What’s new in the Blackboard Connector?

Steve Lay HeadshotPosted by Steve Lay

We recently published an updated version of our Blackboard Connector for Blackboard Learn 9.1. This version contains some compatibility improvements but is mainly to introduce support for more roles in the synchronization process.

Blackboard Learn supports the IMS LTI protocol so, in theory, you could integrate directly to Questionmark OnDemand without the custom building block.

Our development focus is definitely towards replacing the block, eventually, with an LTI-based solution, however, at the moment the building block provides more functionality than the LTI protocol allows so we’re recommending that Blackboard customers stick with the connector. That doesn’t mean development of the Connector has stopped though, as this latest version demonstrates.

Synchronizing Users

The Blackboard Connector contains synchronization logic which ensures that users of courses are synchronized with users and groups in the Questionmark repository. This synchronization is automatic and controllable using options in the Connector. It is possible to achieve some interesting use cases such as restricting access to the block on a course-by-course basis by controlling groups in your Questionmark repository. This level of control is not available in the LMS itself.

Until recently, we only supported three roles: Students, Instructors and Teaching Assistants. Students automatically become Questionmark participants and the other two roles are mapped to administrator profiles created in the repository. If either of the administrator profiles were missing, all users would be denied access to the Connector.

In the latest version, the situation is more controllable. Not only can you synchronize Course Builders and Graders too, but you can turn synchronization on or off for any of the default LMS roles simply by creating or deleting the corresponding profile in Questionmark Enterprise Manager.

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