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Blackboard History – 99 College Announcements

Blackboard Inc. today announced that more than 75 colleges and universities

2/4/1999 , Washington, D.C. – Blackboard Inc. today announced that more than 75 colleges and universities have selected Blackboard CourseInfo, developed at Cornell University, course management system to add an online component to their curriculum. Leading institutions such as Arizona State University, University of Southern California, Community College of Allegheny County, Harvard University, Oregon State University, St. Joseph~s University, The College of William and Mary, the University of Mississippi, the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and Virginia Polytechnic Institute will use Blackboard CourseInfo to add a Web-based component to traditional classroom instruction, or to deliver distance learning courses via the Internet.

“We are delighted to see a cross section of colleges and universities embrace Web-based instruction in unique and compelling ways with the Blackboard platform,” said Matthew Pittinsky, chairman and co-founder of Blackboard. “The Web offers clear pedagogical benefits in course delivery. It’s gratifying to see community colleges, private liberal arts institutions, and large research universities choose Blackboard CourseInfo as an effective platform to bring education online.”

The University of Mississippi is now using CourseInfo to augment a wide range of courses, from Spanish-American Drama to Neuronic Disorders in Language. Kathy Gates, Director of Support Services and a Research Professor in Computer Science, attributes the product’s success over alternatives to a number of factors: “CourseInfo has a clean and simple instructional interface so faculty can very quickly and easily put materials online. In addition, the course statistics generated by CourseInfo enable faculty to gauge the effectiveness of their sites in engaging students. Finally, the fact that Blackboard is committed to industry standards enables us to position the university in the expanding distance learning market because any materials developed for CourseInfo will still be usable in the future.”

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, started using CourseInfo in January 1999. “Choosing a course management system to deliver online course materials is a crucial decision for a university,” said Susan Metros, Director of Innovative Technologies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “The Innovative Technologies Collaborative (ITC) spent over a year intensely researching a variety of course management systems before unanimously choosing Blackboard CourseInfo. CourseInfo is our faculty~s top choice based upon its ease of use, well-designed interface, full palette of features, online help, and readily available and knowledgeable support from Blackboard.”

The College of William and Mary is conducting a pilot project for its Humanities faculty. Feedback has been so positive that faculty from all disciplines have already been added at their own request. “It~s a testament to CourseInfo~s ease of use and quality course management toolset that we didn~t even have to promote it to the rest of the faculty; they came to us and asked for it,” said Loretta Early, Director of Information Technology Training and Faculty Development at the College. “We also are excited by the positive feedback we have received from students enrolled in courses enhanced by their professor~s use of CourseInfo. We anticipate campus-wide deployment by this fall. We were attracted to the product by how easy it was to put professional-looking pages up on the Web and by Blackboard~s vision.” Carolyn Cosgriff, Information Technology Analyst and Course Management Tools Project Manager, at the College added: “Blackboard~s clear vision of online education, not just with respect to this project, but also with respect to the IMS standards initiative and product roadmap was important to us”.

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is using Blackboard CourseInfo in its “Link 2 Learn” initiative, sponsored by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, both within the College and with local high schools. “What has amazed the faculty most is CourseInfo~s ease of use,” said Dr. Christina Russell, the project director at CCAC. “Some of our teachers started with little technical knowledge and are able to see immediate success in building their own course Web sites because no programming or HTML skills are required.” Dr. Russell has a background in instructional design and believes that CourseInfo is the only software that fully supports the principles of instructional design for electronic course delivery.

With penetration of campus networks reaching 83% for higher education as a whole, and half of all college students owning personal computers, the Internet is fast becoming an important component of higher education academic programs. Yet having grown by 500% in just four years, research suggests that only one-fourth (22.5%) of all college courses are using Web pages for class materials and resources, compared to 8.4% in 1996 and 4.0% in 1994. In response to heavy demand by students and instructors, universities are adopting systems like Blackboard CourseInfo to standardize and simplify activities such as course creation, management, communication, online testing, and more.

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