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Academic Systems and Services




Content Management System

(Learning Object Repository)




For educators developing and using online learning materials, Blackboard xpLor makes it easy to find, share, and create learning objects that work in any LMS environment. That’s because Blackboard xpLor is the only learning object repository built in the cloud, using open standards to integrate with the systems you already use.
Xythos (Bb Content Collection)

Streamlining business operations is a must in today’s economic climate and it’s why organizations of many types turn to content management solutions. After all, improved knowledge sharing delivers both economic and strategic value – but only when done well.

Blackboard Xythos™ provides educational institutions, corporations and government agencies with secure, scalable, and flexible content management solutions.

Course Assessment Monitoring


UMassOnline is currently using Respondus which is a client-side application integrated with our Blackboard Learn installation. Respondus is used for creating and managing exams. For additional information, please visit the Respondus web site.

Course Evaluation

OWLET Course Evaluation

OWLET is a course evaluation tool developed by the Center for Educational Software Development (CESD) team at UMass Amherst. Users access OWLET from the UMassOnline login pages which hit the OWLET server to verify if an evaluation should be presented. The user has the option to take the evaluation or to return to it at another time.

eLearning Platform

Blackboard Learn

UITS is currently hosting Blackboard Learn 9.1.X for UMassOnline's campus community.

Extended Help Desk Services

Pearson EmbanetUMassOnline's Extended Help Desk Services provides campuses with additional coverage for their local help desks. Campuses may choose to utilize our Extended Help Desk Services to compliment existing help desk(s) by covering after business hours, weekends and holidays, or manage all of their end-user support requests, 24x7.

Mobile Learning

Blackboard Mobile Learn

mLearning is "an activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating informations, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits in a pocket of purse" (eLearning Guild 360 Mobile Learning Research Report 2007)

(x)MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Blackboard CourseSites

A massive open online course (MOOC), or more specificly here an xMOOC, is a type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access. While there is no commonly accepted definition of a MOOC, two key features seem prevalent: open access, MOOC participants do not need to be a registered student in a school to "take" a MOOC, and are not required to pay a fee; scalability, many traditional courses depend upon a small ratio of students to teacher, but the "massive" in MOOC suggests that the course is designed to support an indefinite number of participants.

Personal Response System


A student response system (SRS) is comprised of individual student transmitter/input devices (via keypad, remote, PDA or laptop), receivers, a master/central/host system with software used to electronically gather and tabulate student responses, and infrastructure (sensors, wire, conduit, etc) to support the system. Additionally, the system requires administration to manage the assignment, registration, inventory and control of the student input devices, as well as resources for operations and maintenance of the system over its life cycle. (quoted from

Plagiarism Detection


Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as "the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one's own original work." In order to determine the originality of work submitted online, many college and university campuses and individual faculty utilize plagiarism detection software.
Taking the notion of plagiarism detection a step further, educational software companies have developed "plagiarism prevention" systems, designed to help deter or prevent further plagiarism in educational settings. One example of a plagiarism prevention tool is Another is Blackboard's own SafeAssign. One of the primary goals in using such systems is that of providing rich, meaningful feedback to students about their writing.

TurnitinTurnitin improves the student writing cycle by preventing plagiarism and providing rich feedback to students.

Systems Integration

Academic Integration ServicesAs campuses extend their online learning platforms beyond the LMS to include a variety of 3rd party services, systems integration efforts are required to ensure continuity across the learning environment (e.g. identity management, data/content sharing, etc.). The UMOL Tech Team provides campuses with limited internal resources support for integration and interoperability across all UMOL systems.


Blackboard Learn

UMassOnline offers a variety of training materials based on Systems and Services that we offer. Formalized trainings are provided by the vendor in a "train the trainer" model to campus administrators.

Web Conferencing

Blackboard Collaborate

Combining the capabilities of industry leaders Wimba and Elluminate, Blackboard Collaborate provides a comprehensive learning platform designed specifically for education. It is helping thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations worldwide deliver a more effective learning experience through online, blended, and mobile learning. And it will help you open up all-new aspects of real time, or anytime, learning to engage more students and improve outcomes.

Administrative Systems and Services




Administrative Service Support

Atlassian Confluence

UMassOnline provides support for a variety of Systems and Services used throughout the UMassOnline Ecosystem.

Atlassian JIRA

Alerts & Notifications

UMassOnline monitors all provided systems and services and displays their status here:


Google AnalyticsUMassOnline Technology Team uses Google Analytics to track and discover trends on the sites that they manage and host.


MailChimpCreate signup forms that match your brand's look and feel, and send your subscribers product updates, event invitations, announcements, and editorial content (just to name a few). Use our reports to improve your campaigns and learn more about your subscribers. Best of all? MailChimp is free for lists of up to 2,000 subscribers.

Custom URL Shortener

bit.lyUMassOnline uses a Custom URL Shortening Service in order to shorten links for use on Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and sending links via phone or email.

Enrollment Management

UngerboeckUMassOnline provides organizations an interface for managing the enrollment of their students, faculty and affiliates in other supported systems such as a Learning Management System.

Enterprise Calendaring

Atlassian Team Calendars

Your team's single source of truth – managing team leave, tracking JIRA projects, and planning events – Team Calendars connects Confluence and JIRA like never before.

Create People, JIRA, and Event Calendars – three calendars to keep your team on schedule and moving forward together.

Form Generation


Wufoo is an Internet application owned by Survey Monkey, LLC, that helps anybody build amazing online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, backend and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun. Because we host everything, all you need is a browser, an Internet connection and a few minutes to build a form and start using it right away.

Help Desk Services

Pearson Help Desk Support Services

Most online programs use an asynchronous teaching style, providing maximum scheduling convenience for learning activities. As such, we believe support should be available whenever it’s needed.

EmbanetCompass currently employs a sizeable team of specialists to handle help desk and technical support issues. Throughout our nearly 20 years we have provided exceptional support for hundreds of thousands of students on multiple LMS platforms. Our experience allows our team to personally assist each student, faculty member and administrator, increasing overall satisfaction with the online learning experience.

Hosting Services

AmazonAmazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Amazon EC2 is used to host the Web Content Management System, Drupal.
Blackboard Managed Hosting 
GoDaddyDNS, Domain Name, VPS Services
Contegix Hosting of Confluence & JIRA

Issue Reporting & Tracking

Atlassian JIRA

JIRA provides issue tracking and project tracking for UMassOnline.

Customer Service Agreements

  • Atlassian
  • Blackboard
  • Contegix

A service level agreement is a part of a service contract where systems performance and support is formally defined for either technical or personal services. As an example, Internet Service Providers will commonly include service level agreements within the terms of their contracts with customers to define the availability a software application, or the response time of the help desk.

Knowledge Management

Atlassian Confluence

Knowledge management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable the understanding and adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge (captured and distributed as artifacts), either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizations as processes, practices or policies. Knowledge management efforts typically include organizational objectives such as operational understanding/alignment, improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organization.

Behind the Blackboard AccessNon-admin access to Behind the Blackboard is now available. Non-admin accounts give our "Institution Administrators" access to Behind the Blackboarddocumentation and Knowledge Base articles. This account does not give the ability to create or update existing cases.
Atlassian JIRAJIRA provides issue tracking and project tracking for UMassOnline and also doubles as a searchable Knowledgebase for Known and Reported Issues.

Technology Administration

Atlassian ConfluenceUMassOnline Administrative team provides Administration and Support for Atlassian Confluence, the UMassOnline teams internal Wiki.
Atlassian JIRAUMassOnline Administrative team provides Administration and Support for Atlassian JIRA , the UMassOnline teams internal ticketing system.
MailChimpUMassOnline Administrative Team provides support for MailChimp, the UMassOnline teams Campaign/Newsletter builder.
WufooUMassOnline Administrative Team provides support for Wufoo, the UMassOnline teams Form Generation Software.


Themes for Atlassian ConfluenceAllows both non-technical and technical users to change the look and feel of Confluence spaces.

Uptime and Performance Monitoring Services


Broadly, Business transaction management (BTM), also known as business transaction monitoring, application transaction profiling or user defined transaction profiling, is the practice of managing information technology (IT) from a business transaction perspective. It provides a tool for tracking the flow of transactions across IT infrastructure, in addition to detection, alerting, and correction of unexpected changes in business or technical conditions. The ultimate goal of BTM is to improve service quality for users conducting business transactions while improving the effectiveness of the IT applications and infrastructure across which those transactions execute

Web Content Management

Blackboard Learn Log-in Pages

A web content management system (webCMS or WCMS) is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow non-technical users, with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages, to create and manage website content with relative ease. A robust webCMS provides the foundation for web site development, offering users the ability to manage documents and output for multiple author editing and participation. Most systems use a separate database to store page content, metadata, and other information assets that might be needed presented within the website. Development and administration is typically done through browser-based interfaces, but some systems require the use of a "fat client" installed locally on the administrator's computer.


Web Content Management

Integration Systems and Services




Archival Process

Blackboard Section Archives

We collect filters from hosted campuses that will be used to identify current semester specific sections within the Bb Learn system. These filters will then be used to generate individual section backup files that will be provided once the active semester is over to hosted campuses. UMOL provides a form within Confluence to campus administrators to simplify the collection of these filters. This form is found here:Filter Terms and Backups form.


Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

Many campuses have discovered the virtues of LDAP and have already integrated this method of authentication into other systems on their campus such as single sign on (SSO) portal solutions. These solutions have the ability to tie into other external sources like student information systems and library services. Each campus can have individualized solutions, but as long as a few simple guidelines are followed it is possible to integrate UMOL Learn into these initiatives.


Blackboard Section Backups

UMassOnline will take weekly backups of hosted campus sections. These backups will be available to campuses in the event of a problem with a section currently in production. UMassOnline will keep three weeks of these backups available and any backup provided to campuses will be no more than one, two or three weeks old.


SFTP Hosting

Batching refers to the process of push hosted campus .csv or xml SIS extracts into Bb Learn. This files ware posted to a sftp host. This host is then mounted to the batch server in the Bb Learn cluster. Each campus has their own directory where scripts sweep on an hourly basis to pick any posted files up for import into Bb Learn. These files will import Learning Contexts (Courses/Sections), Users, Enrollment, Term and Crosslisting data.

Blackboard Learn Applications

Blackboard Learn Building Blocks

Blackboard Building Blocks allow third-party applications to integrate with the Blackboard Learn platform.

Library Integration

UMass Amherst

The UMass Amherst Library currently provides access to digital media (film and television) to students enrolled in blended classroom courses hosted in SPARK. Access (authentication and authorization) to this copyrighted material is provided through the integration of the UMass Amherst SPARK environment and the UMass Amherst Library's Media Server and enforced through a cookie set at login into SPARK. UMass Amherst would like to extend this service managed through the Library's media server to include fully online (UMOL/CPE) faculty.


LMS Data Usage Reporting

LMS Data Access & Analytics

UMassOnline currently utilizes the Cognos reporting system to report against Bb Learn and the UMOL Marketing database for vaious scheduled and ad-hoc reports. Cognos will be retired and due to the need to build out reporting needs against the upcoming Bb Learn 9.1 implementation it has been decided we will use this time to mirror reports in the new UITS Oracle BI system. This will not only require the mapping of data in the new LMS, it will require the need to build out these reports in the new system.

Single Sign-On

Blackboard Learn

As IdM solutions mature across the UMassOnline hosted institutions Single Sign-On is becoming more attractive as the number of systems and services expand.