(Washington, 24 June 2013 /PRNewswire) Blackboard Inc. today announced the release of xpLor™, a content platform that gives educators unprecedented ability to create, discover and share rich course materials across systems and institutions. xpLor is the industry’s first cloud-based learning object repository that supports multiple learning management systems (LMS).
Users can create and store materials in xpLor, and then extend their content by sharing and making it discoverable to instructors across working groups, courses and institutions. Content is delivered through the cloud to users’ LMS; xpLor currently supports Blackboard Learn™, ANGEL, Joule® from Moodlerooms and Sakai. Users can tag and rate content, making it easy to find items their peers found to be valuable.
Content can be adapted over time by multiple users. Content authors can control who can see and change their content, and can apply to their work a variety of rights and permissions from All Rights Reserved to Creative Commons open sharing, to enable crowdsourcing collaboration and remixing of content.
“There are fundamental changes in how content will be shared and distributed in the future, and xpLor is a platform built expressly for that new vision,” said Ray Henderson, president, academic platforms, and chief technology officer at Blackboard. “xpLor is the first content management system built with intention to be used in an LMS independent way. It supports content sharing at great scale and with greater collaboration. The platform also focuses on the work the community must do to curate the content it shares. This is novel, and an important showcase of how openness is driving product development at Blackboard now and in the future.”
xpLor was developed with emphasis on open standards to ease sharing. Users can create or import any type of content supported by the IMS Common Cartridge standard, including rich documents, discussion boards and assessments. Using the IMS LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) specification, grades are automatically sent to the LMS gradebook and activity is recorded when items are used in a course.
“It’s all about supporting collaboration, communication, and creativity,” said Jana Hickey, technology integration specialist at Jefferson County Public Schools, who test-drove xpLor in a beta program last year. “Teachers and students need to have tools that allow them to work across learning institutions, make self-selected choices, and all of those things I think xpLor will do for us. We have not had a tool for this in the past.”