SaaS Deployment of Blackboard Learn Accelerates as Institutions Scale Online Teaching and Learning
SaaS deployment of Blackboard Learn has increased by more than 50% in the past 18 months
Blackboard Inc. announced that in the last 18 months, the number of institutions that have transitioned to the SaaS deployment of Blackboard Learn has increased by more than 50%. The move to SaaS has enabled institutions to scale their online learning programs at an unprecedented rate, while also accelerating their digital teaching and learning strategies in response to the global pandemic.
“The SaaS deployment of Blackboard Learn has enabled the education community to scale at an incredibly rapid pace as they move towards a more robust, holistic, and data-driven teaching and learning model,” said Jim Chalex, Vice President of Product Development at Blackboard. “The foundational role SaaS plays is underscored by the fact that today, nearly 70% of our Learn clients are fully operational on SaaS or have begun planning to move to the cloud.”
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The SaaS deployment of Blackboard Learn enables institutions to access the Blackboard Data platform, an analytics infrastructure that fuels a more holistic, mature EdTech environment. Through Blackboard Data, institutions have access to a range of consolidated learner- and institutional-level insights that can be leveraged to improve the learning ecosystem for individuals, departments, and institutions. The cloud-based solution also allows institutions to activate Blackboard Learn Ultra—Learn’s next-generation user experience—which allows instructors and learners to leverage an intuitive digital interface for a seamless experience. In fact, over the past year, the number of clients using Learn Ultra has increased by more than 90%.
On July 21 and 22, Blackboard is convening its clients—and the extended global education community—for the first–ever virtual BbWorld20. As part of the program, SaaS and Blackboard Learn Ultra clients will showcase some of the myriad ways in which the cloud-based solution and its next generation interface have allowed them to be nimble in this ever-changing environment and innovate to meet the rapidly evolving needs of their students, educators, and administrators. Examples include:
- Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), Kan.: HINU is the premier inter-tribal university in the United States, offering quality education to Native American students representing 140 different federally recognized tribes. When the University decided to enhance its distance learning program in advance of the fall 2020 semester, it became clear that building courses in Learn Ultra would serve as the foundation of a program that would be sustainable long after the threat of COVID-19 passes. The University had confidence that the next-generation experience would enhance student engagement, increasing the potential for improved course completion and student retention rates. Implementing Learn Ultra also aligns to the University’s mission of expanding its reach across Indian Country, by giving Native American students access to distance learning and the opportunity to enroll in a forthcoming fully online degree program.
- Morehouse College, Ga.: Morehouse College was founded in 1867 and is the nation’s only historically black college focused on educating men. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students and a mission to develop leaders who are academically excellent and focused on service, the Atlanta-based college made the decision to move to SaaS later this year to ensure continuity of learning online. Plans for the migration to SaaS and adoption of Learn Ultra were accelerated by COVID-19. With the shift to online learning in the fall, the college recognized that now more than ever their community would benefit from a new, integrated learning environment that would allow students to seamlessly transition from desktop to mobile, and continue their studies from school, home or on the go.
- University of Connecticut (UConn), Conn.: UConn is a large public research university serving more than 32,000 students. With an increased emphasis on creating department- and student-level opportunities for growth, the University migrated to SaaS in 2017, facilitating collection of data and insights into student and departmental successes and challenges. In January 2020, UConn turned on Ultra Base Navigation to offer instructors and students a more contemporary experience. The University is piloting a phased transition to Ultra Course View beginning with its non-credit professional and continuing education programs, as part of a broader strategy to expand its programs and offer a more streamlined learning experience for alumni and a growing nontraditional student population.
- University of La Verne, Calif.: University of La Verne is a mid-sized private university, serving more than 8,000 students. An early SaaS adopter, the University activated Learn Ultra earlier this summer as part of its plan to improve the learning experience for its student in anticipation of a hybrid learning model in the fall. With a large first-generation and adult learner population, the University is committed to implementing innovative technologies that meet these students’ unique needs. Learn Ultra is one such advancement that will enable instructors to more easily integrate Universal Design for Learning principles into their remote teaching practices to better support this population in working towards their educational goals.
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