Aurora News
Portfolio Company News
Blackboard Launches New Software Release Strategy for Education Industry“Application Packs” to deliver new innovations faster through easy-to-manage software updates

5/26/2004 , WASHINGTON, DC - Blackboard Inc. announced today the release of Application Pack One for Blackboard Learning SystemTM and Blackboard Portal SystemTM clients. Blackboard’s Application Pack strategy for distributing innovation provides important software improvements – including new features and general stability and scalability advances – through easily implemented updates.

“Blackboard's application pack strategy better meets the needs of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the entire academic market by providing rapid feature enhancements without the burden of a major upgrade,” said Marty Smith, CIO at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “This strategy is in line with our "Always-On" philosophy to provide robust and continuous worldwide services to all our faculty, students and staff.”
Application Packs help Blackboard clients administer software changes by offering small, convenient bundles of modifications, which are thoroughly tested and can be implemented without disruption. Rather than requiring clients to undergo major migrations, Application Packs minimize the amount of system downtime and maintenance activity – rapidly accelerating updates to the latest version of Blackboard software.

Application Pack One offers enterprise and basic edition Blackboard Learning System clients overall performance and security related improvements. In addition, it provides several new features focused on making it easier to develop and administer courses and content. These include: 

  • Course Creation Wizard – offers an intuitive interface to help instructors quickly create the structure of a new course.  
  • Course Templates – allows course builders and administrators to apply pre-set styles to a course, including standardized content areas. Existing courses can easily be converted into new template styles.
  • Glossary Tool – gives students and faculty an easy way to access subject-specific terms, providing Blackboard courses with definition lists that are fully customizable by instructors.
  • Report Card Module – displays a clear summary of student grades for all courses in which they are enrolled.

For clients of the enterprise version of the Blackboard Learning System:

  • Blackboard Messages – facilitates communication between Blackboard users by allowing them to send and receive messages through Blackboard without knowing another user’s email address.
  • Shibboleth Support – part of the Internet2 initiative, allows users to authenticate themselves to trusted sites using a single login id/password credential.
  • Integrated .NET APIs – customizes the Blackboard installation by using Building Blocks to create custom .NET applications or to integrate with Microsoft’s server and productivity applications.

“In an industry evolving as quickly as ours, we know that continuing rapid innovation while providing an update approach that minimizes system downtime is critical,” commented George Calvert, Senior Vice President of Product Development at Blackboard. “Taking advantage of the modularity and maturity of our software, the Application Pack strategy gives us a vehicle to increase innovation between major releases without downtime. We are pleased with the response to Application Pack One.”

On an ongoing basis, Blackboard will continue to make new features and system maintenance available through Application Packs between major releases. Clients can download Application Packs in the Reference Center provided on the Behind the Blackboard extranet, a password-protected area of the Company’s website.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the education industry. The Company’s product line consists of five software applications bundled in two suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite TM and the Blackboard Commerce Suite TM. 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.

Back to Portfolio News