Higher Ed Market Headlines

Blackboard & Follett Higher Education Group Partner To Integrate Digital Texts with Online Course Experience

Blackboard Learn Also To Feature CafeScribe for Social Networking

ORLANDO, Fla., July 14, 2010/via PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) and Follett Higher Education Group today announced a partnership to give students the ability to purchase and use digital textbooks directly in Blackboard Learn(TM) with a free integration, available today, that brings interactive texts into the course experience.

The integration streamlines the way that instructors assign texts and the ease with which students can access and use them. It also provides access to Follett's CafeScribe(R), an e-textbook and social networking platform that gives students and instructors the ability to read, highlight, annotate, share notes, and form campus and worldwide study groups among a range of CafeScribe features that make digital texts more interactive.

"The addition of this kind of academic technology helps students and faculty dedicate more time to coursework and less time to negotiating various technologies," said Paul E. Fisher Jr., Director of the Teaching, Learning & Technology Center at Seton Hall University. "This kind of collaboration helps us to give students options according to their own learning styles, study skills and efficiencies, while at the same time helping to lower or keep steady the total cost of their education."

Follett currently operates nearly 900 campus bookstores at colleges and universities throughout North America. CafeScribe currently offers 10,000 books, including many from the top education publishers.

"With this partnership, we're bringing leading technology for interactive digital content to millions of people who use Blackboard solutions every day," said Matthew Small, Chief Business Officer at Blackboard. "As interactive content becomes more central to the learning experience, we want to make sure that our clients and users have access to a multitude of options for accessing it within the learning environment."

As part of the partnership, Follett becomes a Blackboard Premier Partner(TM) in the Blackboard Alliance Program(TM). The announcement was made at BbWorld(R), Blackboard's annual user conference held in Orlando, Florida.

"Digital textbooks are more interactive, sustainable, portable and, often, more affordable than traditional textbooks," said Isabella Hinds, director of digital solutions for the Follett Higher Education Group. "CafeScribe offers students and professors a robust destination for finding, buying and using digital books, and social networking around books people are reading."

The CafeScribe Blackboard Building Block is available for download today at Blackboard's client support Web site. It is available to higher education institutions in North America running Blackboard Learn Release 9 or higher, with support for Release 8 planned for later this summer. The integration will also be included in future releases of Blackboard Learn.

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://blackboard.com/Teaching-Learning/Learn-Platform.aspx. For more information about CafeScribe, please visit http://www.cafescribe.com.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

About Follett Higher Education Group
Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Illinois, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 850 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website, efollett.com, that provides services and products through a network of more than 900 campus stores.