LMS Integration: SS&E Blackboard Integration Guide

Overview

Student Success & Engagement integrates with Blackboard to provide updated LMS data to a student’s success team. This article provides information on the steps needed to configure Blackboard to allow SS&E to connect and retrieve information using the Blackboard REST API.

  • The intent is for the Student Success Team to be able to view all important information on a student in a “one stop shop” and avoid the need to navigate between various systems.
  • Automatic alerting, filtering and reporting features leverage LMS data to quickly identify students who may need additional support for their success team.
  • The LMS data is matched with course section and enrollment data within SS&E so that users can view Grades, Assignments, Submissions, and last login data on the student profile.
  • To verify whether or not data is syncing properly from the LMS at a high overview level, you can check the LMS Summary Report, further explained here.
  • Building Blocks supported the old method of integrating with the Blackboard LMS. Blackboard announced they were sunsetting Building Block Integrations in Blackboard Learn at the end of 2023, so the Blackboard REST API is the new/current method of integrating with Blackboard.

IMPORTANT: If you are an existing SS&E customer and need to switch to the Blackboard REST API integration from the Blackboard Building Block or another LMS, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager or Support as early as possible before completing these steps as there is additional setup that Watermark Staff needs to complete as well. This will need to be scheduled with the Client Services team so that the LMS connection is not interrupted and any downtime is minimal.

  • If you have a Subscription Services Package, you can utilize your plan for the Client Services team to complete this setup.
  • If you are not currently utilizing the Subscription Services Package offerings, this will require a paid engagement. For more details please reach out to your Customer Success Manager.

Setup Instructions For Blackboard - SS&E Integration

In Blackboard

As a Blackboard Administrator, log in to your instance of Blackboard and complete the following:

Create a Role for SS&E Permissions

  1. Create a designated Blackboard Administrator, which will be associated with the integration. 
  2. Go to Administrator Panel
  3. Locate Users Section
  4. Click System Roles
  5. Click Create Role
  6. Enter the following for each field:
    • Role Name: SseRestRole or AvisoRestRole
    • Role ID:  SseRestRole or AvisoRestRole
    • Description: Role granting permissions to Watermark Student Success & Engagement in order to integrate with Blackboard REST API
  7. Click Submit
    • You will be taken to the ‘Manage Privileges’ page to add privileges for the SseRestRole / AvisoRestRole. 
  8. Add privileges to the SseRestRole / AvisoRestRole
  9. To add a privilege:
    • Locate the in the table or search for it
    • Click its corresponding checkbox
    • Find the ‘Privileges’ drop down
    • Click permit privileges
      • Note: You may add more than one privilege at once.
  10. Add the following privileges:
    • Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > Full Control. NOTE: If you are unable to find this privilege, enable “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) All Grading” instead
    • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users
    • Administrator Panel (Users) > Users
    • Administrator Panel (Courses) > Courses > Merge
    • NOTE: Non System Admin users are unable to see the data for System Admins. If you have users in Blackboard who have the System Admin role and need their data to be pulled into SS&E, you must make the SS&E user a System Admin.
  11. When you are finished adding the privileges, click the OK button located in the bottom right of the page

Create a User for SS&E Integration

You will need to create a user for SS&E to use to access the API.

  1. Go to the Administrator Panel
  2. Locate the Users Section
  3. Click Users
  4. Click Create User
  5. Enter the following values into the designated fields:
    • First name: SseRest or AvisoRest
    • Last name: Integration
    • Username: SseRestIntegration or AvisoRestIntegration
    • Password/Verify Password:
    • System Roles: Add the SseRestRole or AvisoRestRole to this user
  6. Click submit located in the bottom right of the page

Create the SS&E Integration

This process will associate the SS&E integration with the user you just created.

  1. Go to Administrator Panel
  2. Locate the ‘Integrations’ section
  3. Click REST API Integrations
  4. Click ‘Create Integration’
  5. Enter the following into each field:
    • Set Application ID to d918e6f0-c6f5-4f0c-af21-ea35aa76930c
    • Add the SS&E user you created in the previous section
      • Click Browse...
      • Search for 'Sse' or ‘Aviso’ 
      • Click the checkbox on the SseRestIntegration or AvisoRestIntegration user
      • Click Submit
    • Check to be sure the ‘Learn User’ field is populated with SseRestIntegration or AvisoRestIntegration
    • End User Access: No
    • Authorized To Act As User: Service Default (No)
  6. Click Submit

Course Settings - Current Grade Values

  1. Blackboard Gradebook Configuration
    • Current/Total grade is marked as the "external_grade" column. Click the drop down arrow and select 'Edit Column Information' to edit this grade columnScreenshot_from_2020-02-28_10-10-19.pngScreenshot_from_2020-02-28_10-11-17.png
    • If no other grade columns have the "include in grade center calculations" checkbox checked or if the Current/Total grade column is the only column in the gradebook, the "include in grade center calculations" checkbox must be checked.
      • This ensures that SS&E recognizes this course as gradeable.Screenshot_from_2020-02-28_10-13-22.png

In Student Success & Engagement

Enter Connection Details

An SS&E Administrator must enter the Blackboard connection details into SS&E. The Blackboard Administrator and SS&E System Admin may work together on this step. 

  1. From the SS&E Home screen, open the navigation menu "Advise" with 9 dots. 
  2. From SS&E Administration, on the left side navigation menu, navigate to LMS Integration > LMS Integration Configuration.
  3. Edit the page, and edit the Integration Type to select Blackboard Rest
  4. In Blackboard Rest Configuration:
    • Check "enabled"
    • Fill the connection details in this section
      • host (LMS domain): Usually this looks something like "yourinstitution.blackboard.com". Do not include the "https://".
  5. Save the configuration

Note: It is not recommended to edit the Advanced Configurations.

Test Connection

It may take a few minutes for the integration changes to take effect.

  1. From the LMS Integration Configuration page, use the test connection button to confirm that the connection is configured correctly.
    • If an error message is returned, verify the configurations and permissions above are correct. Example error messages:
      • "Unable to connect" confirm the user has the correct role and permissions.
      • "404 - this page does not exist" confirm the domain and appId.
    • If valid data is returned, the connection is successful and the setup is complete. An example of a successful connection looks like this.
      image (35).png

Once this process is complete and the connection test is successful, please let your Project Manager and/or Technical Consultant know. Next, Watermark staff will need to build the LMS course resolver (for new implementations or LMS migrations). 

What APIs are used by SS&E?

So glad you asked! Here is some information on the API calls SS&E uses for the integration.

List of Required APIs:

  • Token Retrieval
    • /learn/api/public/v1/oauth2/token
  • Courses
    • /learn/api/public/v3/courses
  • Course Memberships
    • /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/users
  • Course Membership
    • /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/users/{userId}
  • Grade Columns
    • /learn/api/public/v2/courses/{courseId}/gradebook/columns
  • Grade Column Attempts
    • /learn/api/public/v2/courses/{courseId}/gradebook/columns/{columnId}/attempts
  • User Grades
    • /learn/api/public/v2/courses/{courseId}/gradebook/columns/{columnId}/users/{userId}
  • User
    • /learn/api/public/v1/users/{userId}
  • Terms
    • /learn/api/public/v1/terms
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