SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

May 19, 2008 09:00 ET

Blackboard's SafeAssign™ Used for One Million Student Papers

Plagiarism Prevention Service Hits Milestone Less Than One Year After Launch

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - May 19, 2008) - SafeAssign™, the free plagiarism prevention service launched less than one year ago by Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of educational enterprise software, has now been used to evaluate over 1 million student papers, the company announced today.

Part of Blackboard's ongoing effort to deliver innovative tools to better support and connect Blackboard users in their everyday teaching and learning, SafeAssign is an interactive tool that enables instructors to prevent plagiarism by verifying student papers against billions of source materials. SafeAssign also creates opportunities to educate students about the importance of academic integrity and attribution.

Available at no cost as part of the Blackboard Learning System™ Enterprise License, SafeAssign has been used by hundreds of institutions worldwide.

"We are thrilled with the response that SafeAssign has received from the education community," said Michael L. Chasen, president and CEO of Blackboard. "This milestone represents encouraging news for a growing number of teachers and students worldwide who are using SafeAssign to collaboratively prevent plagiarism and protect intellectual material. As the service grows in popularity, it will only become more accurate and useful in efforts to address a problem faced by every college, university and K-12 school."

The proliferation of Web-based "paper mills" and several high profile instances of cheating have drawn significant attention to the issue of plagiarism. In 2003, a Rutgers University study found that nearly four in 10 college students -- 38 percent -- had engaged in online plagiarism. Many students have also expressed uncertainty over what exactly constitutes plagiarism.

To confront the problem, SafeAssign checks papers submitted via the Blackboard Learning System™ against a comprehensive set of databases, including the Internet -- scanning billions of Web pages -- and several other licensed academic databases. A report is then generated that offers a line-by-line comparison of potentially unoriginal text by highlighting questionable content and providing links to corresponding sources.

"SafeAssign is a very powerful tool," said Marvin H. O'Neal III, Ph.D., undergraduate biology professor at Stony Brook University. "Because of the size of our laboratories, we have many sections teaching the same material each week. SafeAssign creates a common filtering point for all of the assignments, even from students who have different instructors or who are taking the same course during a different semester."

"SafeAssign made grading my research papers so much easier," said Miranda Gilliam, English teacher at Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas. "Using SafeAssign proved to the students that plagiarism is a big deal. Of course, I can tell students not to copy, but when there is an element in place that checks one's work such as SafeAssign, my point is proven."

SafeAssign is unique among plagiarism prevention services as it gives the student control over how their paper is used in broader efforts to prevent plagiarism. Students can elect to have their paper included in the Global Reference Database and used to check against others from institutions around the world that use SafeAssign. Or, students can elect to have their paper stored and used at their local institution only. Since its launch in July 2007, more than four in 10 participating students -- over 40 percent -- have opted-into the Global Reference Database.

For more information about SafeAssign, 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. Millions of people use Blackboard solutions 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.


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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 May 9, 2008 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of May 19, 2008. 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 19, 2008.

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