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One in Six U.S. College Students Receive Blackboard Connect Messages for Campus Safety and Success

Highly Regarded Mass Notification Platform Recognized by Leading Industry Analyst, Market Surveys
WASHINGTON, Feb 09, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Blackboard Inc.'s (Nasdaq: BBBB) mass notification system now serves 3.6 million college students - approximately one in six nationwide - enhancing campus safety and communications in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Higher education institutions rely upon the Blackboard Connect(TM) platform for its speed, reliability and versatility - as well as an unmatched level of customer service and satisfaction.

According to the 2009 Campus Computing Survey from the Campus Computing Project, more higher education institutions have selected Blackboard Connect as their communications partner than any other provider. Most recently, Blackboard Connect received a "Positive" rating in analyst firm Gartner's(1) Emergency and Mass Notification MarketScope report.

"With Blackboard Connect, I feel more confident that the system will work in an urgent situation. I know that my messages will reach our community rapidly whether they prefer voice, text or email notifications," said Sharon Blanton, CIO at Portland State University (PSU). "I'm also reassured by the dedicated support staff Blackboard Connect provides. In an emergency, you don't have time to deal with automated prompts - you need a real person."

Like most large institutions, PSU must be prepared to reach its 31,000 students and staff at multiple locations at any moment. After recently switching to Blackboard Connect from another provider, PSU officials conducted a campus-wide test reaching every contact in less than two minutes, confirming their confidence in Blackboard as the best choice for mass notification to their campus community.

Wilmington University, a private institution with 11 campuses in Delaware and New Jersey, has discovered that Blackboard Connect can support a variety of needs beyond urgent communications, from boosting new student enrollment and sending registration reminders to engaging students in academic and athletic events that promote student success and enhance the overall college experience.

"As an open enrollment institution, we serve a wide range of students," said Chris Ferguson, Director of Admissions at Wilmington University in Delaware. "I use Blackboard Connect to establish multiple points of contact with each individual student prospect throughout the enrollment and admissions process. This ensures a prospect has the information and encouragement they need to get registered and embark on their educational career."

Wilmington's outreach has yielded peak enrollment and a corresponding spike in tuition revenue. Just six days before the start of the Spring 2009 semester, Ferguson sent phone and email reminders to all new undergraduate and graduate applicants who had not yet registered for courses. As a result, 32 percent of message recipients registered for one or more courses, generating a total of 1,486 credits and nearly $500,000 in additional tuition revenue. Including savings from printing costs, Blackboard Connect has generated a 15:1 return on investment for the school.

"We are excited to see our technology become an important part of the total education experience," said Ed Miller, President ofBlackboard Connect, "because we know how much accurate and effective communication not limited to urgent situations can strengthen the campus community."

Institutions have also begun to leverage Blackboard Connect's flexible technology in tandem with other Blackboard solutions. For the past two seasons, the 2010 national champion University of Alabama football program has used Blackboard Transact(TM) to facilitate its paperless ticketing system for students at home games. Last season, Alabama officials used Blackboard Connect to contact waitlisted students to let them know they have tickets. Instead of waiting patiently by the computer on game days, students can now find out they have a seat in the stadium no matter where they are.

"In the very first game we used Blackboard Connect, we received an immediate response from students," said Jeanine Brooks, Director of the Action Card office at the University of Alabama. "They were thanking us because it met a real need. If they hadn't received a phone call from Blackboard Connect, they would not have known they received an electronic ticket."

For more information about Blackboard Transact's football ticketing program for the University of Alabama, visit

For more information about Blackboard's mass notification solutions, 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.

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 November 6, 2009 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of February 9, 2010. 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 February 9, 2010.

The MarketScope is copyrighted January 29, 2010 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The MarketScope is an evaluation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner's analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the MarketScope, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest rating. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

(1) Girard, John., Vining, Jeff., Witty, Roberta J. "MarketScope for Emergency and Mass Notification Services," Gartner. January 29, 2010.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.