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Over 2.5 Million College Students, Faculty & Staff Now Reached by Blackboard's Mass Notification Service

Connect-ED(R) Service Sees 1 Million Person Increase This Year as Colleges & Universities Leverage Technology to Increase Preparedness

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a leading provider of educational enterprise technology, announced today that more than 2.5 million college students, faculty and staff at nearly 500 U.S. campuses are now reached by the Company's Connect-ED(R) multi-modal mass notification service.

The reach of the service in the higher education market has expanded by 1 million recipients in the past year, as colleges and universities have increasingly leveraged notification technologies to improve campus preparedness plans and campus-wide communication. Blackboard also provides notification services to K-12 schools and districts, state and local governments, and federal agencies and military organizations.

Blackboard's Connect-ED mass notification service offers a unique benefit to campus leaders by supporting enrollment management, time-sensitive notification and campus outreach efforts through a direct communication channel with students. In addition, the system can be used to notify entire campus communities of closures and contingency plans due to unforeseen events.

"A number of incidents have happened on college campuses in the past year that have prompted many universities to evaluate campus preparedness plans and include a mass notification service," said Margaret Lutherer, executive director of communications and marketing at Texas Tech University. "These services are important for student safety and campuses should encourage students to sign up to receive messages."

Built exclusively for postsecondary institutions and drawing on the experience gained in delivering hundreds of millions of messages for K-12 educators, Blackboard's service enables campus leaders to schedule, send and track personalized voice messages at up to six phone numbers and two e-mail addresses per student and staff member. In all, the multi-modal service helps officials reach out to their communities through:

-- Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones, and e-mail addresses;

-- Text messages to cell phones, PDAs and other text-based devices;

-- Text messages to e-mail accounts; and

-- Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.

This year, the University of Northern Iowa used this service to send a message to 16,200 students, faculty and staff when university police learned someone was threatening to bring a gun to campus.

"Our goal was to inform students, faculty and staff quickly to help them remain calm and control the spread of misinformation," said James O'Connor, University of Northern Iowa assistant vice president for marketing and public relations. "Because we had just performed our first full scale system test two weeks earlier, our campus community was aware of the system and generally pleased with how we handled the situation."

The Connect-ED service allows officials to send an unlimited number of messages and requires no additional hardware. The service can be used from any computer with Internet access or telephone, ensuring that administrators can send vital messages from wherever they are located -- even if they are evacuated. Additionally, officials receive detailed reports on contacts that did not receive a message, enabling them to follow up through alternative means as needed.

"Today's campus leaders understand that communication is a key component to student safety. The choice to use the Connect-ED service to send messages to nearly 3 million students, faculty and staff is a testament to their trust in our capabilities," said Thomas Motter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackboard Connect. "In addition to augmenting campus preparedness, many schools also enjoy the positive impact the service can have on student services and outreach. From sending messages to students about registration deadlines to fee payment reminders, Connect-ED has become an integral part of campus communication."

For more information about Blackboard Connect(TM) solutions, please visit

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.


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Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed on August 7, 2008 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of October 14, 2008. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to October 14, 2008.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.