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Blackboard Learn Expands Open Education Standards Support

Blackboard has released an update to its flagship commercial learning management system, Blackboard Learn.

Service Pack 6 for Blackboard Learn 9.1, released Tuesday, is designed to allow the popular Web-based LMS to integrate more easily with enterprise systems, including student information systems, and third-party educational resources. It adds further support for Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) designed to make it easier to incorporate SCORM-compliant materials into Blackboard Learn courses. Integration comes by way of the SCORM Engine Blackboard Building Block developed by Rustici Software in partnership with Blackboard.

It also includes "full" support for the the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Information Services 2.0 (LIS 2.0) specification, which is designed to help manage information exchange in learning environments, including people, groups, and outcomes. Blackboard has been involved in the development of the LIS standard. The company reported it has also collaborated with Oracle and SunGard Higher Education on the implementation of the standard to enhance integration with their education-centric data systems.

According to Blackboard, "LIS support enables institutions to better manage the exchange of information about people, memberships and courses between the Blackboard Learn platform and the student information system (SIS), by standardizing the data into one format. With the new SIS data integration framework, system administrators can install, support and manage the systems integration through an easy-to-use interface in Blackboard Learn that allows information to be shared between systems, simplifying deployment of new systems and improving system performance."

"Blackboard has followed through on some of the most aggressive plans for supporting open standards we've seen in this space, and their leadership is critical to broadening the impact these standards can have in education," said Rob Abel, chief executive of IMS Global, in a statement released by Blackboard Tuesday. "Their leadership and extensive collaboration with IMS Global to define and evolve the LIS standard is incredibly valuable and appreciated."

Service Pack 6 for Blackboard Learn 9.1 is available now as a free upgrade for current users. (According to Blackboard, Learn 9.1 has been adopted by more than 1,400 institutions.) Further details can be found on the Blackboard Learn portal.

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Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

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