Here is everything you need to know about the Blackboard Open LMS 3.1 release.

It includes details on major features, new plugins, updated plugins, bug fixes, and minor enhancements.

Release schedule

Upgrade to Moodle core 3.1.3

Recommended minimum browser: recent Google Chrome, recent Mozilla Firefox, Safari 6, Internet Explorer 9 (IE 10 required for drag and drop of files from outside the browser into Moodle).

Moodle new features

The following are the Moodle features that are new or updated in this release. For a detailed description of each of these new features, including links to video tutorials, please see the official Moodle 3.1 New Features guide (may be available in English only).

More on the Moodle 3.1 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 3.1.1 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 3.1.2 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 3.1.3 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Competency based framework

Moodle 3.1 introduces a new competency based framework, similar to the Blackboard Open LMS Outcome 2 functionality.

Moodle's competency framework allows standards and competencies to be created and imported. Blackboard Open LMS supports importing CSV, ASN (RDF), Academic Benchmarks, RDF and XML based files.

Imported standards or competencies can then be assigned to courses and activities. Competencies can be marked as completed by an instructor for a student or through a new setting in activities that marks a competency as being met once the student meets the completion requirements. Students and teachers can also track student progress against standards at the course level.

If you are looking into using competencies or standards, we recommend using this framework over the Blackboard Open LMS outcomes system going forward. More on the competency based framework on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Learning plan templates

Learning Plan templates allow institutions to assign a set of competencies or standards to a student as something the student must achieve. The student can then track their progress on their learning plan.

More on the Learning plan templates on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Assignment interface enhancements

The assignment grading interface has been updated to convert documents to a PDF. The PDF appears on the left of the screen for annotation and commenting.

On the right teachers can access the comments, grades and advanced grading methods configured for the course. Teachers are also easily able to navigate between student's submissions that need to be graded.

More on the assignment interface enhancements on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Recycle bin

The recycle bin is a powerful new features for teachers. The recycle bin works like the recycle bin on your desktop computer. It stores any activities or resources a teacher has deleted from the course for a number of days before the activity or resource is permanently deleted. Teachers can restore activities or resources that they accidentally deleted.

The recycle bin does not show up in Moodle unless a teacher has deleted and activity or resource.

More on the recycle bin on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Publish courses and activities as LTI

You can now share your learning content with external entities by using the Publish as LTI tool feature in Moodle 3.1.

Share individual activities and resources or the entire course. Other systems using Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI) can connect to a Blackboard Open LMS site that has published course content as LTI. Users in the external system are launched into your site and interacts with the Blackboard Open LMS content as if they are enrolled in the course.

Any user that accesses the content in your Blackboard Open LMS site in this way is counted as an active user for billing purposes.

* More on publishing as LTI on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Moodle mobile improvements

  • * The Moodle mobile application now supports quizzes and wikis.
  • Users can now perform offline creation and completion of message, course note, choice, survey, forum post, wiki page and assignment.
  • Students can also view learning plans and their progress.
  • Guest accounts can now access content in the mobile app they have been given permission to access.

More on the mobile improvements on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Important Moodle clarifications

The "Global search" and "Assignment file conversion" features require additional implementation work. The availability of these features will be communicated at a later date.

Blackboard Open LMS updates

Snap improvements

Improved look and feel for course sections and activities: With this release, course sections in the Snap theme received a face lift! Based on your feedback slats are used instead of cards. This reduces the white space between cards. We also reduced the size of the icons. We recommend reviewing your courses. Consider incorporating images and videos into the course pages through the page resource and object embed filter. This breaks up any predominant white color on the screen. Readability of the text content should be significantly improved with this change.

New icons and Course tools area: You should notice with this release that there is a new set of icons for Snap. These icons have been designed by our user experience group to match the default Snap color scheme for activities and resources. You will also notice that they are more subdued as well on the screen. These icons are fully GPL and clients can feel free to download them. The course tools area has also been improved to make more sense with the overall Snap design using cards and new icons.

* Indicate draft and current section: Snap now makes clearer when a resource is in draft state. This means that instructors know what's visible for learners at a given moment. Instructors can also mark a course section as "current". This tells students what part of the course has the present focus.

More on Snap

Open Forums

Pinned posts: Teachers can now pin discussions to the top of an advanced forum with this release. Blackboard Open LMS worked to incorporate the core pinning feature into advanced forums.

Permanent linking to posts: Posts in advanced forums can now have permanent links to them that users can copy and use in external systems like email to send a user directly to the post they are talking about.

More on Open Forums

Mahara 16.04 Upgrade

Mahara is included in all Blackboard Open LMS contracts and you only pay for the storage that is used by the Mahara site. If you would like to try out Mahara, please request that it be enabled with a ticket on Behind the Blackboard (available in English only).

  • Official Mahara Partner - As a partner we will work with the Mahara group to resolve any reported issues. We can also connect clients looking to get their voice heard and wanting to improve Mahara in touch with the Mahara group.

For more information on the release please see the Mahara release notes for the following versions:

What's new in Mahara 16.04?

More on Mahara 16.04.0 Release Notes on the Mahara website

More on Mahara 16.04.1 Release Notes on the Mahara website

More on Mahara 16.04.2 Release Notes on the Mahara website

More on Mahara 16.04.3 Release Notes on the Mahara website

Plugin reviews and updates

The plugins listed below will only be made available on your site by request. Updated versions of plugins you are already using do not need to be requested; you will automatically receive the update.

New plugins

Links to plugins may be available in English only.

Updated plugins

Links to plugins may be available in English only.

Bug fixes and minor enhancements

  • Open Forums
    • Added support for Moodle Tags
    • Added Core Forum improvements for Mobile app
    • Fixed an issue when adding back-to-back discussions using Atto without a page refresh would cause a display of 'Display Start' and 'Display End' checkboxes enabled
    • Latest News block no longer ignores settings for Advanced Forums
    • Potential Subscribers are now listed in Single Simple Discussion
  • Blackboard Collaborate
    • The Default Grade is now set to 'None'
    • Fixed an issue affecting the session start time when crossing the Daylight Savings Time boundary
    • Fixed an issue affecting completion tracking when set to 'Student must launch the collaborate session to complete it'
  • Blackboard Content Publisher Integrations
    • Links have been updated to a new endpoint at
    • Updated icons in the activity chooser
  • Blackboard Open Content
    • Links have been updated to a new endpoint at
    • Updated icons in the activity chooser
  • Folder View
    • Error no longer displays when entering more than 255 characters in the 'Add topic' text field
  • Joule Gradebook
    • Fixed an issue with grade averages when the course has suspended users
  • Joule General
    • Fixed Calendar layout issues in non-English languages
  • Joule Reports
    • Fixed an issue with the Course search box graphic in Clean and More themes
  • Personalized Learning Designer
    • Screen reader now properly announces the Display alert that appeared when an Advanced Forum is viewed
  • Snap
    • Images are now pulled to the right instead of the left in course listings
    • Metadata in the Personal Menu is now displayed without a background color
    • Course sections that are marked as "current" are now opened automatically when a user visits the course
    • Restyled activity creation and upload file areas to be more consistent, and fit on a single line for large screen
    • Added caching to web service definitions
    • Snap brand color now displays in answer box when using a dragged answer in Drag-and-Drop Matching question
    • Dates now span two lines in the Conduit Log Report
    • Fixed an issue using Joule Grader where the drawing region of the Annotate PDF editor displayed beyond the modal area
    • The Calendar pop up now displays to the side of date fields
    • Fixed an issue with character accents displaying correctly in Page resources
    • User images are now indented for Questionnaire, Glossary and Workshop activities on the recent activity page
    • Fixed an issue affecting users when they are forced to change their password upon next login
    • Fixed an issue with the Rubric description text when the popup is opened in Joule Grader using the Firefox browser
    • Completion tracking icons in Outcomes have been resized
    • Fields in the 'Add Outcome' modal now has padding between textboxes
    • 'Allow role assignments', 'Allow role overrides' and 'Allow role switches' tables now have a scroll bar
    • The 'Edit Calculation' page of the Grader report now has additional padding
    • The Criteria tab when editing Badges now has additional padding
    • The Survey name in the 'Survey completed' confirmation page is no longer displaying with an incorrect color
    • The ‘Sort courses’ icon no longer overlaps
    • Students in Flexpage course can now access the Administration block
    • Fixed a utf-8 issue with auto-generated summary text in the Page module
    • Clicking 'Resources' in the Activities block no longer displays enlarged icons
    • Course tools now properly display when using the 'Single activity' course with a 'Single Simple Discussion' Advanced Forum
    • Improved the handling of 'logged out' errors due to session expiry
    • Disabled the use of image drag-and-drop as a label

Any information added to the release notes after December 16, 2016 is marked new with a star ( * ).