Blackboard Partners with Mozilla to Support Use of Digital Badges Students & Faculty Can Use Badges to Promote Achievements in Courses & Across the Web

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard has partnered with Mozilla, an industry leader in promoting openness on the Internet, to support broader use of digital badges and credentials in education. With the partnership, students and faculty can use Open Badges to promote their achievements within Blackboard Learn courses and across the Web using Mozilla's Open Badges Infrastructure, the most widely used format and only open and shared technical standard for badging and credentialing.

With a new update to Blackboard Learn, students can earn and faculty can assign Open Badges to signal the completion of a course or that key learning milestones have been met. Within a course, students can also view and share earned badges and see how much progress they have made toward requirements for earning new ones. Over half a million teachers and learners using Blackboard's free, fully hosted CourseSites platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs) also have the ability to share earned badges on the platform.

Because the update is achieved through integration with Mozilla's Open Badges, students can also display badges on their social networking profiles, job search sites or personal Web pages. Using the technical standard, Open Badges show how skills can build off each other and how the accumulation of earned badges show a complete view of a person's skills and achievements. Additionally, Open Badges are digitally signed and verified, and the description and criteria for earning the badge are digitally encoded for others to see.

"There is huge interest in finding new ways to measure and certify learning and mastery of concepts," said Jessica Finnefrock, senior vice president for product development at Blackboard. "We want to give educators and students high quality options to experiment with badging and credentialing, and by working with Mozilla we're doing it in a way that helps them measure competency and share achievements not just in their online courses but across the Web."

"We're proud to be partnering with Blackboard on this initiative," said Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla. "Just as it has with the rest of the economy, the Internet is opening radical new approaches in learning. Open Badges are a part of this. They let people learn and show off their skills anywhere."

This fall, Blackboard, Mozilla, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) and Sage Road Solutions will convene a national dialogue to explore badges as a currency for job seekers, learning providers and employers and the effective use of badges as a bridge between postsecondary education and the workplace. The six-week MOOC will bring together each of the organizations' expertise as well as notable thought leaders in competency-based learning and assessment, 21st century skills, higher education accreditation and policy, and workforce skills standards. Course topics will include badge system design and implementation, funding and policy implications, and generating ecosystems of learners, educators, and employers around innovations in badging. To sign up for the course, please visit https://badges.coursesites.com/.

"Badges are going to transform processes for documenting mastery of knowledge, skills and competences leading to a high value credential," said Ellen Wagner, executive director of WCET. "We are very pleased to help accelerate the conversation."

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://www.blackboardlearn.com/new or follow @Blackboard and #BbLearn on Twitter.  

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. 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.

About Mozilla
Mozilla (mozilla.org) has been a pioneer and advocate for the Web for more than a decade. We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all. Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to discover, experience and connect to the Web on computers, tablets and mobile phones. Mozilla's Open Badges Infrastructure is a technical standard that makes it possible for learners everywhere to display their skills, interests and credentials. For more information please visit: https://www.openbadges.org

About WCET
The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is a cooperative, membership-driven, non-profit provider of solutions and services that accelerate the adoption of effective practices and policies, advancing excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education. More information about WCET's institutional membership resources, services and common interest groups can be found on WCET's website, http://wcet.wiche.edu.

About Sage Road Solutions LLC
Sage Road Solutions fosters innovation and success in the worldwide learning technologies marketplace. Our clients and partners include emerging technology providers, education institutions and consortia, industry associations, and policy organizations. Sage Road Solutions helps our clients get smarter about how elearning in all of its various forms and formats can have a direct positive impact on business results. For more information, please visit sageroadsolutions.com.   

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. 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 statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

CONTACT
Matthew Maurer, Blackboard Inc.
(202) 463-4860 ext. 2637 or matthew.maurer@blackboard.com

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.



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