CUNY agreed to a 10 year contract with Blackboard Inc., a company that several of the University’s schools are already familiar with, on Nov. 27 to establish an online teaching and learning platform for all of its campuses.
This will feature Blackboard under a new leader as Michael Chasen, Blackboard’s co-founder and chief executive officer, intends to step down at the end of this year.
With more than 540,000 students across 23 campuses, CUNY needs the technology to meet the needs of its students, officials said.
In a press release by CUNY’s deputy chief information officer, James Haggard said, “We’re trying to structure ourselves so that we can chart a strategy that is flexible and able to change with the industry over time. Blackboard is the partner to help us do that.”
Blackboard, according to officials, was the only company equipped to meet the scale of CUNYs needs. It provides students and faculty with user-friendly interface and easy access to its website with applications that can be used on smartphones, Android phones, BlackBerrys and tablets.
These features, as well as its web conferencing tool, are meant to support the rapid growth of the CUNY system that has occurred over the last three years. CUNY has added a community college and has seen enrollment rates increase, according to the University.
CUNY officials believe Blackboard is necessary to provide a higher quality of education for students across the system. Their hope is that by choosing Blackboard as the main platform, the educational experience for students will be enhanced significantly.
Blackboard technologies facilitate virtual communication between students and faculty. It also allows for videoconferences between professors and students.
Officials at CUNY said they are confident in Blackboard’s ability to help ensure performance quality and provide excellent support through its hosting capabilities.