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Blackboard: Over 1,000 Clients Adopt Next Generation Platform

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Sun Nov 14 2010

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WASHINGTON, Oct 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Driven by the rapid adoption of Blackboard Learn(TM) Release 9.1 over the summer, more than 1,000 clients are now on Blackboard's next generation online teaching and learning platform, Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced.

The adoption rate is faster than for any new learning management release in Blackboard's history, making the Release 9.x platform the most widely used across the Blackboard community. Release 9.1 also provided a number of key enhancements targeted to the WebCT community which helped speed adoption, with over 100 former WebCT clients upgrading to Release 9.1 during the first six months following its release.

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Launched in April, Release 9.1 features an updated Web 2.0 interface, built-in social learning tools like blogs and wikis, and the ability to integrate multimedia content from Web sources like YouTube(R), Flickr(R) and Slideshare to create a more engaging course experience. The release also includes lesson planning and standards alignment, important new features for K-12 teachers and learners.

With Release 9.1, Blackboard has also made significant investments in product quality, client support and responsiveness, and support for managing upgrades. The investments have spurred not just upgrades but improvements in overall client confidence, with responses to Blackboard's client satisfaction surveys improving throughout 2010. On the support front, seven and 30-day closure rates for support tickets -- a good benchmark for support quality -- are up sharply, recording the largest increases since Blackboard has measured the statistics.

"I'm pleased with this positive signal about our direction and our performance on the fundamentals of Blackboard Learn," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn. "Our clients are telling us that our fundamentals are improving, and it's great to see their willingness to show us with this vote of confidence. We're not satisfied that we've reached our full potential, and so this result is great encouragement to keep our focus on improving our products and the experience we deliver our clients."

To help support clients upgrading to Release 9.1, Blackboard has created a set of free resources including a series of video tutorials to help institutions acclimate new users with the latest release. Blackboard has also established a popular guided cohort program that hundreds of clients are participating in to learn from each other as they go through the upgrade process.

"We have had a very positive experience with Blackboard and the resources that they've put together for the Release 9.1 upgrade go miles in making the case that we have chosen the right platform," said Gary Friesen, Director of Academic Technology at Taylor University which is currently participating in the cohort program and is planning an upgrade to 9.1 in December. "I am very encouraged by what Blackboard has put together to help us in this transition and to support the upgrade experience."

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In addition to the core features of Release 9.1, it can also be enabled for interactive mobile learning opportunities through Blackboard Mobile(TM) Learn -- native applications for the most popular mobile platforms. It also integrates Blackboard Connect(TM) technology to let students choose how they receive course notifications and updates, including through messages to their mobile devices.

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://blackboard.com/Teaching-Learning/Learn-Platform.aspx.

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