SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

June 28, 2005 07:00 ET

Blackboard Unveils Application Pack Three to Help Institutions Enhance Teaching and Learning

New Software Release Includes Many New Features and Bridges Blackboard's Academic and Commerce Suites

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 28, 2005 -- Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of software and services to the education industry and corporate and government sectors, launched its latest software release today, Application Pack Three for the Blackboard Academic Suite™. Application Pack Three offers many new features to enhance teaching and learning, including multi-language support for online courses, adaptive release functionality which enables instructors to create custom learning paths for students, and several enhancements to the Blackboard assessment engine, among many other new capabilities. In addition, this new release creates a bridge between the Blackboard Academic Suite to the Blackboard Commerce Suite™ -- Blackboard's campus commerce platform which connect users to a universal account for various on- and off-campus activities, purchases and facilities access.

Application Pack Three is the third release in Blackboard's strategy for distributing smaller, more manageable software updates implemented without a major upgrade. The new features of Application Pack Three aim to improve instruction, collaboration and interaction among teachers, students and all members of a campus community, to foster Networked Learning and Networked Transaction Environments™.

During pre-release testing, Application Pack Three was well received by a number of Blackboard clients.

"We used Application Pack Three during mid-terms and final exams and had smooth sailing," said Lisa Ellrodt, Open Systems Database Administrator at Pace University in New York. "Our departments are excited about the new functionality such as multi-language support, which is great for our distance education classes. We plan to implement e-commerce soon. Application Pack Three is the best release ever from Blackboard."

New Capabilities for Teaching and Learning

Highlights of Application Pack Three capabilities for enhancing teaching and learning include:

Anytime, Anywhere Access

--  Multi-Language Support by Institution, Course and User: Enables
    systems to run multiple European languages, including Dutch, French,
    German, Italian and Spanish, on the same system
    
Instructor Efficiency
--  Syllabus Builder: Guides the instructor through a very simple process
    for building a syllabus online without requiring HTML knowledge
    
Access to High Quality Content
--  SCORM 2004: Support for the newest specification for SCORM, a standard
    enabling the use of rich interoperable learning content
    
Student Centered Learning
--  Adaptive Release: Allows instructors to create custom learning paths
    through course content and activities
    
--  What's New Module: Alerts users of any key changes or updates since
    they last logged in
    
Evaluations & Outcomes Management
--  Advanced Assessment Questions: Allows the creation of additional
    question types within assessments including 'jumbled sentence,' 'hotspot,'
    and 'fill in multiple blanks'
    
--  Performance Dashboard: Gives instructors the ability to see key
    information and outcomes for all course users
    
Application Pack Three Brings Blackboard's Two Suites Together

In addition to the teaching and learning enhancements enabled through Application Pack Three, the release marks the first time Blackboard's two suites of products will be integrated, providing a whole new set of options for all members of a campus community. Two key features of this integration are the online account management and e-Marketplace capabilities.

According to Michael Chasen, Blackboard's Chief Executive Officer, "Application Pack Three brings the whole college experience together, allowing members of a campus community to access one centralized online location for all their daily needs -- from checking grades and getting assignments to putting money on meal plans and purchasing tickets to athletic events. With Application Pack Three, Blackboard is extending the power of the Internet from teaching and learning to student services. This integration of Blackboard's two suites represents the realization of our vision for a unified campus."

The online account management feature provides a web-based interface for students and staff to access their campus accounts. This allows cardholders to deposit funds to their account and review account statements online.

With the e-Marketplace feature students and faculty can set up online storefronts, making it possible for the campus Chemistry Department, for example, to sell lab equipment and supplies online, and campus parking to sell parking passes online in a separate store.

Clients can download Application Pack Three in the reference center provided on Behind the Blackboard™, a dedicated extranet and password-protected area of the Company's website.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software and 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 June 28, 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 June 28, 2005.

Contact Information

  • Blackboard Public Relations Manager:

    Melissa Chotiner
    Blackboard Inc.
    202-463-4860 ext. 2404
    Email Contact

    Media Contact:

    Dan Baum
    DBC Public Relations Experts
    202-298-7600 ext. 205
    Email Contact