Blackboard LTI

Blackboard and EchoSystem Versions Required for LTI-Based Publishing

You can use LTI-Based publishing if you have:

  • Blackboard, version 9.1, Service Pack 9 or higher, and
  • EchoSystem 5.2 with Service Pack 2 or higher

Add the ESS as an LTI Tool in Blackboard

After you have created the Blackboard LTI profile on the EchoSystem Server (ESS) you must add the ESS as an LTI tool in Blackboard. This allows Blackboard to securely communicate with the ESS.

The instructions below are provided as a guide for entering and enabling the proper settings in Blackboard using Register Provider Domain. These steps must be performed by the LMS Administrator. Be sure you have created the Blackboard LTI Profile on the ESS so you can copy the appropriate fields from that profile into the Blackboard LTI tool configuration. 

If you need further instructions or more detail on using Blackboard, refer to the Blackboard documentation.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Building Blocks, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click LTI Tool Providers.
  3. Click Register Provider Domain.
  4. Type the Provider Domain. This must be the fully qualified domain name of the ESS, such as
  5. Select the Provider Domain Status - Approved or Excluded. Approved is the default setting. Selecting Excluded prevents users from adding tool links to this provider.
  6. Select Set Globally and enter the following information from the LTI Tool configuration on the ESS: 
    • Tool Provider Key - Copy the Consumer Key from the ESS.
    • Tool Provider Secret - Copy the Shared Secret from the ESS.
  7. Skip the Custom Parameters section. The ESS requires no custom parameters.
  8. The Institution Policies section pulls preferences from the Global Properties and manages settings for the ESS LTI tool. Note that the choices you make for the individual provider here will override the Global Properties. Set the following policies: 
    • Send User Data - Send user data only over any connection.
    • User Fields to Send - Role in Course, Name, Email Address
    • Send Context Identifiers As - Batch UID
    • Show User Acknowledgement Message - Optional. Select whether a user acknowledgment message appears when the user clicks a learning tool link, such as a notification that the user is leaving Blackboard Learn for an external site. Yes turns the message on, and No turns it off. If you select Yes, be sure to add Message Text.
  9. Click Submit

Adding the LTI Link to a Course

In order for students to access the EchoCenter for a course, a link to the EchoSystem LTI tool must be added to each course.

There are two approaches you can take:

Both methods are outlined below. If you need further instructions, please see your Blackboard documentation.

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After adding the LTI link to courses, the final step will be to add the LMS ID for each course into the corresponding section page on the ESS - documented at the bottom of this page.

The newly created LTI provider appears on the LTI providers list. From here, you can manage the placement of the tool in Blackboard. Creating a name and placing the tool in a menu is not required, but doing so makes it easy for instructors (or students) to find and use, because the instructors adding the LTI tool to their courses do not have to know the tool URL or secret key.

If a tool provider has no placements, instructors can still use it in courses as described in Create a Web Link for ESS LTI Tool.

To Manage Placement for an LTI tool link:

  1. From the LTI Tool Providers page, right-click the ESS LTI tool you created above, and click Manage Placements.
  2. Click Create Placement.

  3. In the Create Placement form that appears, enter the following: 

    • Label: This is the name for the LTI tool that appears in the menu.
    • Description: Descriptions appear only to students in their tools menu, not for instructors. This is used only if the link type will be Student Tool, and provides a description to help students understand what the tool is and what it does.
    • Handle: Identifies the tool in the database, and must be unique.
  4. For Type, select Student Tool or Content Type. These are described as follows:

    • A Student Tool appears in the student Tools menu. The Description provided above helps them understand what the tool is and what it does.
    • Content Type link requires you to select which content type to add, which determines what menu tool appears in for the course. The Placement allows grading option allows you to add the grading features such as due date and points possible to the tool.
  5. Add an icon for the tool by clicking Browse and uploading an image file 50 x 50 pixels. For your convenience, we have attached an appropriately sized Echo icon to this page. Click the link then select Save As or Save Page As from your browser's File menu to save the link for use. It should save as a *.png (portable network graphic) file.

  6. Type in the tool provider information. In most cases, this is the same information you added when you created the tool, including Provider Secret and Provider Key, unless you are creating multiple placements for the same registered provider.

  7. Click Submit.

Create a Web Link for ESS LTI Tool

After the LTI tool has been added to the Blackboard system, a course administrator or instructor can add a link to the EchoCenter LTI tool within the course.  This LTI tool provides seamless authentication from Blackboard to the EchoSystem.  Use the steps below to create a new web link in your course.

To Create a Web Link for the LTI Tool:

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON.
  2. Access a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder for the link you are creating.
  3. On the action bar, point to Build Content to open the drop-down list.
  4. Select Web Link.
  5. On the Create Web Link page, type a Name.
  6. Enable the This link is to a Tool Provider checkbox.
  7. If your school has already set up the Tool Provider (procedure above), type the web address for the Tool Provider in the URL box.  
  8. There are no Custom Parameters required for the ESS LTI tool. You can skip these fields.
  9. To enable grading, select Yes. This is optional.
  10. Click Submit.

Adding Blackboard Course IDs to ESS Sections

In order for the ESS to know what content to serve to the LMS, each section in ESS needs to be associated with the LMS course to which it belongs. The External System ID field in the ESS section configuration page, shown in the below figure, provides this association.

Populate this field with the Course ID number for the corresponding course in Blackboard. The Course ID can be found on the Properties page for each course. In addition, you can export course IDs from Blackboard and use them to create ESS sections via import.

This process can be done by the administrator for all courses and sections, or by the Instructor for specific sections.

screenshot of Section configuration page in ESS showing External IDs field as described

For more information on creating and configuring sections in the ESS, see Manage Terms, Courses, and Sections.  

When a student clicks on the content link in Blackboard, the EchoCenter for the appropriate section is automatically shown through the course page of the Blackboard interface.