Skidmore Moves to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1

Improved Support, Faculty Engagement and Cost Savings Drive Move to New Platform

Mar 01, 2011, 09:00 ET from Blackboard Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Skidmore College has adopted Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today. The college cited Blackboard's much improved client support and responsiveness as a primary driver for the move, along with the ability to re-energize faculty with the platform's enhanced feature set and realize significant cost savings over time compared to alternatives.

Skidmore selected Release 9.1 following an evaluation of other popular commercial and open source course management systems that included input from students and faculty members. Much of the input favored Release 9.1's improved user experience and lower learning curve. Faculty members who participated in a pilot of the new platform were also impressed with the platform's built-in social learning tools like blogs and wikis and the ability to seamlessly integrate multimedia content from the Web.

"Blackboard 9.1 has revolutionized the way I teach," said Dr. Catherine J. Golden, Professor of English at Skidmore College, who found previous versions daunting. "It's an intuitive platform that's been very easy for my colleagues to learn and it's got so much to offer."

Skidmore, a small liberal arts college in upstate New York with approximately 2,700 students, also conducted a cost analysis of various LMS systems and found that by moving to Release 9.1 the campus could achieve significant cost savings over time because they would not need to hire additional employees to program and support the LMS.

"Blackboard is our most important, mission-critical application," said Kelly Dempsey-Little, Instructional Technologist at Skidmore College. "The false assumption that open source solutions are free is not true at all – moving to open source might have cost us twice as much and would have required an investment in technical management and support that we weren't interested in making. Our experience with Release 9.1 has been amazing – it's made my job much easier and people are really excited about using it."

In January, Skidmore transitioned all 400 courses offered at the college to Release 9.1 from Blackboard's WebCT platform. To help ensure a smooth transition, Skidmore participated in a new guided cohort program established by Blackboard that enables a group of institutions to go through the upgrade process together so they can share experiences and help each other be more successful in the transition.

The college also leveraged a set of free upgrade resources including a series of video tutorials and training materials created by Blackboard to help institutions acclimate users to the new system. These resources, along with the improved client support and responsiveness noted by Skidmore, played a critical role in increasing faculty buy-in and positive response to the new platform. "The support we've received is outstanding," said Dempsey-Little. "On a scale of one to ten – our experience has been a 20."

"I'm pleased with the trend that those who take the most sophisticated look at the true costs of Blackboard versus open source are finding the value in Release 9.1," said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn. "It's great to hear large, mid-sized and smaller clients are uniform in their appreciation of Release 9.1 and that they're taking full advantage of free resources and programs that encourage shared experience across the community."

Since being launched in April 2010, more than 1,200 institutions have moved or are planning a move to Release 9.1. 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

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 1, 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 1, 2011.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.