What does openness and efficiency look like bundled into one?
Blackboard continues to find ways to innovate and make users more efficient in their daily tasks. There are various ways we can accomplish this. It may be through the core Blackboard Learn™ platform. Or, it may be through Blackboard Building Blocks™ where we augment the platform and provide clients with a greater choice of instructional tools. And, as we develop, we continue to consider how we can contribute back to not only the education community, but the developer community, as well. We’re excited to announce two important Building Blocks – Bboogle and the Paste from Word Mashup – are now available and certified for the Blackboard Learn platform.
As we know, Google Apps have become ingrained in our daily workflows. We turn to them to perform searches, locate people and places around the globe, translate languages, collaborate on documents or with groups…the list goes on and on. We are extremely pleased to now have the Blackboard-certified Bboogle Building Block available to our clients.
The Bboogle Building Block provides an easy way to integrate licensed Google Apps with Blackboard Learn™. Bboogle initiates a single sign-on request to Google Apps so that users can link to any Google App tool from inside their Blackboard Learn courses. Schools that have licensed Google Apps for Education® or Business can use Bboogle to provide users direct access from inside their courses to the content and tools available in Google Apps. Bboogle creates tool links in courses that permit users to go directly to the Google Apps tool they want to use.
In 2009 Blackboard and Northwestern University partnered on an integration to make Google Apps for Education available to students within the Blackboard Learn platform with a single sign on. Developed by Northwestern’s Information Technology development team, the Bboogle Building Block has been released and resides on OSCELOT’s website as open source to let other institutions use or build on the technology at no cost.
Understanding the broad use of Google Apps tools and in an effort to provide users with greater efficiencies, Blackboard collaborated further with Northwestern University to refine the Bboogle Building Block. The updated Bboogle Building Block focuses on simplifying the installation process and is available for international clients (language updates). Check the Extensions Catalog for this updated version. In addition, we contributed this updated version back to OSCELOT for additional innovation by the open developer community, furthering the work of our clients through support and adoption of tools built by the user community.
Later this week, Brian Nielsen, Project Manager for Faculty Initiatives within the Academic & Research Technologies unit of Information Technology at Northwestern, will share more on the blog about Northwestern’s experience with the integration, how it has enabled new types of collaboration and enhanced the teaching and learning experience. That OSCELOT-sponsored version remains available for use by the user community.
The Paste From Word Mashup
For many student and instructor users, repurposing their text from Microsoft Word documents has been a challenge due to some limitations with the current Visual Text Box Editor (VTBE) in Blackboard Learn. Copying and pasting from a Word document to the VTBE is not as seamless as it should be. The Paste From Word Mashup Building Block provides an easy way to paste text from Microsoft® Word into the text editor without bringing Microsoft specific markup with it. This Building Block is a mashup that is added to the text editor. When used to paste text from Word, Microsoft markup is stripped out so the text does not become corrupt and appears as it did in the original Word document. Blackboard originally contributed this Building Block to OSCELOT as an open source project but is now offering a Blackboard-supported version for easier maintenance. The Blackboard-certified version is available on the Extensions Catalog.
Both Blackboard-certified Building Blocks are available at no-cost. Open…efficient…and free! Innovation in the spirit of sharing!