Blackboard Releases Powerful New Functionality in Application Pack Two

August 18, 2004

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today the release of Application Pack Two for the Blackboard Learning System(TM) and the Blackboard Portal System(TM), key products in the Blackboard Academic Suite(TM), a comprehensive family of integrated applications for teaching, learning, community-building and knowledge-sharing.

Application Pack Two offers Blackboard(R) clients new features that facilitate shared learning environments across consortia, support new e-Learning industry standards, enable more effective course management, and allow further use of Blackboard globally. These new features have been well received by participants in Blackboard’s Early Release Program to test and evaluate Application Pack Two.

“We are finding ever more flexibility and functionality in Blackboard’s products. The increased portal functionality, specifically unlimited institution roles and sub-roles, in Application Pack Two is outstanding,” said Andrew Haglund, IT Project Manager, Loma Linda University. “We are also very excited about the assessment and survey data export capabilities in Application Pack Two. This new feature allows us to analyze both new data and historical data already compiled in the system-we are already using these new features.”

Application Pack Two is the second release in the company’s strategy for distributing software updates in an easy-to-manage update that minimizes system downtime and maintenance activity-rapidly accelerating updates to the latest version of Blackboard software.

“Application Pack One was a great success as clients were quick to recognize the value of this new delivery strategy,” said Michael Chasen, CEO of Blackboard. “The savings are realized in both time expended managing the updates and productivity of the system, which remains online throughout the update process. Further, the packaged updates allow us to provide iterative improvements that, while useful to the user, could not be distributed efficiently by traditional means. As a result, our clients are able to continually enhance the value of Blackboard technology within their academic environments and on their schedule.”

Application Pack 2 provides innovative new capabilities in four major areas:

  • Facilitating Shared Learning Environments Across Multiple Departments, Institutions and Consortia
  • Hostname Branding — allows multiple institutions, colleges or departments on the same system to maintain unique URLs, as well as a customized look and feel.
    Unlimited Institution Roles & Multiple Roles per User — allows institutions to define as many institution roles as they wish, providing the organization with a general user list capability. These widely requested features provide a highly personalized experience for users through role-driven access to information and services.
  • Role-Based Branding — promotes specific institution, college or departmental branding based on the user’s primary institution role, such as student, faculty or administration.
  • Enhanced Branding — provides additional control over look and feel. The institution’s brand can include banners, background, colors, icon themes and hot links.

Supporting New e-Learning Industry Standards

  • SCORM/NLN Player — simplifies the proper handling and display of SCORM 1.2 and NLN compliant content by bundling the player into Blackboard.
    IMS Content Player — supports granular reuse of content developed under IMS standards within specific content areas, facilitating faculty collaboration with peers and use of the best quality content.
  • ChalkBox(TM) Support — allows the installation and management of Chalk Titles(TM), which are next-generation course cartridges that contains both content and interactive, personalized Publisher tools for specific disciplines. Three leading academic publishers have already developed interactive ChalkBox applications.

Enabling More Effective and Efficient Course Management

  • Performance Improvements — order of magnitude improvements were made to overall system performance, especially in the assessment engine.
    Test Answer Download — allows instructors to download the results of a test so they can track student performance across sections of a course and across semesters using third-party statistical analysis tools.
  • Survey Response Download — allows instructors and organization managers to aggregate data and perform item-level analysis.
  • Quick Tool Linking — allows instructors adding material to a content page to directly add a discussion board forum, a live chat or any tool directly in any area of the course with a few clicks.

Bringing the Power of the Blackboard Academic Suite to Institutions Worldwide

  • Internationalization — This release includes a major step in Blackboard’s internationalization process whereby system changes have been made to allow the installation and support of Blackboard software in many European languages. French and Spanish will be the first language-specific releases. This ongoing internationalization effort will later be extended to support multi-byte character sets.

On an ongoing basis, Blackboard will continue to make new features and system maintenance available through Application Packs between major releases. Clients can download Application Packs in the Reference Center provided on the Behind the Blackboard(TM) extranet, a password-protected area of the Company’s website.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the education industry. The Company’s product line consists of five software applications bundled in two suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite and the Blackboard Commerce Suite (TM). Blackboard’s clients include colleges, universities, 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 and staff in North America, Europe and Asia.

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 most recent 10-Q on file with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of August 16, 2004. 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 August 16, 2004.

Michael J. Stanton of Blackboard Inc.
+1-202-463-4860, ext. 305

Kris Coratti of DBC Public Relations Experts
for Blackboard Inc.
Web site: