On March 20th, 2020 educational institutions rejoiced as the eagerly awaited first integrations between the Blackboard LMS and Microsoft Teams was announced. While I was aware of a group of Blackboard experts working with Microsoft to develop the integration, there had not been much public chatter about a release timeframe. This leads me to wonder if they decided that it had reached “good enough” status and was sent out the door to help with the current COVID-19 situation taking the world by storm. In any event, it was a welcome release!
But wait! Doesn’t Blackboard already have a similar meetings solution, Collaborate? It does but, not including the additional collaboration functionality in Teams, a couple of key features make Teams stand out. Both involve accessibility and inclusion, live captions and automatic transcription of recordings. Live captions have been in preview for a little while now and in action so far have performed well. Additionally the automatic transcription of Teams meeting recordings will save instructors significant time over manually creating one, or paying for some 3rd party app to do the same.
As of the date of this post (3/24/2020), the integration is a simple LTI launch to the Teams meetings service. There is a lot of possibility for the future, though, as (hopefully) Microsoft can take advantage of the REST connection to add deeper links into the content, calendar, and gradebook within Blackboard. Blackboard has documented how to complete the LTI integration, and provided instructions for how to create and join meetings from within the application for the instructor and how to join from student experience so there is no need to cover those items.Continue reading