Blackboard, one of the leading providers of course management systems to higher education, is working on an online course assessment application for colleges and universities. Assessment is becoming increasingly important for accreditation and for accountability, and most observers see online evaluations as the best option. Online assessment currently takes a number of forms, from loosely regulated sites for students to rate faculty to more formal course-evaluation applications. Creating such systems is costly, however, and institutions that have developed them have spent considerable time and money to make them workable for administrators who need data and for faculty and students who use them. Blackboard's system is expected to focus on evaluating the course as opposed to the professor, and officials from the company said the application could eventually grow to include centralized testing, though this would not be part of the initial version.