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New Features from Blackboard Connect Boost Student Engagement at Colleges and Universities

Integration for Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Connect fosters progressive campus communication

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today a range of product enhancements to the Blackboard Connect(TM) platform that extend its leadership in mass notification and alerts for colleges and universities. The new features include the first point of integration between the Blackboard Connect and Blackboard Learn(TM) platforms, and allow higher education institutions to enhance student engagement by delivering communications in the modes that students and faculty prefer most.

The integration for Blackboard Learn is accomplished with the Connect Integration Toolkit for Learn(TM) (CITL), a feature that helps facilitate communication and collaboration between instructors and students. As students rely more upon mobile devices and services, CITL helps institutions better engage them with automated notifications from Blackboard Learn and customized messages from instructors. With the integration, faculty members can easily inform students of assignments and deadlines, schedule changes and grade announcements, all delivered to mobile devices in voice, text or email messages directly from Blackboard Learn.

"Blackboard constantly strives to meet our students' evolving communication needs, and we always try to offer them the most advanced technology available," said Terry Patterson, Director, South Arkansas Community College, one of the first institutions to implement CITL. "Putting the power of Blackboard Connect in the hands of our instructors will help us provide the best learning environment possible."

In addition, Blackboard has added significant new features to its core mass notification platform, Blackboard Connect, including rich-text HTML e-mail support that allows clients to create and send messages with formatted text, embedded images and hyperlinks to make notifications more compelling and effective. Additional enhancements include:

  • Secure document links that let clients share documents through email notifications without the capacity and cost constraints associated with traditional file attachments.
  • Enhanced accessibility of Blackboard Connect messages, including automatically detecting teletypewriter (TTY) devices for the hearing and speech-impaired.
  • Automated weather alerts during severe weather events, based on data from the National Weather Service/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Mass notification service is rapidly becoming a critical component of the technology infrastructure for more higher education institutions," said Ed Miller, President of Blackboard Connect. "These new enhancements help colleges and universities better engage with digital natives and keep them connected with the teaching and learning experience no matter where they are."

Blackboard Connect is also introducing Behind the Blackboard(TM), a no charge knowledge base for all of its current clients that offers around the clock access to on demand help information, campus communication best practices, community discussion boards and other benefits.

For more information about Blackboard's mass notification solutions, visit http://www.blackboard.com/Alert-Notification/Resources/Landing-Page.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-Q filed on May 7, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of July 15, 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 July 15, 2010.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.