WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona State University (ASU), Buffalo State, a State University of New York campus and the University of Illinois Springfield have selected CourseSitesTM, the free, fully hosted and supported cloud-based system as their platform of choice for open courses, Blackboard Inc. announced today. Each of the institutions examined several online course platforms before choosing CourseSites to power open courses and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Decision-makers at ASU found the depth of functionality of CourseSites to be superior, including its support for blog feeds, mobile access and Web conferencing. "We looked at some of the bigger names in the MOOC space before choosing CourseSites," said Ruvi Wijesuriya, Director of Learning Technologies at ASU. "But you need to think in terms of support and functionality, and the ability of the platform to do what you need it to do. That's why we chose CourseSites." ASU will use CourseSites to run a "global classroom" in collaboration with Leuphana University in Germany, and several departments at ASU are in the early stages of developing MOOCs that will run on CourseSites. "CourseSites' integrated platform for the multiple delivery modes including discussion, blogs, wikis, synchronous discussions and more, coupled with the self-enrollment feature, takes many of the technical challenges out of delivering a MOOC, allowing us to focus on content and engagement," said Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois Springfield. The university will launch an open course on CourseSites in January titled " Emancipation Proclamation: What Came Before, How It Worked, and What it Followed." Buffalo State, which will run a six-part open access online course called "OER 101: Locating, Creating, Licensing and Utilizing OERs" using CourseSites later this year, was impressed by the platform's ability to support self-enrollment, peer review and the adaptive release of information in courses.