Vital Source Technologies, the fast-growing e-textbook venture owned by Ingram Content Group, is poised to get another shot in the arm courtesy of a new partnership with a leading educational software developer.
Vital Source and Washington, D.C.-based Blackboard this week announced at an industry conference in New Orleans that Vital Source's platform will be integrated around the globe into Blackboard's system. Vital Source COO Kent Freeman told NashvillePost.com that the tie-up will be a big help to his company's push into the traditional two- and four-year institution market. In its history, Vital Source has evolved from primarily servicing medical and dental schools to being a prominent player in the growing distance learning market.
"We've had a year-old relationship with Blackboard, but we've stepped ourselves up significantly as a partner," Freeman said. "This exposes us to a tremendous number of students worldwide."
Vital Source's user base has grown to 2.2 million students — up from 1.6 million a year ago — and its library comprises more than 80,000 titles. Blackboard's reach is impressive, too: In North America alone, it works with 2,700 institutions of higher education, 4,800 K-12 schools, districts, virtual schools and organizations and another 1,200 professional, corporate, government and military organizations. On top of that, the company also counts as clients 800 international education, government and professional organizations.
"Our work with Vital Source can deliver great value for educators and students by bringing together the leading e-textbook platform and the leading learning management system to create a more engaging learning experience," said Matthew Small, chief business officer at Blackboard, in a statement. "We're excited to work with Vital Source to offer our clients and users a more streamlined, more powerful approach to leveraging digital textbooks right within their courses — online and on mobile."
Freeman said the partnership with Blackboard will accelerate the growth of Vital Source's sales and account management teams, but that Blackboard's sales group also will be a big resource. Vital Source's total payroll has more than tripled in the past year to around 100.