Blackboard Acquires Predictive Data Analytics Company Blue Canary


Blackboard, the education technology company behind the Blackboard Learn platform, has acquired predictive data company Blue Canary to enhance its learning insights and help educators improve student retention and attainment. Blue Canary is Blackboard’s second data analytics acquisition in 2015.

Blackboard’s investment in student data analytics reveals the company’s continuous aim to improve the learning experience and outcomes of tech-based learning for struggling students, administrators, educators and schools, the company said in its official news release.

The Blue Canary acquisition will allow Blackboard to offer comprehensive data analysis that will in turn help enhance the learning potential of Blackboard-based education. With a clear focus on student retention, Blue Canary by Clairvoyant LLC makes it easier for institutions, educators, and instructors to identify at-risk students and help teachers reach struggling learners. Clairvoyant won the 2014 Arizona Technology Council Startup of the Year award.

As the company states on its official website, Blue Canary’s mission is to help anyone involved in education make the most of data they have at their disposal but cannot interpret:

[W]e want to help you unlock the full potential of your data. All of your data are valuable, but the more difficult it is for you to extract it and make it actionable, the harder it is for you to see its true hidden value. “

Commenting on the acquisition, Blackboard CEO Jay Bhatt said the move of creating a ‘robust analytics portfolio’ is part of the company’s mission to become a leader in education analytics through key technologies such as predictive analysis toolkits that enable teachers to better support their struggling students. Mike Sharkey, the president and founder of Blue Canary, said that Blackboard is capable of improving student retention rates for schools that use its technologies:

“Blackboard has the breadth and depth of skills, resources and intellectual horsepower to make an enormous impact on learner retention and to enable the institutions that serve them,” Rhea Kelly in Campus Technology reports.

Through Blackboard, educators and decision-makers track, interpret, and improve the performance of learners primarily through the examination of online and in-class courses, and data analysis of school departments, financial aid and finance departments, as well as other school services.

Blackboard’s data analytics services offer a holistic approach to predictive data which is available with on-demand access to accurate and actionable insights, Blackboard says. Data from software, online platforms, faculty and students are analyzed offering usable data that can improve student success.

In 2015, Blackboard announced the acquisition of X-Ray Analytics, which the company integrated into its services. X-Ray, just like Blue Canary, has a learning analytics and predictive analysis technology that provides insights for at-risk students and helps educators and other decision-makers to identify issues that call for intervention.