Comparisons and advocacy

Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?

 
 
Picture of Just H
Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Evening all

Does anyone have licensing costs for 20,000 students for WebCT and Blackboard at hand?

A list of this info (for various numbers of students) would, I think, be quite handy for those trying to persuade the powers that be to go with Moodle.

I dislike the fact they don't seem to have at least ball park figures on their websites angry

Regards
Harry
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I'd really like to see this too, as there is very little information about it about.  I guess they do a lot of "deals" with pricing which is why it's not public.

If people feel shy about publishing their numbers, perhaps they could message Harry privately and he could compile an anonymous table here for us all to refer to.

I think we'll need to know:  country, education sector, number of students, price per year.
 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi all

More than happy to set up a table as per Martin's suggestion if people feel like sharing this information.

Regards
Harry
 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Hi
Here are some published costs and the sources:

Webct: up to 6000 Seats (User/course) for one year incl german language plugin Campus Edition Focus 15.000 US $ (http://www.e-teaching.org/technik/produkte/webctsteckbrief)


Blackboard
    * Blackboard 5 Level One (Course Manager): ca. 5.000 US $ pro Server/year
    * Blackboard 5 Level Two (Course und Portal Manager): ca. 25.000 US $ pro Server pro Jahr
    * Blackboard 5 Level Three (Advanced Course und Portal Manager): ca. 50.000 US $ pro Produktionsserver pro Jahr plus Gebühren für on-time Integration
incl.  25.000 user/year. (http://www.e-teaching.org/technik/produkte/blackboardsteckbrief)

Some more sources:
http://www.spectatornews.com/news/2004/02/02/CampusNews/Desire2learn.To.Replace.Webct.Blackboard-594170.shtml
http://www.cvc4.org/newscopy/Current_Events/may_update.asp
http://www.siena.edu/cot/resources/COURSEWARE%20COMPARISON%203.html
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~natalieb/CMSsummary.htm
http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:0TvZDqDY7sYJ:www.wit.ie/library/plans%26policies/vles.htm+costs+webct+blackboard&hl=de&client=firefox-a

Ralf
 
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Picture of David Scotson
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writers

Length of contract and version details are very important too.

WebCT Vista for example seems to be around an order of magnitude more expensive than their legacy codebase WebCT Campus. They are currently backporting a great deal of functionality from Vista with the aim of totally replacing the current Campus technology. After their customers panicked they issued a statement that the Campus price-point would still remain even after they have totally replaced the codebase. However the rather radical changes to the underlying codebase mean you will now need, for WebCT version 6 an Oracle or MS SQL server licence and associated hardware and technical support.

The length of contract is important too as they generally try to lock you in for long periods but the price can rise dramatically when you come to renew the contract (I've been told recently of 30%-40% increases, not including the newer database licences)

I've kind of lost track of what Blackboard is doing but I believe they still do the same thing as WebCT whereby they limit the amount of integration you can do unless you pay a fair bit extra. When I last looked in detail at this the price would double or triple if you wanted the system to integrate with your student records database (i.e. that's not counting the consulting and development costs, just a cost for even being permitted to do it).

So I think to be truly useful the table should include the version (in as much detail as possible), how long the contract was for, and when the deal was done.

 
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Picture of Michael Penney
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Developers
Well, for BB basic for 7500 users we're paying a base of ~$7000, + $4000 for SSL, + $.75/user for MS SQL.

For 20,000, the basic license probably won't be available, and you'll have to choose between hosted (ASP) or enterprise. Enterprise used to start at ~$60,000, but there are per/student fees and other issues, and I think it's ranging ~$100,000/year now.

Not sure about WebCT CE, I think they are in the range of $10,000/year. From what I've heard of Vista, it's at least $100,000 year and more than that for most campusses.

This is something that would be nice feature of the edutools comparison site, IMO.
 
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Picture of A. T. Wyatt
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
We just got the bill--
BB basic for approx. 1400 users, software only, no SSL, we run our own server (linux).  $9500 USD.  You get any software upgrades/patches released during the academic year and basic support (which we have only used once in 4 years).  If you want "building blocks", third party partner add-ons, that is additional.

License Renewal
Blackboard Learning System Basic

September 2005 - August 2006
$9500

Looks to me like they have quite a few variations here.  Reminds me of trying to buy a car!   Sigh.

atw
 
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Picture of Karin van den Berg
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
One thing I've heard or read about Blackboard is that they charge per user per course, meaning a user that is enrolled in 5 courses counts as 5 users. This combined with the first-hand experience I've had with Bb un-userfriendliness in terms of enrolling makes me suspicious that they deliberately make unenrolling difficult.

- Students could not unenroll themselves up until the version of last year
- Now a self-unenroll options exists but is turned off by default - the teacher has to turn it on. The problem is that the teachers that don't bother to unenroll the students at the end of a course also don't bother turning this option on
- I've heard from one teacher that there is no way to mass-unenroll the students - you have to take them out ONE AT A TIME!!! Argh!

I could ask what my university pays, I've heard figures of over 20.000 euro but I am not sure. I'll see if I can get some figures.
 
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Picture of Dawn Wright
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
Of course the unit rate you get depends upon your negotiating power, but I know of two schools who were/are paying approximately $70 to $100 per course seat per term for full capability online courses to eCollege, which is a competitor of BB and WebCT. In one case, the cost was embedded in tuition because almost all courses were offered online. In the other, the school charges a special fee, typically $150 per course, for eCollege online courses to cover the eCollege unit cost plus a bit for school administration of the online courses. eCollege is essentially a turnkey system - they host the CMS and provide a help desk - but you must create your own courses.
 
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Art Lader
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Documentation writers

This might help a little: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0LSH/is_4_5/ai_95447612

Excerpt: The University of South Dakota system--a WebCT customer--may end up paying a whopping $275,000 to serve 25,000 students in its state system-up from $60,000, says Warren Wilson, director of Regent Information Systems.

-- Art

 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Thanks for the info everyone.

My apologies but work commitments have kept me away. Will set a table up and post it later today.

Regards
Harry
 
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Pensive mood
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
Hi Harry,

Sorry for posting this late. I dug this up from my computer files.

"......
The WebCT Product


WebCT, or World Wide Web Course Tools, is was originally a Canadian product originally developed at the University of British Columbia in 1995, as part of a research project to study the impact of online learning on student outcomes, out of a desire to enhance and enrich the learning experience through new technologies. Today, it is used by 10 million students at over 2,500 universities and colleges in 80 countries, and is described as having "revolutionized the way people teach and learn" (UBC, 2004). In 1999, the WebCT interest merged with Universal Learning Technologies of Massachusetts, and has offices in Canada, the US, and Australia. In the process, the product's mission has expanded from serving purely educational purposes to providing "enterprise-wide" learning management solutions in all areas of e-learning and training. Today, the WebCT Campus Edition (CE) is claimed by its vendor to be a "global market-leading Course Management System (CMS)" (WebCT website, 2004). The WebCT Vista Academic Enterprise edition is the latest version. One WebCT user, the New Mexico State University, indicates (2003), that the company:

". . . is scheduled to discontinue support of its Campus Edition version in December 2006 leaving only the Vista edition of the course management system available and supported." (At that point, NMSU estimates that its annual licensing and running charges will rise from $40,000 to, in the first year of Vista operation, $650,800 US.) The estimated first year cost for a perpetual Vista license at New Mexico State University is $290,400. Additional costs would include an Oracle license, system hardware, and setup time. The annual maintenance cost of the perpetual license will be approximately $48,400. Estimated total first year costs associated with the implementation of a WebCT Vista course management system at NMSU is $602,400."

The system provides many tools for content creation and delivery within individual courses. The CE is designed to support single institution use with limited customization and branding capabilities. It is scalable and supports integration with campus portals based on JASIG's uPortal framework a variety of portals and other campus systems.


In seeking to compare the CE with the new Vista, however, the current evaluation team was unable to obtain unrestricted access despite attempting to do so via correspondence lasting several weeks ran into a problem of access. A previous report in the current series, by Fahy (Report #10), refers to "the right to pilot-test", and states that "Evaluators should have access to a choice of reference sites". Obtaining such access in order to evaluate WebCT, however, is evidently no simple matter. The company's online demos of the CE provide a very limited view of the product's capabilities. The user is led through a series of mini-tutorials which stress how easy it is to personalize, create, customize and evaluate student learning in CE. Due the highly directed nature of these demos, however, it is difficult to assess the product's general usability. A number of exemplary courses are made available on the product website, giving some insight into this from the student perspective, though not from that of the teacher/ course developer. More extensive student evaluation than this appears not to be facilitated, although the vendor does appear interested in enabling trials of the system by institutions formally interested in adopting it. This restricted accessibility made it difficult for the current team to evaluate the two WebCT products fully, and from the point of view of the six ASTD evaluation criteria used in previous reports in this series: cost, complexity, control, clarity, common technical framework, and features. The report presents a general comparison of the two product versions, therefore, based on online descriptions of them rather than on direct first-hand experience.
......"

Source is here:

http://www.irrodl.org/content/v5.3/technote6.html

My favorite quote comes from a response from WebCT User Community Relations Director, Dr. D.J. Volchuk:

WebCT Vista and Campus Edition are competitively priced in the market place. The various products and license offerings including Campus Edition, Vista Core and Vista Enterprise are specifically tailored to meet the needs of institutions of all sizes not just large educational and training institutions with huge budgets. WebCT Standard Edition has not been available since 2003. WebCT Campus Edition version 6.0 will be released in spring 2005, and will continue to meet the needs of our Campus Edition customers for years to come.

WebCT has been extremely flexible in developing pricing models to meet the needs of our customers. Pricing has remained flat for Vista since its release in 2002. Campus Edition increases have ranged from 7 percent - 10 percent per year, and WebCT offers customers the option of multi-year contracts that lock in prices over the contract period.

WebCT has ALWAYS incorporated the feedback of our customers into the product. There are several very active WebCT Advisory Boards who provide us with specifically this type of input, as well as a suggestion box at the website, and input through all of the WebCT representatives who regularly visit our customers campuses.

WebCT is financially sound and strong and certainly not in the throes of its last hurrah.





 
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Pensive mood
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
The New Mexico Report is here:

State of New Mexico WebCT Vista Academic Enterprise System

Another document here, already a couple of years old:

http://www.wcu.edu/it/cio/planning/cmsfinalreport.pdf
 
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Pensive mood
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi all

My humble apologies on such a tardy response, unfortunately my "real" work has kept me away until now.

Thanks to everyone that has supplied information smile

It does seem to be extremely difficult pinning costs down due to the amount of variables and deals that seem to be done. What I tried to do was extract some info from the posts above and collate it based on recent (post 2003) costs that are reliable (my apologies if I missed anyone out, not implying lack of reliability just my lack of attention!). As there may well be issues of confidentiality I put down actual costs from people here as "A Moodler".

Not as comprehensive as I would wish but at least a start:

Source

Cost/yr

Students

Platform

Country

When

Extra cost/comments

A moodler

US$9500

1400

Blackboard basic

USA

2005-2006


A moodler

US$7000

7500

Blackboard basic

USA

2005

SSL = US$4000;

MS SQL = US$0.75/user

http://www.e-teaching.org/technik/produkte/webctsteckbrief

US$15,000

6000

WebCT Campus Focus

Germany

?

Incl German plugin

http://www.e-teaching.org/technik/produkte/blackboardsteckbrief

US$5000

US$25,000

US$50,000

?

?

?

Blackboard 5 Level 1

Blackboard 5 Level 2

Blackboard 5 Level 3

Germany

?


http://www.spectatornews.com/news/2004/02/02/CampusNews/Desire2learn.To.Replace.Webct.Blackboard-594170.shtml

US$3.3 million

+

US$4/student

?

Ball park figures for a version of BB and WebCT over a five year period

USA

2004

"When evaluating the cost, we considered license fee, plus five years maintenance, plus installation costs,"

http://www.cvc4.org/newscopy/Current_Events/may_update.asp

US$1000

US$2000

US$4000

US$6000

US$7500

US$15,000

US$3750

US$7500

100

200

400

600

3000

6000

25 courses

unlimited courses

WebCT level 1

WebCT Campus Focus

Blackboard (?)

USA

2003-2004

Does not include hosting costs

http://www.siena.edu/cot/resources/COURSEWARE%20COMPARISON%203.html

US$4000

US$15,000

US$10,000

US$5000

US$25,000

US$50,000

Unlimited

Unlimited?

Support

?

?

?

WebCT basic

WebCT Campus

WebCT

Blackboard Level 1

Blackboard Level 2

Blackboard Level 3

USA

?

Support for 1 Admin

Support for 1 Admin

Premium support

Course manager only

CM + Portal Manager

Advanced CM + PM

http://newark.rutgers.edu/~natalieb/CMSsummary.htm

US$60,000

US$90,000

US$50,000

?

?

?

Web CT

Web CT Vista

Blackboard (?)

USA

2004

17,137 students using it

13.122 students using it


I hope it proves usefull to some, for my part, doesn't matter, have convinced the powers that be to run a 12 month trial and am in the process of setting the site up now so be warned . . . may be a few questions to the community soon! big grin
 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
To the person who sent me a private message with costs (today or yesterday) . . . could you please resend . . . or someone tell me how to get old messages . . . I closed it before I had a chance to update the table and I can't fingure out where it went to (I have no messages seemingly?)

Sorry about that sad
 
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Picture of A. T. Wyatt
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 

I received a notice today (8-19-05) that indicated that our BB license would be $12,500 USD next August.  They do let us know a year in advance so we can budget properly.  We are <1400 size school with Level 1 Basic licensing, host on our own server, no SSL or other components installed.

atw

 
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Picture of Larry Davies
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
I concur with this. My institution is the same size, and they sent us the same price.
 
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Picture of Michael Winter
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
Thanks for your cost analysis - very revealing!  I am doing a comparison of Blackboard and Moodle for use with adult learners in the workplace.  I find some of the cost comparisons a bit confusing as it sometimes isn't clear whether people are quoting $US, $Aus or $NZ.  Which currency were you using?  Thanks for your reply.

 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Michael

The costs in the table are US $.

Been a while so chances are it's out of date now but hope it's still useful with the subsequent posts.

Regards
Harry
 
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Picture of Michael Winter
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 
Thanks Harry

Great to get ballpark figures.

Michael
 
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Picture of Joe Ippolito
Re: Anyone know costs for WebCT and Blackboard?
 

Excellent reference! Thanks!

Does anyone have any more recent numbers on these costs and fees? These are a bit outdated, 4-6 years old now...

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated!

Joe

 
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Aaron TD
Blackboard price hike
 
Our regional service center in Upstate New York (US) pays $7500 annually for a 3000-user Basic Bb license. We have, however, just receive notice from Blackboard that a 30% price increase will take effect July, 2006. ($9800)

Needless to say, this is a windfall incentive for our region to consider a full adoption of Moodle. This, coupled with Blackboard's polite refusal to take into account the needs of the K-12 user community will make arguing the case for Moodle like shooting fish in a barrel.

approve
 
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Picture of D.I. von Briesen
Re: Blackboard price hike
 

Our school, with app. 80,000 students, pays about 50-60k a year, prior to the announced 30% price increase. This was a deciding factor in putting out moodle as an alternate platform. We are pushing to do this at the state level as well.

We run BB on about 7 boxes... there's a load balancer, 4 front-end boxes, and 2 DB servers. I suppose there are additional fees for SQL Server on the back-end, but I'm not in admin so don't know the details there.

FWIW, once you get past about 10k a year, I see a move to moodle as a no-brainer. 10k will get you a lot of consulting from the moodle community, and hosting is cake by comparison to BB.

d.i.

 
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