Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Who's online (Blackboard building block)

  Who’s on Blackboard is a Blackboard building block built to help students connect when they are working on Blackboard assignments. It was build by students for students and is under continual development.  For instance, students are currently working on an opt-out feature.

Photos are the same as the ones that show up on the landing page when someone logs in and can be changed by clicking on the Change Photo link in that module.

Information is taken from the student information system with the first name being taken from the ‘nickname’ field in Banner. Therefore, to change this setting , you will need to work with the registrar.

The program which was a winter term project, uses Blackboard APIs to access data that is stored on the blackboard server to show who is currently logged in. Furthermore this module filters and organizes the users who appear online by course. The purpose of this module is to encourage classmates to collaborate outside the classroom, especially in large lecture classes. This module will also be useful to students who are assigned group assignments with students they may not already know, allowing you to see your classmate’s photo along with their name and a link to their email.  All of this information is visible in the email directory.  Ideally, this module will be updated in the future to include an instant messaging feature.

    “Writing this module challenged us as programmers and critical thinkers. We became familiar with computer science languages including XML, HTML, JSP, CSS and strengthened our overall object-oriented programming skills. We experienced the difficulties of using APIs with mostly outdated documentation such as Blackboard’s and learned to navigate Blackboard’s framework. Overall, this experience has strengthened our skills as programmers and as team players.”

-WT OCTET 2014, Web Application Programming