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Blackboard Help

Advanced Integrations

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Video Transcript

Connect 5 can integrate with existing software and hardware you may already have. In this video we will cover three advanced integration options:

  • CAP, or Common Alerting Protocol
  • SSO, or Single Sign On
  • IPAWS, or Integrated Public Alert and Warning System


Common Alerting Protocol (or CAP), is a non-proprietary, XML-based content standard for exchanging emergency notification between alerting technologies. Using CAP in Blackboard Connect, you can simultaneously distribute your emergency notifications over multiple warning systems.

To send messages from Connect via CAP, you will need to contact our Client Care Department to have this feature activated. Once you have CAP messaging enabled, you will need to create CAP Destinations. CAP Destinations are like social networking or RSS feed destinations and are selected similarly to how you add Recipients.

Many digital signs and TV screens are CAP-compatible, and there is also CAP software that can be installed on computers to make them capable of displaying CAP feeds. Rather than having to go into each system separately to post a CAP update, you can use Connect 5 to communicate with CAP-compatible hardware and software and post notices, streamlining the notification process. To learn more about how CAP works in Connect 5, read the CAP Messages manual.


SSO stands for Single Sign On, which lets users sign in to multiple applications with one username/password. Connect 5 supports the SAML 2.0 authentication protocol. SSO is available for C5 as well as MyConnect.

Are you a good candidate for SSO? If you manage a large institution that has an identity management system supporting dozens of users, SSO might be a good option for you. If you already have a web site that requires users to log in with a username and password, and you would like them to utilize the same credentials to log into MyConnect, SSO may be a good option for you.

If you do not have an identity management system, you cannot use SSO. And if you have a small number of users, it is easier to manage them via the Connect 5 UI.

Do you understand SSO authentication, SAML, and XML to program the integration? Setting up SSO requires that you understand the concept of authentication and federation of credentials. If you are familiar or have access to a team of programmers that can do this, then you are a good candidate to proceed with SSO integration.

What are the benefits of SSO?

  • Simplicity: Users do not have to remember separate username/password to access C5 or MyConnect.
  • Security: If a C5 user is terminated from the institution, they will not be able to log in to C5. (Don't have to remember to delete user's account.)
  • Convenience: MyConnect user is automatically associated with their own record. Note that SSO for MyConnect only works with closed portals (not open).​

What are the drawbacks of SSO?

  • If the connection between your identity management system and Connect fails, your users will not be able to log into the Connect or MyConnect systems.
  • Connect 5  and MyConnect SSO users will not be able to use the Connect 5 mobile apps.
  • Connect SSO users cannot access the online help section, Behind the Blackboard.

If you decide you want to use SSO, the first step is to prepare a list of users, and send that to your Customer Success Advocate or Customer Support. The file must contain FirstName, LastName, PrimaryPhone, Title, EmailAddress, and SSOUsername. SSOUsername is the FederationID, which is usually the domain login username within the identity management system.

Next, you will need to upload your SAML certificate into Connect 5. When you upload the certificate, you will be shown a URL (which you can access at any time). Then, you will need to create a login page for your users, and in that you will embed the SSO URL.

If you want to use SSO for MyConnect, the contact import into Connect 5 doubles as the list of MyConnect SSO users. For proper association to occur, the system will use the FederationID and ContactRefCode attributes in the identity provider to match up with the Emailaddress and ReferenceCode in Connect 5.


IPAWS, or Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, is a FEMA solution that allows certified authorities to create and deliver alerts using open standards to people before, during, and after a disaster within the authority's jurisdiction. If you are a certified IPAWS authority, you can send an IPAWS message using Connect 5 to FEMA's servers where it is authenticated and then simultaneously broadcasted to multiple pathways including television, radio, cell phones, computers, public signage, and home land line phones.

Connect 5's IPAWS integration supports both CMAS and EAS protocols. CMAS, or Commercial Mobile Alert System, distributes notifications to wireless carriers to broadcast to their customers. EAS, or Emergency Alert System, broadcasts warnings to cable TV subscribers, satellites, radio, freeway signage, and outdoor alerting systems.

To start using IPAWS, you will need to do the following:

  • Contact your Customer Success Advocate or Customer Support to have the feature enabled in your Connect account. There is not an additional fee to do this.
  • Obtain FEMA certification to be an Alerting Authority.
  • When you pass the online test administered by FEMA, you will be issued a COG certificate with a private key. You will need to upload these into your Connect 5 account under the Admin tab.

For detailed steps on how to administer IPAWS once it's set up, read the following IPAWS articles in Behind the Blackboard. To access the articles, log in to Connect 5, click "Behind the Blackboard" at the top of the page, and then click the following article links.