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Blackboard Introduces Open Enrollment for CourseSites


Free Online Course System Also Gets New Mobile Support

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. today introduced an open enrollment option for CourseSites, letting instructors open registration so any number of students can sign up for courses they are teaching with the free, fully-hosted and supported online system. In addition, the company has added mobile support, giving over 200,000 CourseSites users access on a range of the world's most popular smartphones and mobile devices.

With the open enrollment option, any number and any type of student can register for an instructor's course, making CourseSites an ideal platform for open teaching initiatives, community outreach efforts and collaborative research programs that have become increasingly popular in education.

"During the past decade, the world has become wide open for learning," said Dr. Curtis Bonk, a Professor of Education at Indiana University who is using CourseSites to launch an open course this month on learner-centered approaches to blended and online instruction. "With CourseSites and other initiatives, Blackboard is making great strides in fostering this idea of opening up education opportunities beyond traditional boundaries."

Dr. Bonk's course is part of a new free open course series from Blackboard focused on teaching and learning with technology. The courses will be delivered through CourseSites and led by thought leaders in instructional technology and pedagogy and by Blackboard experts who will share successful strategies and approaches to online learning, course design and facilitation.

The course series and open enrollment capabilities are part of Blackboard's continued effort to support growing interest in open education programs, including delivering large open courses (sometimes called "MOOCs," or massive open online courses) and make it easier for users to create, use and find open courses and content. Last year CourseSites was enabled to support the publishing and sharing of courses as open education resources (OER), and policies for Blackboard Learn, the company's flagship LMS platform, were adjusted to provide greater support for open initiatives.

New mobile support for CourseSites allows users to access courses and other information on iOS, Android, Palm® webOS and BlackBerry® mobile devices. CourseSites also now includes an integration that lets instructors access copies of their Google Docs within their courses and synchronize them with changes made in Google Docs.

Launched in 2011, CourseSites is a free, cloud-based course option that leverages Blackboard's latest technology for course management, Web collaboration and mobile learning. The system is currently used by more than 30,000 instructors at over 12,000 institutions in over 130 countries, and can be accessed in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese.

The system is popular with instructors who are interested in experimenting with online teaching and learning, are interested in trying Blackboard's newest teaching and learning technologies, or do not have access to a learning management system (LMS) at their institution. With support for open enrollment and OER, Blackboard is working to position CourseSites as a dynamic option for open teaching of all kinds.

For more information about CourseSites, please visit: http://www.coursesites.com.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging and relevant to the modern-day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers and partners in higher education and K-12 as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning. For more information about Blackboard, follow us on Twitter @Blackboard.

Source: Blackboard Inc.

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