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Bristol University Puts Student Provision at the Heart of its Online Strategy with Blackboard

Bristol Upgrades Learning Platform, Launches New Online Degree Program

AMSTERDAM – 15 December, 2010 – Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced that Bristol University will enhance its e-learning strategy and investment with an upgraded learning platform that will give Bristol’s 23,000 students better access to in demand course materials while reducing the institution’s library expenditures. Meanwhile, Bristol will also launch a new online degree program to create new opportunities for growth and revenue.

One of the U.K.’s top universities and a member of the prestigious Russell Group, Bristol has been using the Blackboard Learn™ platform for over seven years. The institution has made the decision to further invest in e-learning and upgrade its current solution to Blackboard Learn Release 9.0, the next generation teaching and learning platform, and with Blackboard’s Content Community and Assessment Handler applications. The new features will enable students to upload their assignments to an online portal for assessment and gain greater access to articles relevant to their course of study that were previously available in limited quantities of expensive texts.

“Here is a common situation within Bristol University – you’ve got a book in the library and you want to share it with a number of students, but you have to be mindful of the copyright regulation,” said Tim Phillips, Director of Information Systems and Computing at Bristol. “Now we can take a particular chapter from the book, digitise it, upload it to Blackboard Learn, allow the students access to it whilst they’re doing a particular piece of coursework and then remove it afterwards. This ensures that our students have access to key texts at key times, while ensuring the university stays in line with relevant copyright regulations.”

Bristol’s significant investment in online learning has also enabled the university to attract new students from around the world through a new online master’s degree programme in translation which it could previously not deliver via traditional means. The programme, available to both full and part time professionals and taught by professional academics, is delivered through a combination of virtual seminars and online portals. Students can use the Blackboard forums like any social discussion page, creating a sense of learning community that helps bridge the distance between learners and their tutors.

“We are delighted that Bristol University is using Blackboard to improve access to key course materials for its students and to improve the overall learning experience” commented Demetra Katsifli, Director of Strategy and Research for Blackboard. “Bristol University is a great example of a forward thinking institution using technology to deliver innovative degree programmes online.”

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