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Arizona State, Buffalo State, and U. of Illinois Springfield Select CourseSites for Open Education Initiatives

Institutions Find System's Functionality and Support Superior to Other Options

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona State University (ASU), Buffalo State, a State University of New York campus and the University of Illinois Springfield will use CourseSitesTM, the free, fully hosted and supported cloud-based system for a variety of open education initiatives, Blackboard Inc. announced today.

Each of the institutions examined several online course platforms before choosing CourseSites for projects which include, at some institutions, open courses and massively open online courses, or “MOOCs.”.

ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will pilot CourseSites in a “global classroom” in collaboration with Leuphana University in Germany. Project leads at ASU found several features of CourseSites to be attractive, including its support for blog feeds, mobile access and Web conferencing.

"We looked at some of the bigger names in the space before choosing CourseSites," said Ruvi Wijesuriya, Director of Learning Technologies at ASU. "But you need to think in terms of support and functionality, and the ability of the platform to do what you need it to do. That's why we chose CourseSites."

"CourseSites' integrated platform for the multiple delivery modes including discussion, blogs, wikis, synchronous discussions and more, coupled with the self-enrollment feature, takes many of the technical challenges out of delivering a MOOC, allowing us to focus on content and engagement," said Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois Springfield. The university will launch an open course on CourseSites in January titled "Emancipation Proclamation: What Came Before, How It Worked, and What it Followed."  

Buffalo State, which will run a six-part open access online course called "OER 101: Locating, Creating, Licensing and Utilizing OERs" using CourseSites later this year, was impressed by the platform's ability to support self-enrollment, peer review and the adaptive release of information in courses.

"CourseSites' support staff have been so welcoming and really supportive," said Beth Burns, instructional designer at Buffalo State. "In a course with hundreds of participants, tech support is instrumental in making the experience a success. And tech support for CourseSites is outstanding."

To date, 45,000 instructors from over 150 countries have leveraged CourseSites to support online courses. Launched in 2011, CourseSites is a free, cloud-based course option that leverages Blackboard's latest technology for course management, Web collaboration and mobile learning, and can be accessed in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese.

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About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging and relevant to the modern-day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers and partners in higher education and K-12 as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning. For more information about Blackboard, follow us on Twitter @Blackboard.

Source: Blackboard Inc.