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Blackboard's open architecture - consisting of Blackboard Building Blocks and Blackboard PowerLinks - allows clients to enhance the online education experience for their students and faculty. Clients can assemble a solution of homegrown, commercial and open source software and tools using Blackboard Building Blocks or Blackboard PowerLinks that best meet their needs whether it is a discipline-specific tool, an integration to a homegrown application or seamless integration to a subscription database at the institution library.

Through Blackboard Building Blocks and Blackboard PowerLinks developers can create sharable, re-purposable web applications that can be deployed on or integrated with the Blackboard Academic Suite. This open architecture ensures that clients can:

  • extend the Blackboard Academic Suite and incorporate new functionality
  • provide customizations to meet discipline-specific or pedagogical needs
  • leverage this technology to enhance and aid administration of their systems on campus
  • automate procedures or repetitive tasks
  • integrate with external systems or applications across their learning enterprise for example the Registrar's office, the Library to name just two
  • customize their implementation by integrating open source or locally-developed applications and tools Blackboard's APIs and web services are supported

Data that can be accessed includes:

  • Authentication and authorization information - to ensure seamless authentication and authorization between Blackboard software and other systems
  • User data - name, course of study, contact information
  • Course data and Enrollment records
  • Outcomes - student quiz and test data, scores, grades, participation and activity data
  • Content - the ability to seamlessly integrate rich content from a variety of sources
  • System management - information to help administrators manage and monitor their Blackboard software installations
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