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Idaho Board of Ed Deal Looks To Save on LMS Licensing

The Idaho State Board of Education has structured a system-wide deal with Blackboard to save money at its public institutions that adopt the company's software. The initial four-year contract encompasses purchases made by Idaho's eight public colleges and universities and its online secondary school, the Digital Learning Academy. The state may decide to include K-12 districts in the future for additional cost.

According to an analysis done by the state, the price for the proposed services for Idaho institutions without the agreement would come to about $2.7 million compared to the $780,000 the state expects to pay, a discount of about 70 percent. There will also be one-time setup fees of $110,000. Under the new deal, contractual increases will be limited to 2.5 percent, reduced from five to 10 percent.

Besides the monetary benefits, the Board of Education also cited standardization in platforms and increased services not previously available to the schools. The agreement encompasses not only Blackboard's flagship learning management system, Blackboard Learn, but also Community, Content, Collaborate, Mobile Learn, Mobile Content, and hosting services.

"We are serious about bringing the best technology and creating a great experience for Idaho's students at all levels, across the state," said Selena Grace, chief academic officer at the Board of Education. "Blackboard was able to provide the support we needed at this scale, and their long-term vision for innovation in education aligns with our goals to help ensure that Idaho has an educated, quality workforce and strong economy into the future."

"We think this will benefit faculty, many of whom teach at more than one institution in the state," added Executive Director Mike Rush. "Blackboard's continued investment in ongoing improvements is definitely in synch with our commitment to making it easier for faculty to collaborate within and across institutions in the state."

The agreement also provides terms for K-12 schools and districts to license Blackboard's software. State officials recently approved a plan to require high school students to take at least two credits online to graduate. For that reason, schools that exploit the licensing structure will be able to help their students make the transition from high school to college more easily, said Cheryl Charlton, chief executive officer of Idaho Digital Learning Academy. "This decision enables us to create a stronger link and foster better pathways from K-12 to higher education."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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