Release Notes for Learn SaaS

This page contains features released to production in April 2017 and later. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features released to production through March 2017. Maintenance items for releases 3200.2.0 and earlier can also be accessed in the Archive.

Filter the list of features to learn more.

More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | Export the list of Known Issues | View release dates | Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes archive

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A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018

As we move into 2018, we are thinking about and developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3300.11.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list in to groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

Learner engagement

Education insight

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Additional course activity indicators

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Course View, Learner Engagement

When an instructor or student opens an assessment peek panel, an icon appears to notify them of any unread conversation messages. The icon also appears in assessments and documents, as well as on the Course Content page. The submissions list now also includes the activity icon when new conversation messages are unread.

In an earlier release, the icon first appeared only on the Course Content page. Now, the icon appears at additional entry points so the user is notified of activity no matter how they open the content. This enhancement is in direct response to client feedback on Ultra's usability.

Course View: Ultra

Branding and color configuration in the Learn 2016 Theme

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Course View

This release includes additional options for users who wish to configure the Learn 2016 theme in all courses. In the Blackboard Learn 2016 theme, Course Menu and Theme color customization is now available through the entire interface.

Instructors and course designers can configure the course colors in the course control panel when using the Learn 2016 Theme. The course menu area appears in these colors in both desktop and mobile experiences. Extended menu areas such as the Control Panel for instructors and My Groups menu for students remain in the gray and white color scheme.

More on the Learn 2016 Theme

Course View: Original

Conditional release enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness

In this release, you'll notice some changes to the visibility menu for course content items in Ultra. The Show/Hide On Date option has been moved to the Conditional Availability panel so instructors can create access rules based on Date/Time.

Additionally, instructors and course builders can choose whether to make the content visible to students before access conditions have been met. For example, if an instructor wants students to know that an exam is part of the curriculum, but not yet available, the instructor can choose conditional availability rules and make the content visible to students before they're able to access it.

Course View: Ultra

Course view option support in SIS integration

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Experience

After an institution has moved to the SaaS deployment and enabled the Ultra experience, administrators can manage their courses via bulk operations using Snapshot Flat Files as part of the SIS Integration framework. This release introduces the ability to specify course view (Original, Ultra, or Instructor Choice) during initial course creation, copying from a master template, and copying from term to term.

Course View: Ultra

Clear multiple choice selection

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Course View

Students are now able to clear a selection from multiple-choice questions. This lets students avoid a penalty when they’ve made an initial selection and negative points are associated with answer choices.

Course View: Original

Maintenance items for 3300.11.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3300.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • Instructors can now embed a YouTube or Vimeo video in grade feedback in the Ultra Course View.
  • Help text on the LTI Placements page in the Administrator Panel has been updated.
  • An updated version of the Cengage Building Block (v1.101.201704346) is bundled with this release.
  • A new message appears in the Copy Content panel in the Ultra Course View: You can’t copy content from other courses when you’re in the Ultra Course Preview.
  • When an instructor creates an availability condition for content in an Ultra course, the custom range previously referred to points when the schema was set to percentage. This issue has been resolved.
  • Text on the Ally integration page in the Original experience has been updated for readability.
  • We've made indexing improvements to help speed up the migration from Crocodoc to New Box View.
  • Previously, instructors using the Swedish language pack in the Original Course View were unable to edit text questions. This issue has been fixed.
  • In the Original Experience, date selectors broke when a user accessed Blackboard Learn using a browser set to Swedish, Danish, or Spanish. This issue has been fixed.
  • We’ve improved the LTI launch behavior when the tool is configured to launch automatically.
  • In the Ultra Experience, when a user saved content in the editor that included multiple breaks to create white space, the editor automatically removed some space. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Outcomes Assessment in the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness, Education Insight

Institutions use Outcomes Assessment to collect evidence of student work. Previously, the lack of Outcomes Assessment in the Ultra Course View may have prevented these institutions from enabling the Ultra experience. With this release, institutions can use Outcomes Assessment to collect evidence from assessments in both Original and Ultra courses. This release reduces the barrier to Ultra adoption for institutions that use Outcomes Assessment.

Outcomes Assessment can be used in Ultra assessments that don't use individually graded questions.

Course View: Ultra, Education Insight

Rubrics now available in graded discussions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

In many distance learning or online-heavy courses, discussions are the primary source of a class participation grade. Instructors often want to use a rubric when assessing student contributions in a graded discussion to standardize grading. Rubrics help consistently and transparently assess the learner based on well-defined criteria and levels of achievement that can be used as the basis for a numerical grade. Students can view the rubric as they craft their responses and see the scored rubric once their contributions have been graded.

In Ultra courses, we currently have discussions and grading rubrics for assessments. With this release, we're combining the two and allowing instructors to assign existing rubrics or create new rubrics for graded discussions.

Course View: Ultra

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018

As we move into 2018, we are thinking about and developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3300.8.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list in to groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Institutional success

Engaging course design

Specialized assessment

Learner engagement

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement, Education Insight

Configure default landing page on login

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Currently, users are brought to their Activity Stream after they log in to the Ultra experience. The Activity Stream contains some important information, but administrators may prefer that users see the Institution Page or the Courses page upon login. A different landing page can be useful for the beginning of the semester or any other occasion where the Activity Stream may not be the institution's top focus.

To support this administrator preference, we've added the ability to change the page a user is brought to when logging into Blackboard Learn Ultra. You can find the Default Landing Page settings on the Administrator Panel in the The Ultra experience is here! section.

More on changing the Ultra landing page

Experience: Ultra

Icons to indicate new activity

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Course View

Students and instructors want a high-level view of what's happened in their course since they last visited. Are there new discussion posts? Has someone posted a message in the assignment conversation? Rather than having to open each item to see this information, users can now identify items with new activity directly on the Course Content page.

Course activity indicators are being introduced on multiple items in the next few releases. This enhancement is in direct response to client feedback on Ultra's usability.

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Maintenance items for 3300.8.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3300.8.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • This release contains a security fix to the login page that could interrupt the way third party SSO solutions pass user credentials from a client portal to Blackboard. Clients using supported SSO methods including SAML and CAS aren't affected. Clients experiencing difficulty with custom SSO solutions should file a support ticket on Behind the Blackboard.
  • An updated version of the Blackboard Partner Cloud Building Block (1.7.2017021408) is bundled with this release.
  • When a student received a 0 score for a graded item, it appeared as negative on the My Grades page in the Original Course View. This issue has been resolved.
  • In both experiences, users who requested a new password weren't obligated to enter a new password when navigating to Learn using the recovery link emailed to them. This issue has been resolved.
  • When exporting a course from the Ultra experience, some course IDs weren't appearing in Firefox. This issue has been resolved.
  • After upgrading to the 3300.0.0 release, the Default Course View option was reset to Original Course View. This issue has been fixed.
  • We’ve improved the LTI launch behavior when the tool is configured to launch automatically.
  • The following Crocodoc to New Box View issues have been addressed:
    • Inline comments were appearing as HTML. 
    • Students replying to instructor comments received an error message regarding session expiration. The vendor has addressed this issue.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Save draft discussion posts

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Course View

When formulating a discussion response, each student has a preferred way of collecting thoughts. Similarly, instructors may want to save their initial reactions and have the chance to revise a draft before saving it for all course members to read.

In this release, we've added the ability to save a draft discussion post to support students and instructors who write drafts before they contribute to a discussion. The Save Draft option can be particularly useful for students participating in a graded discussion.

More on how to save a draft response

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Users can receive notifications via SMS text message

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Ultra users are notified of various events and activities in courses from the Activity Stream. However, users must log in to see this information, and they may want to be made aware of these notifications when not logged into Learn. To support this, we have added capabilities to send notifications through SMS text messages.

You and your users can choose which notifications to receive and how often from the Activity Stream and Profile. Along with the Activity Stream and email notifications, SMS notifications is part of Blackboard’s solution for providing notification modality to all users based on their preferences.

More on how to enable SMS notifications in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Add Content Collections items to Ultra courses

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Course View

Institutions and instructors have invested time and effort to put content into the Content Collection content management system. With this release, there's now an easy way to browse, select, and add that content into an Ultra course. Previously, instructors could access items in the Content Collection in a separate Tools area of the Ultra experience, but the workflow to add the items to a course wasn't streamlined. We've added the option to add Content Collection files to the Course Content page using browse ability.

More on adding Content Collection files to an Ultra course

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Allow students to work past assessment time limit

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors often need flexibility with how timed tests and assignments are delivered to students for a variety of circumstances. A student temporarily losing internet connection, needing to restart their computer, or a test simply being too long to complete within the given time are just a few possibilities. For these reasons and others, instructors need the option to allow students to continue working on a timed test or assignment after the set time expires.

When an instructor enables this feature, the system indicates which questions were answered after time expired. This helps instructors identify how many questions they may need to remove or when a specific question may be too complex for students to answer within the time limit.

More on how to create timed tests

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Communication improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Course View

We've added the following improvements in course communication based on feedback from our clients.

  • Instructors can now send a message to groups of students from the Create Groups page in assignments, tests, and discussions.
  • When a student submits an attempt on behalf of their group, a message appears to confirm that no group member will be able to edit after submission.
  • We've added new icons and guidance moments for class conversations and group conversations on assessments, when enabled. Previously, a user selected which conversation to view from a drop-down menu.
  • Students and instructors can use a Refresh icon to load any new conversation or discussion posts since they've opened the page.
  • We've added the ability to contact users through their profile card in more places.
Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement, Academic Effectiveness

Configure course list for availability exceptions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Students may need extended time to access a course due to illness or late registration. This feature allows administrators to open a course for a single student instead of the entire class as an exception to the normal course structure. The course that is re-opened to the student will appear in the course list for the term the course was held, such as Summer 2017.

More on customizing course availability

Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Grade group discussions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

To support instructors who design assessments using groups, we've added the ability to assign grades for group discussions. Instructors may want to use discussion groups to help students feel more comfortable conversing in a course because fewer people are involved. Group discussions can also help students feel freer to speak their minds or encourage students with opposing viewpoints to respectfully make their points.

Instructors can now assign grades to group members in a discussion. Assign grades to individual students to assess their contribution in the context of the group discussion.

More on how to grade a group discussion

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Add and view feedback in a peek panel

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

Starting with this release, instructors can add feedback in a peek panel in assessments and graded discussions. Previously, the feedback editor appeared at the top of the page, which made it a challenge for instructors and graders to refer to parts of the submission that appeared further down on the page. Now, the feedback panel persists on the side of the screen, so the user can scroll through the assignment and add overall feedback. When the grade and feedback are posted, students can view the feedback in a peek panel as well.

Instructors will also notice that the feedback area now uses the new editor.

Course View: Ultra

Add feedback to multiple attempts quickly

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

This release includes optimizations to the grading workflow to help save instructors time. To help instructors grade multiple attempts more quickly and provide specific feedback to students, we've added another access point on the Submissions panel. The Add Feedback icon appears next to each attempt listed in the Submissions panel, shortening the workflow when instructors add feedback.

Course View: Ultra

Additional attempts in Anonymous Grading

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View

Instructors can now grant an additional attempt for scenarios when the student needs one and the prior attempt can't be cleared because it is in an anonymous state.

Course View: Original

Analytics for Learn reports available in Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

If your institution has the A4L Building Block, instructors can access reports in the Analytics area of the Ultra Course View.

This feature allows instructors to access A4L analytics reports in Ultra just as they did in Original courses. These reports allow users to see how their course is performing compared to other students or courses within their department. The A4L reporting engine is a separate tool with its own database. The reports that are generated pull from Blackboard Learn data as well as institutional sources.

More on how instructors can access Analytics for Learn reports in the Ultra Course View

A4L code will now be bundled into releases for SaaS Continuous Delivery deployments. Clients will be required to update the version information to match the Analytics for Learn Extraction Data Version within the settings page for the building block. Affected clients will be notified directly by Client Support.

Course View: Ultra

Conditional release of course content based on student performance

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors and instructional designers may want to release content to students incrementally, rather than all at once, to achieve a more tailored and personalized pedagogical experience. To support this, we have introduced functionality to Ultra courses to define rules that control the release of content to students based on performance.

An instructor can set conditional availability for a content item or folder in the Ultra Course View and choose the minimum score a student must achieve on a graded item before being able to access the new item. Access rules can be based on graded items or gradebook columns. Additional types of access rules will be released in the future.

More on how instructors release content based on rules

Course View: Ultra

Embed videos in the new content editor

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

The Ultra experience includes a new content editor, which is being introduced to certain areas of the application with each new release. Starting with this release, you can use the Insert Video option to insert an embedded video directly into the updated content editor. Simply paste the video source, add alternative text, and save – the editor automatically embeds the video so it appears alongside the other content you include. Students can watch the video within the same window, without having to navigate to the video's host site.

Experience: Ultra

Grade calculations

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View

A previous release improved consistency of grade rounding and presentation across pages including Grade Center, gradebook download, and My Grades. This is further improved by updating those pages along with APIs (Building Blocks and REST) to all use Java BigDecimal for calculations, increasing consistency in edge cases where different Java methods may have rounded or calculated differently.

Course View: Original

Improved LTI user experience

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

Course tools designated as “student tools” are now located in the student Tools area to improve the user experience and align the location of LTI tools with Building Block tools. Instructors can show/hide the tool in the student Tools area and create links to the tool in Content Areas.

Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra

Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

An institution’s staff members, such as administrators, often want to use Blackboard Learn to communicate with instructors and students and to make resources easily accessible and available to the learning community. The Institution Page supports the administrator’s ability to make information available to many users.

In conjunction with Targeted Notifications, the introduction of the Institution Page is a key component in bringing the Tabs and Modules functionality currently available in the Original experience to Ultra. The Institution Page provides users static information that they may find useful, such as help desk links, library resources, advisor info, and any other bit of text/hyperlinking that they need to be aware of. Over time additional modules will be added as well as the ability to convey 3rd party tools/content. 

More on how to get started with the Institution Page

The Institution Page is on in the base navigation by default. To hide the Institution Page from users other than administrators, hide all modules from users. Administrators always have access to the Institution Page in the base navigation.

Availability

The Institution Page feature is being introduced to Blackboard Learn Ultra gradually based on the client’s data region. Currently, Institution Pages are available in North America. We’ll introduce the feature in additional regions according to the tentative schedule below:

  • North America: Currently available
  • Europe and Sydney: Currently available
  • Singapore: Targeted for Q1 2018
  • GovCloud: TBD
Experience: Ultra

LTI Names and Roles services

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

Integrated tools can retrieve course roster information to support assessment activities or provide better information about the class within the tool. This ability is formerly known as LTI Membership Service.

Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.6.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3300.6.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • In some environments, when attempting a test or assignment with math equation images, students were unable to view the image. This error was due to the image not being stored in the appropriate permanent storage location and has been resolved.
  • When changing course availability in the Ultra experience, the padlock icon was difficult to visually distinguish as open or closed. The padlock icon has been updated to more clearly show the open or closed state.
  • Some error messages have been updated to provide more context for users. For example, empty title or message fields in Targeted Notifications say Please type a title or Please type a message respectively, instead of simply Required.
  • In the Original Course View, users who connected to and browsed content from McGraw-Hill and returned to Blackboard Learn were unable to exit the course. This issue has been fixed with the improvements made to LTI launch return behavior.
  • When viewing an Ultra graded discussion on a mobile device, students who viewed the settings saw a blank page. This issue has been fixed.
  • Group assessment grades in the Ultra Course View were not consistently saving when instructors graded and posted from the Submissions view. This issue has been fixed.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

New content editor in discussions, conversations, documents, feedback, and assessment questions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

We've enhanced the content editor to use more intuitive iconography and organization. Use the options in the menu to format text and paragraphs. You can also insert links and images using a simplified workflow. This new editor will be introduced to other areas of the application over the next few releases.

Course View: Ultra

New text editor in targeted notifications

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

We've enhanced the content editor to use more intuitive iconography and organization. Use the options in the menu to format text and paragraphs. You can also insert links and images using a simplified workflow. This new editor will be introduced to other areas of the application over the next few releases.

More on targeted notifications in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Password reset improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Requests using Blackboard Learn's native password reset feature now expire after 15 minutes, improving security of the reset link.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Post all grades at once

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

This release includes optimizations to the grading workflow to help save instructors time. Instructors now have the option of posting all grades for an item at once rather than for individual students. Instructors can release a student's grade and feedback when they finish grading each attempt, but some prefer to grade multiple items in succession. To help facilitate this grading preference, we've added an option for instructors to post all of those grades at one time, rather than one-by-one.

More on how instructors assign, edit, and post grades 

Course View: Ultra

Record attendance in Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

Institutions and instructors want to track attendance for various purposes, including at-risk detection, federal financial aid and accreditation compliance, and to support instructor pedagogical preference where being present is a component of a course grade.

With this release, instructors can track attendance in both experiences. In Ultra courses, a gradebook column is added when the instructor begins taking attendance. The Attendance column provides the overall attendance score in the gradebook, where it can be included in the student’s overall grade.

Based on your data region, some Blackboard Learn features may not be available. Attendance isn't supported on Internet Explorer 11.

More on attendance for administrators

More on how instructors can set up and record attendance

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original, Education Insight, Learner Engagement

Students enter group Collaborate rooms with presenter privileges

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Course View

Within a group assignment or test, group members may want to communicate with each other about the questions, division of labor, or to review each others’ contributions. For institutions who use Collaborate, groups can use a standing Collaborate session to interact in real-time if the instructor has allowed conversations on the item. Now, when students enter the group Collaborate room, they each have presenter privileges to let them take advantage of more features, such as white boards and application sharing.

More on presenting in a Collaborate session

Course View: Ultra

Support for large monitors

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

To improve the user experience on larger screens, the Ultra interface now spans the entire browser window. Previously, the Ultra interface was restricted to a maximum width to ensure consistent appearance and behavior. Now, users can increase the amount of screen real estate the Ultra experience occupies, if they prefer.

Experience: Ultra

Re-release of 3300.2 (Continuous Delivery hotfix)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 22 December 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

To ensure quality, we've worked to resolve a number of issues identified in Blackboard Learn SaaS 3300.2.0 continuous delivery release.

More information is available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Mobile Web Services

Blackboard Learn 9.1 October 2014, Q4 2015, Q2 2016, Q4 2016, Q2 2017, Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Building Blocks

The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block enables users to connect to their courses through Blackboard's mobile applications: Blackboard app, Blackboard Instructor, and Bb Grader. The latest version of the Mobile Web Services Building Block is 94.9.9. Check these links for the best available version for your installation.

Mobile Web Services release notes for all versions

Which Mobile Web Services Building Block version works for your Blackboard Learn environment?

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Cumulative Update 1 for FDO Q4 2017 (release 3300.0.1)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2017 (v3300.0.0)
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 1 for the Q4 2017 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Copy content between Ultra courses

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Course View

Courses are designed by instructors or instructional designers to include various content (files, assessments, etc.) and there is often a need to easily find and re-use this content between their separate courses. In this release, instructors can now copy content between Ultra courses they teach.

This capability lets an instructor copy content from one course to another in a granular way. Often times an instructor wants to reuse only parts of a previous course they have taught. Our new content copy functionality allows an instructor to dive into any courses they teach and pick and choose the content they want to bring into a new Ultra course.

More on how to copy content from other Ultra courses

Course View: Ultra

Instructors can send messages with an email copy

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Course View

Instructors want the option to ensure message communications within Learn Ultra courses are also sent to users' email inboxes. Sending an email copy to a student increases the likelihood that students see, read, and act on important announcements and course messages.

To send an email copy, the instructor simply checks a box on the New Message panel.

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.2.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3300.2.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

  • Users may have encountered an error when editing more than one setting for their Activity Stream at a time. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructors sometimes encountered a permissions error when accessing attachments on student submissions. This issue has been resolved.
  • A calendar event error message was improperly translated in the Korean language pack. The message has been properly translated for users viewing Learn Ultra in Korean.
  • Users viewing Blackboard on IE11 would be prompted to log in to MS Office when opening an Office 2016 file. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra

New content editor in Messages

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

We've enhanced the content editor to use more intuitive iconography and organization. Use the options in the menu to format text and paragraphs. You can also insert links and images using a simplified workflow. This new editor will be introduced to other areas of the application over the next few releases.

Experience: Ultra

SafeAssign now available in Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to educate students about best practices in writing and teach the importance of academic citations. SafeAssign is a powerful, automated way to provide real-time originality results for both students and instructors. SafeAssign has long been an established tool available within the Learn Original Experience; with this release, we bring the capabilities of SafeAssign to Ultra courses, starting with Assignment and Test submissions.

Instructors can enable SafeAssign in the settings area of both tests and assignments. As students submit their work, their text answers and any attachments are scanned for potential matches with academic sources and other online publications. An Originality Report is created to show the instructor how much of the student's submission may have been plagiarized material. Instructors can also let students view the Originality Report following their submissions.

More on how instructors enable SafeAssign in Ultra assignments

Course View: Ultra

Users can receive notifications via email

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

Ultra users are notified of various events and activities in courses from the Activity Stream. However, users must log in to see this information, and they may want to be made aware of these notifications when not logged into Learn. To support this, we have added capabilities to send notifications through email.

You and your users can choose which notifications to receive and how often from the Activity Stream and Profile.

More on how to set up email notifications

More on how notifications map between the Original and Ultra experiences

Experience: Ultra

Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2017

The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q4 2017 (3300.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers will soon be available. Contact Blackboard Support to schedule your upgrade for the time and date that works best for you.

This release includes features released as part of continuous delivery releases since 3200.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.

More on the FDO release schedule

More information on the FDO Q4 2017 on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q4 2017

Additional UX refinements based on client feedback

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Course View

We are continually refining the user experience based on feedback from clients using Ultra. The following changes are introduced with this release:

  • Instructors can edit student discussion posts – Instructors need the ability to edit student posts for a variety of reasons. Previously, this capability was available directly within the discussion interface, which created a scenario that could lead to inadvertent editing. In this release, the workflow for instructors to edit student posts has been moved to an overflow menu and is part of a deliberate workflow.
  • Group discussion visual treatment – Group discussions now include a visual indicator to help instructors understand and access group information for a discussion. The Course Content page now includes the groups icon and text indicating how many groups are associated with the item (for example: 2 groups).
Course View: Ultra

Chemistry notation support

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

The math editor found in the Content Editor has been updated to a newer version of WIRIS. This version adds tools specific to chemistry including an embedded periodic table of elements.

Course View: Original, Q4 2017

Course availability status and update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

Instructors and other privileged course members can see the availability state of the course and change the state from the main course view. All privileged users in a course see an open or closed padlock representing the availability state of the course to students. This is in the course edit management areas with tools such as Student Preview and the Edit Mode toggle.

Course View: Original, Q4 2017

Crocodoc to New Box View update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Instructors grading assignments can view documents in-line and annotate the document to provide feedback for students. In prior versions, this used a licensed technology called Crocodoc that will be discontinued on January 15, 2018. This release allows institutions to switch to a replacement service from Box entitled New Box View that offers similar capabilities. Prior documents with annotations will be automatically migrated without requiring action from administrators. Administrators only need to enable the New Box View service.

It is recommended administrators initiate the migration between periods of heavy assessment such as between terms; the migration to and adoption of New Box View doesn't have to occur at time of upgrade.

More on the Crocodoc transition to New Box View

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Email tool recipient permissions

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

Administrators can better define the extent to which users in courses can contact one another using the Email tool. Previously, instructors would choose which email recipient options were available in each course; for example, whether students could email each other. Administrators can now restrict the Email tool recipient options that will appear for use in courses.

Course View: Original, Q4 2017

Embed Content Market files in the content editor

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Course View

The Content Market allows instructors to add links to tools, materials, publishers, and open educational resources to their courses. Instructors and course designers authoring in the Content Editor can access the Content Market to add links to various tools and resources in the context of other materials. This will provide more pedagogical flexibility and a better student experience.

Initially, we will work with existing partners and vendors to deliver text editor content discovery via the Content Market or configured LTI tools. Later, we will work with select media partners (e.g. Kaltura) to offer additional content sources. This capability complements existing LTI-based media partners already configured in the Content Market via the ability to add LTI placements within the course outline.

More on how instructors add external content in the editor

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.0.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3300.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Manage connected third-party applications using Three-Legged OAuth 2.0

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0| Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Starting with this release, Blackboard Learn provides support for three-legged OAuth (3LO) 2.0 authorization. Developers can create applications using REST APIs that act on a user's behalf in a more secure way. When authorized using 3LO, applications can act on behalf of a user and therefore are restricted to the parts of Learn for which that user has permissions to access.

When users work in a third-party tool, the application may ask your permission to operate within Learn on your behalf. This process allows the application to submit assignments or tasks the user has completed to Blackboard Learn. Similar to syncing social media applications, the integration allows learning platforms to work together. Once a user allows access, they can manage the authorization from the Tools panel.

Previously, such applications could only work with Learn using generic credentials. Generic credentials had all permissions needed for the application, regardless of individual user's access levels. This method also didn't provide the ability to track individual user activities. Now, Learn supports either method: the use of generic credentials or user-specific credentials and permissions.

More on Three-legged OAuth and Blackboard Learn

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Migrate message storage

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

The Administrator Panel now includes the option to migrate messages in courses and organizations to the Learn database. Older course and organization message were stored via flat files on a shared storage volume. New courses and organizations always store messages in the database.

You can find the migration option in Administrator Panel > Tools and Utilities > Course Messages.

During migration, the system skips a course or organization if it doesn’t exist, is disabled, or already uses database storage. You can check your system logs to confirm message migration is complete.

More on how to migrate Blackboard Learn message storage

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • New column sub-heading for total points: For each column in the grid view of the gradebook, you can view the total points for each item or calculation and easily see the grade each student earned.
  • Instructors no longer see intermittent permissions errors when attempting to view attachments on student submissions
  • An updated version of the Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block (3.5.0) is bundled with this release.
  • The SAML Building Block now supports SNI
  • An issue with editing content items has been resolved
  • An issue with embedded media files not playing in assessment questions has been fixed
  • Email settings are preserved when copying materials into an existing course
  • Students whose course access has been disabled no longer appear in group membership lists
  • Timed assessments sometimes automatically submitted student work prior to the time limit. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructors using the Brazilian Portuguese language pack no longer have trouble overriding grades using decimals (,)
  • The Rubric type dropdown list appears in courses when the Learn 2016 theme is enabled for the environment
  • In the Original Course View, due date settings and rubric associations are retained when an entire forum is copied
  • Usernames are required when creating new accounts via the LIS 2.0 SIS Framework
  • When creating a content item in the Original Course View, images attached using the content editor would break if the filename contained the word 'portfolio.' This issue has been fixed.
  • In the Original Course View, unavailable graded forums with due dates no longer appear in the To Do module
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

SCORM engine update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Experience

The integrated SCORM player has been updated to a newer version that improves playback of responsive content and better supports SCORM packages in right-to-left languages such as Arabic.

Experience: Original, Q4 2017

SMTP authentication and encryption for email

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

SMTP authentication is now supported to improve the security of outbound email. Mail server configuration is now handled in the Email configuration page of the Admin panel. Settings take effect upon submission. An entry in the registry is created the first time this configuration page is used.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Q4 2017

Support for IMS Global's LTI Content-Item Message Standard: Add teaching tools via LTI from provider's site

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Course View, Original Course View

Content-Item message 1.0 is an LTI specification for exchanging content between LTI tools and Blackboard Learn. Many types of content can be shared, such as static links, embedded images or other media types and files, extending the LTI toolbox and streamlining the process of setting up an LTI tool link. Content-Item message enables external (LTI) tools to appear in the same way that internal tools do.

This enhancement provides another time savings for instructors and course builders: you can now add third-party content from a trusted provider's website directly, without having to navigate back to Learn. Additionally, instructors can add multiple pieces of content at once. Select and import the pieces of content to add to your Learn course, rather than adding each piece of content individually. These abilities depend on how the provider's content is configured.

More on LTI Content-Item message at the IMS Global website

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Collaborate Ultra Building Block update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Original Course View, Building Blocks

Add Collaborate Ultra to your group tools.

Instructors can add Collaborate Ultra sessions to Groups pages in the Original Course View of Blackboard Learn. If instructors allow, students can share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings. Institutions need a Collaborate license to use this in their courses.

More on course groups for instructors

 

Building Block, Updated Features, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.12.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3200.12.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • When uploading a file through the content editor, the error message has been replaced to provide better guidance.
  • Course visibility confirmation messages have been updated to explain how availability is tied to academic terms. Instructors and course builders have different options for course availability when the course is associated with an academic term:
    • When a course is associated with an active term, it can be completed but not made private.
    • When a course is associated with a past or future term, it can’t be made available.
  • After a course is converted from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View, users can download and open content attachments missing file extensions/MIME types without needing to choose the appropriate program.
  • Gradebook grid view has been refactored to improve performance and reduce bugs.
  • An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021367) is bundled with this release.
  • The Sharp Building Block (v. 1.1.51) has been unbundled from this release.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Timestamp revealed on hover

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Ultra Course View

Instructors want greater visibility into when students submit their assignment and test attempts. The submission time is even more important when students submit past the due date.

With this release, instructors can point to a submission timestamp to view more information. Timestamps appear on students' submission pages. If an instructor allowed multiple attempts, they can point to the timestamp on a student's attempts panel to view the date and time of submission, if the submission is late, and when the instructor posted a grade.

More on timestamps in assignments

Course View: Ultra

Add a custom institution logo

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience

Institutions often want to promote their brand through their online properties, including their teaching and learning platform. In this release, administrators can add an institution logo to the Learn Ultra login page as well as the base navigation in the Ultra experience.

More on institution branding in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Grade display standardization

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Original Course View

This change standardizes areas of Blackboard Learn where users access grades. Now, all gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades support up to five decimal points, aren't rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Gradebook improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Course View

We’ve improved the gradebook list to provide more information for students regarding graded items with multiple attempts. Now students can easily see whether they have opened the assessment, if they’ve started an attempt, and whether or not they’ve submitted attempts on time. The gradebook list also shows the number of attempts possible for a given item.

More on how students view grades

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3200.10.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3200.10.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • Instructor feedback on manually created gradebook items now displays for students as expected.
  • In the Original Course View, instructors are shown updated help text on the Email Settings page. The instructions now indicate that some settings may be restricted by the institution administrator.
  • We’ve fixed LTI links in the Ultra Course View to launch properly in mobile browsers and Blackboard apps.
  • We’ve fixed an issue with loading longer lists of content folders on the Course Content page in the Ultra Course View.
  • We’ve fixed an issue in the administrator Grade Center reports. Previously, grade columns were not appearing for courses using the Original Course View.
  • We’ve fixed an issue that created a new session for users who login to Learn using SAML or CAS authentication. This release resolves any conflicts arising from ceasing an existing session, including problems with assessments that used force completion.
  • An updated version of the McGraw-Hill Connect and Create Building Block (v2.4.2017020074) is bundled with this release.
  • Message text has been updated for course builders who remove a member from a course:
    • Remove Member?
      When you remove members from your course, all of their grades, activity logs, and data are deleted. Are you sure you want to remove this member?
  • We’ve rewritten error messages on the calendar to be more useful. When a user types an invalid date or time, the error message describes the required format:
    • Please type a date in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY.
    • Please type a time in the following format: 00:00 AM.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Original Course View messages appear in base navigation

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience

With the Ultra experience enabled at the system level, an institution can decide whether to use the Ultra or Original Course Views for their courses. Institutions can also use a dual course view approach, with some courses using Ultra and others using Original.

In this release, messages in Original courses now appear in the Messages section of the Ultra base navigation, allowing students and instructors to read, delete, or reply to their messages across all courses, regardless of which course view those courses use.

More on how students use messages

More on how instructors use messages

Experience: Ultra

Quicker access for assessment details

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Course View

During assignment or test creation, instructors often need quick access to details and settings, such as grading schemas, rubrics, or groups. Students may also need to view this information while they draft a submission. In this release, details and settings are linked so that instructors and students can click on the details and quickly see more about the item’s settings. These improvements are the result of client feedback during an Ultra pilot period.

Course View: Ultra

Additional ARIA landmarks in the Original Course View

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View

We’ve incorporated ARIA landmarks in the course menu and the content area to better define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Discussion Forum Insights enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Course View

Several enhancements have been made to Discussions Forum Insights in the Ultra Course View. Panels have been rearranged to highlight important insights, and new calculations have been added, such as total number of participants who opened the discussion without replying. When an instructor sends a message to non-participating students within Learn, a message appears: Each recipient receives your message as a blind carbon copy to ensure privacy.

More on viewing discussion statistics

Course View: Ultra

LTI improvements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

In the Original Course View, LTI links now open in a lightbox within the course, rather than directing users to a new window or tab. Now, LTI links load within the same window from where they are launched, creating a consistent and contained workflow for students. When launching an LTI tool from an Ultra course, a new message appears to confirm success or failure:

  • Success!
    We launched your selected LTI tool.
  • Oops, something went wrong. 
    We couldn't launch your selected LTI tool.
Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.8.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3200.8.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • Internet Explorer 11 is supported for the Ultra login page.
  • Overdue notifications no longer appear in the activity stream for students who have submitted at least one attempt on time for a multiple-attempt assessment.
  • Performance improvements have been made to address memory leaks. Performance began to suffer during longer sessions in which the user navigated to multiple areas of Ultra. This release addresses those issues.
  • The text editor's save and cancel behavior has been improved.
  • The instructor view of attachments on individual attempts in a multiple-attempt assessment has been fixed.
  • Submission receipts have been localized into the user's chosen language.
  • Inserting HTML into the text editor no longer locks the browser.
  • Visibility settings are inherited when a whole course's content is copied into a new Ultra course.
  • To help differentiate course members with identical names, the username has been added to the user card in the Ultra course roster and other areas such as Messages.
  • Instructors can delete feedback on a graded item.
  • When a course in the Ultra Course Preview is set as available to students from the Courses page, a new message appears: Finalizing conversion…
  • An updated version of the Pearson MyLabs Mastering Building Block (v3.201.2017020601) is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the VitalSource Building Block (v3.101.201702475) is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021354) is bundled with this release.
  • Text in Discussions in the Ultra Course View has been updated for consistency:
    • Delete Response?
      Are you sure you want to permanently delete this response from the discussion? Replies to this response remain unless you choose to delete them.
    • Delete Reply?
      Are you sure you want to permanently delete this reply to remove it from the discussion?
    • Make an initial post to start a discussion.
  • Text in conversations on course content items in the Ultra Course View has been updated:
    • Delete Response?
      You can delete this response to remove it from the conversation.
  • A message that appears for students working on timed assessments has been updated:
    • Timer is still active
      The timer will continue to count down when you close your draft. Your work is automatically saved and submitted when time is up.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

More efficient Grade Center cleanup

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View

Instructors can now more easily clean up their grade books by deleting multiple columns at once. Selected manual and calculated columns are removed completely. Selected columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

More responsive Blogs and Journals tools

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View

Blogs and Journals have been better optimized for use on mobile devices. Posts and comments composed with responsive content will render on smaller devices. Options for filtering posts or navigating groups or users will appear below currently viewed posts.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Require students to post first in discussions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to promote originality of thought in course discussions. Now, instructors can require students to post their own responses before seeing other students' posts. Instructors can choose this option when they create new discussions or edit existing discussions (as long as there are no student responses or replies). With the setting enabled, students only see the instructor's initial post. This allows them to reply with their own thoughts and ideas, unbiased by their peers' contributions. After the student submits their response, the rest of the responses and replies in the discussion are revealed to them.

More on discussion settings

The Post First option isn't available in group discussions at this time, but will be included in a future release.

Course View: Ultra

LTI links open within an Ultra course

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Course View

Previously, when a user clicked an LTI link in the course outline, the link opened in a new window with no connection back to the Ultra course. Additional windows can create a disorienting user experience, and can be problematic for institutions that rely heavily on LTI tools to provide content for courses. Now, LTI links load within the same window from where they are launched, creating a consistent and contained workflow for students.

More on how to set up and configure LTI in Learn SaaS

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3200.6.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3200.6.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • Blackboard Learn SaaS is officially certified in the LTI 2.0 standard.
  • Course copy via SIS integration behavior has changed. To maintain server speed and prevent unnecessary database job queues, only two course copy jobs can run concurrently in the cluster.
  • Improvements have been made to notifications regarding late or overdue activity in the Ultra experience. The activity stream exhibited confusing behavior regarding due dates in restored courses, or when due dates had been changed.
  • For auto-graded assessments that have been submitted past the due date, instructors now can overwrite the grade in the grade pill where the grade is automatically calculated.
  • SAML sign on failures now include a unique identifier, allowing administrators to trace what went wrong with a user's specific login attempt.
  • Content visibility settings are preserved when exporting and importing courses using the Ultra Course View.
  • An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021340) is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the Qwickly Building Block (v.3.7.3) is bundled with this release.
  • Text has been changed in assessments with multiple allowed attempts. When a user opens an assessment that is past due, a message now states: Past due. This attempt will be marked late. This helps to clarify that any additional attempts submitted after the due date will be marked late, but the attempts submitted prior to the due date satisfy the deadline.
  • Text has changed in the Profile area of the Ultra experience. When a user selects their privacy settings,
    • The options for students now include:
      • Only instructors
      • Anyone in my courses
      • Administrators and anyone in my courses
    • Instructors and Administrators see the following options:
      • Administrators and other instructors
      • Anyone in my courses
      • Administrator and anyone in my courses
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Mobile device navigation improvements for the Original experience

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Original Experience

This release includes navigation improvements for the system and course menus in the Original experience. When users access Blackboard Learn through their mobile devices, the navigation has been moved to a hamburger menu for persistent access from screen to screen. Tabs and subtabs also appear in navigation choices. My Blackboard has been incorporated into the system menu for easier access. Within a course, the menu opens and closes more easily with fixed location action rather than tab.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Performance improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience

A number of performance enhancements have been made throughout the Ultra experience to increase page loads times and overall speed. Ultra has also been tuned to retain better performance over longer periods of use. Noticeable performance gains can be enjoyed in the following areas:

  • Login page
  • Administrator Console loading within the Ultra base navigation
  • Text editing
  • Discussions loading
  • Assessments loading
  • Course list

Additional areas will be addressed in upcoming releases.

Experience: Ultra

Blackboard Open Content available in Content Market

Blackboard Learn 9.1 October 2014 and later
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Building Blocks

Blackboard Open Content is now available as a content partner in the Content Market for both Original and Ultra experiences in Blackboard Learn.

With this release, instructors using Blackboard Learn can launch directly from the Content Market into Blackboard Open Content to create, share, and discover rich educational content from a global network of instructors and leading OER providers.

Additionally, instructors can launch directly from the Content Market into the partner channel for CK-12 and Curriculum Pathways to discover and add content to their courses.

More on the latest Open Content release

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, Building Block, Q2 2016, Q2 2017, Q4 2015, Q4 2016, October 2014, FDO Q4 2017

Accessibility update to the first-time user experience

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Experience

When a user first logged in to Blackboard Learn with the Original experience, an overlay appeared on the screen to highlight key navigation elements. The overlay caused a frustrating user experience for those using assistive technologies and has been removed to improve overall accessibility.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Accessibility update to the login screen

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

The login screen for Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience has been updated to improve accessibility. Instead of the username and password labels disappearing when a user inputs text in these fields, the labels now jump above the field and persist. Most institutions don’t need to do anything to see this change, but those with custom login pages should update their page with a line of JavaScript to enable animations:

<bbNG:jsFile href=“/ui-ultra/js/login-page.js” />

Experience: Ultra

Ally: Support for files attached with Content Editor

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Course View

Ally, an optional solution for improving accessibility of course materials, now supports files attached in the Content Editor. Presently this support is limited to certain content types such as “Item.” Instructors see accessibility scores for these attachments, students can download more accessible alternative versions of those files, and administrators will be able to report on the collective accessibility of these additional files.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Assessment randomization

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Course View

To support practice/drilling activities, as well as helping to avoid academic dishonesty, instructors have the option to change the order in which questions are displayed to individual students. This capability will permit this randomization of the order of questions within a test or assignment. In a future release, we will provide an option to randomize the order of question answers as well.

More on how to randomize questions in a test

Course View: Ultra

Attachments in discussions, questions, feedback, and comments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Course View

Faculty and students want the ability to include images, files, and other content when creating assignments and interacting within discussions, questions, feedback, and conversations. Inserting multimedia allows students and faculty to engage in richer communication and expression within Ultra.

Users can now upload files and images using the text editor in these areas of an Ultra course. A status indicator shows the upload's progress. Users can include a link to the uploaded content or show it inline alongside the text.

More on attaching files in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra

New Blackboard app download module

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Experience

A new module called Download Blackboard's Student App Today has been added to help students discover and download the Blackboard app. The module includes links to the Apple, Android, and Windows app download locations.

While the module is available by default for users to add to personalized tabs, it is not added to any tabs automatically. Administrators can use standard tab and module configuration to present the module on appropriate student tabs or to restrict the module entirely.

More on the Blackboard app module

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Course copy improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Institutions often use courses as templates for future instruction. Previously, when a course contained an LTI link to a specific piece of content, such as a chapter within an eBook, the link would break in a copied course, causing frustration and confusion. This issue is resolved in this release.

There is now a solution that keeps track of your placement so your content is not lost. The source course ID and content ID is tracked during course copy (and possibly archive/export) and the parameters are passed along with the launch in the respective history parameters.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Discussion Board "Replies to Me"

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Course View

Keeping up with large Discussion Board forums is easier by giving participants a count and filter to just look at new replies from others to posts made the participant.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Discussion forum insights

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to understand the contribution—or sometimes lack of contribution!—of students in a discussion to encourage participation and help assess student contribution for a grade. The discussion forum insights provide a top-down window into the activity happening within a discussion. Information available includes word count, top participating students, top activity, and average grade (if a graded discussion).

More on how to view discussion analytics

Course View: Ultra

Guest access to the Course Catalog

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Course View

Some institutions would like to use their LMS to support self-enrollment in courses, with or without e-commerce, to allow students to browse and join courses on-the-fly. We’ve added a new API attribute that will allow direct guest access to preview Original courses in the Ultra experience.

Experience: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017

LTI 2.0 Technical Preview

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Partners, customers, and Blackboard can use the LTI 2.0 specification to create solution integrations that are accessible from various access points in both the Ultra and Original experiences. Specifically, the LTI 2.0 registration (tool proxy) services are supported along with the results service for returning scores to the gradebook. Other LTI services and specifications including Content Item messages and Gradebook services (formerly Rich Outcomes) are not supported at this time.

Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Experience: Original, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.4.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can now view maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3200.4.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • SAML Building Block now supports the SHA-256 algorithm
  • Improvements to fix visual bugs in Ultra language packs
  • Comment icons have been updated for consistency
  • Icons throughout the system have been replaced to use SVG files
  • Ally Integration Reports no longer open in a pop up window
  • Users can upload PDF files to Educator Preview environments
  • Auto-save behavior has been removed from individual questions when creating an assessment in the Ultra Course View. Instructors are now prompted to manually save individual questions as they create assessments.
  • Updated versions of the Mobile Web Services Building Block (v3200.4.0), McGraw-Hill Higher Education Building Block (v2.3.2017020076) and WileyPlus Building Block (v2.1.201604543) are bundled with this release
  • The text dividing assessment and submission content has been changed for questionless tests as follows:
    • Assessments without questions: Student content appears at the end of each submission
    • Assessments with questions: If students add additional content, it appears at the end of each submission
  • Assessment load times have improved to support a greater number of students and questions
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Profile redesign

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

Students and instructors need a way to access and update their information quickly and easily. In this release, we've redesigned the profile in the Ultra experience to do that. Now users can edit their personal information, contact information, and system settings in one place. The new design reduces the number of clicks and screens a user had to navigate to edit their profile.

More on the Ultra profile

Experience: Ultra

Time zone visibility

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

Institutions that deliver education across the globe need clear visibility of times and time zones within Ultra from the perspective of each instructor and student. This enhancement brings transparency to displayed times, showing the time zone information relative to the user viewing that time within critical areas such as assessments and student submissions.

Time zone behavior in Ultra remains unchanged, recording all times in UTC time and then normalizing that time relative to the end user’s time zone.

Experience: Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS: Q1 2017 Summary

In the early months of 2017, Blackboard released multiple new features, enhancements, and maintenance items to customers on the Learn SaaS continuous delivery deployment.

Here is a snapshot of that work, representing four Production environment releases in Q1 2017:

  • 13 new features released, including localized user interface, integration with Blackboard Ally, LTI improvements, enhancements to discussions and assessments in the Ultra Course View, and more
  • 7 long-term performance and scalability initiatives achieved
  • 600+ maintenance items fixed on the backend and frontend, including both Original and Ultra experiences and course views

Thank you for helping us build this momentum. We’re eager to share more of these achievements as the year progresses. Refer to the full release notes to learn more about the details and cadence of Blackboard Learn SaaS releases.

Course View: Ultra, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Looking for older release notes?

Check out the Blackboard Learn Release Notes Archive for more information on past releases.