We're continually striving to improve the Community Engagement solution!

See the latest changes for Blackboard Mobile Communications App, Blackboard Mass Notifications, Teacher Communications, and Blackboard Social Media Manager.

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Community Engagement 10.9

Continuous Delivery 10.9 | Release to Production December, 2018 and January, 2019
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

Import threshold monitoring

In this release we added threshold monitoring to client imports. Now, if 10% or more of your records are ignored because they are bad, a notification is sent to the Import Monitoring Email you set in Organization Config for individual institutions.

If an email isn’t set at the school level, it rolls up to the value at the district.

From Settings select Organization Config. Select the name of the organization you want to update. Provide the Import Monitoring Email address and select Save.

New Features

Community Engagement 10.8

Continuous Delivery 10.8 | Release to Production 13 & 27 November, 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

Data import monitoring

We improved processing when importing data. Now imports don’t fail when processing a bad record and individual records that failed to process are captured properly.

Geo Mapping

Made improvements to the user interface to more easily distinguish Institutions (schools) and the pin dropped when searching for an address when selecting recipients from a map when crafting a message using COPE.

Bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed an issue when Emergency SMS was enabled, the character count wasn't updated
  • Fixed an issue where double quote was not being escaped properly for import, causing import to fail for good records
  • Fixed an issue where user received a permissions error when re-authenticating Facebook
New Features, Updated Features

Community Engagement 10.7

Continuous Delivery 10.7 | Release to Production October, 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

Data import monitoring

  • Added a new “Import monitoring email” field that supports tracking of data import failures with email. If an import fails, an alert is sent to this email address.

Twitter character count

  • Updated the Twitter max character count from 140 to 280 characters

Client & Known Issues / Maintenance

  • Fixed an issue where importing from a file with IDs would timeout
  • Fixed an issue where parents were receiving attendance calls referencing incorrect schools
  • Fixed an issue where WebloginIDs were changing due to a loginID conflict
  • Fixed an issue where Smore login page shows when trying to create a new newsletter in Safari
  • Fixed an issue where message categories containing unicode characters causes red bar on message screen
  • Fixed an issue where demographic imports were causing errors and account cross-linking when users were imported manually
New Features, Updated Features

Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App 5.5

Continuous Delivery 5.5 | Release to Production 31 July 2018
Bb Comms, New features, Updated features

We are excited to announce the release of a new version (5.5) of our Blackboard Communications HQ app.

Now available to teachers! 

Districts with our Blackboard Teacher Communications product can now offer a mobile version of our SEND MESSAGE interface to their teachers.

  • User Management for Teachers
    • Teacher selected individuals will now be populated in the recipient’s section for email, phone and SMS
    • Teacher ability to edit the list of recipients that I have previously selected
    • Added search functionality for Teachers to search through recipients
    • Added a visual indication of the “who” teachers are sending the message to (groups, students, parents, classes)
    • Added a visual indicator to indicate which role type a Teacher is sending a message to
    • Added the ability for teachers to select groups/individuals           
  • Composing Messages for Teachers
    • Added subject and body of my email communication 
    • Ability to attach photos to my email communications
    • Ability to record audio messages
    • Added text-to-speech
    • Added the ability to save a copy of a message on the HQ app to the miscellaneous folder for future use
    • Recipients added to a message are now saved along with the draft of message
  • Message Editing for Teachers
    • Ability to be able to delete text to speech recordings
    • Ability to listen to the text to speech message
    • Ability to edit Delivery Address
  • Message Sending for Teachers
    • Ability to Send to the users selected when pressing the send button
    • Ability to send Text Message communications
    • Added the ability to configure the send time of a message        
  • App Options/Configuration for Teachers
    • Added the ability to configure the language of message notifications to the users preferred language
    • Updated app to make sure that the delivery methods set per school are respected on the App, so teachers can only send approved messaging types
  • App UI improvements
    • General UI improvements to the app 

Bug fixes

  • Improved search functionality in Recipients 
  • Fixed an issue where the app would sometimes crash when selecting and deselecting recipients
  • Fixed an issue where sent messages not saved in Saved messages when sent on Android device
  • Fixed an issue where Groups for Teacher Send should display organization name for teachers that tie to multiple organizations
  • Fixed an issue where the ‘Recipients’ section search, under Classes, the ‘All Classes’ sub-heading is not displaying the total number of classes
  • Fixed an issue where Class selections become hidden when submenu is accessed and back is tapped
New Features, Updated Features, Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App

Community Engagement 10.6

Continuous Delivery 10.6 | Release to Production 26-31 July 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • Resolved an issue where passwords were not generating for accounts without email addresses
  • Resolved an issue where RSS feeds were not updating for some sites
  • Resolved an issue where grades were not appearing in the Mobile Communications App
  • Updated Facebook APIs to support Facebooks app submission
  • Resolved an issue where data file transfers were not working for some clients
  • Resolved an issue where files with more than 10,000 recipients would get errors
  • Resolved an issue where multiple accounts with shared Gmail accounts would no longer allow you to select which account to sign in with
  • Resolved an issue where Twitter was unable to be added to feeds
Updated Features

Community Engagement 10.5

Continuous Delivery 10.5 | Release to Production 11 July 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

Smore integration

Introducing the Smore newsletter integration within Bb Comms COPE messaging interface. Blackboard Admins now have the ability to leverage Smore email templates to create newsletters to email internal and external stakeholders.

More on Smore

Security

Security improvements identified from security audit.

GeoMapping

COPE message publishers can now adjust their messaging radius when selecting recipients from a map. By entering a value in the radius box users can now specify exact measurements to send communications to targeted individuals/groups.

More on searching for recipients by map

Client & Known Issues / Maintenance

  • Fixed an issue where some Twitter accounts were unable to be added to a school on the Settings page.
  • Fixed an issue where some clients were unable to access their meta data page for single sign-in authentication .
  • Fixed an issue where some messages batches were delayed in becoming active messages.
  • Fixed an issue where some teachers utilizing the Blackboard Teacher Communications tool were unable to view their classes.
  • Fixed an issue where some client's grades were not appearing for parents.
  • Fixed an issue where data parse styles were sometimes unable to save changes.
New Features, Updated Features

Mass Notifications

Continuous Delivery Uhura 2.35 | Release to Production 17-24 May 2018
Mass Notifications, Updated features

  • Added system logic to validate errors for missing "TO" fields in messages
  • Updated Opt-out confirmation wording to remove end user confusion
  • Fixed a problem where email deliveries were failing if the email address contained unicode characters
  • Fixed an issue where the system was performing excessive retries on unknown SMS statuses
  • Implemented system logic to utilize SMS long codes when end-user service providers are unable to receive SMS short codes
Updated Features, Mass Notifications

Community Engagement 10.4.2

Continuous Delivery 10.4.2 | Release to Production 22 May, 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

 An upgrade to Blackboard's data import process and tools. The goal of this development work is three fold: 

  1. To improve the stability and efficiency of data imports into the Blackboard system
  2. To provide additional flexibility for importing data 
  3. To speed up the overall data implementation process 

While most of the work completed in this release is "behind the scenes" there were a few updates that may or may not be noticable by your organization. A quick summary of those updates are as follows: 

  • Renamed the "System Messages" subtab to "Automated Messages"
  • Re-designed the page layout of the new Automated Messages page. 
  • Created the ability to setup Auto Imports that setup and run immediately based on a received file. 
  • Removed SIF as an import method 
  • Removed the name "ParentLink" from the interface. Replaced it with "Blackboard"

More on data imports

Notable Bug Fixes included in this 10.4.2 release

  • Fixed an issue where 6 days attendance threshold messages were not delivering successfully. 
  • Fixed an issue where the CLASSES tab was not loading for parents and students successfully 
  • Fixed an issue where student accounts where not merging correctly 
  • Fixed an issue where Lunch Balances messages were not delivering successfully if balance was below a negative number
  • Fixed a broken link on the home screen that took you to Bb Comms Webinar trainings
  • Fixed an issue where library book photos were not displaying correctly on district apps
  • Fixed an issue where a large import of new accounts was presenting a memory error 
  • Fixed an issue where manually deleting an account gave the user an error 
  • Fixed an issue where Time Zones were getting mixed up on the Automated Messages page 
  • Fixed an issue where system permissions were not allowing school admins to add Custom Message Content. 

The roll out of this release is scheduled to occur on May 22nd. Not all systems will be updated at once as we methodically rollout these changes. 

New Features, Updated Features

Community Engagement 10.3.1

Continuous Delivery 10.3.1 | Release to Production 27 April, 2018
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

Updates to back-end system security to protect against vulnerabilities.

Updated Features

App Store Changes

Special announcement | 5 February 2018
MCA, Updated features

On October 17th, 2017, GoogleTM introduced the following clause into their Developer Agreement:

"Wizard Spam We don’t allow apps that are created by an automated tool or wizard service and submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons. Such apps are only permissible if they are published by an individually registered developer account belonging to the user of the automated tool, not the operator of the service. "

Similarly, On December 21, 2017, Apple® introduced the following clause into their Developer Agreement:

" 4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event. "

These changes in policy require that you, as the organization who has the rights to the content of the app, need to have your app submitted under your own account. This means that a) you need to have your own account, and b) we need to transfer the store listing to your newly created account.

What is changing?

  • You need to set up your own account with both Google Play and Apple iTunes.
  • As part of this account ownership, you need to accept each store’s agreements and pay any fees that Google and Apple assess.
  • We will be transferring both your Google Play and Apple iTunes listings to your accounts.
  • There will be a nominal cost increase at renewal time.

What is NOT changing?

  • The quality and level of service you have enjoyed so far.
  • Apps continue to be maintained in the same way they have been, just under your own account.
  • Your users will NOT need to download a new app and both organizational administrators of the app and app users will see no impact by this change.

What do I need to do?

You need to create an account with both Google and Apple and have Blackboard transfer the listing to you.

More on creating Google and Apple accounts and having Blackboard transfer the listing

Updated Features, Mobile Communications App (MCA)

Community Engagement 10.3.0

Continuous Delivery 10.3.0 | Release to Production 15 December 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • Added the ability to export more than 20k rows at a time for Blackboard reports
    • Added ability to trigger messages for late/missing files and small/missing automated messages
    • Removed the ability for users to change the role type of another user when that role was originally created by an import
    • Added Student ID as an available merge tag when creating messages
    • Removed the ability to add, edit, or remove imported Terms from the web interface
    • Removed confusing interface language about Connect 5 email and SMS deliveries
  • Mobile Communications App (MCA)
    • Improved performance to App Building tools
    • Fixed issue with Push Notifications including an image
  • Teacher Communications
    • Added icons to teacher saved messages that show which are system, admin created or user created
      • System Created – Can't be edited, copied, or deleted
      • Admin Created – Can be copied only
      • User Created – Can be edited, copied, and deleted
    • Removed the carbon copy (CC) option for teachers, still available for admins
    • Updated URL's for help options seen by teachers
    • Improved performance to the Teacher Messages report
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • Added Alt-text requirement for all inserted images when creating messages
    • Added the ability to see schools inside a boundary when selecting recipients from a map
    • Fixed an issue where organizations weren't sorted alphabetically in the advanced group creation
    • Added the ability for school administrator accounts to send On Screen Alerts directly from the messaging (COPE) interface
    • Added back student specific merge tags when the Send to parents of students option is selected
    • Fixed issue where SMS blocked addresses in a Personal File Cabinet were not displaying correctly
    • Made user improvements to the Schedule Report tool
    • Improved performance when needing to export a large Contact report
    • Improved performance to the system Auto Search tool
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mass Notifications, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Teacher Communications, Social Media Manager, New Features, Updated Features

Mass Notifications

Continuous Delivery Uhura 2.3.4 | Release to Production 17-20 October 2017
Mass Notifications, New features, Updated features

  • Added an administrator page that outlines methods for improving email delivery rates. To learn more, see Improve Email Delivery.
    • Directions for setting up a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record
    • Directions for setting up DomianKeys Identifed Mail (DKIM), encrypted signature
    • Directions for setting up Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), destination email server policy
  • Fixed an issue where bad phone extensions were not being attempted
  • Fixed an issue where incomplete caller ID numbers were violating Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations
  • Made performance improvements to Text-to-Speech engine
  • Improved final phone status accuracy of exportable Comma-Separated Values (CSV) reports
  • Fixed a problem with email deliveries to Microsoft® Outlook
  • General performance improvements to email deliveries
Mass Notifications, Updated Features, New Features

Scheduled reports

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 18-22 September 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

The Scheduled Reports feature has been redesigned to be separated from the scheduled tasks, and moved from the Settings menu to the Reports menu.

Watch a video about the Scheduled Reports page

Video: Scheduled Reports Page

  • From the Blackboard Communications HQ interface menu, select Reports.
  • Select Schedule Reports from the System area.
  • Select the specific School to narrow the list of report schedules available.
  • From the Scheduled Reports, you can select any of the following options:
    • Name: Select the report name to update the name or the email address of who receives the report.
    • Delete: Select the reports to remove and then select Delete to delete the report schedule.
Mass Notifications, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Updated Features

Mass Notifications

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 18-22 September 2017
Mass Notifications, Updated features

  • Emergency and Outreach opt-outs from SMS/text messages now appear differently on the Do Not Contact report.
  • The ability for recipients to reply to custom messages has been removed.
  • Fixed an issue where disabling automated notifications also disabled demographic imports.
  • Fixed an issue where custom system attendance messages would not allow attendance excuses.
  • Fixed an issue where Vietnamese text message content for daily attendance was appearing in English.
Updated Features, Mass Notifications

Social Media Manager

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 18-22 September 2017
Social Media Manager, Updated features

  • Replies to Twitter posts from Social Media Manager don't count toward the character limit.
  • Fixed an issue where the Post Analytics report would not display.
Updated Features, Social Media Manager

Teacher Communications

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 18-22 September 2017
Teacher Communications, Updated features

  • Added new field of information to the teacher messages. Messages include the Regarding Student and From Teacher to all text messages.
  • The SMS/Text messages for the Teacher Communications feature are limited to 120 characters.
New Features, Updated Features, Teacher Communications

September 1, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 1 September 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • Added the ability to see cafeteria balance, library information, bus routes, and custom uploaded data on the Student Account page.
    • Administrators can now use Google to login to the Blackboard Communications HQ web interface.
  • Teacher Communications
    • Added training video to the Teacher Communication Send Interface.
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • Now, you can setup and use several custom caller IDs for phone messages, and several reply-to-email addresses and sender names for email messages. When your district or school wants certain message replies to be sent to a specific group of staff members, you can setup and use the response phone numbers or email addresses.
    • Fixed an issue where abbreviations played differently on test call than on the live call.
  • Blackboard Communications App Release
    • Added a new SMS (text message) number for emergency messages so users don't opt-out of emergencies when they opt-out of an informational call.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mass Notifications, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Teacher Communications, Social Media Manager, New Features, Updated Features

August 8, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 8 August 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • Added the ability for all accounts to use SAML to login. Previously, teacher accounts were not supported but they are now.
    • Staff can now login to their account on the web interface using their Google account.
    • The Reports page has been redesigned.
    • Login report is now in the Accounts section.
    • Auto-complete recipient selection on the Send Message interface will have images or initials displayed next to accounts.
  • Teacher Communications
    • The Send Message page and the Teacher Messaging report have been updated in this release.
    • The Send Message page has been redesigned for easier use. You can send messages to any of your students, the entire class, all your classes, or just to parents.
    • The Teacher Messaging report displays how many teacher messages each student receives, the number of parents contacted, and which delivery method was used.
    • With the Teacher Communications program, administrator have a new ability to hide student contact information from teachers.
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • Fixed an issue where sometimes the wrong status would show in the Message Tracking report.
  • Blackboard Communications App Release
    • Fixed an issue where sometimes push notifications would not be delivered.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Mass Notifications, Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, New Features, Updated Features

Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production June 2017
Bb Comms, New features Updated features

This release includes new enhancements for Blackboard Mobile Communications app:

  • Notifications Redesign
  • Added the ability to upload custom student data for those with the integrated mobile app.
  • Added support for SAML login.
  • Added support for Learn More and Signup Now for Peachjar Fliers.

The following issues have been resolved in the Blackboard Mobile Communication app:

  • Fixed an issue where PDF files did not display on some Android devices.
  • Fixed an issue where audio continued playing after moving to another screen.
  • Fixed an issue where when a user selected a MailTo link, it would not work on Android devices in app browsers.
  • Fixed an issue where the Activity Stream would display HTML code instead of RSS posts.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, New Features, Updated Features

Mass Notifications, April 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 28 April 2017
Mass Notifications, New features

  • Added the ability to record messages using the microphone on your computer.
Mass Notifications, New Features

Mobile Communications App, April 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 7 April 2017
MCA, New features

  • Added the ability to show/hide different student information from the app.
Mobile Communications App (MCA), New Features

March 10, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 10 March 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • For districts that import user information, you now have the option to update the user login names and passwords through the import. This setting is available in the Authentication page.
  • Mobile Communications App
    • Fixed an issue where deleted Peachjar fliers still appeared in the Blackboard Mobile Communications App.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Mass Notifications, Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, Updated Features, New Features

Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 24 February 2017
Bb Comms, New features

  • Added the ability to edit Saved Messages.
  • The app now matches the Blackboard Communications HQ web interface and not longer includes expire times for messages.
  • Added SAML support (Security Assertion Markup Language) to the app.
  • Several features that have been available to Apple devices are now also available to Android devices. These features include:
    • Ability to send On-Screen Alerts to Web Community Manager websites.
    • Improvements to message details.
    • Confirmation of app messages to be set to public when recipients have been chosen.
    • Icon for the app has been updated to standard Blackboard Mass Communications icon.
New Features, Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App

Mass Notifications

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 24 February 2017
Mass Notifications, Updated features

  • Added the ability to upload a list of opt-out phone numbers, SMS/text numbers, and email addresses for the Do Not Contact list. These numbers and addresses aren't sent in any messages.
  • Added the ability for administrators to create custom merge tags for messages. Using an uploaded file you can create a voice recorded message with your own merge tags. When you are creating the message in the Send Message interface, you will be able to import a comma delimited file with your information.
Mass Notifications, New Features

February 10, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 10 February 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • The Advanced Options feature in the Send Message interface no longer includes the Use all supported automatic translations option.
    • The name and logo of the district/school has been removed from the homepage. The name has been added to the top navigation bar.
    • To improve the performance of the System Statistics report, the Delivered and Attempted fields have been removed. The Messages field lists all the messages sent by the system.
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • Added the ability to create a voice recorded message with merge tags. The merge tags will help you to send personalized messages with only one recording.
    • Added the ability to listen to audio via a scheduled or exported Excused Absences report. The report will now include a link to the parent's recorded message (internet access is required).
    • Fixed an issue where sometimes phone numbers and email addresses were not flagged as bad data when they should have been.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mass Notifications, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, New Features, Updated Features

January 27, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 27 January 2017
Bb Comms, Mass Notifications, MCA, New features, Social Media Manager, Teacher Comms, Updated features

  • All Products
    • Fixed an issue where late file triggers were not working.
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • An unknown status for a message will now appear as Unknown instead of Not Attempted.
  • Blackboard Mobile Communications App
    • Fixed an issue where adding Nutrislice domains on the Data Configuration page did not work.
    • Fixed an issue where bus routes would sometimes sort out of order.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, Mass Notifications, Updated Features

January 13, 2017

Continuous Delivery | Release to Production 13 January 2017
Updated features

  • All Products
    • Added the ability to schedule messages to be sent multiple times.
    • Fixed an issue where sometimes the Headlines and Announcements in Web Community Manager would appear when they should not be there.
  • Blackboard Mass Notifications
    • Fixed an issue where on the Message Tracking and Details feature a deactivated text number was appearing as Not attempted. Now it will be listed as SMS number deactivated.
Blackboard Communications HQ Mobile App, Mobile Communications App (MCA), Mass Notifications, Social Media Manager, Teacher Communications, New Features, Updated Features