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New Blackboard and K12 Project to Tackle CC Remediation

Two major education software players--Blackboard and K12--have announced plans to jointly develop a learning platform specifically targeting students taking remedial courses. Under the agreement, the project will deliver K12's adaptive courses through Blackboard Learn. K12's curriculum, which currently caters to K-12 students, uses interactive demonstrations and animations, CDs and videos, printed books with lots of illustrations, hands-on materials for experiments, online discussions, and assessments to test mastery of a subject.

Remediation is more the norm than the exception in community colleges. According to research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is investing its philanthropic muscle in this area, up to 60 percent of students enrolling in community colleges must take at least one remedial course. Although schools are investing about $2 billion a year in remediation, only about one in four students who take these courses actually go on to earn a degree within eight years of enrolling.

Blackboard and K12 said they think that they can develop a more engaging solution than has been tried before in order to help retain and graduate more students over time. The companies said they expect to launch a new product in 2011.

"This partnership is about using technology to create a more engaging and effective experience for remediation courses that can be used at any institution that is facing a challenge in this area," said Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard Learn. "We think an innovative approach to this problem can make remediation a better experience for students and save money for institutions in the process."

"The K12 and Blackboard partnership will give educators a high quality and innovative solution to help them reach a larger number of students more effectively and efficiently. Students will benefit with greater flexibility and access to high quality course options to prepare them to earn a higher education degree, " said Ron Packard, founder and CEO of K12. "It will be an exciting and one of a kind offering."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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