Blackboard Buys Student-Centric Web Platform MyEdu

Blackboard Inc., whose learning-management system is used by more than two-fifths of nonprofit colleges in the United States, said on Wednesday that it would acquire the student-centric web platform MyEdu.

Jay Bhatt, Blackboard’s chief executive, declined to disclose the purchase price. He described the acquisition as “small” compared with others that Blackboard has made in the past several years, but “extremely strategic.”

Based in Austin, Tex., MyEdu employs about 20 people. Its platform is designed to help students showcase skills to potential employers. The user profile functions like a résumé, with pertinent academic and work experience organized in colorful, easily viewable tiles.

“One of the big focus areas that we have been pursuing is student-centric application development and student-centric personas around our tools,” Mr. Bhatt said. “For far too long, I think, software vendors have built technologies for only certain constituents—IT administrators or even faculty.”

The service will remain a free tool for students, he said. Blackboard plans to integrate the platform into its learning-management system.

MyEdu was started in 2008 as Pick-A-Prof, a website that allowed students to rate their professors. A year later, it got a new name and a new focus—equipping students to map out their most efficient and cost-effective paths toward degrees.

The platform dovetails with continuing conversations about competency-based education, Mr. Bhatt said. User profiles allow students to share entire projects with would-be employers, showing relevant skills rather than just listing a major. In January the company started MyEdu for Employers, which allows businesses to list internships and jobs, and matches the listings with students’ profiles.

Officials at MyEdu said the platform had been used by about a million students at more than 800 colleges. It is the first acquisition for Blackboard since 2012, when the education-software giant bought Moodlerooms and NetSpot, both built around the open-source platform Moodle.

In addition to its core learning-management system, Blackboard has built out—often through acquiring other companies—a range of education-technology products, including administrative- and academic-support services, data-analytics tools, and, last year, a mobile application.

The company went public in 2004 but was taken private again in 2011 with a $1.64-billion buyout by its current parent, Providence Equity Partners.

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