eLearning Taking Off in North Carolina

November 17, 2000

Web-enhanced instruction with Blackboard is gaining momentum and acceptance throughout the community college system, said Patrick Keough, distance-learning coordinator at Carteret Community College, one of the 56 NCCCS schools using Blackboard. e-Learning has become an integral part of our teaching and support strategies, as well as our mission to provide quality education to all of our students throughout the state and beyond.

The NCCCS Virtual Learning Community, a collaborative effort of all 58 North Carolina community colleges, will use Blackboard to share resources and expertise to expand access to quality online courses and support services. NCCCS has signed on as a Blackboard 5 Level One user, which allows the state system access to Blackboards complete course management system, including the powerful tools that enable instructors to provide students with necessary course information all online.

Blackboard provides our students, faculty, administrators, and alumni with a full slate of online services in one scalable package, Keough added. Blackboard enables seamless interaction between students and teachers and empowers students to explore the course material through discussion forums, posted assignments, lectures and external links in such a way that makes learning both exciting and a critical extension of the traditional classroom environment.

Rick Lewis, Chair of Sandhills Community Colleges Department of Languages, said, I used to design my own Web sites for distance learning courses, but I switched to Blackboard. Blackboard is like having my classroom and my students all in my office at the same time—with plenty of space for everyone! Best of all, I can control the design of my own courses and make changes hourly, if I wish, without being dependent upon someone else to upload all my changes.

Before adopting Blackboard system-wide, each college within the NCCCS developed its own courses, resulting in duplication of efforts across the community college system.

Blackboard can create a common language among the schools in the North Carolina Community College System and allows for powerful economies of scale, said Matthew Pittinsky, chairman and co-CEO of Blackboard Inc. Blackboard makes online learning and collaboration easier for the instructors and enhances the learning environment for the students as well.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. is a leading e-Learning Internet infrastructure software company. Blackboards technology powers online education and related commerce in the academic marketplace of schools, colleges and universities, as well as the organizations that serve them, such as publishers, test prep companies and other education service providers. With more than 1,000 live institutions, Blackboard serves 3.5 million active users in more than 70 countries, generating more than 200 million page views per month. With an additional 5,500 institutions using Blackboards Web site, Blackboard.com, Blackboard is fast becoming the industry standard platform for bringing education online.

Academic clients include Cornell University, Georgetown University, the University of Tennessee and Harvard Law School. Top commercial education brands powered by Blackboard include Kaplan Inc, LEXIS-NEXIS, Academic Systems, BigChalk.com, AOL@School, FT Knowledge (division of Financial Times) and others. Partners include AOL, Oracle, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Pearson, Peoplesoft, KPMG Consulting, McGraw Hill, Saba and others. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Blackboard has over 250 employees.

About North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS)

The North Carolina Community College System, with more than 759,000 students, is the third largest community college system in the United States. The System is the states primary agency for delivery of job training, literacy and adult education programs.

The Virtual Learning Community is a collaborative effort of all 58 North Carolina community colleges, sharing resources and expertise to expand access to quality online courses and support services. Benefits to colleges include:

  • A library of online credit and non-credit courses that can be offered as-is or adapted to local needs;

  • Access to Blackboard for development or delivery of online courses or support materials;

  • Online and face-to-face faculty training;

  • Tips for effective online course delivery;

  • Help materials for online students;

  • Online student support services;

  • A Web listing of online offerings from each college, with links back to local web sites;

  • Newsletters, online discussions and mailing lists to spur communication;

  • Evaluation materials for online courses.

  • Additional information about the NCCCS can be found at http://www.ncccs.cc.nc.us.