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How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

Blackboard is a web-based course management system with a customizable open architecture and scalable design; it acts as a central platform for sharing content with students.

ADSelfService Plus facilitates single sign-on (SSO) for Blackboard. This enables users to access Blackboard without needing a separate set of credentials. ADSelfService Plus provides SSO using the secure industry standard Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0 (SAML 2.0).

ADSelfService Plus also facilitates the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for accessing Blackboard via SSO. You can use one or more authenticators that ADSelfService Plus supports for MFA—like SMS or email-based verification codes, or third-party authentication providers like RADIUS server, RSA SecurID, Google Authenticator, and Duo Security. By enforcing MFA through ADSelfService Plus, you can provide better security and ensure that only authorized users have access to applications like Blackboard.

Benefits of enterprise SSO


Supports custom SAML applications

Any application that supports SAML 2.0 protocol for authentication can be configured for SSO with ADSelfService Plus.


One-click logout

All SAML-based applications connected to ADSelfService Plus are points of logout. When users initiate a logout from the service provider, they are also logged out from ADSelfService Plus, and vice versa.


Easy to deploy and administer

SSO can be rolled out for some or all users based on their domain, OU, or group membership.

The varieties of SSO support that ADSelfService Plus provides for Blackboard.

Identity-provider-initiated SSO for Blackboard: When this option is used, the users need to log in to the ADSelfService Plus self-service portal first, then click the Blackboard icon on the Applications dashboard to access Blackboard.

Service-provider-initiated SSO for Blackboard: When this option is used, users can access their Blackboard domain through a URL or bookmark. They will be automatically redirected to the ADSelfService Plus portal for login. Once they sign in, they'll be automatically redirected and logged in to the Blackboard portal.

Setting up SSO for Blackboard using ADSelfService Plus

  1. Log in to the ADSelfService Plus console with administrator credentials.
  2. Navigate to Application → Add Application, and select Blackboard from the applications displayed.
    Note: You can also find the Blackboard application that you need from the search bar located in the left pane or the alphabet-wise navigation option in the right pane.
  3. Click IdP details in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. In the pop-up that appears, copy the Entity ID and click the Download Metadata file link.

    How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

Blackboard (SP) configuration steps

  1. Log in to Blackboard with administrator credentials.
  2. Go to System Admin → Authentication.
  3. Select Create Provider → SAML. Enter the following settings.
    • Name: Type an appropriate name.
    • Authentication Provider: Set as Active.
    • User Lookup Method: Enter a username.
    • Restrict by Hostname: Select Use this provider for any host names.
    • Link Text: Type appropriate link text.
  4. Select Save and Configure.
  5. In the Entity ID field of the Service Provider Settings, enter the Login URL from Step 4.
  6. In the Single Logout Service Type, check the boxes next to Post and Redirect.

    How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

  7. Select the Data Source for which SSO must be enabled from the given drop-down.

    How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

  8. Select Identity Federation for the Identity Provider Type.
  9. In the Discovery Service URL, enter the Login URL from Step 4.

    How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

  10. For the Metadata File, upload the downloaded metadata file from Step 4.
  11. In the Remote User ID field, select NameID.
  12. Map the SAML attribute names with valid user attributes, such as:
    • First Name as first_name.
    • Last Name as last_name.
    • Email as mail.

ADSelfService Plus (identity provider) configuration steps

  1. Go to ADSelfService Plus' Blackboard Configuration page.
  2. Enter the Application Name and Description.

    How to configure single sign-on for Blackboard

  3. In the Assign Policies field, select the policies for which SSO needs to be enabled.
    Note: ADSelfService Plus allows you to create OU- and group-based policies for your AD domains. To create a policy, go to Configuration → Self-Service → Policy Configuration → Add New Policy.
  4. Select Enable Single Sign-On.
  5. Enter the Domain Name of your Blackboard account. For example, if you use to log in to Blackboard, then is the domain name.
  6. In the SP Identifier field, enter the name of your organization as listed in the Blackboard portal URL. For example, if the portal URL is, the SP identifier is thinktoday.
  7. Click Add Application.

Users will now be able to use their Windows username and password to access Blackboard.

Unify access to cloud and on-premises applications using SAML SSO.

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