A wide range of technologies and resources are available to faculty at UMBC to support teaching and learning in various online or hybrid modes within Blackboard. Trends and tools evolve quickly, and DoIT recognizes faculty interest in exploring or using these newer technologies. Before implementing a new instructional technology tool for your course, there are a few key factors faculty should be take into consideration:
1. DoIT supports a robust catalog of approved LTI tools
Blackboard supports third-party tools primarily through Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) integrations. These integrations allow single-sign to content and services and improve instructor/student efficiency by streamlining usage and synchronizing grades.
Faculty can review the current list of our integrations here.
2. Choosing an instructional technology tool doesn’t have to be overwhelming!
Based on faculty and student feedback, DoIT recognizes a degree of "tool fatigue," and we want to be mindful of the total number of tools that students use across all of their courses. In turn, we recommend faculty leverage LTI tools already approved for use that fit a given pedagogical need rather than adopting non-approved tools, or attempting to find an instructional purpose for tools because they appear interesting.
3. Be weary of cold emails or cold calls from vendors
DoIT staff has noticed a rise in cold calls and emails from vendors attempting to entice members of the community to adopt their tools. Sometimes vendors claim that the tool is already installed on our system, or that contacting central IT is not necessary. These messages can be misleading, spam, or potentially security threats. Also, all software must go through a security review to be considered for a site license. Please be sure to consult with Instructional Technology staff before implementing a new, third party tool through your Blackboard course.
4. Faculty can request a new Blackboard tool integration
If there is a new or unique application for instruction that addresses a use case our existing tool suite does not, DoIT staff will work with faculty members and departments to install the tool appropriately. Requestors will need to review all of the information outlined in this FAQ to submit a ticket to prepare for installation of the tool as a Blackboard integration.
Please note that DoIT reserves the right to reject the installation of a new tool based on a number of criteria including, but not limited to, the installation of the requested tool would be duplicative of existing tools, security and/or privacy concerns, cost, potential degradation of overall platform performance, and requirements for long-term support and maintenance.
As always, if you have any questions about teaching, learning, and technology at UMBC, please consider the following options: