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Blackboard Bumps Learning Platform to Version 9.0

Blackboard has released an all-new version of Blackboard Learn, formerly known as the Blackboard Academic Suite. The new 9.0 release adds social learning and Web 2.0 tools, as well as capabilities for integrating the software with open source systems like Moodle and Sakai.

Blackboard Learn 9.0 focuses heavily on Web 2.0 and social and collaborative learning tools. These include a variety of enhancements to existing features, as well as some completely new capabilities, in the areas blogs, group tools, journals, notifications, and the UI itself, which has undergone a redesign and is now built on Web 2.0 technologies.

Some of the other new features in release 9.0 include:

  • Facebook integration, including access to course information and alerts within Facebook;
  • SafeAssign for plagiarism detection and prevention;
  • New navigation capabilities, including enhanced keyboard navigation;
  • "Standards based design for ease of use with assistive technologies such as screen readers"; and
  • New integration capabilities for using Blackboard in conjunction with open source and home-grown learning management systems.

According to Blackboard, more than 50 schools, colleges, and universities participated in the Blackboard Learn 9.0 beta over the last three months, and some 70,000 hours of testing went into the release during development.

"Our entire campus community is excited about Blackboard Learn, which has allowed us to think about how education technology should be, not how it used to be," said Santo Nucifora, manager of systems development and innovation at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario, in a statement released today. "This release has allowed us, for the first time, to engage in a meaningful dialogue with everyone from senior academic officials to faculty champions and even departments that have previously operated independent systems but now see the potential for working within Blackboard Learn's more open, flexible platform."

Further information about Blackboard Learn 9.0 can be found here.

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