Blackboard, the giant provider of learning-management software, is up for sale. According to the Reuters, the privately held software company is seeking a buyer unfazed by an estimated $3-billion price tag. The company has hired two banks to conduct an auction to find such a buyer.
Blackboard was taken private in a buyout four years ago. Since then, it has faced increased competition from educational-technology start-ups. A pioneer in education management software founded in 1998, Blackboard has seen its growth slow in recent years as cheaper and faster software upstarts such as Instructure Inc have tried to encroach on its turf. Since its launch in 2011, Instructure has signed up 1,200 colleges and school districts, according to its website.
Blackboard’s majority owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has hired Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) to conduct the auction.
Anthony G. Picciano is a professor and executive officer of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is also a member of the faculty in the graduate program in Education Leadership at Hunter College, the doctoral certificate program in Interactive Pedagogy and Technology at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and CUNY Online BA Program in Communication and Media. He has forty-five years of experience in education administration and teaching, and has been involved in a number of major grants from the U.S. Department of Education, IBM, the National Science Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 1998, Dr. Picciano co-founded CUNY Online, a multi-million dollar initiative funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that provides support services to faculty using the Internet for course development. He was a founding member and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Online Learning Consortium (formerly the Sloan Consortium).
Dr. Picciano’s major research interests are school leadership, education policy, Internet-based teaching and learning, and multimedia instructional models. Dr. Picciano has conducted three major national studies with Jeff Seaman on the extent and nature of online and blended learning in American K-12 school districts. He has authored numerous articles and fourteen books including The Great American Education-Industrial Complex (2013, Routledge/Taylor & Francis) with Joel Spring, Educational Leadership and Planning for Technology, 5th Edition (2010, Pearson), Data-Driven Decision Making for Effective School Leadership (2006, Pearson), Distance Learning: Making Connections across Virtual Space and Time (2001, Pearson), and Educational Research Primer (2004, Continuum). In 2007, he co-edited with Chuck Dziuban Blended Learning: Research Perspectives. A new edition of this book entitled, Blended Learning: Research Perspectives, Volume II, was published in 2014 by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Dr. Picciano, with co-authors Chuck Dziuban, Charles Graham, and Patsy Moskal, has just completed Conducting Research in Online and Blended Learning Environments: New Pedagogical Frontiers, which will be available in September 2015 (Routledge/Taylor & Francis).
In 2010, Dr. Picciano received the Sloan Consortium’s National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Education by an Individual.
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