When UBC transitioned from WebCT/Vista to Blackboard Learn in 2012-2013, many instructors noticed usability issues with the new platform including a non-intuitive interface and high click-rates to access features and settings. In addition, because of FIPPA restrictions, UBC had to self-host its on instance of Blackboard Learn. Performance issues and frequent crashes in the first few months of full deployment, along with the UI issues, led some instructors to consider other ways of creating and publishing course content online.
Hence the idea of integrating WordPress blogs with the LMS via a BasicLTI tool integration. UBC already had its own self-hosted WordPress instance for student and instructor blogs at blogs.ubc.ca. So all that was left was to create a means for the Tool Provider (Blogs.ubc.ca) to communicate with the Tool Consumer (UBC Connect LMS) and vice versa, via a customized BasicLTI tool. The result is that an instructor can have a private, subscriber only WordPress blog that only students from a particular course in UBC Connect can have access to (see diagram below).
In this way, an instructor is able to update all her content using the WordPress CMS which then seamlessly integrates with her Connect course which houses all the assignments, asessments and Grade center tools. Here is a breakdown of how each platform would manage the specific educational technology pieces:
|WordPress CMS (Blogs.ubc.ca)||Blackboard LMS (UBC Connect)|
|Announcements||Assignment Submission areas|
|General course content (WP pages)||Informal Assessments (Quizzes, Surveys, etc.)|
|Slides (.ppt, .pdf)||Groups and group-related tools|
|Documents (.docx, .pdf)||Formal assessments, including midterm and final exams|