Lightspans Academic Systems and Blackboard Sign Statewide License Agreement with Florida Virtual Campus

May 3, 2001

Academic Systems, the higher education division of Lightspan, Inc. and a leading provider of interactive, multimedia instructional programs for college students, and Blackboard Inc., a leading e-education infrastructure company, today announced the signing of a statewide license agreement with the Florida Virtual Campus (FVC), which promotes distance learning to Floridas 38 community colleges and universities.)

The agreement brings educational technology solutions from Academic Systems and Blackboard to FVC, which helps provide access to 135,000 distance learners in approximately 2,500 courses, with growing numbers of these opportunities made available online.

Were excited to deepen our long-existing relationship with Florida campuses by working with Blackboard to offer special pricing that makes it easy for any campus affiliated with FVC to test-drive and/or the Blackboard platform in a way that fits their strategic plan for web-based instruction, said Jim Dredge, CEO of Academic Systems.

FVC seeks to assist Florida postsecondary institutions in providing affordable access to quality learning opportunities and services by creating a cooperative atmosphere that will lead to a seamless distance learning experience for students. The Academic Systems/Blackboard agreement attempts to offer the campuses even more resources to help them deliver on the promise of online learning.

The idea of having statewide licenses to leverage state resources to decrease costs for each institution has direct benefits for those institutions and indirect benefits for students, said Dr. Barbara Emil, interim executive director of FVC. Part of our mission is to help campuses access solutions that provide web components for courses; this agreement with Academic Systems and Blackboard helps us meet that goal.

Through the agreement, campuses can opt to utilize the Academic Systems e-learning solution, the Blackboard e-Education platform, or both. The main components of the agreement include low-cost access to:

  • Academic Systems is a fully interactive online content library that supplements faculty teaching and supports student learning inside and outside the classroom. Through, faculty can now utilize academic.coms Math and Writing libraries and the content modules in each to supplement their web-enabled or distance learning courses across many disciplines – in both developmental and general education courses. Instructors can also integrate the modules with their own online instructional materials. comes pre-packaged with the Blackboard 5TM platform or is available without a platform so campuses can integrate it into any existing campus platform or Web site. (

  • Blackboard 5 e-Education platform. Campuses that opt not to use yet still seek an e-Education platform solution can choose to license the Blackboard software platform. Instructors can then develop their courses on the Blackboard platform to increase and strengthen their e-Education efforts. Many Blackboard clients choose Blackboard 5 for their e-Education solutions because of the platforms flexibility and ease-of-use. Blackboard 5 delivers a software infrastructure built solidly on Blackboards course management system technology and then extends a broader platform for creating a total campus portal.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work even closer with the exemplary learning institutions represented through the Florida Virtual Campus and to develop our existing relationship with Academic Systems, said Matthew Pittinsky, chairman of Blackboard. This agreement represents a unique opportunity for schools to take advantage of some of the best tools available for online learning.

The agreement also provides for regional faculty training on the platform and the use of academic.coms content libraries, which are made up of content modules modeled on the award-winning design of Academic Systems Interactive Mathematics and Interactive English. Instructors currently teaching with Academic Systems content say they are excited to use to extend the quality content to more students across more departments. For example, an economics professor no longer has to take valuable class time away from his core topic in order to help students review subjects that they should already know before beginning the economics class. Students who need help with fundamental mathematics concepts can get it through while not diverting time and focus away from the economics lessons during class.

About Academic Systems

Academic Systems Corporation, the higher education division of Lightspan, Inc. (NASDAQ:LSPN), has focused on meeting the needs of higher education faculty and students since it was founded in 1992. The companys interactive, multimedia instructional programs, Interactive Mathematics and Interactive English, offer an enhanced learning environment for college students in developmental and entry-level courses. Created in concert with educators, Academic Systems networked courses have demonstrated increases in learning and achievement; the programs have been used by more than 300,000 students. In addition,, Academic Systems new Web-based product, offers a comprehensive online content library for targeted skill development across many disciplines. For more information contact Academic Systems Corporation at 800-694-6850, or visit the Web site at To learn more about Lightspan, visit

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. was founded to transform the Internet into a powerful environment for teaching and learning. The company offers a complete suite of enterprise software products and services that power a total e-Education Infrastructure for schools, colleges, universities and other education providers. Blackboard solutions deliver the promise of the Internet for online teaching and learning, campus communities, auxiliary services and integration of Web-enabled student services and back office systems.

Blackboards two major lines of business, Course & Portal Solutions and Commerce & Access Solutions, are consistently ranked by industry analysts as the market share and customer satisfaction leaders for thousands of academic institutions and a leading number of the Internets most popular consumer education sites. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices and staff across North America, Europe and Asia.