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Virtual Arkansas Selects Blackboard for State-Wide Online Learning

Effort Will Help Districts Meet New State Online Learning Requirements

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard was chosen to deliver online classes to thousands of high school students across Arkansas, the company announced today. The newly formed Virtual Arkansas will use various Blackboard technologies to provide online classes to at least 7,000 students from across the state for the 2013-14 school year, with plans to expand that number significantly in the near future.

Virtual Arkansas helps school districts across the state provide students with access to courses in a variety of subjects that supplement classes taught in brick-and-mortar schools, and comply with recent state legislation requiring districts to offer at least one digital course. Earlier this year, the state began the process of transitioning distance learning courses to a predominately online model after realizing the potential for online classes to help alleviate a severe teacher shortage and to increase access to education in rural parts of the state.

After briefly considering alternative platforms, Virtual Arkansas officials chose Blackboard Learn as their learning management system (LMS) due to teacher-friendly features like inline grading, item analysis, and built-in tools that flag at-risk students. Officials also highly valued the ability to access courses through a native app on all mobile platforms.  

"For many of our students, this will be the first time they have taken an online class, so it's that much more important for us to show that online courses can be at least as effective as face-to-face," said Dionne Britton, director of Virtual Arkansas. "Powerful tools like the Retention Center are critical for us to spot potential issues and intervene before the situation is out of hand."

Teachers will also begin using Blackboard Collaborate to incorporate synchronous sessions into classes. Officials found high value in the platform's deep integration with Blackboard Learn, the ability for students to view whiteboard activity and presentations, communicate through chat and audio, respond to surveys, raise their hand to get the instructor's attention, and join breakout rooms.

"It seems like Blackboard's always on cutting edge, and coming up with new features that make everyone's life a little easier," continued Britton. "As we work to get our organization off the ground, it made sense to partner with a company that has the experience and industry reputation for helping teachers deliver high-quality classes."

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit

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.