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Class to Acquire Blackboard Collaborate

Synchronous online learning platform Class Technologies recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire Anthology's Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom tool. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in late June.

Anthology merged with Blackboard this past October, keeping the Blackboard brand as part of its product portfolio. Selling off Blackboard Collaborate "will allow Anthology to focus more resources on accelerating innovation within its flagship learning management system, Blackboard Learn Ultra, and in other areas of the business where Anthology is uniquely positioned to support the global education community," the company said in a news announcement.

On its part, Class will gain more than 1,300 Collaborate clients — a key win for the company, according to consultant and analyst Phil Hill. "The primary benefit of market share is undeniable," Hill noted in a blog post. "With any reasonable level of client retention, Class will triple their client base at the least." He added, "There is a secondary benefit in Class getting a combined feature set, with the opportunity and staff to combine Class for Zoom and Collaborate into a richer offering."

In particular, Class emphasized that the combined products will benefit from its "expertise leveraging the scalability of Zoom and the extensibility of the Zoom SDK to build large, stable synchronous video experiences enriched by teaching and learning tools." Class also stated that it will "continue full support for customers across Class for Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate," and will partner with Anthology to integrate the Class platform into Blackboard Learn.

"COVID forced millions of learners and instructors online overnight and fundamentally changed the face of education and training," commented Michael Chasen, co-founder and CEO of Class, who also co-founded Blackboard in 1997. "At Class, our vision is to change the way the world learns — both in education and the workforce. Bringing together these two products and teams allows us to deliver the next generation virtual and hybrid learning environment — better, faster, and stronger than we could as two separate entities."

More information on the acquisition is available on the Class site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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