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Blackboard and McGraw-Hill Go Live with Combined Course System

Sooner than expected, a course system has been launched from Blackboard and McGraw-Hill Higher Education that blends course management from one company with content from the other. First publicly announced in January 2011, the new offering, which has no particular name, provides users with a single point of access for online courses, materials, and learning tools.

The integrated suite uses McGraw-Hill's content creation and assessment products, Connect and Create, within Blackboard Learn 9.1. Support for Learn 8.0 is planned for later in the year. By offering all course resources in a single environment, the solution is designed to improve faculty and student workflows with single sign-on and automatic synchronization of all grades for McGraw-Hill assignments with the Blackboard Learn gradebook.

The use of Blackboard isn't a necessity for adopting this latest solution. According to a statement from the companies, the new integration can be implemented as a Blackboard Building Block or as a hosted version for schools or faculty members without Blackboard access.

About 5,000 students at 20 colleges and universities have been testing the application, along with an additional 100 instructors across the United States. As part of the pilots, faculty and student users have provided feedback that has, in turn, influenced the development process.

"This solution is the best blending of content and learning management offerings that I've encountered, by far," said Vickie Fry, adjunct professor and coordinator of institutional research at Westmoreland County Community College in Pennsylvania. "Instead of the frustration of managing different files and having my students shuttling between separate systems, this solution is seamless. Instead of busywork, I can spend my time focusing on my students and their development. Being a part of the field trial was a thrill for me because I could share ideas that the development team would use to make the solution even better."

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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