Release Notes for Blackboard Open LMS 3.5

Here is everything you need to know about the Blackboard Open LMS 3.5 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.

Release schedule

Downtime will be required for both production AND non-production sites during this window


What's new

In this release, we focused on the following:

  1. Upgrade to Moodle Core 3.5.3
    • Global Search
    • New criteria for badges
    • LTI advantage 1.1 support
    • Cohort themes
    • Filter questions by tag
  2. New PLD enrollment action
  3. New profile based branding in Snap
  4. Important information about Clean and More themes
  5. Removed plugins
  6. Updated plugins

Upgrade to Moodle core 3.5

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:


Global search

Blackboard Open LMS users have access to global search features starting in version 3.5. A central search interface along the top of the site allows users to search for content across courses in which they're enrolled.

This feature is enabled and configured by the Open LMS operations team using the Simple Global Search Engine. Site administrators need to configure the content types they want to include in the search results in Site administration > Plugins > Search > Search areas.


New criteria for badges

Site administrators can setup badges to be awarded based on the cohort or cohorts a user belongs to or when a user uploads a profile picture. In addition, a new provisional condition that checks for previously awarded badges can be set up at both the course and site level.


LTI advantage 1.1 support

With the 3.5 upgrade, Open LMS supports LTI Membership, Names and Role Provisioning Services, and Assignment and Grade Services. This is in addition to previous support for Deep Linking which is also part of LTI Advantage specification.


Cohort themes

Themes now can be set at the cohort level. This affects all users with only one cohort or more than one cohort, but using the same theme.


Filter questions by tag

Questions in question banks can now be filtered using tags so it's easier and faster to select the appropriate questions for quizzes.


New Personalized Learning Designer enrollment action

A new action for PLD is now available for Open LMS users. Rule creators can enroll users in a course based on the results from events and conditions configured for the rule.

Sample use cases

You can use the PLD enroll user feature in the following sample cases

  • Enroll users into specific courses based on their performance in previous courses.
  • Enroll users into specific courses based on a profile field, like new-hire.
  • Enroll users in a course progression, where completion of the first course automatically enrolls the user in the second course, and completion of the second course enrolls the user in a third course.
  • Enroll users in a course based on remediation needs, like if a user's grade range for a course is below 50%, he or she is enrolled in a remediation or review course. Users with a grade range over 50% are enrolled in the subsequent course.

Profile based branding in Snap

Starting in 3.5, site administrators can select a profile field in Snap configuration to render its values as a CSS class in Snap's body tag. This allows institutions and organizations to define custom colors, fonts, and CSS styles based on profile information.

This feature requires custom CSS to use. As a reminder, custom CSS is not supported by the Open LMS Engagement Team.

Enable profile based branding in Site Administration > Appearance > Themes > Snap > Profile based branding.

Select the user profile field to use to add a class to Snap's body tag. All text-based user fields are compatible, even custom ones.

Consider how the class is rendered from the user field into Snap's tag. For example, Mathematics faculty becomes snap-pbb-mathematics-faculty. This is done automatically by slugifying the field value and adding the snap-pbb- string as a prefix.

The resulting class is added to the body, which means custom CSS styles can be defined for it on Snap's configuration in Site Administration > Appearance > Themes > Snap > Basics > Custom CSS.


Important information about Clean and More themes

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

As stated in the past, the Open LMS team will support Clean and More as long as they are 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, deploying in December 2019. Moodle HQ is planning to create a new theme called "Classic" which mimics the Clean theme, and we're targeting for review for Open LMS 3.6, release in July 2019, to use as a replacement.


Removed plugins

  • Flexpage course format
  • Folderview course format
  • Blackboard Instant Messenger (BbIM)

Updated plugins

  • Open Forums
  • Ally
  • Attendance block
  • Attendance
  • Atto more font colors
  • Big Blue Button
  • BTEC advanced marking
  • Checklist export
  • Choice group
  • Completion progress
  • Custom certificate
  • Drag and Drop matching
  • Equella
  • H5P
  • Hotpot
  • Intelliboard
  • Journal
  • Kaltura
  • Level UP!
  • Lightbox gallery
  • Luminis message broker
  • Microsoft plugin suite
  • Mindmap
  • Moodle Mobile additional features
  • OU Wiki
  • Questionnaire
  • Quickmail
  • Quiz game
  • Recordings BN
  • SafeAssign
  • Saml2
  • Sharing cart
  • Turnitin
  • Turnitin2
  • Urkund plagiarism