Skip to main content
Continuing Online Operations
Loyola is continuing online operations while we prepare for reopening safely in the fall. Coronavirus resources

Blackboard Interface from LORA (Student Information System): Windows

Windows Environment

The interface from LORA to Blackboard executes in a Windows environment, currently Windows 7. It relies on a number of components to function:

  • Windows OS.
  • PowerShell - a standard Windows scripting and programming language, installable for free if not already installed.
  • Internet Explorer - used to run the reports on WebFOCUS.
  • Microsoft Word - used to paste and save the WebFOCUS reports to disk.
  • CURL - a free utility for issuing internet commands, used her to send the report files to Blackboard

CURL is not a Windows product, but is widely used. In the long run, it might be possible to eliminate CURL by replacing the HTTP Post steps with web requests issued by PowerShell.

Task Scheduling

Executing the sequence of scripts in Windows is automated using the Windows Task Scheduler, a frankly finicky and opaque tool. Two tasks are set up, one for a morning run of the interface and one for an evening run, so each can be turned on or off independently of each other.  Experimentation has resulted in two tasks in the scheduler, with settings that are identical except for the excution time. To execute unattended, the PC must be up and running, and the user who created the scheduled tasks must be logged in. The computer can be in use, locked, or sleeping, but not hybernating or powered down.  Scheduling may be interrupted if the system reboots itself, since the user may not be logged on.

Key settings in the scheduler are:

General: Run only when user is logged on.

Triggers: daily at a specified time.

Actions: Action: Start a Program

Actions: ProgramScript: Powershell

Actions: Arguments: "-file "C:\Users\Jim Dugan\Documents\SISIntegration1.0\SISIntegration.ps1" (with quotes included).

Actions: Start in: C:\Users\Jim Dugan\Documents\SISIntegration1.0\

Conditions: Start the task only if the computer is on AC power

Conditions: Wake the computer to run this task

Settings: Allow task to be run on dmeand

Settings: Stop the task if it runs longer than 2 hours

Setings: If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop.