Blackboard Transition: From Cartridge Deployment to LTI Integration
As many of our instructors are aware, late last year Blackboard announced their plans to discontinue course cartridge support by June 2019. We have worked with Blackboard to extend support for our cartridge deployment through December 31, 2019, which will allow your students to successfully register their access codes for current course cartridges until this date. This additional time also allows Connect For Education to finalize effective solutions that will allow our customers to continue to run our courses within the Blackboard LMS. In light of this Blackboard imposed cut-off date, the Fall 2019 semester will be the last semester that Connect For Education will support cartridge deployment for our courses.
We certainly understand the concerns of our loyal Blackboard customers and have been actively working on effective solutions that will allow you to continue to offer Connect For Education courses to your students! At the conclusion of the Fall 2019 semester, your Connect For Education courses will no longer be delivered via the course cartridge. Instead, your courses will need to be deployed using LTI integration. This means that your courses will need to be built/designed on our course site, and then linked to your Blackboard course shell via LTI integration.
To prepare for this transition, Connect For Education has been actively working to plan, develop, test, and finalize the deployment of both simple and deep link LTI integrations for the Blackboard LMS. We do realize this transition will mean a significant change for our Blackboard instructors and we are working hard to ease this process as much as possible.
Simple v. Deep Link LTI Integration
Connect For Education will be offering two different types of LTI integration- simple and deep link. We have already developed both simple and deep link LTI integration for the Canvas LMS. These integrations are already in place and functional at many schools. We are planning to offer simple LTI integration for the Blackboard LMS by the end of this year, with deep link integration to follow shortly after. Below, we have provided some additional detail regarding both types of LTI integration and what these technologies will mean to you:
• Simple LTI integration: Simple LTI integration offers students the ability to access our course text via single sign-on. Students will not need separate log in credentials for the Connect For Education course site. Students will purchase their codes as they normally would, but they will NOT need to visit the Connect For Education Student registration page to register their code. Instead, students will simply need to log into your Blackboard LMS (using their Blackboard log in credentials) and access their course. The Blackboard course will contain a SINGLE web link in the content area of your choice which will allow them to access our course text. Upon clicking this link for the first time, students will be prompted to enter the access code they purchased to gain access to the course text. (This process will only need to be done when the course is accessed the first time.) Students will then be directed to our course site (within the Blackboard course frame) where they can read the course text and complete all coursework within our learning platform. Their grades will be recorded in the Connect For Education course gradebook. As students complete work in the course, only the grade totals for each student will be updated in the Blackboard Grade Center. Individual quiz/exam/assignment grades can be exported from the Connect For Education platform and then uploaded or manually-entered into the Blackboard Grade Center.
• Deep link LTI integration: Deep link LTI integration also offers students the ability to access our course text via single sign-on. Again, students will not need separate log in credentials for the Connect For Education course site. Students will purchase their codes as they normally would, but they will NOT need to visit the Connect For Education Student registration page to register their code. Instead, students will simply need to log into your Blackboard LMS (using their Blackboard log in credentials) and access their course. In contrast to simple LTI integration which provides a SINGLE web link to our course, deep link integration will display MULTIPLE web links within your Blackboard course content area which will allow students to access each individual course item individual. Essentially, deep link integration provides you with a detailed table of contents listing within the Blackboard content area of your choice. Student grades will be recorded in the Connect For Education course gradebook. As students complete work in the course, grades for all individual coursework items will be updated in the Blackboard Grade Center automatically.
Please note that Connect For Education is using IMS Global standards when developing these LTI technologies, which should make the transition of these technologies from Canvas to Blackboard fairly straight forward. Below is a link that reflects Connect For Education’s IMS certification: https://www.imsglobal.org/compliance/c4elink.
Preparing For Transition
As mentioned, following the Fall 2019 semester, your Connect For Education courses will need to be built/designed on our course site and then linked to your Blackboard course shell via LTI integration. Based on the upcoming changes to your Blackboard course, it is important to understand that any customizations/changes you have made to your course in your Blackboard environment will need to be recreated on our site. We encourage you to submit your course build requests at your earliest convenience so we can get started on your course builds in advance.
To ensure we have all necessary information required for a course build, we ask that instructors submit their course setup forms to us each semester they teach. Though this will be a significant change in process for our Blackboard instructors, this will be a necessary step in setting up your courses each semester. We recommend submitting your course setup forms to us well in advance, affording us adequate time to build your course shells on our end, and affording your Blackboard Administration team enough time to setup the LTI links within your Blackboard LMS if your user permissions do not allow you to perform these steps on your own.
The Course Setup Request form can be found here. If you previously had login credentials for the Connect For Education course site, those same login credentials can be used for the Course Setup Request form. If you need assistance with your login credentials, or if you would like to confirm whether your form submitted successfully, simply email us at email@example.com.
Once we have received your course setup request(s), we will work on getting the course shells created and we will work with you on any customizations you would like to make to your course. Additionally, we will provide detailed instructions on how to creating the LTI links within your Blackboard course (depending on your user permissions, you may need the assistance of your Blackboard Administration for this step).
Please note, if you are teaching multiple courses for the semester, each C4E course shell and corresponding LTI link must be setup individually. Course links will need to be updated from semester-to-semester and cannot be reused or copied over from the previous semester. It is very important to keep this in mind when copying your Blackboard course from one semester to the next.
To help prepare you for the transitioning to our LTI integration, we are happy to offer you an instructor webinar!
An instructor webinar is a 30-60-minute conference call in which our technician guides you through the basic layout of your course, provides an overview of the administrative features that are available to you, and answers any questions you might have.
If you are interested in an instructor webinar, please contact our support at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to get one scheduled for you.