Here is everything you need to know about the Blackboard Open LMS 3.6 release. This is a working document that is updated frequently. Check back often for the most current information!

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


Availability

Release to production July 11th, 2019. The release time depends on your location and time zone:

  • North America, Central America, South America (Virginia, USA datacenter): Clients will be upgraded according to their data center timezone:
    • Eastern, Amazon and Newfoundland-Labrador Timezones: July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM EDT
    • Central Timezone: July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM CDT
    • Mountain and Pacific Timezones: July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM PDT
  • South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil datacenter): July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM BRT
  • EMEA (Frankfurt datacenter): July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM CEST
  • APAC excluding Australia and New Zealand (Singapore datacenter): July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM SGT
  • Australia and New Zealand (Sydney, AU datacenter): July 11th at 12:30 AM - 6:30 AM AEST

Non-Production Sites Upgrade Schedule
To improve the quality of the upgrade process and shorten the production upgrade window, non-production (sandbox) sites will be upgraded on Thursday, June 13th, 2019, between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EDT.

Downtime will be required for your production and non-production sites during this window.


What's new

In this release, we focused on the following:

  1. Upgrade to Moodle Core 3.6.3
    • Recommended browsers
    • Updates on the dashboard view
    • Snap updates
    • Boost updates
    • Changes to messages features
    • Audio and video capture on assignment feedback
    • Added ability to use "if" statements for grade calculations
  2. Snap color contrast checker
  3. New Personalized Learning Designer event based on the course start dates
  4. New Snap UX, UI, and Accessibility improvements
  5. Special considerations for vendor plugins
  6. Mobile application
  7. New Mahara version 19.04
  8. Updated plugins
  9. Bug fixes and minor enhancements

Watch a video overview of the Open LMS 3.6 Release

The following unnarrated video provides a visual representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


Video: Open LMS 3.6 Release


Upgrade to Moodle core 3.6.3

Recommended browsers

  • Desktop:
    • Google ChromeTM
    • FireFox®
    • Safari®
    • Microsoft Edge®
    • Internet Explorer® 11
  • Mobile:
    • Mobile Safari
    • Google Chrome

Legacy browsers with known compatibility issues: Internet Explorer 10 and below, Safari 7 and below

For the full releases notes from Moodle.org, please see:

Dashboard view updates

The standard course dashboard view now allows users to sort, star, hide, and display courses. This release also includes new blocks for the dashboard area: Timeline block, the Starred courses block, the Recently accessed courses block, and the Recently accessed items block.

Snap favorite upgrade

The 3.6 release introduced a "starred course" functionality to core Moodle. To remain consistent across themes, Snap's favorite course is now synchronized to the new starred course implementation. This means no matter where you mark a course as a favorite or which theme you use, the course consistently remains a favorite.

Snap theme favorite course

Boost theme favorite course

Changes to messages

Message controls: Site administrators can decide if they want to allow users to message any other user on the site or to restrict communication to users in the same course.

Group messages: Instructors and course creators can choose if they want to allow group conversations when creating a course group.

New messaging interface: The message interface acts like a drawer in core themes and has new organization features for conversations, including the ability to separate group, private, and newly introduced "starred conversations".

To maintain consistency with Snap's design language and focus on course content, messages in Snap are accessed through the course menu link.

Audio and video capture on assignment feedback

Instructors can now use media and other file uploads when grading assignments. Teachers can record feedback and include supporting images or other files. There's also a new set of capabilities to control who can use the Record RTC audio and video recording options in the site.

"If" statements in grade calculations

It's now possible to use an "if" function as part of grade calculations using the following syntax:

if([[item1]], [[item2]], [[item3]]): Evaluates the first argument (condition) and returns the second argument if the condition isn't zero (true condition) and returns the third argument if the condition is zero (false condition).


Snap color contrast checker

As part of Blackboard's continuous commitment to accessibility, we've added an informational layer to Snap's color pickers. This layer notifies site administrators when a color combination doesn't comply with WCAG 2.0 suggested contrast ratio. The following elements are validated as part of the contrast check:

  • Site text color against the white background
  • Navigation bar background and text color
  • Course menu button against background and text color
  • Custom category colors against the white background, navigation background, and course menu button

New PLD event rule

Course editors can now create PLD rules that trigger relative to the configured course start date. This new PLD event allows them to select up to 365 days before or after the course starts to execute the rule.

Sample use cases - thanks to the Open LMS community!

  • Remind students who may not have logged into the system.
  • Send a reminder to all students about key deadlines.
  • Unlock access to certain activities at key points in the course's timeline.
  • Perform various functions on a time level without having to set it each term.

Snap improvements

UX, UI, and accessibility improvements

Custom Apps
Issue description Fix
Better usability for the file picker options in new folders within it. CSS was added to modify the position for the three dots that appear when a new folder is added for the file picker.
Better UX in Snap's course cards in the dashboard view Snap course cards weren't consistent in size while using Snap. It was corrected to show only three course cards per row. A change in the display for Snap course cards was made creating the necessary media queries.
Better display of content within tables. Page activity shows the content in the same view, not in a new page. If the content of the page was created with a table of multiple rows or columns, the content was being cut out. A horizontal scroll was created so the content of the table can been seen completely.
File picker buttons are now clickable with the space bar and enter bar. For Snap the mustache was copied from Core/Boost so it could be modified, changing the anchor tags for the button tags, making them act as one.
Better accessibility for color schemes in alerts and messages. Snap had originally inherited boost colors for these kinds of alerts, but we revised the contrast and decided to make them more accessible.

    Clean and More information

    As part of the constant evolution of Moodle, Moodle HQ has decided to remove Clean and More themes from their codebase starting in Moodle 3.7. This change allows Moodle HQ to focus on the Boost theme and new themes with more modern technology and user experience.

    The Open LMS team has stated that we would support the Clean and More themes as long as they were part of Moodle HQ's codebase. This announcement from Moodle HQ marks the start of the process to remove our support for those themes, as they currently are, in Open LMS 3.7 in December 2019.

    Introducing the Classic theme

    Moodle HQ created a new theme, Classic, that mimics the Clean theme. This theme offers more modern technology and an updated user experience. The Classic theme is available and supported starting with the Open LMS 3.6 release.

    Clean theme

    Classic theme


    Vendor plugins update

    The following vendors are no longer participating in the Blackboard Open LMS Approved Plugin Program:

    • Workday/MediaCore
    • Internships.com
    • WizIQ
    • Echo360
    • ConnectYard
    • Palgrave
    • BFW

    Please be aware of the following changes:

    Effective with the Blackboard Open LMS 3.6 release:

    • These vendor plugins will continue to be available in your Open LMS environment but will move to an unsupported status. This means the plugins will no longer be updated in Open LMS.
    • Any support questions related to the plugin should be directed to the vendor.
    • The plugin will be removed from our Plugin Matrix and not enabled on any new Open LMS client site.

    Effective with the Blackboard Open LMS 3.7 release:

    • These vendor plugins will move to End-of-Life status. This means the plugins will be removed from the control panel and no longer available on Open LMS sites.
    • All plugin-related questions should be directed to the vendor.

    Please plan accordingly based on the above targeted Open LMS releases. While our intent is to provide sufficient lead time regarding this change, we want you to be aware that any issues with these vendor plugins may require the acceleration of the plugin End-of-Life plan. This means, at Blackboard's discretion, we may remove an offending plugin from the control panel and codebase to avoid errors for our clients or with other plugins. This action would likely occur without prior notification in order to safeguard our client sites.

    Please contact the related vendors if you have any questions regarding their plugins.

    Turnitin Direct V1 End of Life

    At the end of 2018, Turnitin discontinued support for Direct V1 to focus primarily on support of its successor, Direct V2. Direct V2 offers a larger set of features and a more seamless integration experience.

    Turnitin developed a Migration Tool that allows instructors using V1 to migrate assignments over to V2. With a few clicks, instructors can migrate their data and continue to use it in V2. Site administrators can choose to perform the migration automatically when an instructor launches a V1 assignment.

    Any V1 assignments accessed through the Open LMS environment need to be migrated with the Migration Tool. When we remove V1 as a plugin, all links to V1 assignments will need to be removed. Instructors will have to login directly to Turnitin to access previously created assignments.

    We have the following Migration Tool help guides available to assist Administrators (may be available in English only):
    Accessing the Moodle Migration Tool
    Deleting migrated assignments
    FAQs

    Removal of the Turnitin Direct v1 plugin for Open LMS is scheduled for Open LMS 3.7 release at the end of 2019.


    Mobile application

    We upgraded the mobile application to 3.6.1.

    New features and improvements

    • Improved navigation between sections within a course.
    • Improved usability in the course overview.
    • Added ability to mark activities and resources as complete when offline.
    • Added ability to enable group messaging in courses and give users control over who can message them
    • Improved accessibility for mobile screen readers.

    Mahara Version 19.04

    Mahara was updated to the latest release version and now includes:

    • Editor for SmartEvidence frameworks
    • Isolated institutions
    • Upgrade to Bootstrap 4
    • Revised page header
    • Forum post attachments
    • Moderation of forum posts
    • Disallowing unsubscribing from forum posts
    • Opening of links in a new tab or window.

    Mahara 19.04 full release notes

    Mahara what's new article

    Mahara 19.04 user manual


    Updated plugins

    • Open Forums (2018120300)
    • Ally (2019061200)
    • Attendance (2019022500)
    • Big Blue Button (2019042000)
    • Checklist (2018051500)
    • Choice Group (2019051000)
    • Collapsed Topics course format (2018121901)
    • Completion Progress (2018111000)
    • Custom Certificate (2018120301)
    • Drag and Drop Matching (2019040900)
    • Equella (2018011200)
    • Grid format (2018121904)
    • H5P (2019052100)
    • Hotpot (2019033036)
    • ILP (2018110101)
    • Intelliboard (2019051203)
    • Journal (2019011500)
    • Kaltura (2018120336)
    • Level UP! (2019032102)
    • Lockdown Browser (2019021400)
    • Logstore xAPI (2019051701)
    • Moodle Mobile Additional Features (2018120300)
    • Questionnaire (2018050109)
    • Quiz Game (2018062003)
    • SafeAssign (2019040100)
    • Saml2 (2019022100)
    • Sharing Cart (2019012000)
    • Turnitin Plagiarism (2019060602)
    • Turnitin2 (2019050101)
    • Urkund Plagarism (2019052800)

    Bug fixes and minor enhancements

    • Applied core calendar API changes to Snap calendar API.
    • Adhoc task course_delete_modules fails if Ally was installed and deleting an inactive module.
    • Users with a system role included in SafeAssign were not being set as SafeAssign instructor in all courses.
    • Not found error displays while executing purge cache action on Ally log view.
    • Moodletxt block - Class object not found.
    • Upgrade Turnitin Moodle Direct to version 2019012401.
    • Legacy outcomes in Snap causes Found more than one record in fetch() when visiting a course.
    • Input purpose not identified for Database activity.
    • Headings not identified for quizzes.
    • Irregular and unnecessary focus order in the page.
    • Tree views without correct role for file picker.
    • Buttons aren't operable with space key for file picker.
    • Student submission has multiple SafeAssign scores.
    • Turn editing on button was in the wrong position in the Grader report view.
    • Delete blocks confirmation Yes/No buttons display in the wrong position.
    • Ally webservice role lacks newer required capabilities.
    • Collaborate isn't displaying the group mode.
    • VCC reporting errors from Ally Moodle plugin.
    • Course settings page to add members to a group doesn't scale properly.
    • New 3.6 dashboard view in Snap.
    • Snap cache fix error when clearing teacher avatar cache.
    • File submission placed inside a folder isn't sent to SafeAssign.
    • Open Forum delete unused form on the plugin.
    • SAML2 default simply attributes to no.
    • H5_ editor window overlaps Snap's header.
    • Snap add new course action not working.
    • File storage usage page reporting incorrect usage (S3).
    • Snap editing tools display incorrectly for resource activities when update course is turned off and the permission manage activities is turned on.
    • Snap displays an incorrect grey border in courses, activities, and resources.
    • Group submission assignments in Snap indicates completed submission in draft status for group members.
    • Symbols are incorrect for Taiwanese Mandarin zh-tw in Open LMS version language pack.
    • Icon "dragndrop" disappears when editing a course if you move an activity without the capacity manageblocks with Ajax.
    • deleting a course image in Snap doesn't delete the image in Snap personal menu for that course.
    • Update some HTML elements in PLD.
    • Unable to change video captioning text size in Snap.
    • Data error in Conduit unmatched records report for postgresql sites.
    • More menu displays without borders.
    • Blank Heading 5 appears in Snap table of contents.
    • Collaborate Ultra plugin build guest links for group mode turned off.
    • Videos display extremely large in Snap when using Page Resources with a table.
    • SafeAssign continuously requests scores on corrupted files.
    • Error message when the description is required has UI issues.
    • SafeAssign Originality Report isn't returned if the file name contains a plus sing or a percent sign surrounded by numbers.
    • Subject lines of Open Forum replies have low contrast and font weight because of low opacity.
    • Course activity and resources names skip heading level on course page.
    • Recent activity page contains several style issues.
    • Disable Display last modified date option for page resource in Snap theme.
    • Advanced Grading with checklist not visible to students in Open Forums.
    • Open Reports graphs misrepresent data.
    • Drift test connection button appears twice in search results.
    • SafeAssign sync-assignments task errors until site has SafeAssign courses.
    • Multiple ally-actions rendered for the same file.