What We’ve Been Building These Last 7 Months

By Phill Miller

Earlier this year, I referred to our separation from Blackboard as being akin to a parent dropping their kid off at college. With a solid, sustainable business foundation, a talented Moodle™ team and our trusted clients, we set on a new growth journey with Learning Technologies Group (LTG) as our new trustworthy parent umbrella.

When the acquisition was announced earlier this year, I could have never predicted what transpired only three days later: a pandemic that would turn the world upside-down. Surely, the challenge of building this new company was now even more accentuated by the restrictions and challenges of COVID-19. And our clients, primarily universities, community colleges, and schools, started using our software like they never have before.

These challenges make me all the more eager and proud to share what our team has been able to accomplish during these past seven months.

My first reflection is that it’s a challenge to build a team virtually. Even as I write this, there are many team members that I have only met online. However, we managed to very quickly adapt to the “new reality,” have built strong relationships as a team, and re-emerged into the market under new leadership. This was possible not only because we are an adaptable, agile team, but because we had a collective focus on creating a better experience for our client. That unifying mission has helped us come together as a team, even though we’re apart.

Trying Different Approaches

So, what have we actually done in the last 7 months? I think it can be summed up as trying a different approach. While other technology companies started raising their prices because of the usage of COVID, we did the opposite: we waived fees for excess adoption for our clients. Without a lot of fanfare, we launched a community site, where our clients can share best practices and connect with their colleagues around the world. Now we have over 800 folks participating on a regular basis.

We announced our e-proctoring partnership with Smowltech, but it wasn’t about just trying to sell people another solution. We committed with them to give away 5,000 proctored exams to our clients for free during one of the most difficult semesters ever. We recognized that video was going to be more important than ever, so we integrated with Instilled, one of our sister companies, and announced a new video tool that makes video content management and delivery more efficient for our clients.

In a world where software prices seem to only go up, again, we took a different approach. We launched DT123, our financial support for digital transformation project, where we actually lowered our prices for institutions struggling to adopt technology during this time. Just a month ago, our thought leadership online publication E-Learn Magazine was launched to enable global conversations around EdTech. It's a tool meant to serve the education community globally, where different perspectives and experiences are facilitated and celebrated.

Lastly, we launched our new free mobile app, now offering Open LMS features and capabilities on the go.

eCreators Adds an Edge

Of course, the biggest investment was when we expanded Open LMS with the integration of eCreators, a company we felt was truly aligned with our vision of the future and whose slogan, ‘Love the way you learn,’ speaks directly to what we were trying to build at Open LMS. While we were already the world’s largest Moodle™ provider, with eCreators, we’ve expanded our capabilities and expertise in Moodle™ and digital content, and we have more opportunities to help our clients with their teaching and learning challenges.

We are a new company with a new vision, fresh ideas, a warm voice and a strong value proposition. And the best part is that we aren’t doing it alone! These changes and what’s to come are made possible because of our people and the community we serve.

I am always encouraged by the feedback we receive and believe evolving can only be accomplished through a mutual commitment to grow together. We’re also humble enough to acknowledge that we’re not perfect. We’ve made some mistakes, but we have also made a clear effort to identify the areas of the business that need some specific adjustments and are working to get those fixed fast.

There is still some time to close out the year, which means we'll be busy working on new and exciting projects and initiatives and there will be more to come! This year has been unusual, but so exciting and promising for our communities, clients, and the future of education globally. We are a dynamic company and our journey is just starting—We are so happy to have you come along for the ride!

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Phill Miller
About the author

Phill Miller

Phill is a long time EdTechNerd, and open source junkie. He’s the proud father of an 8 year old son and 6 year old triplets. He enjoys eating cold, half eaten chicken fingers after his kids have fallen asleep and reading British spy novels. Oh, and he’s also the Managing Director of Open LMS. He's been in EdTech for about 20 years, with roles at ANGEL Learning, Moodlerooms, Blackboard, and Oxygen Education. Phill is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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