API stands for application programming interface. In the same way a keyboard and mouse provide access to a computer and allows you to do things, an API provides access to another program. An API allows an application to cooperate with another application.
FeedbackFruits has API support for Blackboard, Brightspace and Canvas. Through the API we provide integrations we can't deliver through LTI:
- View the students in a course and import these into assignments automatically
- View the groups in a course and import these into assignments automatically
- Sync the deadline of an assignment to the course calendar
- Send back more grading information (coming soon)
This allows the FeedbackFruits plugins to automatically import student enrollments and group configurations from the LMS. This is particularly helpful for group assignments using our feedback plugins. Furthermore, it allows several groups of students to work in a single multimedia assignment (such as Interactive Document or Interactive Video) without them seeing contributions made by students outside their group.
In short, the API integration saves teachers a lot of time and energy when setting up assignments.
Blackboard is currently in the process of migrating from a SOAP API to a REST API. This is done incrementally: certain functionality is only available for the REST API on the most recent Blackboard versions. FeedbackFruits aims to continue support of older Blackboard versions as long as they are in use by our customers. Hence we use a combination of the REST and SOAP API.
The Blackboard API uses a single service account. This means FeedbackFruits authenticates as a single user on your Blackboard cluster.
Brightspace and Canvas: OAuth 2
From the end of August 2018 FeedbackFruits will support OAuth 2. This means we will transition from having access to the API through a service account to using the access given to us by the teacher of each course. You can expect us to be in touch about migrating to this new configuration. In the meantime (and after this transition), old configurations will continue to work.