Blackboard/SunGard Grade Adapter Integration

Integration Dependencies

  • Banner Configuration
  • Your Institution’s grading validation rules and their application to each gradeable course (Please comment or email if you have more details).
  • The Luminis grade adapter (SunGard product)
  • The Blackboard Vista/CE JMS architecture as it pertains to clustered environments.  Hopefully Release 8, Service Pack 1’s ‘fix’ will more broadly address the architecture rather than just supply a fix. These two issues currently make grade exchange non-functional (as well as reliable enrollment synchronization) in clustered application environments:

4.2.0.x / 6.2.0.x
IMS API/3rd Party Integration
Other nodes in the cluster are incorrectly picking Grade Exchange events, preventing the JMS node from picking up the Grade Exchange and processing it in a timely manner.
Scheduled to be fixed in Release 8.0 SP1

4.2.0.x / 6.2.0.x
IMS API/3rd Party Integration
Live Luminis events and SIAPI imports on Clustered AP2 systems may fail as they are being dispersed across all nodes. so that events are processed out of order.
Scheduled to be fixed in Release 8.0 SP1

GradeBook Usability Issues

Current Vista/CE 4.2.x/6.3.x
  • SIS” is not Faculty friendly. As a non-standard implementatioln, it is non-intuitive that clicking this ‘greater than’ sign merely presents the page on which grade submission is accomplished. Most faculty believe they ARE submitting grades by clicking it. export_to_sis_green_arrow_poor_design

When another screen presents itself, they find it confusing.

    • By default the dropdown screen above displays only “Select”, so that it’s not even clear where Faculty might go inside their GradeBooks to submit their students’ midterm or final grades.


    • “SIS” itself is not a term in use by our Faculty.
    • Whether by poor design, or by defect, the 4.2.3 trials ran at the University of Notre Dame indicate no controls exist for resubmitting grades (SunGard defect?) should multiple Instructors use the same coursesite and accidentally attempt to submit a midterm or final grade for a student for which they are not the Banner Instructor of Record.
Next Gen “Grade Center” (not in Vista/CE 8 but the version after that)
    • The University of Notre Dame is currently evaluating a sandbox copy of the Blackboard Academic Suite which is said to already contain the gradebook which is to be used in the next gen merged product. The new Grade Center has no obvious way to submit grades to an SIS. We are currently investigating whether this is because the sandbox isn’t integrated with an SIS or whether the Bb Academic Suite enables grade submission through some other tool besides the Grading mechanism.
    • It is unclear to me whether the current integration issues, with enrollment synching, as well as grade exchange, are being adequately considered and client design input invited. Stay tuned to this channel as I learn more.