Blackboard Pricing: Costs and Top LMS Alternatives

Blackboard is among the most popular learning management systems (LMSs) for K-12 and higher ed organizations.

While Blackboard doesn’t publicly disclose the actual price of their product, we’ve gathered all the details available to help you estimate the costs.

How Much is Blackboard?

Blackboard is often purchased by larger educational institutions seeking an LMS solution out-of-the-box. Smaller institutions don’t need the same bells and whistles, but may want to estimate Blackboard’s costs to weigh all available options.

Blackboard has several packages that extend their offerings to government and business organizations as well. The pricing for military elearning will be vastly different from pricing for small business elearning.

With the help of some unconventional sources, here are two estimations:

  • Blackboard By the Numbers –  Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting, estimates the average cost of a customer license to cover a university or school district with the full Blackboard package is $160,000/year. His assessment is based on research from John Farmer, an analyst with Instructional Media + Magic (im+m). However, keep in mind, this article is from 2006.
  • “Pricing for Blackboard and Others?” Forum – In 2012, a Moodle forum post asked for help pricing Blackboard with 300 learners. Many commenters chimed in to describe the benefits of Moodle, but the final reply claimed one school was quoted at $1,200/student/year for Blackboard, adding up to $36k for a class of 30 students.

Bottom Line: The only way to accurately estimate the cost of Blackboard is by contacting the vendor directly. Blackboard offers price quotes based on your number of learners. Searching online for pricing is helpful for many LMS solutions, but Blackboard is among the vendors that don’t release this information to the public.

Compare Blackboard Pricing vs Competitors: Download our free LMS Comparison Guide with pricing info for more than 40 top vendors – Download Here

Blackboard Alternatives

Some will tell you, you have two choices: Moodle or Blackboard. But, this is not the reality of today’s LMS market.

There are many solutions that can fit your learning requirements, and at lower costs if you have the patience to find them. There isn’t a single standard pricing structure for LMS solutions. They’re available through many payment varieties to offer the right features for each unique client.

While the actual price of Blackboard is a mystery, the product’s features and benefits are clear. And luckily, most comparable solutions have pricing openly available. Here are some examples:

Moodle is an open source solution available to download for free. However, open source solutions come with hidden costs. In-house IT employees must take charge for implementation, and overtime pay could be required to hit essential milestones. Schools must either own a server, with prices starting around $4k up front plus frequent maintenance costs, or must use cloud hosting, which involves ongoing payments. One option is to compare third-party cloud hosting to Moodle’s cloud hosting to find the best savings. While costs are unique for each client, but Moodle does offer clear prices for cloud hosting up to 500 learners.

Edmodo offers both free accounts and premium paid accounts. The “freemium” accounts come with unlimited data storage and users. The premium plan is $2,500/school/year and comes with additional gamification tools, advanced analytics and other bonus features that appeal to school districts.

Edsby is another solution that specializes in schools. It costs $5/user/year but is free for parent accounts. This pricing structure doesn’t include all features of Edsby, and the price per user rises as more features are added.

 

Bottom Line

Blackboard simply doesn’t offer pricing information to the public, but similar LMS vendors do. Depending on whether your school is willing to host an LMS solution on its own server, Moodle could be a likely second choice, and Edmodo and Edsby offer competitive pricing that appeal to schools of all sizes.

These are just a few top LMS options, and if you need to learn more about how to choose an LMS, check out The Definitive Guide to Learning Management Systems. It discusses all the features and benefits of LMS software, and has a buyer’s guide for identifying the right fit for your school.

You can also download our LMS Comparison Guide where we’ve broken down all the top LMS solutions based on their core features, pricing and shortcomings in an easily comparable spreadsheet.

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