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Building Blocks

Blackboard Building Blocks are small application added to the Blackboard Learning System that extend the usability and functionality of Blackboard, provide customization or help administration. Building Blocks are written by third party clients, system administrators, IT coders and so are typically unsupported by Blackboard, in terms of technical support. Many of the Building Block application writers do include instructions but sometimes it's up to us to figure it out!

Below is a list of the current Blackboard Building Blocks that we have installed and links to manuals or instructions as to how to use them: 

Final Grade Submission 

The Final Grade Submission tool allows an instructor to submit a semester's final grades electronically from Blackboard to the Registrar. For instructions on how to do this visit the Faculty FAQ

IDEA Online

IDEA Online enables students to take end of semester IDEA course evaluations online, through a link from within their specific Blackboard course site. N.B. Currently this option is only available for web-based courses.

iTunes U

Now that we have our MacBooks for Faculty to check out, creating podcasts and vodcasts through GarageBand is a piece of cake. The University of Saint Francis recently signed on for its own iTunes U site. This building block, created by folks at Baker College, enables instructors to link directly to iTunes U from within the course site. So, an instructor creates a ten minute podcast on GarageBand, and uploads it to iTunes U. Students log into the course site, click on the link and thanks to some cleverly enabled credentials, are automatically directed to the instructor's podcast right within iTunes U. It's easy, effective and very cool.

For more information on creating podcasts, vodcasts and using iTunes U please contact the Melissa Rasmussen or Bob Soulliere. Please note that you do need the iTunes application installed on your machine to access iTunes U - please submit a Track-it request to the Help Desk to get this installed on your office computer.


Pronto is an Instant Messaging (IM) client that allows an instructor to see which students are currently online within their specific course site (available students are generated based on the student classs list), and IM with them, encouraging spontaneous communication and collaboration. Please note that Pronto is a "closed" network and doesn't allow communication with other IM tools, it is for use between you and your students only. You will need to sign up for an account and create a username and password but all this can be done from the link within the Blackboard course site. To access Pronto go to Course Tools - Communication - click on Pronto.


SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention service that detects unoriginal or plagiarized content in a student's paper(s). Be sure to watch our in-house created video tutorials on SafeAssign (they're currently located under the "Adding Content" heading) which you can access through Bb by clicking on the "Training" tab. You can also check out the SafeAssign Wiki for instructions and further details on how SafeAssign works and how to use it. We are currently running the Blackboard Learn|Release 9.0.351.13.  SafeAssign is accessible through any content area in your course site by mousing over the "Evaluate" button.