SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

May 10, 2005 07:00 ET

Blackboard Embraces IMS Global Learning Consortium; Sponsors Upcoming Alt-i-Lab Conference

Blackboard Director of Standards and Interoperability Invited to Co-Chair IMS Content Packaging Working Group

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 10, 2005 -- At a time when standards and interoperability issues are of preeminent concern to decision makers at academic institutions around the country and world, Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of e-learning software and services, is demonstrating continued commitment to the IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc. While attending the quarterly IMS Global Learning Consortium meeting, Blackboard today announced sponsorship of the upcoming IMS Advanced Learning Technology Interoperability (Alt-i-Lab) 2005 Conference, to take place June 20-22 in Sheffield, England. In addition, Blackboard's Director of Standards and Interoperability, Jan Poston Day has agreed to serve as Co-Chair of the IMS Content Packaging Working Group.

The IMS Content Packaging Group, (part of the IMS Global Learning Consortium), is defining a specification to describe and package learning materials, such as an individual course or a collection of courses. This specification will make it possible for such materials to be easily integrated and distributed in different course management systems, such as the Blackboard Learning System™. Content Packaging addresses the description, structure, and location of online learning materials and the definition of some particular content types. The IMS Content Packaging Working Group, co-chaired by Blackboard and Wilbert Kraan of the Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards (CETIS) is working to release a new policy titled the Content Packaging v 1.2 charter for vote.

Blackboard has worked closely with IMS since 1997, initially serving as its primary technical contractor, to assist in defining many of the original specifications. Today Blackboard plays an active role at all levels of the IMS Global Learning Consortium with representation on the following groups:

--  IMS Technical Board; co-chair of the IMS Tools and Interoperability
    Working Group
--  IMS Content Packaging; co-chair of the IMS Content Packaging Working
    Group
--  IMS ePortfolio Working Group; contributing member
    
The upcoming Alt-i-Lab conference is an important event for the world of standards because its goal is to demonstrate interoperability between disparate course management and learning tools, including both open source and commercial products. As part of its work with the IMS Tools and Interoperability Working Group, Blackboard will also demonstrate a new project to enhance interoperability among various tools and course management systems. Blackboard will unveil this project in June at the Alt-i-Lab Technology Exchange. Bob Alcorn, Senior Architect at Blackboard currently co-Chairs the IMS Tools and Interoperability Working Group.

"Blackboard is committed to working with the IMS Learning Consortium to ensure that standards and interoperability remain a top priority, not only for Blackboard and its clients, but across the industry," said Matthew Pittinsky, Chairman of Blackboard. "Our company was founded with standards as a basic principle and our original focus of effort, and standards continue to guide our efforts to this day. We believe the combination of Blackboard's proven enterprise e-Learning platform, and our standards-based, open architecture Building Blocks® program enables developers to easily customize and extend Blackboard's products."

In addition to presenting at the upcoming Alt-i-Lab conference, Blackboard will participate in a Pre-Standards Workshop on Digital Rights Expression later this month. Blackboard will be representing the learning management systems vendor community later this month. This workshop sponsored by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) will examine current practices in favor of rights expression and management. Strategies will be offered to advance interoperability in the supply chain for scholarly and educational information.

One month following Alt-i-Lab, Georgetown University will host Blackboard developers at the 3rd Annual Blackboard Building Blocks Developer Conference from July 18-19, 2005.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. The Company's product line consists of five software applications bundled in two suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite ™ and the Blackboard Commerce Suite ™. Blackboard's clients include colleges, universities, 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 and staff in North America, Europe and Asia.

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 most recent 10-K filed with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of May 10, 2005. 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 May 10, 2005.

Contact Information

  • Blackboard Public Relations Manager:

    Melissa Chotiner
    Blackboard Inc.
    (202) 463-4860 ext. 2404
    mchotiner@blackboard.com

    Media Inquiries:

    Dan Baum
    DBC Public Relations Experts
    202-298-7600 Ext. 205
    dan@dbcpr.com