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Blackboard Announces Full Support for Key Open Education Standards

Open Database Initiative for Blackboard Learn Also Gains Traction

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced full support for two key industry standards - Common Cartridge and Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) - that make it easier for instructors and others to share educational content and resources. The announcement, and the growing popularity of the open database initiative for the Blackboard Learn(TM) platform, mark key milestones in Blackboard's work to establish a more open platform for teaching and learning.

Conformance for both standards - Common Cartridge 1.0 and Basic LTI - was certified by the IMS Global Learning Consortium in November 2010. Support for the standards was made available to clients in December as part of Service Pack 4 for Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1. The company plans to continue support for each standard going forward to give clients and users greater choice and flexibility in the use of course tools and course content.

"We committed to being a leader in the development of open education standards - not just a participant, and we've now delivered on that initiative," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn and a member of the IMS board of directors. "This is a big milestone for us and for our clients, and a sign of the maturity of the education technology industry. We thank IMS Global for their partnership and their focus in helping the industry move forward in this important area."

With Common Cartridge, educators and instructional designers can use learning tools and content across various learning platforms to promote greater sharing of content and resources across the global teaching and learning community. With LTI, clients have more choices for integrating external learning tools within Blackboard Learn courses, and publishers can develop high quality content that can be distributed to the teaching and learning community more easily.

"Blackboard deserves a lot of credit for its significant investment in helping to develop these open standards and making them available to clients," said Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive of IMS Global. "Educators and institutions using Blackboard Learn are going to realize significant benefits in terms of being able to remix content and access to a wide range of discipline specific learning tools."

In addition to supporting LTI, Blackboard has adopted the standard in its work with McGraw-Hill Higher Education to develop a new solution that combines the best of the Blackboard Learn and McGraw Hill Connect platforms. Using LTI, the companies are working to achieve a deep, seamless integration of content, tools and platform that will offer a significantly streamlined workflow for instructors and students.

Blackboard Learn Open Database Gains Traction

Blackboard also reported that its open database initiative for Blackboard Learn has gained popularity since its launch in July 2010 with several hundred clients moving to explore newly established access to the Blackboard Learn platform database.ens

The open database gives institutions that host Blackboard Learn locally direct access to their system data, enabling them to better diagnose and troubleshoot to help ensure better system performance (Blackboard Managed Hosting clients already enjoy this level of access). The initiative also gives clients access to detailed reporting on system usage so they can determine which tools and features are being used more often by students and faculty in order to make for informed decisions about technology and training investments.

Blackboard is the only major education focused provider of learning management software to offer such access to its system database, while ANGEL Learning had done so previously.

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit For more information about the IMS Global Learning Consortium, 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.

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 ourForm 10-Q filed on November 5, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of January 10, 2011. 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 January 10, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.