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Webwork and Blackboard

Webwork and Blackboard

by Mike O'Sullivan -
Number of replies: 3
I seem to remember some discussion at the San Diego joint meetings workshop about integrating Webwork into Blackboard.  My university is apparently concerned about security of  Webwork since students' personal information is stored in the system.   Integrating it in Blackboard may resolve the issue.

Just wondering if there is any movement in this direction.

In reply to Mike O'Sullivan

Re: Webwork and Blackboard

by Andras Balogh -

I would like to know a definite answer to that too, with detailed instructions.
It is supposed to work, and it is called Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) protocol
and  v. 2.5.1 should have it

I only have v. 2.5.0 but I am eager to try the integration.

In reply to Mike O'Sullivan

Re: Webwork and Blackboard

by Jason Aubrey -
Hi All,

Regarding webwork and blackboard integration there are two options.

1) There is a native blackboard building block which works with Blackboard 9.1, does SSO and gradebook integration. It was originally a project at Rochester and is now under development at the University of Missouri. We used it in production for the last academic year (2012-2013) in four large courses each semester with a total of around 2500 students. The SSO and gradebook integration works great, but there are some minor user interface issues that need polishing. The building block does not work with gateway exams, just regular homework, but making it work with gateway exams is the main development priority this summer. I've made a github mirror of the svn repo which includes a war file you should be able to drop into Blackboard for testing:


2) LTI is also available. The advantage here is that it does not require installation of any extensions to Blackboard. The main disadvantage is that there is no gradebook integration, only SSO.

In either case, some student personal information will be stored on the webwork server. In particular, at a minimum the student's userid and webwork scores.

Passwords are not stored in webwork here, but that's also the case if you use any of the external auth options available.

If that's no good for you, there is one untested feature of the building block that may help here: the blackboard admin has the option to set the building block to hash all identifying student information when creating user records in webwork. We've never tried this because our infosec group has beat up on our webwork server and OK'd it.

There are also options for controlling what information is passed to the LTI provider (in this case webwork).

My suggestion is to sit down with your security people to get a detailed understanding of the security requirements for web applications that store student data at your university. There are almost certainly others that need to store some personal information, and if so there must be criteria for judging whether an application is sufficiently secure to be allowed to do so.

Hope this helps,

In reply to Jason Aubrey

Re: Webwork and Blackboard

by Andras Balogh -

We are trying to use https://github.com/aubreyja/webworkBuildingBlock
that has the comment "Removed overlooked hardcoded path" for webworkBuildingBlock.war.

Still we are getting error message about missouri (which we are not):
Something wrong happened with the invoking certain functions / webservice. The detail message is available in the log file.
Collapse Detailed Exception:

Are there some other files to change?