Blackboard Unveils Blackboard Beyond Initiative

Four Bold Inaugural Projects Will Advance e-Learning 2.0 Vision

SAN DIEGO, CA, Mar 01, 2006 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) — Bb World 2006 — Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of technology to educational institutions, announced the Blackboard Beyond Initiative(TM). Designed to achieve the next phase of online learning — e-Learning 2.0 — the new initiative consists of four bold inaugural projects that Blackboard will tackle in collaboration with clients. Blackboard Chief Executive Officer Michael Chasen and Chairman Matthew Pittinsky unveiled the initiative during their annual keynote yesterday, the opening day of Blackboard’s users conference, Bb World 2006.

Michael Chasen explained, "Just as the Web 2.0 is facilitating a change in the way people interact online, e-Learning 2.0 represents a transformational shift for how the Internet can improve education. Blackboard is excited to work with our clients to help shape and accelerate this transformation."

The Blackboard Beyond Initiative calls for the creation of a series of Web properties that connect the institutions, faculty, and students who use Blackboard worldwide across education segments and disciplines. The sites will be shaped and run by Blackboard’s client community of practice and developed by Blackboard.

Matthew Pittinsky added, "We have worked year after year with our clients to create powerful networked learning environments for instructors and learners at individual sites. Now, with the Blackboard Beyond Initiative, we are taking a critical next step by fostering a network of networked learning environments. The potential is tremendous, but it will take a lot of collaborative hard work to make the vision a reality."

Each of the inaugural projects is designed to advance one of the four defining elements of the company’s e-Learning 2.0 vision. Each project will be shaped by the active involvement of clients. The four pillars include:

— Extending the platform: e-Learning 2.0 is about personalizing the e-Learning environment to be more discipline and pedagogically specific to the educational activity at hand. This more tailored platform experience can be achieved through specialized software extensions developed by and for educators, as well as with rich, interactive digital resources. As part of the Initiative, Blackboard announces its plans to establish a Global Learning Objects Catalogue, in which any Blackboard user can publish to or search for learning resources to enhance their instructional experience.

— Facilitate Social Networking: e-Learning 2.0 is about enabling a social experience that recognizes the course is but one social-organizational group in a broader education environment. To help foster academically oriented relationships outside of the class environment, Blackboard announces plans to connect students and faculty across disciplines and across institutions through a new Web service. will provide users with the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with other experts in and outside of their discipline and fields of interest.

— Enable Lifelong Learning: e-Learning 2.0 is about integrating the educational journey students take from elementary school to higher education to the workplace. As more and more faculty and students use e-Portfolios to store and showcase their scholarly achievements, Blackboard announces a unique "e-Portfolios-for-life" service that will allow Blackboard users to post their portfolios to a central site for long-term use.

— Focus on Outcome Management: e-Learning 2.0 is about moving beyond the course towards a more holistic conception of a networked learning environment. One consequence of this shift is a hunger by educators to conduct research and benchmark various e-Learning strategies and programs using data from peer institutions. As part of the Initiative, Blackboard announces a collaborative data warehouse service which will allow clients to anonymously share relevant data and gain better insight into best practices.

More than 3,700 academic institutions and other education providers in the United States and abroad use Blackboard. The company’s software enables tens of millions of people to access educational materials and resources at any time and from any location.

About Blackboard

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology. With two product suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite(TM) and the Blackboard Commerce Suite(TM), Blackboard is used by millions of people at academic institutions around the globe, including colleges, universities, K-12 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 in North America, Europe and Asia.

Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.

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 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on February 15, 2006 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of March 1, 2006. 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 March 1, 2006. We may make statements regarding our product development initiatives, including the content of future product upgrades, updates or functionality in development. While such statements represent our current intentions, the product development initiatives may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior notice and there is no assurance that such upgrades, updates or functionality will become available unless and until they have been made generally available through a commercial release.

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SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.