Amazon Alexa skill for the Bb Community Site

Blog Post created by smachaje on Aug 1, 2017

UPDATE 9/29/2019

Blackboard will be releasing a native Alexa skill in support of new LMS Amazon API:

The Alexa Education Skill API (Preview) Allows You to Easily Create Voice Interfaces for Education Technology Applicatio… 


press release:




So you got a free Echo Dot at the BbWorld DevCon, now what?



Well, you can say "Alexa, tell me a joke", or "Alexa, tell me a cat joke", or "Alexa, tell me a Star Wars joke" ... but eventually you'll run out of the funnies.  You can buy accessories on Amazon like a pink skin or a wall mount.  If your flight got re-routed to Orleans, France, instead of New Orleans, and you didn't get the Dot, here is a way to run an emulator with just your existing Amazon account: Alexa Skill Testing Tool -

You could try the game: "Alexa, enable Blackboard Game; Alexa, open Blackboard Game"


Or you can Google "things to do with Alexa", and come up with all kinds of gems like: 10 things you should do now that you've welcomed Alexa into your life

Eventually you'll be like "ok, Google".


So why not integrate your Dot with the Blackboard Community site to hear only the unanswered yet questions or latest discussions?


Steps to enable Bb Community in Flash Briefing.


You can say: "Alexa, enable Bb Community News Feeds".


or follow these steps:


1. Login to the Alexa app on a mobile device or

2. Go to skills and find "Bb Community News Feeds"

3. Go to Settings -> Flash Briefing

4. Select the section of the site you want to hear about: Unanswered Questions, Discussions, Announcements.

5. Say: "Alexa, give me the news"


You may need to configure your Dot for English (U.S.) to listen to this skill.  The custom flash briefing skill doesn't have the U.K. option yet.  Plus, in U.K. English things are misspelled and pronounced funny.  Probably a bug, ex: centre, theatre, defence, organise, etc.


By the way, this skill uses Bb instead of Blackboard to avoid students being confused in adoption of the My Blackboard skill.  The search in the app store should skip the community site skill when keyword "Blackboard" is used.


What does your Dot look like?


If you can, post a picture of your Dot in the comments.  Does it look pretty? Is the ring orange, red, blue, white, or green?  Let us know!



More about Alexa:

Digital audio assistants in teaching and learning - Blackboard Blog

From Automatons to Amazon Alexa – the History of Digital Assistants .

Amazon Alexa for Blackboard Learn - BbWorld17 Teaser for Innovation Corner

Amazon Alexa game for BbWorld New Orleans

Free Amazon Echo at BbWorld.  Get yours and start sweet talking the AI.

Source code: GitHub - OSCELOT/alexaFlashcardsBlackboardGame: Alexa Flashcards Blackboard Game: working version of the unavailable pro…