchase the two.

NetSpot employs 50 staff managing customers in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. This would increase after the acquisition, although managing director Allan Christie said it was too early to tell by how much. Investment would be made in product enhancements and service, he said.

Both of the companies would operate as separate entities, according to BlackBoard, with leadership to remain the same. They will still sell Moodle products, but will be able to offer additional Blackboard add-ons such as collaboration and transaction services.

"This direction allows us to provide the choice of an open source alternative with the benefit of a team of leaders from the open source community to guide our sustained contributions and citizenship in that community," Ray Henderson, CTO and president of Academic Platforms at Blackboard said in a statement.

Contributions will continue be made to Moodle's code base and funds will still be provided to the Moodle open source community. The companies would also become part of Blackboard's Education Open Source Services group.

"This investment in the open source community is extremely exciting. Together we will help to advance the Moodle project which will lead to stronger options for clients," said Christie.