The clever folk at Northwestern University have developed an open source application able to manage the exchange of content between the Xythos basic content services product and the popular Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS).This information aqueduct is called the File Bridge Extension, and it is available for colleges and universities at large, to use at leisure.
The open source Bridge seems like a natural fit to a longtime issue. Faculty and students nationwide rely on Blackboard to support and present their learning management materials. A number of those same users also use Xythos to manage and share academic content.
"[File Bridge] allows us to give our students easier collaboration options within their course sites," said NUIT Project Manager Brian Nielsen for Faculty Initiatives at the University. "It supports an active learning model that we are working to promote, and our faculty like the ease with which they are able to share their own electronic offprint collections."
What the File Bridge Extension does is make it possible for Blackboard-using instructors to utilize features in their Xythos accounts to more sanely distribute and manage document resources for students.
File Bridge also makes a handy fork. It enables instructors or whole institutions to disseminate content across multiple courses, without littering copies of content across multiple Blackboard course sites.
Xythos looked at Northwestern University as an enterprise suffering a typical content management issue. Simply put, the University sought a clear solution for content accessibility, dissemination and reuse. "We're excited to work together with the academic community to help ensure that no system remains a content silo," said Tom Grant, Xythos' vice president of product management.
And for a more harmonious union, both Xythos and Blackboard support Web interoperability standards like WebDAV and JSR 168, meaning other universities can only benefit from the introduction of File Bridge Extension.
For those Xythos/Blackboard communities out there looking to reap this magic juju, you'll have to scurry on over to the Northwestern open source projects page and download the File Bridge Extension.
Tried it already? Tell us about it.