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Configure and Register Blackboard Mobile Web Services

The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block enables Blackboard Learn to communicate with Blackboard's mobile product line:

Bb Student
Mobile Learn
Bb Grader

You must configure and register the Mobile Web Services Building Block to enable it on your system.

Configure and register the Blackboard Mobile Web Services building block

  1. On the Administrator Panel in the Building Blocks section, choose Building Blocks.
  2. Select Installed Tools.
  3. Locate Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block and access its drop-down menu.
  4. Select Settings.
  5. Select Server Registration Settings.
  6. Provide the following information:
    • System Administrator Contact Email
    • End User Support Channel
    • End User Support Channel Label
    • Username Label
    • External URL of Learn Server
    • User-facing URL
    • Name
    • Environment Type
    • Authentication Type
  7. Select Submit.
  8. Click Approve to confirm the building block’s privileges. The Building Block page refreshes and displays a message that the building block was made available to the system.

Environment type

There are four options for environment type: Production, Testing, Staging, and Development. Testing, Staging, and Development are all effectively the same. Under these configurations, the environment is only searchable through the Public ID within the apps. The Public ID is found at the top of the Mobile B2 Settings page. You can have as many Testing, Staging, and Development environments as desired. You can have only one Production environment, unless otherwise specified in your contract. Production environments are searchable by the Name or the Public ID.

We recommend that you share the Public ID only with authorized employees for testing purposes. Blackboard reserves the right to change the Public ID at any time.

Authentication type

The options for authentication type are:

  • Native - which uses the Blackboard native challenge-response authentication system or LDAP, if one of those has been configured for the Blackboard Learn instance.
  • Force to Web - which is the authentication type that handles custom or other authentication mechanisms that might be configured at your institution for use with all applications, including Blackboard. If this setting is checked, users are launched to the browser and re-directed to the institution's authentication page to login.
  • HTTP Authentication - encrypted password over HTTP. This option is not able to use with SSL.

Blackboard Mobile does not have a separate authentication mechanism. The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block, which provides the back-end server functionality for Mobile apps, leverages the same authentication mechanisms that the institution uses for its Blackboard Learn instance. The two broad choices for the authentication mechanism are:

  1. Using the built-in Blackboard challenge-response authentication or LDAP (Native).


  2. Using a Web-based single sign-on mechanism for all applications throughout the institution (Force to Web).

How to point a Force to Web authentication type toward a custom external login page

In the BBLEARN/bb_bb60.system_registry table, there is a registry_key named url_to_login. This field controls the URL used for mobile app login. It does not affect the login page for traditional web browser access in any way. Sometimes it is not sufficient to simply point the URL at the external authentication portal if this does not automatically direct the user back to the Blackboard Learn instance. You may need a returnURL or some other parameter to direct the session back to the Blackboard Learn environment authentication endpoint, depending on the authentication mechanism being used, such as Shibboleth integrated with Learn, AutoSignOn B2, and so on.

If you have questions about configuring force to web authentication, please reach out to our Client Support team on Behind the Blackboard (available in English only).

To query the database:

Select * from BBLEARN.system_registry where registry_key = ‘url_to_login’

Alternatively, the value can be observed through a Mobile B2 API:

<root URL>/webapps/Bb-mobile-BBLEARN/systemRegistry?registry_key=url_to_login

There is a 255 character limit for this value in the system_registry.registry_value field. For a value larger than this limit, try a URL shortening service.

Firewall Whitelisting to Allow Mobile Traffic

Blackboard mobile products may require some modifications to your institution's network configuration (firewall/IP whitelist) to permit data to move between Blackboard Learn and Blackboard's mobile products.

Learn more about firewall whitelisting