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Configuring Blackboard with Echo360 - Integration Overview
Last Updated: Oct 16, 2019 12:44PM EDT

This article applies to:  Echo360 Instructors

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.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: You will want to determine if your Echo360 Courses and Sections will be created separately in Echo360 and then linked to through the LMS, OR if you want to enable the simplified One-Click Provisioning feature for your institution. The One-Click course provisioning auto-creates the course and section in Echo360 from the LMS link, using the same course code and name as the LMS. This is designed to accommodate institutions who want to limit administrative involvement in Echo360 management, and use Echo360 primarily as a content management solution for instructor class materials. You can still create capture schedules for the sections, to record and publish lectures, or allow instructors to generate ad hoc captures for their sections, if lecture capture is part of your institution's workflow. Beyond the one-click course provisioning feature, all other LMS integration steps remain essentially the same and are described below.

Step 1: Add a Blackboard LMS Configuration in Echo360

This step generates an authentication mechanism, allowing your Blackboard instance to talk to your Echo360 instance. 

To add a Blackboard LMS configuration to Echo360

  1. As an Echo360 Admin, click the Settings icon (it looks like a gear). 
  2. Select Configurations.
    The LMS Configurations page appears by default. 
  3. In the right side of the LMS configurations page, click Configurations, as shown below. 
  4. Click Add Configuration, then select Blackboard from the drop-down list, and click Save.

A Blackboard LMS Configuration appears on the page, as is shown in the below figure. The Key, Secret, and URL field values are the values you will copy and paste into Blackboard for ALL of your Echo360 tool configurations.

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, whether one-click course provisioning is turned on, and whether or not additional links beyond just a link to the Echo360 section 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 this link provides the ability to "Enable Evaluation" and then fields for points possible and grade unit (points/percentage, etc). Enabling evaluation 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

  4. ALTERNATELY: If One-Click Course Provisioning is turned on, the initial click-through of this link will auto-create the course and section in Echo360, and you are immediately taken to the main section page. It will be empty (no classes) until an instructor creates one or more classes, launches an ad hoc capture, or an administrator configures a lecture capture schedule for the section.

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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