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Blackboard Launches Beta Program for New Collaboration Platform

Institutions Will Test Drive New Capabilities of Leading Solution for Education Interaction

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced the launch of a Beta program designed to involve customer participation and feedback in the development of the new Blackboard Collaborate(TM) platform. The new platform plans to combine the best synchronous learning and collaboration solutions from Elluminate and Wimba and to feature continued support for integrations with a wide variety of commercial and open source learning management systems (LMS).

Institutions participating in the Beta program are already familiar with the leading education-focused Web, video and audio conferencing technologies from Elluminate and Wimba, and will have the opportunity to test, experience and provide feedback on real-world and classroom applications of the new platform, which is being designed to emphasize ease of use and accessibility for all users.

The Beta program is part of a phased approach to deliver the best solution that combines customer-driven engineering and product development from core users in both K-12 and higher education. Many of the participants in the Beta program are also members of the Blackboard Collaborate Product Advisory Council, which is made up of users from about 60 institutions who meet and give feedback on the design and functionality of the integrated solutions while they are still in development.

"As educators, our needs aren't always aligned with those of decision makers in corporate markets, but education innovators like Blackboard who invite their customers to engage in product development are highly desirable partners," said Marcel Bechtoldt, Principal Systems Administrator at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "The Beta program for Blackboard Collaborate creates a solid vendor-client relationship and helps to build strong functionality around the products. We appreciate having the opportunity to share our vision with them."

The Beta program will help to ensure that Blackboard Collaborate product design is a true advancement that enables a wide spectrum of collaboration and significantly improves the user experience by combining the best features from both the Elluminate and Wimba solutions.

The Product Advisory Council and Beta program are complemented by the Accessibility Task Force, which is made up of a group of users that advise on Blackboard Collaborate solutions' accessibility capabilities and integrations that meet the wide range of client needs and ensure the applications are usable by everyone.

"The first step in establishing a scalable and open platform is to help ensure that the user is not only comfortable, but completely engaged," noted Maurice Heiblum, President, Blackboard Collaborate. "The Beta program, along with the Product Advisory Council and Accessibility Task Force, provide invaluable user guidance, which will allow us to realize the full potential of the Blackboard Collaborate platform."

"Blackboard embraces the thoughts, experience and opinions of its customers," commented Val Brooks, Deputy Director, Stockton City Learning Centre. "For a company that believes in creating meaningful types of engagement online, Blackboard practices what it preaches; I can't wait for the release of the new platform."

The unique blend of resources created by the Blackboard Collaborate platform, the Elluminate and Wimba solutions not only increases the impact of open education, but also addresses the growing need for collaborative, two-way learning. Blackboard Collaborate solutions are used by higher education, K-12, professional, corporate and government organizations worldwide to support traditional, blended and distance learning as well as a variety of other interactions.

To learn more aboutBlackboard Collaborate, 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-K filed on February 18, 2011 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of April 28, 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 April 28, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.