Blackboard supports integrations through its APIs and through the LTI standard (including LTI 1.3 and LTI Advantage specifications). Here are some LMS quirks for edtech developers to take into account.
Costs of Blackboard Testing Environments
To start with the Blackboard REST API, developers have to register for a Blackboard developer account. It is free to register for an account, but there may be costs associated with deploying integrations once a product reaches a certain scale. For example, developers must pay Blackboard to set up their development instance. This environment, which developers also have to set up themselves, lasts for three months at a time.
Non-Standard OAuth 2.0
Like many other LMSs, Blackboard uses OAuth 2.0 to authenticate users who are signing into an API-integrated third-party application with their Blackboard account. However, Blackboard's implementation of OAuth 2.0 is somewhat non-standard. While it still technically follows the OAuth 2.0 specification, Blackboard's implementation has quirks that aren't generally present in other platforms that use OAuth 2.
Self-Hosted Blackboard Environments
Note that Blackboard instances are usually self-hosted by the educational institution (like a school or college). Because of the many legacy systems hosting the software, Blackboard environments tend not to be updated as frequently as other platforms. This can be a problem when integrating with Blackboard. The edtech app may try to interact with a feature that is not present in a particular school's Blackboard environment.
These 3 challenges are just a snapshot of some of the integration issues developers could run into with Blackboard.
Read More on Blackboard:
Read these other articles we've written on Blackboard and integrations.
- API vs. LTI Integration for Blackboard
- How to Implement Single Sign-On with Blackboard
- How to Use the Blackboard API
- What are API Integrations for LMSs
- What is “LTI Integration”?
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