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Blackboard acquires Prometheus from GWU


January 08, 2002, Washington, D.C. - The George Washington University and Blackboard Inc., announced today an agreement for the transition of the Prometheus project from the University to Blackboard. Prometheus is a leading course management system developed at GW and adopted by 65 postsecondary institutions. Blackboard is a leading provider of e-Education solutions for colleges, universities and schools worldwide. Having grown into a freestanding software development operation managed within the University, the agreement with Blackboard provides Prometheus with expanded resources to better serve its partner institutions and staff.

As a result of this agreement, academic institutions will benefit from the assets of two leading technology organizations. The combined company provides educators with unparalleled expertise in ease-of-use, open systems, community developer relations, enterprise technology and expanded client services.

In addition, approximately 30% of Prometheus’ university licensees run one of the three systems in Blackboard’s e-Education suite -- Blackboard 5: Learning System; Blackboard 5: Community Portal System; Blackboard: Transaction System. These institutions will benefit from the opportunity to more seamlessly tie their Prometheus installation into their campus portal and/or their student debit account transaction system.

“We are very pleased to have found Prometheus a home within Blackboard, a Washington, DC neighbor and market leader that shares Prometheus’ roots in higher education and open systems,” said David G. Swartz, CIO of The George Washington University. “We have always committed to our partner institutions and internal users that the University would ensure the proper support of Prometheus as the operation grew. We are confident that with 2,200 clients in more than 140 countries, Blackboard has the ideal infrastructure, experience and vision necessary to fulfill that promise.”

In addition to GW, among the leading institutions using Prometheus include, Fathom Knowledge Network Inc., London Business School, Middlebury College, New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UMass Online, University of Utah, and The Wharton School.

Developed in 1997, Prometheus’ community-source course management system has been praised for its scalability and flexibility. Like Prometheus, Blackboard’s product roots are in academe. The company was founded in 1997 at Cornell University and has become the largest e-Education enterprise software company in the market by focusing on enterprise technology, pedagogical effectiveness and ease of use.

As part of the acquisition, Blackboard will add several key support, engineering, sales, and management staff. Among those joining Blackboard is Bo Davis, the founder and general manager of Prometheus, who will lead the ongoing delivery of services to Prometheus partner institutions and help shape the integration of Prometheus within Blackboard.

In addition to announcing the agreement, several key integration decisions were communicated as well:

Blackboard will continue to support and maintain Prometheus as a community source system.
Blackboard will assume all contract obligations on behalf of Prometheus.
GW and Blackboard will collaborate with one another on activities such as product focus groups, beta testing, and more.
The acquisition includes all assets related to the Prometheus project.

Blackboard expects the acquisition of Prometheus to close and fully transition within the coming weeks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Prometheus
Prometheus is a community source software platform that was developed in 1997 by The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in answer to the need for an easy-to-use, scalable enterprise-wide learning platform designed to allow customization for faculty, administrators, and students. Prometheus works with academic institution licensees as product development partners. To date, 65 higher education institutions have licensed Prometheus.

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