This sounds like a really interesting project. We currently have SSO using the Webserver Authentication from Blackboard, but unfortunately this is deprecated. It works very well inside our domain; it’s true SSO so a student logged on to a college PC will open their browser and be signed into Blackboard straight away. When a user accesses the system from home they need to be authenticated onto the domain; we do this using the Microsoft TMG logon screen; once they’re on the domain they are then automatically logged in to Blackboard again.
However this authentication model has been deprecated so we’re starting to think of alternatives; we’ve done some work on Shibboleth, but still have a bit more work to do. However I understand from the lists that Shibboleth can cause issues with WebDAV and Bb Mobile; we currently use WebDAV, manually set up as Web Folders and using Blackboard Drive, and would like to look at Mobile when we change authentication models; if these don’t work with Shibboleth then we may have to rethink. I’d be interested to hear if there are any alternatives.
Are you self-hosted or MH? I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to write a SQL query to pull a list of current announcements for a user; if you’re self-hosted you may be able to make an ASP or PHP page containing such a query which could then display the recent announcements. I’ve made a similar PHP page which pulls some RSS feed details from the Channels table in the database to create a scrolling banner of news stories (we’re self-hosted). However, I’d recommend being very careful about any load on the database with such queries, especially if they’re being run every time a user hits the home page. I’ve a feeling Blackboard’s official stance on this would be to use the APIs…
We’re implementing the MyDay Student Portal by Collabco and so are looking to develop some Blackboard integration with it. They have built integration for Moodle but this is the first time they have worked with Blackboard (if I understand correctly) and are looking to us for some guidance.
The most important aspect for us is Single Sign On which I know many institutions use with Blackboard. The other things we would like to do is to pull the students’ announcement feed from Bb and display it in the portal and perhaps their Bb Calendar feed as well. So far, my enquiries to Blackboard have not been very fruitful, they’ve pointed me to EduGarage (where I posted the forum but haven’t had any response yet), an Oscelot Auto Sign On project (which is helpful but it’s out of date and doesn’t seem to be compatible with our SP), and a Webinar on BIRT reporting (which was very interesting but seems linked to ASR tables that are 24 hours out of date and so probably not useful for the portal at all)
My question for this list is mostly about how you are implementing Single Sign On? Does anyone use the Auto Sign On building block? With SP13? Do you use another building block, maybe something bespoke? Is using a Building Block the only way of implementing SSO?
Is anyone pulling the announcement feed out of Blackboard? Can anyone suggest whether this is even possible?
Is there any way to generate students’ iCal feeds?
Much thanks for any help, a few comments from someone in the know can save many hours of poking through documentation.