UMassOnline Uses Blackboard Learning System(TM) - Vista Enterprise License to Support 16 Campuses in Unique e-Learning Consortium; Cost-Sharing Collaborative Leverages Technology Investment and Resources While Expanding Opportunities
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 13, 2006--UMassOnline, the online
learning division of the University of Massachusetts, is hosting the
e-learning infrastructure of 11 Massachusetts colleges on the
Blackboard Learning System(TM)-Vista Enterprise License in a unique
arrangement to foster economies of scale and continuous education
improvement. The Blackboard Learning System-Vista Enterprise License,
formerly known as WebCT Vista(R), has recently been rebranded to
reflect the extended community of users across both Blackboard(R) and
WebCT(R) product lines, spanning 3,650 institutions, 60 countries,
millions of users and thousands of developers located around the
UMassOnline, plus the five institutions in the UMass system, bring
to 16 the total number of campuses in a growing consortium supported
by a centrally managed instance of the Blackboard Learning
System-Vista Enterprise License. WebCT recently merged with Blackboard
(NASDAQ: BBBB), and the combined company continues to provide and
support the full range of each organization's product lines to
education institutions around the world.
By collaborating in the arrangement, the colleges can share the
cost and resources required for buying and managing an e-learning
infrastructure, freeing up each individual institution to fully
concentrate its resources on teaching and learning. The new
participants in the community are:
Bunker Hill Community College
Massachusetts College of Art
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and
Salem State College
Quinsigamond Community College
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Westfield State College
This group includes the entire Colleges of the Fenway
collaboration initiative and, together with the five UMass campuses,
represents a student body of approximately 60,000 students.
"UMassOnline and WebCT are a powerful combination that we can rely
on to leverage our investment in educational technology and the
resources we have to manage it, while expanding academic opportunities
for our students," said Craig Loftus, director, learning technology
services of the Wentworth Institute of Technology.
The colleges for the first time can take advantage of the unique
capabilities in the Blackboard Learning System-Vista Enterprise
License for content management, multi-community support, academic
analytics, and easy integration with other applications, such as
student information systems.
"This collaboration lowers the total cost of ownership for each of
our schools by spreading central hardware and systems management costs
across our entire user base," said Dr. Robert Paterson, chief
information officer at Salem State College. "And by outsourcing our
e-learning infrastructure to UMassOnline, we've bypassed a wide range
of scalability, flexibility and affordability challenges in our
previous systems. We're eager to explore the potential development of
cooperative programs among participating schools."
The colleges are able to deploy the platform just a few short
weeks after committing to the switch. The multi-community support
capabilities enable each institution to securely operate each one's
own academic environment with separate branding, look and feel, and
The hosting arrangement is among the first in Massachusetts. In
August 2004, UMassOnline moved its fast-growing online learning
activities, including its distance learning program, to WebCT Vista.
The switch provided an academic enterprise system platform for
thousands more in face-to-face classes across the five UMass system
"This hosting arrangement saves money and enables the hosted
campuses to skip the usual four-to-six-month infrastructure set up so
they can focus on academic service," said Brian Douglas, UMassOnline
CTO. "This benefits the Commonwealth, lowering the total e-learning
costs and opening the door to further economies of scale and unlimited
Today's announcement builds on UMassOnline's early and sustained
successful innovation in online learning. With over 60 online degree
and certificate programs and 21,000 enrollments, UMassOnline generated
$21 million in revenue during the 2006 fiscal year.
"UMassOnline continues to build its reputation as a leader in
e-learning from an academic, technical and business standpoint," said
Michael Chasen, Blackboard president and chief executive officer. "The
institution is taking its service role seriously and supporting the
region in a way that will significantly benefit everyone involved."
UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts' system online
education consortium, delivers accredited, online programs from UMass
Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and UMass Medical School via
interactive, Web-based learning systems. Online programs are closely
coupled with their face-to-face counterparts enabling UMassOnline to
offer fully accredited (NEASC) and nationally-recognized programs
online. Created by the University President and Board of Trustees in
2001 to serve community educational needs and increase access to a
UMass education, UMassOnline generated $21 million in revenue in the
2006 fiscal year. For more information, please visit
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 solutions are 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, Australia and Asia. WebCT is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Blackboard Inc.
Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.(TM)
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 July 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 July 13, 2006.
CONTACT: Blackboard Inc.
Melissa Chotiner, 202-463-4860 ext. 2404
Lisa Philpott, 781-309-1265
Amy Storey, 202-828-8819
SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.