May 9, 2024

Streamlined, Safe, and Shared: How Enabling Drive Integrations Improves the Learning Experience

Blackboard® Learn’s native integrations with Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive bring a series of benefits for our partners. When instructors and students access their preferred drive to add documents to the LMS as opposed to uploading as an attachment, the institution saves on Learn storage costs while the user enjoys a more streamlined, collaborative, and secure experience. This article briefly reviews each of these key integrations, along with steps to have them enabled at your institution.

Microsoft OneDrive

As demonstrated by the AI Design Assistant, Microsoft is a core Anthology partner that shares our focus on innovation and efficiency. Our native integration with Microsoft OneDrive is another example of this in action.

Instructors using Blackboard Learn have two options to add OneDrive documents to their course. They can either add a read-only document for revision from their learners by selecting “Embedded Cloud Document” from the Subject Content Items menu, or facilitate participation by adding a “Cloud Collaboration” document under Participation and Engagement. Students can also access OneDrive files, added by instructors from within Learn Ultra, including when the instructor has entered them as part of assessment workflows.

Both read-only and collaborative OneDrive documents can be easily accessed in Blackboard Learn.

When adding documents using OneDrive, only a designated folder therein is accessible to the user. This means that they can save all relevant files in a single location for easy access, including templates they’ve designed specifically for their courses.

Microsoft OneDrive is an integral resource for our clinical teaching program. Our teacher candidates save their teaching videos to cohort-specific OneDrive folders, then use the “comment” feature to timestamp points in their videos related to course assessment indicators. Professor and peers within the cohort are able to access the teaching videos to provide detailed feedback. The system works beautifully. OneDrive has been critical to our successful integration of evaluation of candidates’ teaching practice, which aligns with new practice-based assessment requirements recently released from our state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.”

Dr Heather Pacheco-Guffrey, Associate Professor in the Elementary and Early Childhood Education Department, Bridgewater State University 

Microsoft institutions can easily enable the OneDrive integration today, with instructions available on our help site. In great news for administrators, we have recently launched a multiple LTI deployment, meaning that the integration can be rolled out to multiple campuses or even disciplines at a time, pending institutional hierarchy.

Google Drive

Google institutions can also take advantage of many of the benefits detailed above via our Google Drive integration. This too allows instructors to add both read-only and shared documents directly into their courses, providing an efficient process while promoting collaborative learning. As with OneDrive, files can only be added from a designated folder—the My Drive folder, in this case—where all Google Docs are eligible to be added to their course.

Accessing Google Docs in the My Drive folder

Our help site provides detailed instructions to enable the Google Drive integration. Please contact your Anthology account representative if you need assistance throughout the process.

A final benefit of native integrations, such as those with Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive, is that you can now also access insights into their usage via Anthology® Adopt. Adopt provides detailed reporting on how users are interacting with various features and content within the LMS environment, as well as customizable guides to alert different user segments to functionality that will improve their experience. Check out this recent webinar to see Adopt in action.

Anthology Adopt provides insights on LMS usage to improve the learner experience.

Deep, seamless integrations are a core part of our commitment to making Blackboard Learn the most intuitive and user-friendly LMS on the market. Please use the Anthology Community, including the Idea Exchange, to provide feedback on how we can continue to tailor the integration of cloud native tools to meet your needs.

Ben Burrett headshot

Ben Burrett

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Ben has more than a decade of marketing and advertising experience spanning Australia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. Based in Bogotá, Colombia, Ben is passionate about the role of technology in advancing education and works closely with Anthology’s product management team and subject matter experts to support the positioning and promotion of our Student Success services and Blackboard Learn.

Lorena Headshot

Lorena Zapata

Product Manager for Blackboard Learn

Lorena Zapata is a product manager for Blackboard Learn, based in Bogotá, Colombia. She oversees the integrations workstream for Learn Ultra and is passionate about providing a holistic learning environment which supports all users.