The University of Liverpool just contacted students saying that they will be switching from the FirstClass system to Blackboard. This is great news, as Blackboard has a very functional web-based interface. This means that UoL students will no longer be forced to use proprietary software on their machines when studying at Liverpool online.
I hope they will also reconsider using secret file formats for their lectures. If they do, they will be almost free, and this freedom can extend to students.