Looking for the latest release information? Check out the Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes feed.
Browse the list of features or view the maintenance items.
You can also see our instructions to create and export a list of Known Issues in Behind the Blackboard.
Support for IMS Global’s Questions and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification
Instructors and instructional designers use various technologies to develop assessments and need to be able to move assessment items such as questions from one system to another easily. To ensure compatibility and easy re-use, IMS Global developed the Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standard so questions can be shared between learning management and assessment systems. In this release, instructors and course builders can add QTI packages to Blackboard Learn in the Original Course View.
- Blackboard Learn handles QTI 2.1 packages as pools for import and export. If a QTI import package contains multiple assessment objects, multiple pools are created.
- Blackboard Learn supports the following question types for import/export in QTI 2.1 format: true/false, multiple choice, multiple answer, fill-in-the-blank, and essay.
- For embedded media, Blackboard Learn will import HTML5 and HTML Object tags. It will export HTML5.
- In scenarios where there is a mismatch in question configuration options, Blackboard Learn will prioritize fidelity of the question and answer text over settings. For example, some exam systems allow differing partial credit allocations to be set per possible answer response whereas Blackboard Learn maintains a list of correct answers. In this case, all answer options will be imported as correct so they can be reviewed for continued applicability in Blackboard Learn.
- Question metadata such as tags, categories, and alignments are not exported or imported at this time.
- Questions using the optional QTI response processing are skipped and not imported.
- Because different assessment tools have different features and varying media/HTML/equation handling capabilities, you should always review and test questions after transfer between solutions.
Collaborate Attendance Integration with Blackboard Learn
This will be available with the Collaborate February release scheduled 6-7 February 2019.
Let Collaborate take attendance for you. In this Collaborate release, Blackboard Learn instructors can host a Collaborate session without tracking attendance manually.
Based on criteria you can set, Collaborate tracks if a student is present, late, or absent from a session. Collaborate then sends that information directly to the Attendance page in your Blackboard Learn course.
Attendance from the Collaborate session is counted in each student's average attendance in the course, which can also be used in calculating student grades.
New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration
We've updated the design of the SafeAssign Originality Report in Blackboard Learn SaaS environments. The new Originality Report uses Blackboard's Ultra design philosophy and includes some new information about a submission's overall risk for being copied from another source. This new report interface is also more responsive for mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design; we will be seeking VPAT compliance for this new design soon!
This release also allows the SafeAssign team to be more iterative and provide updates to the new report design on a more regular basis and without requiring an update to the LMS platform. We'll still be communicating changes on the SafeAssign help pages, so make sure to follow those pages as well for new information!
Users can switch back to the old Originality Report design for a little while longer to help ease the transition. Blackboard Learn 9.1 users should expect to receive the new Originality Report design with the Q2 2019 release next year.
Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for gradebook control
As part of an earlier release, we added entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that allow them to view course content but not modify it. In this release, we expand on those entitlements with respect to gradebook access and control.
Grading within a course is multi-faceted. Assigning a grade is only one piece of the process, which can also include grade maintenance, data download and upload, and release of grades. Institution administrators can grant some or all of these permissions to trusted facilitators to help ease the grading responsibility in larger courses.
Expanded ability to reconcile grades in Delegated Grading
Delegated grading lets an instructor share grading responsibilities by assigning course members to grade sets of submissions. Grading and feedback from more than one grader can promote reliability, improve consistency, and remove bias. The instructor can reconcile grades and settle on final scores after the graders have completed their assigned submissions.
The ability to reconcile grades was previously limited to instructors and users who were granted the permission by an administrator. In this release, instructors can grant this permission to graders. The Can reconcile grades option appears when the instructor delegates grading. Instructors can choose to grant the permission to any or all graders who are delegated submissions.
Download annotated PDFs
This feature was also available for Self- and Managed-Hosting environments as a Cumulative Update for Blackboard Learn 9.1.
Users were accustomed to downloading annotated files when Crocodoc handled inline file rendering. With the switch to New Box View, this capability wasn’t available and highly requested. Blackboard listened and developed the ability to download annotated files using the New Box View.
In this release, both instructors and students can download certain file types (DOC, DOCX, PDF) with annotations as an annotated PDF. Students can download the annotated file after their submission has been graded.
Visit Inline Grading and New Box View Update on the Blackboard Community for more information and a video demonstration
Check out the October 2018 Inline Grading and New Box View Update for an update about comment summaries in annotated PDFs
Cloud storage integration in the Original Course View
Blackboard is pleased to announce cloud storage integration in the Original Course View. Instructors and students can access an aggregated cloud service that lets users connect to their preferred cloud storage accounts and place content directly into their course. Instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where they store files.
Your files are stored on secure, online servers where they're protected from accidents and viruses. If something happens to your computer or phone, you don't have to worry about file loss. You can access your files in the cloud any time you're connected to the internet, on any of your devices.
This feature was also made available with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018 CU4.
Branding and color configuration in the Learn 2016 Theme
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.
These enhancements apply to courses using the Learn 2016 theme in an Original experience environment.
Clear multiple choice selection
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.
Additional attempts in Anonymous Grading
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.
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.
Improved LTI user experience
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.
LTI Names and Roles services
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.
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.
Chemistry notation support
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 availability status and update
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.
Email tool recipient permissions
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.
Collaborate Ultra Building Block update
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.
Grade display standardization
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).
Additional ARIA landmarks in the 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.
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:
We launched your selected LTI tool.
- Oops, something went wrong.
We couldn't launch your selected LTI tool.
More efficient Grade Center cleanup
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.
More responsive Blogs and Journals tools
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.
Ally: Support for files attached with Content Editor
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.
Discussion Board "Replies to Me"
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.
Guest access to the Course Catalog
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.
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.
Learn 2016 Theme improvements
In courses using the Learn 2016 theme, the discussion board is responsive for hand-held devices if the contents of the posts themselves are responsive. Discussion participants can read, respond, and use other discussion features such as post rating from mobile devices.
Pages with tables, the course menu, and My Blackboard pages are better optimized for hand-held devices. Menus can be accessed on touch devices.
Submission receipts via email
Starting with this release, students receive email confirmations for submitted coursework. The email receipt is another method for students to keep track of their submissions, in addition to the My Grades page.
Hotfix for Flexible Deployment Option clients
This release includes a set of bug fixes. Please see the Maintenance Items for issues resolved in 3100.0.2.
Additional drag-and-drop locations
File drag and drop are now supported in the following areas.
- Content Collection – file upload page replacing Java-dependent interface
- Content Editor – embed attachment
- Blank Page content type
- Blog – Create Entry
- Journal – Create Entry
- Portfolio – add Artifact
If the browser allows, users can drag a folder of files and the files will upload individually.
Responsive improvements for mobile devices
In this release, we've made a number of improvements for users on mobile devices.
- Improved course menu collapse behavior
- More responsive table handling in many interfaces including but not limited to:
- Grade Center
- Discussion forum list page
- Admin interfaces
- (Original Experience only) Responsive improvements for My Blackboard pages, including the ability to make a selection from the left panel and see content from the right panel. On mobile devices, the selected content will appear in an overlay that can be dismissed by selecting the close icon at the top.
Student view for submission receipts
Students can access their submission receipts at any time. The receipts can be found in My Grades or My Blackboard in the Submissions area. Like the instructor view, the receipts are always present even if an attempt or assignment has been deleted from the course.
Drag and drop files
When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.
Drag and drop is not yet available in every area of Blackboard Learn where users can attach files.
Dropbox Education integration
Users can attach files and submit assignments from their personal Dropbox accounts using this new cloud service integration.
Fewer Needs Grading items
When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won't calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon.
Improved behavior for Self and Peer Assessments
Non-participants during the submission period are excluded from the evaluation process. Submitters with partial or complete submissions will be distributed to peers for evaluations. By pairing an assessment with Adaptive Release, it's possible to configure Self and Peer Assessments for individual groups.
Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.
Instructors can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.
Administrators and instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.
A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.
Submission receipts was a popular enhancement request from recent voting on the Community site. You need to be a member of the Blackboard Community and have access to the Ideas space to view this link.
Reports on student activity - Tests
The new Student Activity report displays details of when each student opened, started, and submitted a test in both Original and Ultra courses. The page also displays their grades on the test. And in Ultra Course View, instructors can send a message to an individual student from the Student Activity page. Instructors have the option to view the data visually using Chart View or in a traditional text layout in Grid View.
In Original courses: Select the Content tab, then navigate to a test and select the arrow to the right of its name. Choose Student Activity.
In Ultra courses: Access Student Activity data from the Course Content page. Hover over a test and select the bar chart icon labeled Student Activity.
This is the first of many future releases of a dual-panel feature. The feature generally looks and functions the same whether you are working in an Original or Ultra course.
Release notes for earlier versions
Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.