Introduction to Building Blocks

Author: Scott Hurrey
Categories: [‘Building Blocks’, ‘Tutorials’]
Tags: [‘building blocks’, ‘blackboard learn’, ‘developer’]

Blackboard Building Blocks, a key component of Blackboard Learn’s open architecture, allow you to enhance the online education experience for your students and faculty. You may assemble a solution of homegrown, commercial and open source software and tools using Blackboard Building Blocks that best meets your needs whether it is a discipline-specific tool, an integration to a homegrown application or other enterprise application, or seamless integration to a subscription database at your library.

Through Blackboard Building Blocks, developers can create sharable, re-usable web applications that can be deployed on Blackboard Learn. This open architecture ensures that you can:

  • extend Blackboard Learn and incorporate new functionality
  • provide customizations to meet discipline-specific or pedagogical needs
  • leverage this technology to enhance and aid administration of their systems on campus
  • automate procedures or repetitive tasks
  • integrate with external systems or applications across your learning enterprise for example the Registrar’s office, the Library to name just two
  • customize your implementation by integrating open source or locally-developed applications and tools

Data that can be accessed includes:

  • Authentication and authorization information - to ensure seamless authentication and authorization between Blackboard software and other systems
  • User data - name, course of study, contact information
  • Course data and Enrollment records
  • Outcomes - student quiz and test data, scores, grades, participation and activity data
  • Content - the ability to seamlessly integrate rich content from a variety of sources
  • System management - information to help administrators manage and monitor your Blackboard software installations

Learn More

To learn more about creating Building Blocks, start here. To see examples of Building Blocks that have already been created, take a look at released building blocks on the Blackboard Learn extensions site which highlights Building Blocks produced by Blackboard Partners, or take a look at open source projects contributed by the Learn developer community at OSCELOT’s projects site.

Request a Developers License

All Blackboard Learn clients receive a Blackboard developers license at no cost. A developers license is a “small footprint” version of Blackboard with the Community and Content Management modules turned on. It can be run on a development server or even a virtual machine image for development purposes. If you require a developer network account visit Behind the Blackboard (as an administrator) or contact your sales representative.

Commercial Partnerships

If you are interested in becoming a Blackboard partner visit the Blackboard Partnerships™ program site. Partnering with Blackboard provides access to design guidance and support among other benefits.