WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today that the Freie Universitat Berlin, one of Germany's largest and most revered university systems, has signed an agreement to adopt the Blackboard Academic Suite(TM) for its campus-wide e-Learning initiative. The decision follows an in-depth, two-year evaluation of competitive e-Learning platforms by FU Berlin.
"The e-Learning Steering Committee of the Freie Universitat Berlin has decided to implement a long-range strategy in the field of multimedia based learning, including identifying a Learning Management System (LMS) that is capable of scaling to host a huge number of courses and students," said Dr. Nicolas Apostolopoulos, Director of the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) at FU Berlin. "The Blackboard Academic Suite has been selected from among other commercial and open source offerings as the best suited LMS platform for the needs of the Freie Universitat due to its ease of use, enterprise scalability and open architecture."
The agreement calls for a four-phase roll out of the Blackboard Academic Suite, which includes the Blackboard Learning System(TM), Blackboard Portal System(TM) and Blackboard Content System(TM), making the system available to the university's academic staff and students across 12 faculties.
Blackboard's innovative Blackboard Building Blocks(R) program was a motivating factor in the decision of the Steering Committee, led by CeDiS. This open architecture approach will facilitate easy integration with FU Berlin's existing technology infrastructure, including LDAP; the student information system, HIS; and the personal information system, SAP/HR. Additionally, the rich number of add-on Blackboard Building Blocks modules from third party vendors and other academic institutions will enable the FU to enhance the functionality of the system as needed by the various departments.
"FU Berlin has invested significant energy in identifying the right technology for their future-focused e-Learning initiatives," said Andrew Rosen, President of International Business at Blackboard. "Our Blackboard Building Blocks approach helps leverage that investment by easily integrating with the university's most extensive student information system, HIS."
The Blackboard Academic Suite is a comprehensive e-Learning platform that creates an online community for learning institutions worldwide. It is comprised of three distinct products:
The Blackboard Learning System is a software application for delivering education online, including tools for content distribution, assessment, grade book management, communication and collaboration and analysis of learning outcomes.
The Blackboard Portal System is an enterprise information portal application that extends the Blackboard Learning System to include tools for student organizations, faculty and staff departmental collaboration, information distribution for institutional events and single sign-on access to institutional online services.
The Blackboard Content System, introduced in March 2004, provides enterprise content management capabilities, supporting the central management, tagging, sharing and re-use of institutional and personal electronic files such as simulations, lecture notes, faculty scholarship and student portfolios.
"With the Blackboard Academic Suite, FU Berlin intends to make substantial progress towards a modern organized blended learning environment," stated Dr. Apostolopoulos. "It will also address the current students' needs for life long learning. CeDiS will work together with other educational institutions to strengthen the academic Blackboard community."
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 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.
About Freie Universitat Berlin
With 42,500 students in approximately 100 different programs of study, 3,500 graduates and 1,000 doctoral candidates each year, FU Berlin is the largest university in Germany's capital, and one of the largest in the nation. The university's research activities in the Humanities and in the Social and Natural Sciences are distinguished by their international orientation, as well as by the interdisciplinary and collaborative character of work carried out by a number of research networks: FU Berlin's twelve Collaborative Research Centers, seven Research Training Centers, five DFG Research Units and the participation in a DFG Research Center are ample evidence of this. Today, about 490 professors, almost 90 of them in Medicine and Dentistry, are engaged in teaching and in research at the Freie Universitat. http://www.fu-berlin.de
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 most recent 10-Q filed with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of September 16, 2004. 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 September 16, 2004.
SOURCE Blackboard Inc.
Michael J. Stanton of Blackboard Inc.
+1-202-463-4860 ext. 2305
Darren Spinck of DBC Public Relations Experts
for Blackboard Inc.
Web site: http://www.blackboard.com
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