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Blackboard Launches Open Source Services Group

Company Will Support Both Commercial & Open Source Systems

WASHINGTON – March 26, 2012 – Blackboard Inc. today announced the launch of Blackboard Education Open Source Services, a new effort to support clients using open source education technologies. With the announcement, the company will continue to focus on its flagship Blackboard Learnplatform as well as ANGEL and Edline, while also helping institutions successfully manage open source learning management systems (LMS) including Moodle and Sakai.

The move complements Blackboard’s existing focus on supporting the entire education experiencewith products and services for learning management as well as mobility, real time collaboration, analytics, campus services and notification, and other needs. Blackboard already serves hundreds of institutions that use Moodle, Sakai and other LMS systems in tandem with these additional education-focused solutions. In extending its focus to include open source options, Blackboard can support a wider variety of approaches to online learning and help institutions increase the value they get from technology of all kinds.

“We want to support teaching and learning wherever it’s happening globally, and this is a natural extension of those efforts,” said Ray Henderson, Chief Technology Officer and President of Academic Platforms at Blackboard. “The growth of online learning has led to different approaches. We’re eager to support those with a broader mix of options and the experience we’ve gained working with so many institutions to support all different parts of the education experience.”

Blackboard Education Open Source Services will be guided by teams from two of the world’s leading providers of services to institutions using Moodle: Moodlerooms and NetSpot. Each of the companies has been acquired by Blackboard but will operate independently to support their clients. Blackboard also announced the addition of Charles Severance, founding Chief Architect of the Sakai Project and current Sakai Foundation board member, to guide the company’s efforts to support clients using Sakai.

Senior leaders from Blackboard, Moodlerooms and NetSpot signed a Statement of Principles affirming that their work would continue a number of key initiatives currently supported by Moodlerooms and NetSpot, including contributions of software code to the open source community, financial support for the Moodle Trust, and continued support for community gatherings like Moodlemoots.

The announcement follows a series of steps Blackboard has taken to promote greater openness in education. The company has increased the openness of its own systems and policies and has been an active leader in supporting open standards through the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

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Leveraging our robust history in academic and administrative technologies and institutional planning we partner with today’s organizational and industry leaders to develop effective and lasting improvements to education. Our expert consultants help education organizations become better positioned to achieve strategic goals, compete for scarce resources, and plan for the future. With our flexible developmental consulting model and full service portfolio for Higher Education, K12, Corporate and Association eLearning, and Government and Industry Investors, our team becomes your team. From strategic planning and transformational change to competitive eLearning technologies, content development, deployment and education programs. The group also supports several education foundations including the NCEFS – National Consortium of (State and Local) Education Foundations.

Learning Management Systems

Every year the Gilfus Education Group assists hundreds of eLearning and online training organizations, including academic institutions, in selecting or evaluating their Learning Management System – LMS, Learning Content Management System- LCMS or Course Management Systems – CMS. In addition, many academic institutions embark on their own Learning Management System Evaluation projects to understand which Learning Management System is the best for them. For various reasons each academic institution selects a specific application, be it open source or proprietary or because of ease of use, costs or, functional and pedagogical reasons.

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