Pearson and Blackboard Collaborate on Customized Software Platform for Publisher’s

Flexible, Easy-To-Use “Private-Label” Blackboard System Will Enable Faculty to Create Online Courses in Less Than 15 Minutes Multi-year Contract Expands Pearson-Blackboard Alliance to Drive eLearning Globally and Deliver Added Value to Teachers

June 21, 2000, Washington, D.C. –
Pearson Education (OTC: PRSNY) today announced an expanded strategic alliance with Blackboard Inc. by which Pearson will collaborate with Blackboard to customize a version of Blackboard’s leading software platform, to power Pearson’s rapidly growing global distribution of online educational content and services. Pearson’s “private label” Blackboard platform is designed to address the individual needs of instructors and professors who will be able to create an online course in less than 15 minutes, without any special technical skills or training.

The multi-year deal announced today is the first of its kind in the eLearning industry. It builds on an already broad-based collaboration between Pearson, the world’s largest education publisher, and Blackboard, a leading Internet infrastructure company, to meet the burgeoning demand for comprehensive eLearning solutions.

Peter Jovanovich, Chief Executive of Pearson Education, said, “Our goal is to respond to the rapidly growing but highly individualized online learning needs of the education community, and to make our company the leading global distributor of Internet-delivered educational content and services.”

Will Ethridge, President of Pearson’s Higher Education and Professional Publishing Group, added, “All our research shows that faculty and students are migrating the day-to-day activities and dynamics of higher education to the Internet, driving teaching and learning to a new level. By incorporating Blackboard’s unique software platform into our business – tailored for our customers’ needs – we believe we will have the ability to provide faculty and students with the most powerful, flexible and easy-to-use eLearning solutions available anywhere in the world.”

With the “private label” program, Pearson Education will make available a suite of online resources – from ebooks, to virtual lab experiments, to adaptive testing and assessment programs – correlated to hundreds of Prentice Hall, Allyn & Bacon, and Addison Wesley Longman textbooks. Blackboard and Pearson Education will work together to ensure that professor and student customers of the “private label” are provided the highest standard of support and service.

Lou Pugliese, Chief Executive Officer of Blackboard Inc., said, “The eLearning marketplace is set to expand exponentially, and our collaboration with Pearson will help bring the best possible online teaching and learning solutions to the education industry. Combining Pearson’s unmatched education content and global resources with Blackboard’s proven technology, we can deliver educationally sound and content-rich resources to our customers through the Internet. This is the future of education.”

Pearson’s “private label” Blackboard Course Compass project will provide state-of-the-art technology that is remarkably easy to use, simplifying online course management for the individual professor. The benefits of the “private label” system include:

  • Greater ease of use, compared with other course management systems, enabling Pearson customers to create an online course in 15 minutes or less.
  • Greater flexibility, so that professors can adapt Pearson content to match their own teaching goals with little outside assistance.
  • Point-and-click access to Pearson’s worldwide educational resources.
  • A nationally hosted and fully supported system that relieves individuals and institutions of the burdens of trouble-shooting and maintenance.
  • Pearson’s “private label” Blackboard platform is scheduled for release in November 2000 in time for January 2001 classes.
  • The strategic alliance announced today also includes the following specific agreements:
  • Pearson will launch a new course creation service for faculty on its upcoming Education Network service, based on Blackboard technology and hosted by Blackboard. Pearson’s Education Network will present Blackboard, as its preferred course management service.
  • Pearson and Blackboard will coordinate sales and marketing activities to supply their combined solution to colleges and universities interested in deploying the Pearson “private label” solution for their entire campuses.
  • Both companies will purchase slotting rights to provide special features and functions that enhance each other’s Web services, such as online testing and online communities. Pearson also will buy sponsorships on a number of Blackboard Web sites.

The terms of the agreement are non-exclusive except for features specifically covered in slotting arrangements. Both companies will continue to work with a variety of partners to serve the marketplace.

About Pearson Education
Pearson Education is the world’s largest educational publisher, enlightening and enriching the lives of students of all ages, everywhere, with books, digital, and online learning programs in all major academic disciplines. Its leading imprints include Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Scott Foresman, Allyn & Bacon, Computer Curriculum Corporation, Macmillan, and Longman. Pearson Education is the global education business of Pearson plc, the international media group. For more information, visit