SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

January 18, 2007 08:00 ET

Blackboard Unveils Groundbreaking New Institutional Effectiveness Platform, the Blackboard Outcomes System

Multi-Year and Multi-Million Dollar Investment Results in Comprehensive Solution for Academia to Plan, Measure and Improve Learning Outcomes

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 18, 2007 -- Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of enterprise technology to the education industry, today unveiled its latest and most significant product offering, the Blackboard Outcomes System™. The new solution facilitates the continuous improvement of academic and administrative processes with a focus on student learning, academic programs and co-curricular activities.

The Blackboard Outcomes System is a comprehensive, flexible platform to guide institutional effectiveness across the entire higher education institution or system -- from classrooms to the President's Office. It was developed with guidance from national assessment experts and dozens of academic institutions including private teaching colleges, research universities, systems, and community colleges. The Blackboard Outcomes System leverages the capabilities and familiar user experience of the Blackboard Academic Suite™ to help institutions make evidence-based decisions, streamline assessment processes, and engage students in their own learning.

A Comprehensive, Flexible Platform

"Educational assessment is driven by the standards and culture specific to the discipline and school; one size does not fit all," said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. "The Blackboard Outcomes System is a flexible, customizable solution with tools that can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual course, program, department, college, system or administrator."

The platform is organized around the stages of assessment, 'Plan,' 'Measure,' and 'Improve;' with specific tools to help users meet the challenges in each stage. Tools enable building rubrics; documenting curriculum maps; managing standards; collecting and evaluating artifacts of student learning; surveying attitudes and interests, running online course evaluations; managing departmental improvement projects; analytic and operational reporting, and other key activities. Such a diverse set of tools in one system dramatically simplifies the work for faculty and administrators trying to improve learning at their institutions.

"Higher education has moved from collecting and reporting data to analyzing and acting upon it," said Mary Allen, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California State University -- Bakersfield, a national expert on assessment, and one of several Blackboard advisors who influenced the design of the new system. "At the center of this new platform is the fact that it fosters visibility into the various assessment activities taking place, enabling people to see, interpret, and use data that have been collected to improve learning."

Accountability Cited as Top Priority for Academic Leaders:

In recent years a number of factors have contributed to an increasing demand for accountability in education, including changes in accrediting requirements and the creation of a Federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

A recent third-party survey of higher education leaders across the country commissioned by Blackboard found accountability and assessment to be their second highest priority, following student experience.

Chasen added, "Before we began developing the technology for this new platform, we traveled around the country to meet with our education partners to learn about their critical institutional challenges. We worked very closely with them and others across the education industry to create the Blackboard Outcomes System, which we believe will enable institutions to meet increased demands for accountability and streamline their assessment processes. Most fundamentally, however, this solution will give our clients clear new visibility into their effectiveness and insight to drive improvement."

About Blackboard Inc.

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. Millions of people use Blackboard everyday 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.


Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.™

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 9, 2006 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of January 18, 2007. 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 January 18, 2007.

Contact Information

  • Senior Manager Public Relations at Blackboard:
    Melissa Chotiner
    Blackboard Inc.
    202-463-4860 ext. 2404
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