Running Blackboard Learn 9.1 (LMS) on AWS

Server Model: 

Dedicated Application/Collaboration and Oracle Database servers


  • Instance Type:c3.xlarge (Redhat Linux Enterprise Server 6.6 x64)
  • Storage: 
    • 10G Root (snapshot: snap-553e3194)
    • 100G Data (gp2)
    • swapfile on the local SD partitions (40g total, but, not fully used)
  • Security
    • App Server

    • DB Server: Allow ALL from the App Server only!



  • Oct 2014: Finalize the funding and SLA (CGE & TILT)
  • Nov. 3 ~ 14, 2014: AWS System Preparation and Blackboard Setup (TILT)
  • Nov. 17, 2014:
    • Course creation and ready for faculty access - course building. (TILT)
    • Notify instructors on the availability of Winter Blackboard and Service level. (CGE)
    • Course Copy support: requests to CGE and implemented by TILT until Dec. 18  
  • Week of Dec 22 ~ 24: Student Roster Loading (TILT)
    Last day of student registration by 12/23/2014 CoB.
  • Dec 27: Manually Roster Update (CGE / FACULTY)
  • Holidays: Bb Server and Access Support coverage and Student Accounts (TILT - TBD)
  • Jan 23: Last Day of Bb Winter Intersession access for ALL students and faculty. Faculty complete exporting Gradebooks and Course Archives. (Coordinate by CGE and supported by TILT)
  • Jan 30: Stop AWS instance and purge all Content (TILT will provide CGE a backup of ALL course archives)


A *Standard* Blackboard environment will be provided with the same Blackboard version of the current semester. i.e. Blackboard 9.1 SP13 for Winter 2015. The Standard Blackboard Environment includes all the Blackboard Learn modules, but, not including other 3rd party or enhanced features, i.e. Blackboard Mobile, Blackboard Collaborate, and

LMS Support

  • TILT will coordinate with Amazon AWS on the hosting service support.
  • TILT will coordinate with Campus Technology Services on LDAP integration if required
  • TILT will establish and maintain the Application (Blackboard) and Database (Oracle) systems
  • TILT will be available during the campus closure. 
  • Course Management: Shells will be managed by TILT through manual batch creation and archive procedures.
  • Rosters will be initially managed by TILT through manual batch creation and archive processes during the regular semester work schedule; To be determined -- during the campus closures, CGE staff will be trained and given the ability to manage enrollments. 
  • Instructional Design assistance will only be available during the regular support schedule.
  • Student support during the campus close will be provided by TBD

Cost Estimation

  • AWS
  • License
  • Staff

  • Blackboard and Oracle Installation and upgrade - 3 Tech Days
  • Winter/Summer Intersession Prep. (course creation and initial roster upload) - 2 Tech Days
  • Campus Closure Support - Dec. 27 - Jan 2nd - TILT:
    • Tech Support
  • Tech Support
    • No Instructional Design and Resource Center Support 
  • Winter/Summer Intersession Wrap Up including Course Archives - 3 Tech Days

Technical Details


mysqldump --user=username --password=password --default-character-set=latin1 --skip-set-charset dbname > dump.sql
sed -r 's/latin1/utf8/g' dump.sql > dump_utf.sql
mysql --user=username --password=password --execute="DROP DATABASE dbname; CREATE DATABASE dbname CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;"
mysql --user=username --password=password --default-character-set=utf8 dbname < dump_utf.sql
credit goes tp: 
originally at

Revisit -- Why?  
  • Things changed -- MOOCs --> OOCs 
  • And, with one of my student developers leaving, it gives me the opportunity of rethinking of the University Badge system design. People changing is always the time for changes!

Basically, what makes our system unique is that we want to take advantage of the popularity of Badging concept to 'promote and market' our online programs -- yes, it was indeed under the influence of MOOCs. When we looked at the Open and Bb badging systems, they were (are?) lacking of the seamless 'manageability' features for the online program providers. So, the in-house developed Badge system is designed to also provide a tracking and management system for the program owners outside of traditional formal SIS -- by taking advantage of the Badge concept, we are hoping to be able to stay out of being needing to keep grades.

Design Focuses:


  • Programs - Badges online catalog

  • Optional: Program WEB-flyer and multimedia

Badges Creation and Issuance -- Automagically

Badges are created and issued directly within Learning Management Systems (LMS) thru Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). Badges and User Identity information are created automatically using the information in the LMS: Course Title, Course ID, User Name, and User Email information.
Wish List:- Issuing Milestone badges- Issuing Badges for NON LMS based Trainings


  • Default Badge template with 'realtime' computer generated imprint of Program and Recipient information. 
  • Allowing uploads of custom designed Badges
Wish List: Issuing Milestone badges; Issuing Badges for NON LMS based Trainings 
As you are aware, our system do not provide Milestone based badges as most MOOC only issues badge after completion of the course -- I may be wrong on that, let me know. However, to accomplish Milestones, the program manager can just create a Track with multiple UNITs (aka Bb course shells). That will accommodate the same goal. 

Manageability and Reporting

Background: The system intends to provide delegation of badge management (independent and isolated by programs) and database access in the tiered structure of Programs > Tracks > Units hierarchy. A program manager can manage and create tracks to group units (aka Bb course shells) into them. So, the program managers will also be able to run reports of identifying which students have complete what units as well as progress made in Tracks in a simple view. This does not seen to be an available function for the open self-evidence based badge systems; at least, it was not available 6 months ago when we looked.
  • Branding
  • Dashboard
  • Delegation of Badge management and report access. Program manager has access to badge management and reporting features of ALL Tracks and Units under the program. Track Manager has access to ALL management and reporting features of Units.

    Current hierarchy:

    • Programs
      • Tracks
        • Units (aka. LMS course shells)
  • Badge Management: badges can be mapped to a branch of Program and Track for delegate access and reporting purpose

Share Achievement

  • Realtime Lookup VIA a unique code AT

  • Printable certificate
  • Embedding Badge image
  • Embedding HTML code
Wish List: Converting the Unicode Code to a QR; Backpack


  • Institutional Maintained Data ware house allow Reporting:
    • List of Badge recipients
    • List of Badge recipients of a Track by Units (online version being implementing)
    • List of Badge recipients of a Program by Tracks and Units (online version being implementing)
  • Secured database for accreditation
-- This is an information document -- 

Object RTC (ORTC)

A free, open project that enables mobile endpoints to talk to servers and web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via native and simple Javascript APIs. The Object RTC components are being optimized to best serve this purpose. --

* tbc


WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose. --


- VoIP
- Video Conferencing
- and so on


So, to keep it LIGHT (especially, Mobile):
iLBC (internet Low Bitrate Codec) is a FREE speech codec suitable for robust voice communication over IP. The codec is designed for narrow band speech and results in a payload bit rate of 13.33 kbit/s with an encoding frame length of 30 ms and 15.20 kbps with an encoding length of 20 ms. The iLBC codec enables graceful speech quality degradation in the case of lost frames, which occurs in connection with lost or delayed IP packets. --

Supported Browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • IE?



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