WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- California State University Channel Islands (CI) has selected Blackboard Learn™ 9.1 following a comprehensive evaluation of learning management systems (LMS), Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) announced today. After comparing the performance and cost of Release 9.1 and an open source alternative, CI found that Blackboard Learn 9.1 best fit the needs of its faculty and students and was the superior option for training, support and cost savings. Facing reduced budgets campus-wide, CI formed a Learning Management Evaluation Committee to identify a cost-effective solution to replace CI Learn, powered by Blackboard Learn 8. After narrowing the evaluation to Release 9.1 and one open source system, the committee determined that Release 9.1 represented the most cost-effective approach given the total cost for licensing, hosting, training, course migration, user support and internal staffing. As part of the evaluation, CI conducted pilot programs for Release 9.1 and the open source option during the spring 2011 semester. During the pilots, a vast majority of students and faculty preferred Release 9.1 to the open source option, finding it to be more intuitive, elegantly designed and easier to navigate. Faculty members also felt that its robust features and capabilities would enhance course instruction, interaction and learning. "Release 9.1 exceeded our expectations in many ways. Having used past versions of Blackboard Learn, we were familiar with the platform and company, but Release 9.1's unique features, better content organization, ease of use and support – coupled with the actual cost of implementation – made it the best LMS option for our university," said A. Michael Berman, CIO, California State University Channel Islands. "Blackboard proved to be a single-stop shop. We get training, support, and managed hosting on an effective technology that, most importantly, meets the needs of our students and faculty." During the pilot phase of CI's evaluation, officials found Release 9.1 to be the more reliable, responsive and stable option, and CI staff found it easy to manage technical issues with Blackboard's hosting and support teams. In comparison, the open source pilot suffered a number of outages and service interruptions during which CI staff were provided with limited support response.