A building block is a Java web app that is deployed as a plug-in to the Blackboard Learn application and runs as a privileged part of the Blackboard Learn process. These in-process integrations have the potential to interact with resources such as the database or the file system in a way that could result in abnormal consumption of resources. In a multi-tenant environment like the SaaS deployment option, this could result in one customer's building block behavior negatively impacting other customers.

To prevent these sorts of problems, Blackboard provides a pre-defined set of building blocks for all SaaS deployment customers. Customers are only able to use these pre-installed building blocks; customers can't install or remove building blocks on their own. Customers with Plus or Advantage SaaS deployments have full building block support. To request a purchased third party building block installation, contact your Blackboard Client Support Engineer or Service Delivery Manager. You can also file a ticket on Behind the Blackboard and attach the .war file to get started with custom building block installation.

Blackboard's approach is to include as many commercial building blocks as possible. If a desired building block isn't bundled by default, contact your account executive. The Blackboard team can contact the vendor to ask permission to pre-install the building block in the SaaS deployment option.

Pre-Installed building blocks

The building blocks that Blackboard pre-installs fall into four general categories:

  1. Blackboard-developed building blocks that are shipped as part of Blackboard Learn. For example, the building blocks for Discussion Board, Inline Assignment Grading, and other standard features of Blackboard Learn.
  2. Blackboard-developed building blocks that integrate other Blackboard products with Blackboard Learn. For example, the building blocks for Blackboard app, Blackboard Instructor app, Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Connect, and so on.
  3. Third-party building blocks from Blackboard Premier Partners, Blackboard Signature Partners, and other commercial developers of building blocks.
  4. Open source building blocks developed by the community.

All pre-installed building blocks developed by Blackboard are provided and supported by Blackboard as usual.

Third-party commercial and open source building blocks will be pre-installed in the inactive state. The Blackboard Learn Administrator will have to enable the building block.

Pre-installation of third-party commercial building blocks doesn't necessarily provide the full functionality of the integration. Licensing of the third-party application by your institution may still be necessary. Blackboard doesn't provide technical product support for pre-installed building blocks from other vendors or from the open source community. Support of those building blocks is provided through the vendor or community.

For more information, contact your account executive.