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Blackboard and the American Council to Issue Joint Research on Competency-Based Education
Effort Aims to Create Broader Understanding of Skills-Based Approaches

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard and the American Council on Education (ACE) are jointly investing in research around competency-based education and the use of digital badges in an effort to help institutions better understand how skills-based approaches can help more learners get a college degree and achieve their employment goals, the organizations announced today. 

The first phase of the research, which is already underway, will create a common vocabulary around competency-based education to enable a broader understanding of the increasingly popular learning approach. The second phase of the research will address barriers to adoption, promote structured dialogue, and help determine the best way for digital badges to record, certify and accumulate evidence of a learner's achievements. Components of the work will be available in July 2014 and the full findings will be made public later in the year.

"Competency-based education is an important model that has the potential to offer learners an efficient path to a college degree, professional skills and employability," said Katie Blot, senior vice president of education services at Blackboard. "Many institutions want to learn more about the approach and determine how it could fit into their larger teaching and learning strategy. We are very excited to partner with ACE to provide substantial insight that will help schools have productive conversations and build informed strategies in this emerging area."

ACE is the nation's most visible and influential higher education association and leader in evaluating alternative credentialing. Blackboard, a founding member of the Badge Alliance, has integrated its industry-leading learning environment with the Mozilla Open Badges framework, which enables millions of educators to become badge issuers to students who can then use their badge achievements portably in their online identities and resumes.

"Innovative pedagogical models and forms of validation hold promise in assisting the millions of Americans who seek to complete quality postsecondary degrees and credentials," said Cathy Sandeen, vice president of ACE's Center for Education Attainment and Innovation. "This important baseline research on definitions and common approaches will be of great value to colleges and universities and to the field as a whole."

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About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company that is reimagining education by challenging conventional thinking and advancing new learning models. We rapidly deploy relevant and meaningful technologies and services to meet the needs of the modern day learner and the institutions that serve them, driving success and growth for both. In partnership with higher education, K-12, corporate organizations, and government agencies around the world, we help every learner achieve their full potential. For more information about Blackboard follow us on Twitter at @Blackboard.

About the American Council on Education
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

Lauren Dyke, Blackboard Inc.
(202) 463-4860 ext. 2860 or 

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

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