Blackboard Extends Leadership in Open Standards With Support for LIS, Enhanced SCORM Blackboard Learn 9.1 Enables Stronger Integrations, Flexibility of Content

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nadsaq: BBBB) today announced extended support for two key open education standards that make it easier for institutions to integrate the Blackboard Learn™ platform with other enterprise data systems and enable greater flexibility in the use of educational content and resources.

The latest version of the leading online learning platform – Service Pack 6 for Blackboard Learn 9.1 – adds full support for IMS Learning Information Services (LIS) 2.0 to enable institutions to more easily manage data between the Blackboard Learn platform and their student information systems. The release also extends support for Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), which makes it possible for instructors to use SCORM-compliant content in Blackboard Learn courses without having to recreate or reformat it.  

The announcement reinforces Blackboard's ongoing leadership in open standards and extends the company's work to establish a more open, interoperable platform. Blackboard also recently became the first learning management vendor to fully support the newest version of another open standard, IMS Common Cartridge 1.1, for import and export.

"Blackboard has followed through on some of the most aggressive plans for supporting open standards we've seen in this space, and their leadership is critical to broadening the impact these standards can have in education," said Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive of IMS Global. "Their leadership and extensive collaboration with IMS Global to define and evolve the LIS standard is incredibly valuable and appreciated."

As part of its work to advance open standards, Blackboard has also worked with Oracle and SunGard Higher Education to define how to best use and support the LIS standards, identify and evaluate use cases, and test the SIS data integration framework. As a result, Blackboard is now in a position to deliver more robust LIS-based integration capabilities for Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions and SunGard Higher Education's Banner Digital Campus.

"This is part of a sustained effort to realize the benefits of open standards within our community," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn. "Educators are placing more value on these investments in standards as they evaluate the total costs of ownership for their options, which includes both the cost of entry and exit from a system."

LIS support enables institutions to better manage the exchange of information about people, memberships and courses between the Blackboard Learn platform and the student information system (SIS), by standardizing the data into one format. With the new SIS data integration framework, system administrators can install, support and manage the systems integration through an easy-to-use interface in Blackboard Learn that allows information to be shared between systems, simplifying deployment of new systems and improving system performance.

The fully supported SCORM Engine Blackboard Building Block™ was developed by Rustici Software, makers of the most highly rated SCORM player, in partnership with Blackboard. Integrating the player into Blackboard Learn offers a better user experience and allows for improved grading and visibility into learner activity and progress.

More than 1,400 institutions have adopted Blackboard Learn 9.1 since it launched last year and the latest version is available today via Service Pack 6. Current Blackboard learning management clients can upgrade to the new release at no extra charge.

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

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

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-K filed on February 18, 2011 and Form 10-Q filed on May 9, 2011 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of July 12, 2011. 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 July 12, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.



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