WASHINGTON, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- California State University, Chico has selected Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1 to replace WebCT Vista as its learning management platform, Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today. The decision was driven by recognition of Blackboard Learn as a proven, stable platform with improved features and its ability to go beyond course delivery to manage digital content and to better engage campus communities and groups.
The selection follows Chico State's comprehensive evaluation of commercial and open source course management systems that included feedback from students and faculty members. Users cited Release 9.1's ease of use and ranked the platform highest in ten different categories of features rated to be the most important. Administrators also recognized a number of features in Release 9.1 designed specifically for institutions moving from the WebCT platform, and expressed confidence in the Company's plans to deliver continued innovation and features for Release 9.1 over time.
With more than 15,000 students, Chico State also wanted to leverage the full range of Blackboard Learn capabilities that address communication, collaboration and content management beyond the course. With Blackboard Learn for Content Management and Community Engagement, Chico State can more effectively manage and share digital content across the institution and help different kinds of groups interact more easily including study groups, student organizations and clubs, and others.
Although Chico State's evaluation was primarily focused on its learning platform, the institution also saw an opportunity to work more closely with Blackboard for educational collaboration, given the institution's longtime use of Wimba, a Blackboard Collaborate™ solution for video and Web conferencing, to deliver distance learning courses and extend the learning experience online for face-to-face courses.
"The ability to utilize the full breadth of the Blackboard Learn platform and to move beyond courses with content, community and collaboration tools was big for us," said Scott Kodai, Manager of Distributed Learning Technology and Classroom Technology Services at CSU, Chico. "Our faculty members use our LMS both broadly and deeply and they are excited about the opportunities for managing content and leveraging Blackboard's support for open standards to use other learning tools that can be easily integrated with their courses."
Blackboard announced in January full support for two key industry standards, Common Cartridge and Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), which make it easier for instructors to share educational content and resources. With the standards in place, educators and institutions have more choices for creating and delivering course content and integrating external learning tools within their courses. Together, the standards help preserve the investment that educators and institutions make in their academic content.
"Chico State's evaluation process was one of the most extensive that we've heard of, and we're delighted that our latest product was chosen after such an in-depth comparison in the field," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn. "We're pleased that the investments we've made in change management to support WebCT users making the move to Release 9.1 have given them – and a growing number of institutions – greater confidence in choosing us."
In making the move to Release 9.1, Chico State also noted the importance of Blackboard's product development and community programs as avenues for effective client participation in product development. Chico State administrators will take part in the Product Development Partnership (PDP), where they'll work directly with Blackboard developers on the design and delivery of possible new features; and the Blackboard Idea Exchange™ (BIE), where they'll share best practices with peers, provide early product analysis and influence product direction, and consult on Company strategy, trends and standards.
"We're excited about the ability to help shape the direction and future of the Blackboard Learn platform through Blackboard's product development and community programs," said Kathy Fernandes, Director of Academic Technologies at CSU Chico. "These programs empower us and provide a constructive framework to help us identify, prioritize and communicate features we want to see in the pipeline. It allows us to help build on a powerful LMS instead of modifying code to bring the LMS up to Chico's expectations."
Since being launched in April 2010, more than 1,200 institutions have moved or are planning a move to Release 9.1, including over 200 that are moving from a WebCT platform. Many institutions are using Release 9.1 independently or in tandem with Blackboard's mobile learning, mass notification and collaboration technologies.
For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Overview.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 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of March 16, 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 March 16, 2011.
SOURCE Blackboard Inc.