Blackboard users will log into Blackboard using the Central Authentication Service (CAS) beginning on October 13th.
Blackboard will get a small makeover while W&M is out on Fall Break! Starting on Monday, October 13th Blackboard users will now log in using the Central Authentication Service (CAS). Once users login, they will find the familiar Blackboard platform ready-to-go.
We sat down with our Learning Management Systems Specialist, Rachel Kleinsorge, to learn more about the changes coming to Blackboard’s login page.
Q: Why is the Blackboard login system changing?
A: Blackboard is moving to W&M’s Central Authentication Service (CAS) login system, which is a safer and smarter alternative to our current system. The transition is part of an IT initiative to streamline login services through CAS. Previously, Blackboard and it’s various supporting services each had separate logins. As CAS has the ability to “remember” your login credentials, it will provide more continuity as you move from service to service.
Q: What are the benefits of CAS logins?
A: CAS is managed by W&M, which allows greater security for user information. Additionally, CAS will integrate Blackboard with other systems that use CAS logins such as Degreeworks and Tribe Directory. CAS creates a “time ticket cookie” which identifies the user as one who has already logged in successfully. While the time ticket is active, you can access various CAS-enabled services without the need to log in again.
Q: How will the changes affect Blackboard users?
A: You will now see a new login screen, but really, the changes are minimal. Just click on the appropriate link (either for W&M or non-W&M users) and you will be routed to the corresponding login page. After logging in, the Blackboard platform will look the same as it did before.
Q: Will there be an outage associated with this change?
A: Yes, there will be a Blackboard outage on Monday, October 13th from 7:00 to 10:30 am, with short outages (10 minutes) potentially remaining until 3:00 pm.
Q: How long has this change been in development?
A: W&M implemented CAS initially in 2011, and over the summer we decided to transition Blackboard to it. Extensive testing of the new login system was necessary because we needed to ensure all Blackboard users would maintain the access they are accustomed to having. The IT department worked through September testing logins and time tickets for CAS, and we’ve determined that we are now ready to make the transition.
Q: Any tips for Blackboard users?
A: CAS creates “time tickets” for each login. While one time ticket will have only a minimal effect on performance, multiple time tickets can really slow things down. That means if you log in to Blackboard on a Swem computer, personal laptop, and a mobile device, CAS will generate 3 time tickets for you. The more time tickets in use, the slower Blackboard will operate. To close-out a time ticket, log out of the system and close your browser. Not only will that improve the speed on the remaining open systems, but it’s also a precautionary internet-security step.
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