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Blackboard Inc. and Open Universiteit Nederland Announce Strategic Alliance

4/6/2004 , Washington, DC - Blackboard Inc., a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the education industry, and the Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNL), one of the leading open universities in the world and an expert in self-tuition and technology enabled learning, have signed a strategic alliance with the aim of integrating OUNL’s e-Learning player, Edubox, with the Blackboard Learning SystemTM and the Blackboard Portal SystemTM.

Under the terms of the alliance, Blackboard and OUNL will work to integrate Edubox and the Blackboard’s Learning and Portal Systems through Blackboard’s open Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). Together the technologies will combine the functionality of Blackboard’s products with advanced features from Edubox, including compliance with the new international standard for Learning Design.

Edubox is a student-centered e-Learning player with advanced capabilities and is based on a universal language for Learning Design. The new language has been developed by OUNL and has been adopted and converted into the international standard IMS-LD. Since September 2003, OUNL’s Edubox has been deployed for nine open and distance learning (ODL) academic courses.

“The open architecture of Blackboard’s technology provides our clients with greater extensibility, enabling them to create an enhanced personalized environment for their e-Learning initiatives,” said Andrew Rosen, President of Blackboard International. “We are very pleased that OUNL selected Blackboard’s solutions to be used for their teaching and learning initiatives integrated with Edubox. We believe this alliance and our integration efforts will better serve the diverse needs of academic institutions in the Netherlands, as well as countries in the broader European Union and around the world.”

“We believe that OUNL’s strategic alliance with Blackboard is an important development for academic institutions throughout the world,” stated Fred Mulder, Rector at Open Universiteit Nederland. “The integration of Blackboard and Edubox enables Blackboard clients to incorporate a functionally rich student-centered approach as well as develop and play educational content written in the international LD standard. We believe it will contribute to the adoption of international standards in e-Learning to facilitate collaboration among institutions. Furthermore, for both OUNL and Blackboard, the strategic alliance will enhance their opportunities to serve the corporate sector.”

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 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.

About Open Universiteit Nederland
OUNL is one of the leading open and distance learning universities in the world offering fully accredited bachelor and master programs and an expert in self-tuition and technology enabled learning. OUNL is a key player in the Dutch consortium Digitale Universiteit, is a founding university in the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), is one of the few active university consultation members of the European e-Learning Industry Group (eLIG) and is a well-respected partner in EU projects. 

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