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Emmanuel Schools Foundation Chooses Blackboard

Four schools across Northeast England to benefit from integrated online systems


AMSTERDAM – December 1, 2009 – Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) today announced that The Emmanuel Schools Foundation, a charitable schools sponsor, has chosen Blackboard to establish its first Virtual Learning Environment. Blackboard LearnTM for Academic Collaboration will be rolled out across the Foundation’s four schools in Northeast England: Emmanuel College in Gateshead, The King’s Academy in Middlesbrough, Trinity Academy in Doncaster and the newly opened Bede Academy in Blyth.


The Foundation was set up in 1988 to partner local schools with the aim of improving all facets of academic life, from the welfare of students through to improved results. During the last 20 years the Foundation has seen its reputation for excellence flourish as it has grown from one school of 150 pupils and 20 staff to four schools with 5,500 students aged 3 to 18 and over 800 staff. Implementing Blackboard’s Virtual Learning Environment reflects the Foundation’s intention to use innovative education delivery techniques which reflect its traditional ethos and values.


“The online world opens up enormous and exciting possibilities for our staff and students to connect and collaborate in innovative ways,” said Nick Mather, director of teaching and learning, The Emmanuel Schools Foundation. “Blackboard offered us all the aspects we were looking for in a VLE partner; this is key to our vision for educational excellence and our future growth.”


The Foundation initially saw two distinct facets to its aim to offer the best in online learning – one being a virtual learning environment and the other a Foundation wide portal that would offer additional features such as cashless meal vouchers and gym booking facilities. Blackboard was able to offer both the virtual learning environment and Foundation wide portal facilities through a single, scalable solution – a big selling point for the Foundation.

As well as offering its pupils, staff and parents a simple to use virtual learning environment and additional online facilities, the Foundation was looking to integrate Blackboard Learn with existing back end systems that handle course registration, timetable information and other administrative activities and the ability to customise parts of the VLE to fit specific needs – and run the whole solution in house on its own servers in line with their other systems.


Blackboard was able to offer a full installation service, as well as full systems administration to enable the Foundation’s IT staff to run and maintain the system. Furthermore, the highly modular nature of Blackboard Learn is further extended by the availability of a development API, which allows the Foundation to develop its own bespoke modules within the platform.


“We are delighted that an organisation that has had such a profound impact on delivery of primary and secondary education as The Emmanuel Foundation has chosen our online learning solutions to continue to expand the cutting edge education solutions that have cemented its reputation,” said Barrie Hoban, Blackboard Regional Vice President.


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-Q filed on November 6, 2009 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of December 1, 2009. 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 December 1, 2009.