Blackboard’s Open Innovation Initiative and Our New Developer Virtual Blackboard Application

Blog Post created by moneil on Dec 13, 2017

Hi Everyone!


I am excited to share that we have released our first Open Innovation Initiative focused Developer Virtual Blackboard Application (DVBA) via the Amazon Web Services Marketplace. More on that in a moment – first for folks who missed the news at BbWorld 2017, here’s a refresh:


GettyImages-489725378_super.jpgAt BbWorld 2017, we announced the Open Innovation Initiative. This program provides a way for LTI and REST developers to create integrations and extensions for our products before entering into a formal partnership with Blackboard. Developers participating in the Open Innovation Initiative receive the following:

  • Access to documentation and development tools
  • Open access to REST API documentation in the Blackboard Development Portal
  • Support via our Blackboard Community site
  • Support for a dedicated development, testing and demo environment


If opening our development platform like never before isn’t enough, how about that last bullet point? “Support for a dedicated development, testing and demo environment” – this is the DVBA noted in the Blackboard REST and LTI Developers Agreement you accept when creating an account on our Developer Portal at


We want to make it as easy as possible for you to take advantage of our open platform and we are pleased (well, I am thrilled) to announce that we are now providing access to a developer’s version of Blackboard Learn SaaS via an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) through Amazon’s AWS Marketplace. All you need is an AWS account and you can subscribe to available Blackboard Learn AMIs for development, testing and demoing of your REST and LTI integrations with either Original or Ultra experiences of Learn. By leveraging Amazon services, we can provide you with access to the latest Blackboard Learn SaaS production releases. AMIs will be provided in cadence with our SaaS releases and be available so long as those releases are supported, after which the license will expire. We also will be providing a Learn Original AMI that will be released in cadence with that platform’s release schedule and will be available so long as the release is officially supported.


This is a great opportunity for developers interested in building REST or LTI integrations that run on Blackboard Learn – from software vendors, to clients, to faculty and students interested in creating solutions for Blackboard Learn. Per this last item see Scott Hurrey’s post on his recent Hackathon at PSU!


Although under the Open Innovation Initiative production-level rates and the number of production deployments is limited, working with the Blackboard Learn AMI will allow you to test the Blackboard Learn SaaS waters. Once you make your integration or extension available, we will offer the opportunity to partner with us in a more strategic and robust way via our Blackboard Member Partnership program.


To learn more about the Blackboard Learn for REST and LTI Developers AMI, visit our Developer Community site. To learn more about how you can extend and enhance the learning experience with Blackboard, visit our curated Extensions Catalog today.


I hope you enjoy using our AMIs. Please drop me a line or add a comment below, I look forward to hearing from you!


Cheers and Happy Coding!



Mark O'Neil

Senior Product Manager, Developer Platform and REST APIs

Product Management

Blackboard Inc.


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