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Blackboard & BIRT - Embedded Business Intelligence

Blackboard Inc. clients want to be able to leverage the data created within their learning management system. The proprietary reporting tool used previously by Blackboard was not capable of providing the desired results from both an aesthetic and technical perspective. Blackboard performed a business analysis of available reporting tools and selected the open source Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) to transform and improve current reporting mechanisms.


In looking to better leverage the platform data, Blackboard wanted to achieve four core reporting objectives: Provide Better Client Business Intelligence, Deliver Seamless Product Integration, Support Varied Expectations, and Create Maintainable Reports.


The results of the engagement included a successful product release as well as:

  • Successful adaptation: Report developers can quickly customize the reports using cascading style sheets (CSS) and are able to extend the standard reports to create custom client .
  • Easy Adoption: Innovent Solutions developed an Eclipse update site that assists Blackboard clients and Services developers so that they can be developing platform reports in ten minutes or less.
  • Delivered Client Value: Blackboard clients have begun to take advantage of the new BIRT-based solution. At one institution, in a typical semester 2,500 courses will be evaluated and over 25,000 response submitted. BIRT automates the generation of reports on the surveys that provide valuable insight. This enables the institution to review course evaluation results and make corrective actions on the curriculum based on feedback from their students.

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