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Twenty Campuses Launch Live Pilot of Combined Solution From McGraw-Hill and Blackboard

In over 100 Live Courses, Instructors and Students Get Single Point of Access for Courses, Content & Learning Tools

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Twenty different colleges and universities have partnered with Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) and McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), to test drive the latest in higher education technology: a combined solution that offers students and instructors a single point of access for courses, content and learning tools.

The institutions are participating in a live pilot for the total course solution, announced in July, that combines McGraw-Hill's media-rich content, assessment engines, and industry leading adaptive learning tools with the latest capabilities of Blackboard's online teaching and learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). The solution is the industry's deepest integration of content and tools in a learning platform.

"As instructors, we have limited time with our students in the classroom, and have found that digital programs allow us to continually engage with them on their schedule and in an online environment that they are comfortable in," said Kayla Christensen, lecturer of accounting at Iowa State University, one of the schools that will pilot the new platform. "This solution will give us more time with our students and facilitate ongoing learning and assessment through streamlined access to course materials. Automatic grading that provides instant feedback to students, homework and practice problems will be more effective for students and more efficient for teachers."

Faculty and students at the participating campuses - along with 100 additional instructors across the country who, with their students, will also participate in the pilot - will provide ongoing feedback on the total course solution utilizing McGraw-Hill's market leading platforms, Connect(R) and Create(TM), within Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1. By offering all course resources in a single environment, the solution significantly improves faculty and student workflows and provides:

  • Single sign-on and easy access within the Blackboard Learn platform to McGraw-Hill's Connect(R) and Create(TM) to manage course content, create assignments and track student performance.
  • Automatic grade synchronization of all grades for McGraw-Hill assignments with the Blackboard Learn gradebook.
  • The conveniences of pre-built publisher content and tools without the inconveniences of leaving the system or importing and staging content common to other product models.
  • Seamless access to best-in-class learning resources, making it simpler to get more done and deepening student engagement with their courses for improved performance and retention.
  • Access to a range of popular tools in the Connect platform, including adaptive assessment to deliver customized learning content based on student strengths and weaknesses, and lecture capture to give students the ability to easily find key information from lectures to review at their own pace.
  • Flexibility and choice, ensuring that instructors are not restricted to a single source for content and tools, allowing instructors to use resources from virtually any source.

Expected to be widely available in summer 2011, the solution is the first to rely on the open education standard Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (Basic LTI); is fully compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to ensure student privacy; and is built on the highly accessible Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 platform - the first learning platform to earn Gold Star certification from the National Federation of the Blind.

"This is the industry's first solution that effectively pairs a top flight learning platform with high quality, cloud-based publisher content and tools," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn."What we've built together allows faculty to pair the two systems at a course level with a high level of convenience and a low learning curve. It's a great leap in usability and efficiency and it can lead to faster and deeper adoption of digital products in higher education."

"The Blackboard and McGraw-Hill partnership brings together two leaders in education technology to improve the classroom experience for students and faculty," said Doug Hughes, director, Digital Partnerships, McGraw-Hill Higher Education. "We're excited for these 20 schools to pilot this groundbreaking new program, providing a comprehensive digital environment where professors and students can access everything they need to succeed in the course in one location."

To learn more about the institutions participating in the field trial or about the combined offerings of McGraw-Hill Education and Blackboard, please visit http://www.domorenow.com .

About McGraw-Hill Higher Education

McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a unit of McGraw-Hill Education, is a leading innovator in the development of 21st century teaching and learning digital solutions for postsecondary and higher education markets worldwide. Through a comprehensive range of traditional and digital education content and tools focused on improving student learning outcomes, McGraw-Hill Higher Education empowers and prepares professionals and students to connect, learn and succeed in the global economy. McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 65 languages. Additional information is available at http://www.mheducation.com.

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 27, 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 27, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc. and McGraw-Hill