Presentation on theme: "Leverage Blackboard Web Services"— Presentation transcript:
1 Leverage Blackboard Web Services Before we get started…Quick Poll: How many Blackboard institutions do we have in the audience today? …how many utilize Blackboard Web Services (or our at least familiar)?I was first introduced to it during the 2011 Bb World conference (Vegas) and I immediately saw the potential to automate some of our day-to-day tasks and provide support tools to our IT Helpdesk staff. So, I thought I would share some of the experience I’ve had with it and how we’re using it at WKU. But before all that, let me tell you a little about myself.Brandon Peters
2 Brandon Peters IT Consultant, Academic Technology Day-to-day: Blackboard System AdministratorWeb Tool DevelopmentInstructional Technology SupportContact:Blackboard System Administrator – building block updates, cumulative updates, patches, etc.9.1 Service Pack 144 application servers RedHat Linux / Oracle Database
3 OverviewBrief introduction to Blackboard Web Services, some “getting started” resources, and toolsCover how we leverage it at WKU:Online Training Course AutomationBlackboard Guest AccountsSupport Tool for IT HelpdeskOpen up for questionsSo, I thought I would start off by giving a brief overview of what Blackboard Web Services are (for those of you who may not be familiar).I'm not going to go into detail on code examples or setting up proxy tools, but I will give you some resources I used to get started. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot of GOOD documentation out there.And then I will show you guys how we've been able to leverage it here at WKU. And then at the end of the presentation, I'll open it up for questions. That sound good?
4 What are Blackboard Web Services? SOAP-based APIUses WSDL (Web Service Definition Language)Allows you to get certain data out of BlackboardAllows you to add, remove, or modify certain data within BlackboardWhat are Blackboard Web Services?- SOAP: Simple Object Access ProtocolSOAP provides a way to communicate between applications running on different operating systems, with different technologies and programming languages – INTEROPERBILITYBuilding Blocks similar to Web Services | Develop applications to extend functionality- XML based language used to communicate between client and server.- You can use it with multiple languages: PHP, .NET, C++, Java, etc.- So rather than touching the Blackboard database, you can call one or more of these web services to get the data you need
5 What can you do with it? Access Bb user information: Username, Student IDContact Info: , phone, addressInstitutional roles
6 What can you do with it? Access course/org information: List of students enrolledList of user roles within course/orgCourse/org availabilityCourse ID
7 What can you do with it? User management Create users Modify user informationAdd institutional rolesChange passwordChange name, username, student id, etc.Delete users
8 What can you do with it? Course/Org management Create Course/Orgs Enroll usersModify Course/OrgsDelete Course/Orgs
9 Available Services Announcements Calendar Content Course CourseMembershipGradebookUserAvailable ServicesAnnouncements - Create Course/Org announcements | update | deleteCalendar - Create Course item | update | deleteContent - Grab Course Menu TOC | Add new TOC | Add/Remove Content filesCourse - Create Course/Orgs | Delete Course/Orgs | Grab Course/Org infoCourseMembership - Enroll users | Un-enroll users | Get Course RolesGradebook - Grab grades for a student | Save manual gradesUser - Create/Update/Delete UsersContext - Register proxy tool | Login to proxy tool | Grab enrollments for a particular user
12 Resources and Tools Blackboard API Documentation Edugarage Admin Panel -> Building Blocks -> Web ServicesEdugarageBruce Phillips BlogSoapUIEdugarage – Blackboard Developers NetworkBruce Phillips – University of Kansas
13 Resources and Tools PHP Interface to Bb Web Services Similar to GitHub GIT - revision control systemAllows you track changes made to your code, share it with others, and collaborate on coding projects.
14 Online Training Course Automation How we use it:Online Training Course Automation
15 Online Training Course Automation The Breakdown:Faculty, staff, and students self-enroll in one of our online training coursesAdaptive Release is used to progress them through the course by unlocking training modulesA magical “Final Task” button is presented after completing the course and is used to grant various institutional rolesIT Training tab- We have 14 online IT training courses- Majority are availabile to faculty, staff, and students- Our Blackboard New Course Instructor Training course is required for ALL instructorsProblem:- Tedious to track who enrolled into these courses and then who completed them- Tedious to process New Course Instructor Training completions
17 What’s behind the button? The button launches an external PHP script that checks the user’s grade within the course using Bb Web Services.Blackboard template variables are used to pass course and user information to the PHP scriptIf the user has a passing grade, they receive a special institutional role, again using Bb Web ServicesInstitutional roles can be used to hide/show certain modules within Blackboard
18 Blackboard Template Variables Allows you to pass context data to external systems via URLUses special syntax variables that render within the body of content items= CHEM101SP15= nuttyprofessorFor more information:
19 Scenario: Blackboard New Instructor Training Instructors are not allowed to create course sites or enroll student sections until they complete Blackboard New Instructor Training. A “course trained” institutional role is required in order to view access the Faculty Tools module.
25 Scenario: Blackboard New Instructor Training The instructor may create their course site(s)and enroll student sections.
26 Blackboard Guest Accounts How we use it:Blackboard Guest Accounts
27 Blackboard Guest Accounts The Breakdown:Instructors may add non-WKU users (as guests) to their course site via our Guest Account website.Instructors fill out an online form containing the guest user’s information as well as the desired course.Once submitted, the guest account(s) is instantly created within Blackboard and enrolled in the desired course(s).
33 Support Tool for IT Helpdesk How we use it:Support Tool for IT Helpdesk
34 Support Tool for IT Helpdesk The Breakdown:Using Bb Web Services, we were able to create a custom web interface that displays useful troubleshooting information to our IT support staff.When faculty and students call in, support staff can easily pull up their Blackboard user information and course enrollments.DEMOS - Bb SupportIT Helpdesk staff:- If a student calls in and wonders why their course isn't showing up in Blackboard- If an instructor calls in and asks why their course isn't showing up in Blackboard- Was a student dropped from a course- Is their Blackboard account active- Did the instructor enroll the wrong section of students- You need to the coursePK1 or userPK1