While one model is open and public and inviting of comments and suggestions from parties who may also be developers, vendors, or even competitors…
(See such an invitation from Sakai foundation and watch Michael Korcuska’s Sakai 3 authoring tool demonstration here.)
There’s another model. Blackboard’s Product Development Program also solicits customer feedback, suggestions, input, but with restrictions and follow-up that must be done by those responding to the invitation, lest, once announcing their desire to participate, they miss the window of opportunity defined by Blackboard.
So when I saw Dara Millen’s invitation to jump into the Product Development Program (always referred to as the PDP, so be certain you remember the acronym or you may not realize the email you just received IS relevant to you), I followed up. I responded. I recruited Faculty from Notre Dame.
Then… after getting them lined up, they received a pdf attachment of a non-disclosure form (which I hadn’t seen, didn’t get a copy of and naively didn’t know was coming) requiring their signature and return by …oh, by TODAY. Of course, they didn’t immediately notify me they’d rec’d such a thing, so when they did I had only a couple of weeks to act.
Maybe not a problem for other institutions. But at Notre Dame (how ’bout your institution?) non-disclosure agreements, software licensing agreements and other types of documents requiring promises by someone because of their affiliation with Notre Dame, those documents are not signed by individuals, but signed by our General Counsel as the representative body for the individuals in question.
Two weeks was not nearly enough time to get in their queue. Aside from which, they are lawyers. Legal counsel. Contract savvy. Blackboard’s NDA for their PDP (I’m gettin’ it now) seemed to have some slight problems with it. General Counsel sent them a red-line copy. They responded their PDP does not except red-lines but insists everyone sign the same contract. Makes sense to me, but maybe their document in general could stand some tweaking by some free top-notch legal beagles?
So, I contacted our Regional Manager, Justin Beck, but I still have little hope that Notre Dame will get to provide input into the product development process for NG.