As we begin the New Year, I’m pleased to announce we already have great news for Blackboard users: Last Friday afternoon, we signed a formal agreement to acquire The NTI Group, Inc., a leader in the mass alert and notification service industry.

This acquisition will enable Blackboard to better help institutions address several key challenges and trends within the education community, which we outlined in a press release issued today:

1. As online learning continues to grow and more institutions utilize the Internet to connect with traditional and virtual students, it is becoming increasingly important to have the capability to deliver mass communications with large populations of users across an array of technical devices;

2. In addition, it has become imperative that academic institutions have the ability to quickly and effectively communicate with their entire campus constituency in the wake of a range of school and campus incidents, severe weather and other safety concerns; and

3. Institutions are focusing on mobile-centric strategies and looking to tightly integrate their learning environments with cell phones and PDAs.

In the coming weeks, we’ll announce further details regarding the integration of NTI’s products into Blackboard’s offerings.  Additional information about the acquisition is available now, however, at www.blackboard.com/connect.

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