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Blackboard Inc. (ticker: BBBB, exchange: NASDAQ Global Market (.O))
News Release -
Blackboard Inc., Partners With Leading Academic Publishers To Develop Integrated e-Learning Solutions3/9/2004
, Washington, DC
- Blackboard Inc., a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry, announced today that it has joined three of the world's leading academic publishers in a development project to integrate the companies' most popular e-Learning applications into the Blackboard Learning System. The announcement was made in a keynote presentation to an audience of approximately 1,300 attendees at the 2004 Blackboard Users Conference in Phoenix, AZ.
The development project, titled "ChalkBox," will go beyond simple importation of textbook-related electronic content to accommodate more sophisticated integration between the publishers' hosted instructional applications and Blackboard-powered course web sites at client institutions. The primary deliverable of the development project is expected to be the release of a "ChalkBox Runtime Environment" and a file format for publishers to develop "Chalk Titles" that integrate their centrally hosted learning applications with Blackboard-powered course Web sites.
Blackboard's joint development partners in the project include Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education and Thomson Higher Education. These publishers already have integrated at least one of their most popular learning applications with centrally hosted installations of the Blackboard Learning System under their own license. The goal of ChalkBox is to enable a similar level of integration - student authentication, gradebook interoperability and course roster synchronization - with installations of the Blackboard Learning System run locally at numerous client sites.
Learning Applications that Drive Student Performance
Pearson Education, for example, has customized its mathematics homework and tutorial software, MathXL, for customers already holding a license to the Blackboard Learning System. MathXL is the software engine included in Pearson's MyMathLab series, which supports over 100 Pearson Education textbooks in mathematics and statistics.
Currently, a pilot of "ChalkBox", showcasing Pearson Education's mathematics software, is serving more than 150 beginning algebra students at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Commenting on the pilot, Dr. Tsun-zee Mai, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Math Technology Learning Center, said, "The MyMathLab/ChalkBox pilot project provides all the features we like about MyMathLab and allows us to manage and monitor student progress more efficiently."
Houghton Mifflin's Eduspace®, a custom version of the Blackboard Learning System, will enable instructors and students to access new and unique tutorial content in various disciplines. And Thomson Higher Education is integrating its Personal Trainer application to provide interactive training tools for business accounting students.
"Blackboard's goal is to make it possible for Blackboard-supported instructors and institutions to have access to the highly focused and specialized learning applications provided by our publisher partners - and still be able to rely on the Blackboard Learning System for their overall course management," said Blackboard Chairman Matthew Pittinsky. "This co-development project is about connecting the functionality of course management systems with the pedagogically-specific and discipline-specific learning applications of education publishers."
"ChalkBox has the potential to help us address the growing need among our customers for access to our market leading applications through Blackboard and Blackboard Learning System local licenses," stated Jim Behnke, President of Pearson Education's Addison Wesley / Benjamin Cummings imprint.
"Thomson South-Western regards this partnership as an exciting opportunity to take our Personal Trainer application to the next level for our customers," according to Robert D. Lynch, President of Thomson South-Western. "Currently, Personal Trainer is one of our most successful tools for Accounting courses, and now with ChalkBox from Blackboard, our customers will be able to take advantage of a more fully-integrated e-Learning package."
"We are pleased to offer our customers even more flexibility with select titles through the ChalkBox partnership with Blackboard," said June Smith, executive vice president, Houghton Mifflin College Division. "This partnership will enable us to significantly expand the range of customers who benefit from the powerful classroom management system, interactive communication tools, and most importantly, customizable text-specific courses and content from Eduspace."
Specific release dates for the new products will be announced later this year.
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. The Company's product line consists of five software applications bundled in two suites, the Blackboard Academic SuiteTM and the Blackboard Commerce SuiteTM. Blackboard's clients include colleges, universities, schools and other education providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices and staff in North America, Europe and Asia.
Some of the statements in this news release may constitute "forward-looking statements" that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. These forward-looking statements reflect our intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of our control. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements include known and unknown risks. Because actual results could differ materially from our intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about the future, you are urged to view all forward-looking statements contained in this news release with caution. Blackboard Inc. does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Houghton Mifflin
Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Company is one of the leading educational publishers in the United States; publishing textbooks, instructional technology, assessments and other educational materials for elementary and secondary schools and colleges. The Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers, and offers computer-administered testing programs and services for the professional and certification markets. With its origins dating back to 1832, Houghton Mifflin combines its tradition of excellence with a commitment to innovation.
About Pearson Education
Educating 100 million people worldwide, Pearson Education is the global leader in educational publishing. With such renowned brands as Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Longman, Pearson Addison Wesley, and many others, Pearson Education provides quality content, assessment tools and educational services in all available media, spanning the learning curve from birth through college and beyond.
Pearson Education is part of Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the international media company. Pearson's primary operations also include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.
About The Thomson Corporation and Thomson Higher Education
The Thomson Corporation (www.thomson.com), with 2003 revenues from continuing operations of $7.5 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 43,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC). Its learning businesses and brands serve the needs of individuals, learning institutions, corporations and government agencies with products and services for both traditional and distributed learning. Thomson Higher Education (www.wadsworth.com; www.brookscole.com; www.swlearning.com; www.heinle.com) is a leading provider of higher education textbooks, software, and Internet materials for the humanities, behavioral, and social sciences, mathematics and the sciences, and business and economics. Thomson Higher Education publishes under the brands of Thomson Wadsworth, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Thomson South-Western, Thomson Heinle, and Thomson Schirmer.