Blackboard Inc. Announces Charter Release of Blackboard Learning System ML™ in Brazilian Portuguese

October 28, 2002

October 23, 2002, Washington, D.C. – Blackboard Inc., a leading company for e-Education today, announced the Charter Release of the Brazilian Portuguese version of Blackboard Learning System ML – the multi-language edition of the company’s market-leading course management system. With this release, Blackboard continues to set a new industry standard for excellence in multilingual enterprise learning software. The Charter Release offers a special introductory opportunity for Blackboard clients to receive a full license to value-added functionality as well as both the Portuguese and English language packs at no additional charge.

Initially launched in August 2002, the Blackboard Learning System ML is dedicated to enhancing the daily education experience. The system offers course and content authoring tools, a robust assessment engine, as well as synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tools – all with convenient and easy-to-use enterprise functions and capabilities.

“We are very pleased to expand on the early success of Blackboard Learning System ML by making the system’s user interface available in Brazilian Portuguese,” said Andrew Rosen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Blackboard International. “Brazilian higher education is a very dynamic and vital community, highly focused on the opportunities that online teaching and learning can bring to their institutions and more importantly to the students they serve.”

Recently, Blackboard and Techne, a leading provider of academic management services in Brazil, formed a partnership to provide e-Education solutions to Brazilian colleges and universities in response to the government’s decision to allow for up to 20% of class time to be conducted through distance education programmes. Academic institutions wishing to launch e-Education initiatives will benefit greatly from a combination of Blackboard’s extensive expertise in global online learning and Techne’s proven ability to serve the IT needs of Brazilian colleges and universities.

Meeting Clients Needs Around the World

“Just in the last few months since we started using the English-version of Blackboard, our academic staff and students have shown incredible interest in the system and are amazed at how easy it is to use. Now with the Portuguese version available, I am confident that the system will be even further integrated into the academic environment at the University,” states Eda Machado, of the Institute of Higher Education (IESB) in Brasília.

Blackboard Learning System ML permits a culturally tailored online environment for all users. The system, developed on fifth-generation Blackboard technology now deployed at thousands of institutions worldwide, allows academic staff and students to fully experience all aspects of the course and system user interface in their language or languages of choice, and to switch between languages – all within a single implementation. The platform is fully Unicode-architected, enabling the system to interact in virtually any language as determined by the end user, instructor or system administrator. This architecture also enables Blackboard to expand the number of languages offered with relative ease and fast time to market.

The Blackboard Learning System ML already enables a variety of languages to be displayed in the user interface, including Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and English. Others, including, Dutch, Italian and Korean, are currently under development. The Blackboard Learning System ML runs on both Windows and Solaris platforms.

Interoperability and Blackboard Building Blocks

Blackboard Learning System ML is designed to interoperate with an institution’s administrative systems, including Techne’s Lyceum, SCT, Datatel, and PeopleSoft, as well as authentication systems such as LDAP and Kerberos. This integration lets an institution enrich the student experience by providing personalised access to campus services and a tighter connection between academic and student life. In addition, training and support costs are reduced through centralised administration and management.

Blackboard Learning System ML also underscores the Blackboard Building BlocksSM Programme which provides an open architecture to enable internally developed or other third-party learning applications, interfaces, and system services to interact seamlessly with Blackboard. More than 25 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), dozens of academic institutions and leading publishers are developing integration agents to Blackboard – expanding and adding value to the education experience.

Blackboard and Techne Sponsor Upcoming e-Learning Seminar

As partners dedicated to serving the needs of the Brazilian community, Blackboard and Techne are proud to sponsor the upcoming seminar “Strategies for Implementing e-Learning” which will be hosted by the “School of the Future” of the University of São Paulo [Escola do Futuro at São Paulo University] on 19 November 2002. The seminar will include presentations of e-Learning success stories by educators and administrators from leading academic institutions.

In addition, the seminar will include a special guest speaker: Dr. Kenneth C. Green, Founding Director of The Campus Computing Project and Visiting Scholar at The Claremont Graduate University (USA). Dr. Green will provide an insightful presentation, describing recent trends in technology’s role in education, with a focus on the growth of e-Learning and the unique challenges and opportunities in the Brazilian education community.

“We chose to develop this seminar because we find that many institutions throughout the country are beginning to ask really serious questions as they develop their e-Learning strategies. We are pleased that Blackboard and Techne have agreed to sponsor the event and look forward to all of the presentations. In particular, we are pleased to have Dr. Green participate in our seminar to share his research findings and experiences,” states Prof. Fredric Litto, Director of the “School of the Future” [Escola do Futuro] and President of the Brazilian Association for Distance Education (ABED).