Dropbox partners with Blackboard to push further into the education sector

Dropbox will be natively integrated into Blackboard's learning management system, bringing its cloud file-sharing services into more classrooms.

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Dropbox on Tuesday announced its latest major collaboration, this time in the education space. The cloud-based file sharing company is partnering with Blackboard, the provider of the leading learning management system (LMS) for both K-12 schools and universities, to natively integrate Dropbox into the LMS product Blackboard Learn.

Dropbox is focused on providing a content collaboration platform that can work on any number of applications. As part of that effort, the company is heavily invested in building key partnerships.

"We're making some very big bets on which one of those applications are important, and Blackboard is a key one for us in the education space," Billy Blau, Dropbox's head of technology partnerships, told ZDNet.

When Dropbox launched Dropbox Education earlier in May -- its file sharing service designed specifically for colleges and universities -- it offered a lightweight integration with Blackboard's mobile app.

Now, Dropbox will be embedded directly into Blackboard Learn, enabling students to collaborate on projects together and submit them to Blackboard through Dropbox, and allowing professors to communicate with students. While many Dropbox users are already collaborating with Blackboard, Dropbox is confident that the LMS provider -- with 100 million users -- will advance Dropbox's push into the education sector. When Dropbox Education launched, it had more than 4,000 univerities on board, and it now has about 6,000 universities and institutions using it globally.

The new integration, however, is available for all Dropbox products, not just Dropbox Education. Dropbox is the only enterprise file-syncing and sharing company with this relationship with Blackboard.

Blau said Dropbox will continue to build these kinds of partnerships. "You've seen it with Office 365 and Adobe -- deep product integrations are helping drive significant business for us," he said. "Users don't want to toggle back and forth between applications, they want to see it work all in one place."

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