Blackboard, as its known today, was born from the merging of two small firms in the late 1990s. The result is a slew of co-founders who have left the company before Chasen in pursuit of new ventures.
Blackboard Inc. was formed on the joining of two companies. CourseInfo LLC, founded by Daniel Cane and Stephen Gilfus, and Blackboard LLC, founded by Michael Chasen and Matthew Pittinsky.
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A brief history of Blackboard.
Blackboard LLC was founded in 1997 by two education advisors, Matthew Pittinsky and Michael Chasen, as a consulting firm to provide technical standards for online learning applications. Blackboard LLC was contracted to the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a worldwide non-profit organization within the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative of Educause. Blackboard’s vision was to provide a user-friendly means by which college professors could put course information, including syllabi, reference sites, and study guides, on the Web. In 1998, Blackboard merged with CourseInfo LLC, a course management software provider and startup company at Cornell University by Stephen Gilfus and Dan Cane, and the merged company soon released their first software product for online learning. Blackboard’s continued growth and the expanding public profile was driven by acquisitions.
Blackboard portfolio of products are termed the Networked Transaction Environment (NTE) and the Networked Learning Environment (NLE). [2,3] The NTE product is the Blackboard Commerce Suite which contains the Blackboard Transaction System, the Blackboard Community System and Bb One.
“E-learning is going to disappear as a [distinct] concept,” predicts Matthew Pittinsky, chairman of Blackboard Inc., whose course-management and other software served 15,000 students in 1998 and six years later reaches 12 million in 50 countries.