New Release for Blackboard Learn Emphasizes Social Learning, Student Engagement
Release 9.1 Also Brings Major Upgrades for K-12 and Former WebCT Clients
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced a major update for its flagship software with the launch of Blackboard Learn(TM) Release 9.1, which integrates a range of social learning tools and drives student engagement. The release also introduces important new features for K-12 teachers and learners - including lesson planning and standards alignment - and former WebCT clients.
Building on the new interface and social learning tools like blogs and journals introduced in Release 9.0, the new release deepens the platform's ability to integrate collaboration tools like wikis and multimedia content from Web sources including YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare to create a more engaging and visually impactful course experience.
Release 9.1 can also be enabled for interactive mobile learning opportunities through Blackboard Mobile Learn(TM) - native mobile applications for the most popular mobile platforms - and integrates Blackboard Connect(TM) technology to let students choose how they receive course notifications and updates, including through messages to their mobile devices.
"This release is an important milestone in the story of what Blackboard is becoming," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn, "It delivers a renewed commitment to the fundamentals of product and service quality and brings a host of innovations to energize the user community."
"The possibilities to easily integrate video, audio and pictures will make courses much more interactive and dynamic and lead to greater student participation," said Filip Seuntjens, Project Manager at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. "Along with mobile, this really proves that students don't just connect with Blackboard, but that Blackboard also connects with students."
To make the platform more instructionally focused for K-12 schools and districts, the release introduces integrated lesson planning and standards alignment and reporting, making it easy for teachers to align course content and instruction to state standards. And when standards evolve based on curricular changes, a new standards mapping tool can save districts countless hours by automating updates within the learning platform.
"Release 9.1 will engage K-12 teachers and learners and allow them to apply new practices required for 21st century education," said Daniel Lake, Systems Consultant at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES. "Blackboard has paid close attention to our feedback and input to build features that will help K-12 clients better manage future learning environments."
Available today as a free upgrade for Blackboard customers, Release 9.1 was developed with the active participation of over 250 client representatives who provided input through focus groups, usability testing, Beta programs and other quality initiatives.
"Coming from a WebCT environment, Release 9.1 not only has the tools and features we need to migrate our courses, but it also allows us improve our teaching and learning at the same time," said Joel T. Johnson, Instructional Designer at the College of St. Scholastica, which participated in the Release 9.1 Beta program.
With Release 9.1, Blackboard tripled the number of staff focused on product improvement and stability. The Company is also introducing a new 99.9 service level offering for Blackboard Managed Hosting(TM) that combines the new release with a package of best practices that have been honed through years of supporting mission critical installations worldwide. To help clients manage upgrades, Blackboard also introduced online resource centers with free access to upgrade information, video tutorials and quick start guides, preview accounts, and Webinars, and announced consulting and hosting programs to help institutions manage upgrades and the changes they require.
For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://blackboard.com/Teaching-Learning/Learn-Platform.aspx.
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-K filed on February 17, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of April 12, 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 April 12, 2010.
SOURCE Blackboard Inc.