BbWorld 13 Session: Learning Content in the Cloud: An Introduction to Blackboard XpLor, A Cross-Platform Learning Object Repository and Authoring Environment

Richard Caccavale, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Blackboard Cloud Services

Brent Mundy, Director, Product Management, Blackboard Cloud Services

What are the current problems we encounter when sharing learning objects?

  • Learning objects are often copied over and over within an LMS.
  • Material has to be manually exported and imported to other LMS platforms.
  • There isn’t a simple way to apply copyright to items.
  • Searching for content is difficult.

Blackboard xpLor is a cloud based learning object repository with authoring tools that addresses: authoring, copyright, sharing, discovery, and delivery.


You can create individual learning objects, like an exam, assignment or class lecture, as well as collections, like a module/unit or an entire course in xpLor. XpLore allows you to upload files and add links from websites. You can upload an entire collection if it’s in a common cartridge.


Creative Commons is built into the system (CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA). CC BY is the default. Publisher material is not allowed. XpLor was created with crowd-sourced material in mind.


You can choose to keep a learning object private, to share it with select users (premium version), or make it open to all. If an item is updated, the original item in your course will not change, but you will be made aware of the  updated version.


Users can subscribe to channels, (similar to following someone on Twitter). You can have channels for individual users, groups, and subjects. You can search by keyword, subject, and aligned standards.


XpLor integrates with your LMS, and delivers content through the LMS using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). Gradable items will populate in the Grade Center. At this point in time, assignments do not show up in Needs Grading. LTI links allow for a seamless connection of xpLor content in the LMS. When students view the content, they see their institutions LMS heading and the xpLor content appears below that.

XpLor knows who you are, where you came from, and your roll, so when you go to add content to your course, they know what folders are in your course, and adding is as easy as choosing the folder you want.

SHSU doesn’t offer xpLor yet, but it’s on the horizon.


One thought on “BbWorld 13 Session: Learning Content in the Cloud: An Introduction to Blackboard XpLor, A Cross-Platform Learning Object Repository and Authoring Environment

  1. Jay, this is fantastic. Of course, this would be the next step in collaboration — a cloud-based repository! I think this will encourage sharing through subscriptions and research for material meaningful to students. It looks like both instructor and students can make use of this tool; is that correct? Can you imagine sharing great resources not only with colleagues at one university, but with colleagues across the United States? Can’t wait for this to come to SHSU!

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