I’m excited to announce the latest way we are collaborating with industry leaders to impact education through innovation, as a member of Internet2, a non-profit community of leaders in higher education. Being part of this network and participating in forward-thinking discussions is critical to helping us tailor our solutions to the needs of institutions—now and in the future.

I’ve said it before: Blackboard wouldn’t be the company it is today without innovation and it won’t be the company it will be tomorrow, without it. We know we can’t rest on our laurels and are working every day—with a sense of urgency—to deliver technologies that transform the educational experience. In January we announced plans for a virtual bookstore, the first and only of its kind, which will enable students to buy books and other materials from directly within the LMS. And in the fall we launched Blackboard Labs, a group within the company that is dedicated solely to innovation and experimentation with education technology. Since then, several exciting projects have come from Labs, including Polls, a mobile-friendly polling platform that’s disrupting the student response industry, and there are other exciting Labs projects in the pike that will build on our work with MyEdu to strengthen the connection between higher education and the workforce.

But innovation can’t exist just within our walls. For innovation to truly make a difference in education, we know that educational institutions need to be closely involved in the product management process to ensure solutions are meeting their current and future needs. We already do this in a variety of ways, including working closely with end users in our product design process and collecting feedback from the numerous Blackboard employees that were former teachers and faculty members themselves. But we need to do more.

Being a part of the conversations happening in the Internet2 community will be another valuable resource to us as we continue to develop solutions that reimagine education. I’m thrilled that Blackboard is now a part of this community and look forward to collaborating with university leaders, regional and state education networks, and national research partners to mutually shape the future of technology and its potential to transform education.

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