Michigan Leads the Country With New K-12 e-Learning Initiative
Partnership Supports New State Mandated High School Graduation Requirement
LANSING, MI, Jun 13, 2006 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- Michigan Virtual University (MVU) today announced a partnership with
Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) to strengthen the delivery of online
learning to as many as 450,000 Michigan high school students during
the next three years. This reinforces the new high school graduation
requirements signed into law by the Michigan Legislature and Governor
Granholm in April 2006. The new high school graduation requirements
include a provision for an online course or online learning
experience for all students.
"This innovative partnership allows the Michigan Virtual High School
(MVHS) to offer an engaging, high quality online course for all
Michigan high schools using the Blackboard learning environment. We
believe this is one of the largest online learning initiatives for
K-12 education ever attempted in the U.S. and it also provides a
unique global perspective for Michigan's students," said Jamey
Fitzpatrick, president, MVU.
The MVU-Blackboard partnership will support access to the recently
announced course, "Career Development in a Global Economy," currently
being developed through generous support from Microsoft Corporation's
Partners in Learning program and the Michigan Department of
Education. This new course will be available later this fall to all
high schools in Michigan.
"Blackboard will provide an expanded, secure online learning
environment for student communication, discussion, assessment, and
personal reflection for this course," said Traci Burgess, vice
president of K-12 sales at Blackboard.
"This course is an incredible 'two-fer'," Governor Granholm said.
"It will help our students understand how to thrive in a changing
economy, and it will teach them how to learn on-line, something they
will need to do throughout their work lives."
"Michigan is giving notice to the world that we are answering the
economic call of the 21st Century," said State Superintendent of
Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "By fully recognizing the value of
teaching and learning in a virtual environment, we are preparing our
students for the careers of today and tomorrow. This new
public-private partnership is a powerful example of how we are
continuing to think outside the box to deliver instructional
opportunities to Michigan students."
Gordon Freedman, vice president, education strategy at Blackboard
said, "Michigan continues to be a leader in online learning innovation
for the K-12 community. The new requirement is unique among all the
states, demonstrating a strong vision for the delivery and the content
of a 21st Century education. We are excited to partner with MVU to
offer a new opportunity for all Michigan high school students."
Blackboard has also agreed to assist MVU in developing a series of
educational forums at which schools may learn about a range of
options that are available to meet the new online learning
requirement. These forums will address both the merits and best
practices for implementing online learning.
About MVU and its Michigan Virtual High School
The MVHS is one of the largest virtual schools in the U.S. and earned
NCA/CITA accreditation in 2005. Since its inception in 2000, the MVHS
has supported over 23,000 course enrollments using the Blackboard
learning environment. MVHS has also served more than 125,000 students
with online ACT, SAT, PSAT or State Assessment (MEAP) review tools.
The MVHS operates as the core division of MVU, a private, nonprofit
501(c)(3) corporation created by the State in 1998 to expand the use
of learning technologies. Michigan Virtual University is governed by
a Board of Directors representing business, education leaders and
state government. For more information visit www.mivu.org or
Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise
software applications and related services to the education industry.
Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations
everywhere by connecting people and technology. Blackboard is used
by millions of people at academic institutions around the globe,
including colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other education
providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused
merchants that serve education providers and their students.
Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in
North America, Europe and Asia. For more information visit
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
Annual Report on Form 10-Q filed on May 10, 2006 with the SEC. In
addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press
release represent the Company's views as of June 13, 2006. 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 13,
Michigan Virtual University Contact:
Senior Manager, Public Relations, Blackboard:
+1 202 463-4860 ext. 2404
+1 202 828-8819
SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.