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Feature Information for Administrators

APIs and Customization

Learn and ANGEL each provide API tools that allow programmatic push of data into the LMS.Learn's API's are Java/SOAP based and offers a full suite of content and course maangement API's including basic Create, Replace, Update, and Delete capabilities.

Please review the following regarding Event Driven APIs in Learn, and the following detail on API/Web Services to get started.  For advanced detail around API and other developer driven inquiries, please visit the Blackboard Edugarage community.

Batch Utilities

Both ANGEL and Blackboard Learn have a number of utilties that allow data import or creation in batches.  Comma-Separated (.csv) and Tab-Separated (.tsv) files are the standard accepted file types for both platforms, though Blackboard Learn will accept additional formats.  The following batch utilities are present and accomplish the same use cases in both LMS applications:

Language Support

Both ANGEL and Learn offer additional Language Support.  In comparison- Blackboard Learn offers a much greater variety of customization for multiple languages, however.  ANGEL has a fully developed Spanish language pack which can be applied throughout an environment, while Blackboard Learn offers the same functionality for Spanish as well as a multitude of other languages.  Each LMS can also be configured to read/display foreign language characters on a course-by-course basis.

See also: Blackboard Learn - Language Packs

Learning Object Repository (LOR)

Both ANGEL and Learn provide LOR functionality.  Learn¹s LOR functionality is powered by Blackboard Open Content, and while similar to the ANGEL LOR, Blackboard Open Content offers so much more. Blackboard Open Content is a cloud-based, cross-platform, global learning object repository.  It is also an authoring environment, with familiar content creation tools. It enables sharing and discovery of learning objects within and across institutions with a rich metadata engine, and it also allows for copyright management using either custom copyrights or the Creative Commons system. Plus, all content is delivered through the LMS for a seamless experience for students.  Because Blackboard Open Content is a cloud-based solution, it can be connected both to your Blackboard Learn co-production environment and your ANGEL environment as you transition from ANGEL to Learn.  Blackboard Open Content provides another option to help you migrate content from ANGEL for use in Blackboard Learn. 

See also: Blackboard Open Content

Rights / Roles / Permissions

Determining what types of privileges are available to each user in the system is a very important facet of the customization of your environment.  ANGEL and Blackboard Learn each have a default set of privileges that user levels are assigned- but those privileges are customizable to fit within the structure/constraints of your goals for the system.  An unlimited number of unique are available in each LMS to ensure that it is possible to build out a list of roles that accurately maps out to your organization structure or desired constraints of student access.

While ANGEL uses a single structure of Rights/Roles Management, Roles in Blackboard Learn add further granularity through: System Roles, Institution Roles, and Course Roles.

See also:  Blackboard Learn - About User Roles and Privileges

SIS Integration

Blackboard Learn offers a sophisticated SIS Integration tool out of the box that fills a familiar role in the LMS similar to what XEI offered within ANGEL.

The Blackboard Learn SIS Integration Framework supports the following integration types:

  • LIS 2.0: Learner Information Services, the IMS standard for event driven SIS integration
  • Snapshot Flat File: Learn defined file-based data format
  • Enterprise 1.1: Legacy IMS integration type
  • Snapshot XML: Legacy Learn defined data format modeled after Enterprise 1.1

Those migrating from ANGEL XEI would be most familiar with the Flat File approach, as that was a common standard for the XEI integration, but the SIS Integration Framework is flexible and offers a few different options for how to best retrieve the data.

See also: Migrating from ANGEL XEI to Blackboard Learn SIS/Snapshot

Site Branding

One of the foundations to any end user facing web application is the ability to create a look and feel which identifies your site as unique and specific to your school, organization, or institution.  The ANGEL and Blackboard Learn LMS applications are no different in this regard and each offers a robust set up tools to customize the look and feel of your environment to best suit your goals and end user appearance. 

The multi-site customization/branding that can be done in ANGEL today may also be done in Blackboard Learn through use of Domains, and Site Branding can be configured for different hostnames or specific user roles in the system.  In Blackboard Learn, Brands and Themes is where all of your site branding customizations will generally be created and applied to users or hostname entries.

SQL Query Manager

At this time, the SQL Query Manager is unique to the ANGEL LMS.  System Administrators will still be able to create and develop custom query/reporting to the open Blackboard Learn database through SQL Server Management Studio (Windows install), MySQL (Oracle database), or similar database server utility.

  • Open Database Schema Resources are available on Behind the Blackboard
  • Search "Documentation" > "Schema", or "Open Database Schemas for all Learn 9.1 Service Packs"