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Blackboard Launches Pilot for Innovative Approach to Improving Developmental Education

Effort Aims to Address one of Education's Most Pressing Challenges

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --A group of leading colleges and universities have partnered with Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) to pilot a new, innovative approach for improving outcomes in developmental education. Studies show nearly 60 percent of community college students and 20 percent of students at four-year colleges must take at least one developmental course before beginning college study, and Blackboard's solution gives institutions a new, cost-effective strategy for confronting one of the most pressing challenges in education.

At each pilot campus, students will take online courses delivered by Blackboard that include live instruction from experienced, qualified instructors with subject matter expertise. The course offerings can be scaled to augment or replace existing sections of traditionally delivered developmental programs where student achievement generally lags behind desired outcomes. Several community colleges and four year institutions have joined the pilot effort, including the University of Kentucky, Baton Rouge Community College, and Ivy Tech Community College.

Some participating students have already begun work, and additional pilots will begin this summer. All of the students in the pilots are taking developmental mathematics, one of the most frequently required developmental courses. The planned expansion for the program includes the addition of developmental English.

While the course experience is similar for all pilot participants, each campus is leveraging the approach to address unique challenges and opportunities. At the University of Kentucky, for example, the new courses are part of a bridge program established to increase college readiness for local high school students. Other institutions are offering the courses as an alternative to traditional remedial courses or as a second chance for students who have previously failed to pass a traditional remedial course.

Unlike traditional developmental course offerings, which can be expensive to deliver and do not generally have high rates of student success, Blackboard Developmental Education(TM) is a cost-effective solution designed to give students a more personalized learning experience and allow them to move through the course at their own pace. Students who demonstrate mastery of course concepts can complete courses faster, enabling them to begin degree credit courses sooner. Students are supported by one-on-one online sessions and live phone support with course instructors.

As part of the course, instructors work with on-campus "mentors" who act as program representatives and have access to real-time reporting and analysis on student activity and progression, including how much time a student has spent on a particular section and how far they've progressed in the course. Armed with this actionable insight, mentors can help students who may be struggling or falling behind. Blackboard Developmental Education is built to support an institution's existing developmental program, curriculum policies, course requirements and assessment needs. The offering can be deployed as a stand-alone product or it can be integrated with an institution's existing Blackboard Learn(TM) platform or with another learning management system.

"Improving outcomes in developmental education is one of the best ways that the education community can respond to the challenge from our president and the U.S. Department of Education to grow the number of U.S. college graduates," said Matthew Small, the Chief Business Officer of Blackboard. "Institutions have asked us to help them in this area with an efficient and cost-effective solution, and we're excited to begin this effort in partnership with a forward-thinking set of campuses."

For more information about Blackboard Developmental Education, please visit: http://www.Blackboard.com/DevEd.

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 18, 2011 and Form 10-Q filed on May 9, 2011 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of June 20, 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 June 20, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.