Not the most timely, but it was reported back in July that Blackboard would partner with NBC News Archives for content. I do not see too much concern expressed about this announcement, and I certainly believe that multimedia can enhance the learning experience; but, seriously look at this announcement:
"NBC's brand as a news authority combined with the superb production values of their footage will help educators craft richer and more contextually relevant courses for their students. Providing access to NBC News Archives on Demand is an important step in our strategy to assemble the world's best digital content for the Blackboard community" - Ray Henderson, President, Blackboard.
So I ask, is Blackboard an empty pipe or a content distributor? If they are the latter then it should be made apparent because it is uncomfortable when a commercial enterprise has this degree of direct student access. While I am certain there is quality footage in the NBC News Archives, there is equally (and arguably better) quality illustrative/supplemental footage elsewhere: Internet Archives, PBS, and Annenberg, just to name a few.
As long as students and faculty are educated on effective use and critical response to media (and provided support in finding resources) the sky isn't falling. But, the movement of distribution channels to selectively feed targeted (even if user-driven) information is troubling. Fortunately, there are CMS choices in the form of Moodle and Ning, among others.
Have I gone off the deep end? Please comment?