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Bedfordshire Police and Blackboard Team Up to Deliver Award-Winning Public Information Campaign

Innovative Use of Text Messaging Keeps Public Informed During Recent Protests

AMSTERDAM – 03 August, 2011 – Bedfordshire Police and txttools, a division of Blackboard Connect™ joined forces to deliver an award-winning public information campaign during the largest policing operation in the police force’s history, Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today.

The innovative campaign – launched in February during a major demonstration by the English Defence League (EDL) and counter protest by Unite Against Fascism in Luton – received overwhelming positive feedback from the community and was recently named as a winner of the prestigious Mobile Messaging Award.

The initiative enabled the police to reassure the public and maintain control of a potentially inflammatory situation by opening up a live communication channel to residents, shoppers and local businesses. The service enabled police to send text messages to the public, helping them respond to situations in real time and quell reports of rumoured incidents.

“In terms of numbers, what we achieved with the text message service was impressive. Its true value though, can be seen in the reaction we had from the public,” said Bedfordshire Police Marketing Manager Andy Jones. “I was staggered by the range of people who wrote in after the protest to thank us for the updates and to tell us what a difference it made to them.”

During the protests, Bedfordshire Police sent over 41,000 text messages that ranged from updates on road closures and bus diversions, to news about threats or incidents. Over 1,600 people registered to receive text updates after it was widely publicised via the police force’s Facebook page and reminders sent through street-level Bluetooth proximity units. 

The messages sent during the protests were able to reach an even wider audience through social media, as updates to the police force’s Web site and Facebook page were shared within seconds via Twitter by news organizations, journalists and private individuals.

“In a quickly changing and difficult situation such as the Luton demonstrations, reassuring the public by providing fast, trusted information was imperative for Bedfordshire Police,” said Stephen McCann, Vice President and Managing Director of the U.K. for Blackboard Connect. “The ease of use and immediacy of text messaging coupled with the reliability, simplicity and flexibility of our solution provided an ideal channel for communication and supporting police operations.”

The campaign won in the Public Sector category of the 10th Annual Mobile Messaging Awards, held at the Global Messaging and VAS Congress. The Awards, held in association with 160 Characters, celebrate the very best in messaging innovation and development.

Blackboard Connect solutions have helped thousands of schools, universities and local governments send billions of critical multi-modal messages around the world. For more information about Blackboard Connect, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/connect.

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 August 3, 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 August 3, 2011.

CONTACTS
Geraldine Fernandez/Robert Hickling
020 8971 6417/ 6427
gfernandez@saycomms.co.uk or rhickling@saycomms.co.uk

Travis Sowders, Blackboard Inc.
+ 001 310 210 7216 or travis.sowders@blackboard.com