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Get Building ! Announcing the launch of a new Building Block Discussion Forum

In December ‘BLACKBOARD-DEVELOPERS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK’ - a new JISC mailing list for UK Building Block Developers - was launched at the Fifth Durham Blackboard Users Conference. This list aims to blend discussions of technology and pedagogy and attract contributions from people with experience in one or more of these areas:

  • Using Blackboard
  • Writing code in Java
  • Learning & Teaching

Hopefully all BbMatters readers will be able to tick at least one of these boxes! People wishing to get started with building blocks are particularly encouraged to apply.

Acknowledging the value of “learning by doing”, members of the list will be encouraged to gain experience in writing Building Blocks by working on projects together. The first suggested project is to build a course tool which provides a range of conversion utilities – e.g. length, area, temperature, etc. The tool should allow the user to specify the degree of precision required and along with the result, display the formula used and its source. The skeleton of this tool has already been built, along with an example which converts between degrees Celsius, Fahrenheit and Kelvin. The full source code of the tool and its underlying Java classes will be made available via the list. Thus it provides a documented example of a simple course tool, which uses Blackboard’s interface: icons, breadcrumb trail, steps, buttons, etc. Contributions are requested for classes which perform further conversions, and also comments on the interface. The completed tool will be posted to the Blackboard Building Block Catalogue for free download, but interim builds should be available from the list. Requests and suggestions for other projects (particularly those of wide applicability to the UK education community and with a strong pedagogical bent) are always welcome.

If you are interested in becoming a member, you can subscribe via the JISC page:

I hope to see you there!

Dr Malcolm Murray


Blackboard Product

Enterprise Version 6+

Bb Link


Job Title

Learning Technologist

Author: Dr Malcolm Murray

22 January 2005

VLE: Blackboard



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