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Configuring Blackboard for Use with Echo360
Last Updated: May 13, 2019 02:26PM EDT

This article applies to:  Echo360 Admins

Echo360 has developed multiple modes of interoperability with the Blackboard LMS.

The steps below provide a high-level workflow for integrating Echo360 with Blackboard, and provide links to articles with more detailed procedures as needed. The procedures in the linked articles are provided as guidelines to the Blackboard setup process. Where the Blackboard product/interface is discussed, refer to the Blackboard documentation for additional details or contact Blackboard product support if you need further assistance.

Step 1: Add a Blackboard LMS Configuration in Echo360

As an Echo360 Admin, click the Settings icon (it looks like a gear) and select Configurations. The LMS Configurations page appears by default.

If you do not have a Blackboard LMS Configuration already, click Add Configuration, then select Blackboard from the drop-down list, and click Save.

A Blackboard LMS Configuration appears on the page as shown below. These are the fields you will use for ALL of the Echo360 tool configurations in Blackboard.

LMS configurations page with Add Configuration button identified and a Blackboard LMS Configuration block showing

For more detailed procedures, see Generating LMS/LTI Configuration fields in Echo360.

Step 2: Create an Echo360 External Tool and Placement in Blackboard

Blackboard has a two-step process for providing course access to external tools such as Echo360:

  1. First, create the LTI Tool provider that identifies Echo360 as an External Tool in Blackboard. 
  2. Second, create a Placement (LTI Tool link) for the Echo360 tool. This configures it to be selectable as a Content link, as well as allowing grade data to be pushed from the external tool into the Blackboard gradebook.

Once you have the tool and the placement created, you can link Blackboard Courses to Echo360 Sections.

Step 3: Link Blackboard Courses to Echo360 Sections/Classes

This is potentially the most complicated step in the process, not because it's difficult, but because there are lots of different possible ways to do it, depending on the policies at each institution, whether the links are created and configured by Instructors or Administrators, and whether or not additional links are needed, either for the left navigation or to specific classrooms, etc.

The main actions are:

  1. Add a Content link to each Course in Blackboard using the Echo360 LTI Tool placement  created in Step 2. If the Placement was set to allow grading, creating of this link provides fields for points possible and grade unit (points/percentage, etc). The grading option allows instructors to export Echo360 student analytics to the Blackboard gradebook.
    This step can be done by the Admin or the Instructor.
    Blackboard course with Build Content menu open and Echo360 tool identified

  2. Optional but Recommended: Add a shortcut link to Echo360 to the Course Navigation on the left.
    This step can be done by the Admin or the Instructor.
  3. Click the Content link to Echo360 and select the Echo360 section this Blackboard Course should link to.
    This step can be done by the Admin or the Instructor.
    Echo360 section selection options for Blackboard course content tool as described

If a Blackboard Administrator executes the third step, they are enrolled into the linked Echo360 section as an instructor in the section.

Blackboard course instructors are automatically enrolled into the Echo360 section when they click through the Echo360 link, if they were not already enrolled. Instructors may also have their Echo360 account created if it does not already exist when they pass into Echo360 from Blackboard. See also Disabling Automatic Instructor Creation (for LMS users) if this is not appropriate for your institution.

When a student passes through the link from Blackboard into Echo360, they are automatically enrolled into the section as a student. If the student is not yet an Echo360 user, their Echo360 account is automatically created when they pass into Echo360.

Step 4: Install Building Block to provide Echo360 Video embedding in Blackboard.

Blackboard content windows frequently contain the ability to embed YouTube videos or other content directly into a page. Echo360 also provides this ability via a Building Block. You can limit this embedding capability to only Instructors and Administrators, or you can configure Blackboard to allow Students to embed content from their Echo360 content library as well. In addition, you can configure Blackboard to allow students to embed videos as Assignment submissions in Blackboard courses. Student assignment submission requires the installation of the Echo360 building block version 1.0.8 or later.

To enable "easy" embedding of Echo360 videos into Blackboard

  1. Install the Echo360 Building Block onto your Blackboard instance.
  2. If you want to allow students to embed videos, edit the SafeHTML filter XML file in Blackboard.
  3. Be sure that the Echo360 feature toggles to Allow public links are turned on.

If for some reason you do not want to add the Echo360 Video Library option in the Mashups selections, users can manually paste the link or embed code for a video into a content window.

Step 5: Provide Articles to Instructors and Students as necessary

As noted earlier, some or all of those procedures can be done by Instructors or Admins. Once the functionality has been added to Blackboard, let instructors and students know how to take advantage of it.
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