It’s always fascinating to talk to customers and learn how diverse their technology needs are. Blackboard Collaborate™ customers use a wide variety of learning management systems (LMSs), ranging from commercial solutions like Blackboard Learn or Desire2Learn®, to open source installations like Moodle®, Sakai®, and others. Customers tell us the same thing over and over again: They need software partners who can support the learning and collaboration needs of their learners no matter what LMS they have now or may have in the future.

A key component of Blackboard Collaborate’s core philosophy is to provide integrations across a variety of LMS and technology portfolios that are on campus. We want to enhance the teaching and learning experience regardless of the LMS or community portal system used.

Commitment to Openness – Integrations built by Blackboard and our Partners

Our commitment to openness is borne out by the fact that Blackboard Collaborate offers several fully supported integrations with most of the major EDU-focused LMS providers. In addition, we offer customers and other LMS providers access to an API toolkit so they can create custom integrations. Software providers like Agilix (BrainHoney), itslearning, Epsilen and Desire2Learn have already created custom web conferencing integrations. And more partner-developed integrations are on the way later this year.

These partnerships support Blackboard Collaborate’s open-integration philosophy. By providing integrations with the most common education-focused LMS providers, across all collaboration capabilities, Blackboard Collaborate helps institutions save on travel and infrastructure costs, while increasing interaction and engagement and improving learning outcomes.

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Annie Chechitelli, VP Of  Strategy and Operations, on Blackboard Collaborate’s open integrations philosophy.

Integrated Throughout the Spectrum of Collaboration

Customers also tell us they want collaboration solutions that go beyond just web conferencing and are integrated at multiple touch points throughout their academic workflows.

Today’s typical students and instructors collaborate in many ways – not just in the virtual classroom. We call this the “Spectrum of Collaboration.” Learning and collaboration happen not only in the formal online classroom environment but also during informal meetings, one–to–one tutoring sessions, office hours, asynchronously via instructor feedback or session recordings, and  through help desk support and student services. Blackboard Collaborate supports these use cases and provides appropriate integration points across systems.

Here are a few examples:

  • Virtual classroom. Using Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing, a student has access to virtual classes within their LMS. Teachers and students can see when their class starts and can access it from the same place they access all their learning tools. Within the virtual classroom, educators and learners have access to features that enable them to engage as if in a traditional classroom.
  • Content access. Live sessions can be recorded and posted as learning objects in the content library of an LMS. Instructors can build up a valuable library of recorded content over the semester and even over past semesters. Students can view these recordings anytime.
  • Informal engagements between students. Using our Blackboard IM integration, students can see their classes and associated class rosters, determine who is online, and immediately connect with their classmates or instructors, facilitating campus-wide communication and collaboration.

These examples highlight how Blackboard Collaborate integrations are all about actively encouraging live collaboration within the learning management system.

Read how the Mississippi Community College Board uses Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Learn together.

Supporting our Customers’ eLearning Strategy

Our fundamental commitment to openness really helps our customers as they plan their eLearning technology strategy because they have confidences the Blackboard Collaborate platform will work with their chosen solution(s). Customers can take further comfort in the knowledge that they will get more “bang for the buck” from their technology investment because they can provide their learners with multiple ways to collaborate. This makes it easy for schools to deploy effective solutions, gain adoption, and maximize technology investments.

See what others are saying: Download Integration: The “Behind the Scenes” Enabler of Blended Learning

Developed by Wainhouse Research, this white paper discusses why colleges, universities and other schools can benefit from integrating live collaboration and learning management systems, how the process takes place, and what to seek in an integration ecosystem.

Learn more about Blackboard Collaborate integrations.

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