Do you dream about big publisher announcements coming at EDUCAUSE? Do you also fantasize that the major publishers, the McGraw-Hill's, Pearson's, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's, Reed Elsevier's - who am I missing?) will announce something truly disruptive at the conference?
What is it about the big publishers that inspires so much hope on my part? Maybe it is because I have so little chance of actually being disappointed, as when can we point to a time when the publishers did something truly brave, totally unexpected, and genuinely innovative?
My 3 big dream (fantasy) publisher announcements:
1. A Free Learning Management System: Google and Microsoft are fighting to provide colleges and universities free web based e-mail, calendars, and documents. Why is nobody fighting to offer a free, cloud based LMS? The LMS is the center of the educational experience. A quality free LMS would save schools tons of money, money that could be spent on learning designers and invested in courses. A free LMS would offer amazing opportunities to up-sell for advanced services and content - including turnkey courses and integrated content. A quality, free cloud based LMS would immediately disrupt the current LMS market - giving Blackboard something to worry about. Pearson should have the inside track to offer a free cloud based LMS, but any publisher could do so with Moodle.
2. A Free Lecture Capture System: Here I'm talking about something really simple. A software based lecture capture system that captures the image on the screen and a the feed from a camera. Simple playback controls. Cloud based hosting. An option to publish to YouTube/EDU or iTunesU. McGraw-Hill is in the best position to offer this service, as a simple free Tegrity Basic would offer an excellent opportunity to up-sell to the full Tegrity system. But all the publishers could get into this space - either through an acquisition (publishers are crazy not to try to buy Techsmith) or by building their own technology.
3. A Free Media Management / Distribution System: I predict that the next big purchase will be a publisher buying ShareStream, Ensemble, or Kaltura. Media management and web based distribution systems will be the next big enterprise class of services that campuses will be looking to purchase. We are all creating huge amounts of media, through lecture capture, mashups, library purchases, and clips uploaded by professors and students into the LMS. A media management system makes all this stuff discoverable, controllable, and available. Some smart publisher is going to buy an existing company, and offer a free cloud based basic media management system with an option to purchase the whole (locally hosted, advanced features) platform. This smart publisher will make their multimedia educational content database available to any school that adopts their media management solution.
What are the odds of any of these fantasies actually coming true?
See you at EDUCAUSE.