A profile enables users to have an online identity so they can discover each other and share their academic resume with classmates and potential employers. Profile Cards provide a preview of a user's profile and includes a user’s name and highlights of their experience and competencies. Profiles are integrated with MyEdu, extending a user's academic resume beyond the institution walls and to where employers are looking.
In Blackboard Learn, a user can have a profile stored within the application or the cloud-based profile. These two profiles are entirely separate. The user’s Blackboard Learn account passes first name, last name, and the user's current course and organizations enrollments to the cloud service. Changes to fields like name or email in the profile do not alter or affect similar fields in Learn.
Institutions can't automatically populate profile pictures, as profiles are owned and managed by the user. However, any user in the system can report a profile if they feel the picture or any profile content is inappropriate.
Profiles are included in the Social Learning Tools Building Block. Blackboard released an update to this Building Block in May 2014 that included Enhanced Cloud Profiles, which leverage the MyEdu profile experience and allow students to showcase work experience, projects, organization memberships, and competencies. With the update, users can carry their educational identity outside the institution and share it with not only peers, but also employers.
If a user doesn't not want to connect their profile to MyEdu, they should select I am employed by in the list on the Let's get started! page.
Instructions on how to upgrade the Social Learning Tools Building Block, including updating profiles, can be found in the May 2014 Release Notes.
Ensure your system's Cloud Profiles Building Block is version 188.8.131.5221 or higher.
You must turn on the Cloud Connector for your Blackboard Learn environment to use the Social Learning Tools features. After you install and enable Social Learning Tools, go to System Admin > Cloud Profiles and Tools. Turn the options to On to enable the Enhanced Cloud Profile for your users.
Profiles are cloud-based and stored in the Blackboard Cloud. Profiles won't affect your Learn storage capacity.
At the time of launch for the Social Profiles & Tools, our cloud infrastructure will include services and components hosted both within Blackboard Managed Hosting data centers in Reston, VA, and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. Profile and Social data will reside within the US-based AWS-hosted components. Currently, all of the cloud services data is hosted in the United States.
One of the benefits of cloud-based services is the flexibility they provide to leverage multiple infrastructure platforms, so the details of our service deployments across infrastructure platforms may change over time.
Users with accounts on more than one Blackboard instance can use a single Blackboard profile and associate it with multiple Blackboard Learn user accounts.
This means that a user can maintain a single profile in the Blackboard Social cloud and use that profile with multiple Blackboard Learn systems. This supports a user who might be using Blackboard Learn at multiple institutions simultaneously. For example, a user who is getting a graduate degree at one institution while teaching undergraduate courses at another, or a user who is enrolled a four-year university but takes some core courses at a local community college during the summer.
More importantly, this ability also supports a user “taking their profile with them” as they change schools and progress through their academic career. A user who graduates from an institution using Blackboard Learn and goes on to graduate school at a university using Blackboard Learn can maintain their same profile, maintain the relationships they’ve built, maintain their participation in Spaces, and so on.
If a user has two or more profiles already, they can merge them into one profile.
- Choose a target profile. A user designates a target Profile by entering their email address there first. When they edit other profiles to have the same primary email address, the profiles will be merged into the first one that used the exact same email address. We recommend choosing a profile that uses a personal email address as the primary email address.
- Edit the Primary Email Address field of each of the remaining existing profiles to use the same email address as the target profile. This will initiate the merge process.
- Any existing activity and relationships (posts, comments, Space memberships, followers/following relationships) are merged into the target profile. The Avatar, About Me, and Area of Study are only retained from the target profile.
If a user has an existing profile with the email address email@example.com, and, when setting up a new profile, they enter firstname.lastname@example.org, then the new profile (which is empty) is merged into the existing profile.
If the user has two existing profiles, one with email@example.com as the primary email and another with firstname.lastname@example.org, and they change the email on the first to also be email@example.com, then the profile for "me2" is the target Profile (because its primary email is not changing). The posts, comments, Space membership Follower/Following relationships from both will all be available in the merged Profile, but the Avatar, About Me and Area of Study of the merged Profile will be from the target Profile.
The different profile privacy settings include the following:
- Hidden: No one can find and view the user on the People page. The user's name and avatar appear throughout their courses, but others can't view a preview of the profile from there.
- My Institution: Anyone at the user's institution can find and view them on the People page. Others do not have to be enrolled in the same course or organization as the user. The user's name and avatar appear throughout their courses, and others can view a preview of their profile from there.
- All Institutions: Anyone with a Blackboard profile can find and view the user on the People page. They do not have to be enrolled in the same institution, course, or organization as the user. The user's name and avatar appear throughout their courses, and others can view a preview of the profile from there.
- Institutions and Employers: Anyone with a Blackboard profile can find and view the user on the People page. They do not have to be enrolled in the same institution, course, or organization as the user. The user's name and avatar appear throughout their courses, and others can view a preview of the profile from there.
- Public (recommended): Anyone with a Blackboard profile can find and view the user on the People page. They do not have to be enrolled in the same institution, course, or organization as the user. The user's name and avatar appear throughout their courses, and others can view a preview of the profile from there. The user will also have a Google profile that is optimized for search engines so that others can search for them on the web.
If users do not see some of these options, the institution has not turned them on.
The default setting for profiles is Private. Administrators can't restrict certain privacy settings or change the default setting, as these settings are the same for all Blackboard Learn institutions that connect to the cloud-based global learning network.
If a user feels uncomfortable with someone seeing their profile or interacting with them, they can select Block on that user’s profile or profile card.
When a user selects this option, a confirmation message appears. When a user blocks another user, this is a personal action between two users and requires no action on the part of the administrator.
All Blackboard Learn users and system administrators can report inappropriate content they find in any profile by selecting Report. From a profile card, the user can select the flag icon in the bottom right corner. A screen appears and prompts them to fill out some brief information to report the profile.
After a user’s profile is reported, the system administrator sees a notification next to Reported Items under Cloud Management on the Administrator Panel. Select Reported Items to view all of the reported items.
On this screen, you can take administrative action on the reported item. Next to an item in the list, open the menu to review the report and block the item from being seen by other users in your Learn instance.
When you select Block Item, a message appears with more information about the action. Select Block to confirm that you wish to block the item. The system sends an email to the user telling them to revise their profile's content to have it reinstated. In addition to receiving an email, the user will also see a notification when they view their profile to let them know it has been blocked and must be edited and submitted for review.
After the user has submitted an updated profile for review, a new Reported Item notification appears for the administrator. On the Reported Items page, you can see that the status has changed to Under Review. You can review the updated profile and unblock the item if it is acceptable.
Users can delete their profiles on the Edit Profile page. When a user selects Delete My Blackboard Profile:
- The profile is deleted, including all of the profile information, the profile card, the Avatar photo, the profile wall, any posts the user made to the profile wall, and any comments other users made on posts.
- The user may not be able to access some content in their courses. Items that had appeared in a user’s Post tool stream from the cloud services will be inaccessible.
- The People tool is no longer available. The user will no longer be able to access the People tool, view other users' full profiles (although profile cards will still be viewable), nor will their profile be discoverable, as it will no longer exist. Any comments they made on other user’s Profile Walls will appear as Deleted User.
- The Messages tool is no longer available. The user will no longer be able to access the Messages tool or send cloud messages. Course Messages and email will still function normally. Their contribution to any Messages conversations will appear as Deleted User.
- The Spaces tool is no longer available. The user will no longer be able to access Spaces at all. Any previous contributions to Spaces will appear as Deleted User.
- The user will appear anonymously in Blackboard Open Content. Any contributions to Blackboard Open Content Forums or submission to Blackboard Open Content Assignments/Tests will appear as Deleted User in the Blackboard Open Content interface.
Although the user appears anonymously in the Blackboard Open Content interface, the numeric Blackboard Open Content ID persists and is still mapped on the Learn side to the Learn user ID, so the submissions to Blackboard Open Content Assignments and Tests still appear attributed to the correct user in Learn. However, that data will not be present in any Blackboard Open Content interface.
Profile deletion process is irreversible. The user can create a new profile, but it will not re-attach to any of the data (for example, posts made to Spaces under their original profile).
After 12 months of inactivity, the cloud service will send an email to the user indicating that their profile will be deleted automatically in 30 days unless they take steps to retain it. The system uses the user’s Primary Email Address identified in their profile for this message.