Integrating Ares with Blackboard

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Ares is designed to work smoothly with the Blackboard Course Management System, allowing library staff, course instructors and students quick and easy access to course reserves information. By linking Blackboard with Ares, library staff, instructors and their designated proxies can connect with Ares and add courses and their related course reserves items directly from within Blackboard. Students, in turn, can access their courses and the course reserves requirements from within Blackboard. The Blackboard Course Reserves tool is linked to the Ares web interface, so instructors and students using Blackboard for course management see the same web pages they see when accessing Ares course reserves outside of Blackboard.

Installation

Install the Ares Building Block in Blackboard as you would any other Blackboard building block. Contact Atlas Systems at service@atlas-sys.com or at 757-467-7872 or (800) 567-7401 for questions and support for the Ares Building Block.

Download the Ares Blackboard Building Block at Ares Downloads.

Blackboard Authentication

When the Blackboard building block is installed on Ares, both authentication and course creation is turned over to Blackboard. Courses are generally set up by the staff administrator before the start of each semester, freeing instructors from this task. Instructors and students log in using their Blackboard username and password and access their Ares course reserves pages directly from within the Blackboard interface.

Configuring Ares Course Reserves in Blackboard

There are several basic course reserves settings that must be configured in the System Admin section of Blackboard. These configurations include setting the Web Login and Web Service URLs and customizing the Blackboard Ares web pages, specifically the Blackboard settings that instructors and students will use to link to their courses and course reserves items in Ares. To access the Ares Course Reserves Configuration form:

  1. Click the System Admin tab.
  2. Under the Building Blocks section choose Building Blocks.
  3. Click Installed Tools and you will see Ares Course Reserves listed.
  4. Click the arrow next to the title, then click Settings.
  5. The Ares Course Reserves Configuration view opens.
  6. Configure the Ares Server Information and the Blackboard Ares Web Page Customizations as outlined below.
  7. Click Submit to save your configurations.

Ares Server Information

Web Login URL

The URL to authenticate the Blackboard web login with the Ares.dll. 

Example: http://yourserver.edu/ares/ares.dll.

Web Service URL

The URL to link the Blackboard web interface with the Ares Web Service
interface. 

Example: http://yourserver.edu/ares/webservice/areswebservice.asmx

Verbose Errors
(for Debugging)
This feature should be set to No Logging, as this is the only option that
will work with the Class Link option that you must select for Instructor
Display Options and Student Display Options in the Blackboard Ares Web
Page Customizations section.

If you are using an SSL Certificate you must use DNS in the above URLs, for example, https://123.123.123.123. The ares.dll IP address will not work.

Blackboard Ares Web Page Customizations 

Instructor Display Options

Class Link: Choosing this option conveniently sets the landing
page for instructors using Blackboard to the Ares Course Details
page. This allows instructors quick and easy access to both
viewing and adding course reserves items directly in Ares, and
allows them to take advantage of all the features available in
the standard Ares Course Details page such as instructor and
personal tags.

Be sure to select the Class Link option for Instructor Display
Options and Student Display Options, as the other options are
not supported by Ares and Atlas Systems.

Student Display Options

Class Link: Choosing this option conveniently sets the landing
page for students using Blackboard to the Ares Course Details
page. This allows students quick and easy access to viewing
their course reserves items directly in Ares, and allows them to
take advantage of all the features available in the standard Ares
Course Details page such as instructor and personal tags.

Be sure to select the Class Link option for Instructor Display
Options and Student Display Options, as the other options are
not supported by Ares and Atlas Systems.

Instructor Page Header

The header here is for the text that displays when the Instructor
Display Option is set to Both Class and Direct Item Links, which
is not supported by Ares. Because you are using the Class Link
display option you should leave this header blank.

Instructor Add Items Link

The text entered here displays on the link instructors would click
to access the Ares Course Details page when the Instructor
Display Option is set to Both Class and Direct Item Links, which
is not supported by Ares. Because the Class Link option sets the
landing page to the Ares Course Details page, you should leave
this link blank.

Student Page Header

The header here is for the text that displays when the Student
Display Option is set to either Direct Item Links or Both Class
and Direct Item Links, which are not supported by Ares. Because
you are using the Class Link display option you should leave this
header blank.

Student View Course Link

The text entered here displays on the link students would click
to access the Ares Course Details page when the Student
Display Option is set to either Direct Item Links or Both Class
and Direct Item Links, which are not supported by Ares. Because
the Class Link option sets the landing page to the Ares Course
Details page, you should leave this link blank.

Ares Course Semester

Blackboard Course Dates/Current Ares Semester: Blackboard
chooses the most appropriate semester based on the dates from
the Blackboard course.

Instructor Chooses Semester: This option lets the instructor
choose the semester for a new course when it is added to Ares
from Blackboard.

Blackboard and the Web Service Agent

When you click Submit to set the configuration settings under System Admin, Blackboard will announce on the next screen that it has connected to the Ares Web Service successfully and will tell you what Agent was used to connecting.

The Agent information needs to be entered in the WebServiceAgents table in the Ares Customization Manager.

By default, the Ares installer/updater will add Axis/1.4.

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