Will Blackboard Eat It?

I have1 a number of preconceptions about ol’ Blackboard . . . I figured, like Mikey, Bb wouldn’t eat anything2 and I enviously watched Keegan and others play in the Eden that is Canvas. I decide the other day that I needed to just pry at the edges of Bb and see what I could do.

It turns out, there is a whole lot of stuff you can do. I’m not saying it’s necessarily ready for basic faculty use but there are some huge doors we can open up given what’s available.

All the following examples were done by going to Build Content>Blank Page then clicking the view HTML button and pasting stuff in.


It seems like I can iframe in anything I want. That really surprised me so I started to see what I might embed. I tested initially on expected things like Google docs and charts — that stuff worked well.

But could I do a Google Drive folder like I do in WordPress? Yes.
Google drive folder embedded in blackboard

Could I do something a bit less typical like awesome table? Yep . . .
Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 1.40.15 PM

Rampages? Yes . . .
Screen Shot of ramapages in blackboard

So I’m pretty sure I’m close to unlimited in what I can iframe in. Jeff has already started roughing out some iframe widgets for Blackboard that meet particular faculty requests.

Scripts and CSS

Now I really didn’t expect this but I can both link in external JS and CSS and write my own. That’s crazy.

Initially I used Alan‘s Feed2JS to pull in the RSS feed from VCU’s Scholars Compass. I was very surprised.
feed2js running in blackboard

Then I wondered if I could pull Bootstrap CSS and JS in . . .
Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 10.57.01 AM

And, finally, I was pretty sure I could do jQuery and my own javascript but I needed to try it out anyway.
Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 10.57.13 AM

In Summary

I’m pretty impressed with the options this opens up. We can now build some pretty slick options within Blackboard and also work on interaction patterns that will let faculty take work in Bb to the next level.

1 Slightly decreased now but probably still a large number remain . . .

2 Maybe should have gone with Will it Blend?