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Blackboard Introduces Open Enrollment for CourseSites

Free Online Course System Also Gets New Mobile Support

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. today introduced an open enrollment option for CourseSites, letting instructors open registration so any number of students can sign up for courses they are teaching with the free, fully-hosted and supported online system. In addition, the company has added mobile support, giving over 200,000 CourseSites users access on a range of the world's most popular smartphones and mobile devices.

With the open enrollment option, any number and any type of student can register for an instructor's course, making CourseSites an ideal platform for open teaching initiatives, community outreach efforts and collaborative research programs that have become increasingly popular in education.

"During the past decade, the world has become wide open for learning," said Dr. Curtis Bonk, a Professor of Education at Indiana University who is using CourseSites to launch an open course this month on learner-centered approaches to blended and online instruction. "With CourseSites and other initiatives, Blackboard is making great strides in fostering this idea of opening up education opportunities beyond traditional boundaries."

Dr. Bonk's course is part of a new free open course series from Blackboard focused on teaching and learning with technology. The courses will be delivered through CourseSites and led by thought leaders in instructional technology and pedagogy and by Blackboard experts who will share successful strategies and approaches to online learning, course design and facilitation.

The course series and open enrollment capabilities are part of Blackboard's continued effort to support growing interest in open education programs, including delivering large open courses (sometimes called "MOOCs," or massive open online courses) and make it easier for users to create, use and find open courses and content. Last year CourseSites was enabled to support the publishing and sharing of courses as open education resources (OER), and policies for Blackboard Learn, the company's flagship LMS platform, were adjusted to provide greater support for open initiatives.

New mobile support for CourseSites allows users to access courses and other information on iOS, Android, Palm® webOS and BlackBerry® mobile devices. CourseSites also now includes an integration that lets instructors access copies of their Google Docs within their courses and synchronize them with changes made in Google Docs.

Launched in 2011, CourseSites is a free, cloud-based course option that leverages Blackboard's latest technology for course management, Web collaboration and mobile learning. The system is currently used by more than 30,000 instructors at over 12,000 institutions in over 130 countries, and can be accessed in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese.

The system is popular with instructors who are interested in experimenting with online teaching and learning, are interested in trying Blackboard's newest teaching and learning technologies, or do not have access to a learning management system (LMS) at their institution. With support for open enrollment and OER, Blackboard is working to position CourseSites as a dynamic option for open teaching of all kinds.

For more information about CourseSites, please visit: http://www.coursesites.com.   

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. 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 statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.  

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

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