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Blackboard Building Blocks

Note: This information is taken from the TALL Desk Study

Vendor

Blackboard Inc.

Context

All the components within the building blocks programme work directly with Blackboard and, as such, are mapped as having a low relevance to the ELF.

Relevance

Blackboard is often grouped with WebCT as an example of a large commercial VLE. However, the building blocks programme adds a level of flexibility which WebCT does not appear to have. The building blocks concept allows the developer to generate services for Blackboard on an ad hoc basis. This works because the core of the functionality is contained within the standard release of Blackboard, allowing the building blocks to tie the main product into other systems or be used to build bespoke functionality. This method of expanding and specialising software has already been a success with Macromedia who have encouraged the creation of commercial and freeware extensions to their software. The building blocks programme is where the world of the commercial VLE begins to blend with the framework concept embodied by the ELF. There is a possibility that this could be a bridge between Blackboard and the ELF.

Features not directly related to the ELF

Many of the building blocks are designed to tie related software into Blackboard; for example, there is a building block that allows Blackboard to use forums generated and run by Webboard. This is a useful model for the ELF but does not represent any specific functionality not covered by it.There are a number of building blocks which deal with rendering specialised notation such an mathematical formula; this could form an effective component of the ELF.


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