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.

More on accessibility in Blackboard Learn

Mobile device navigation improvements

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.

More on the Learn 2016 Theme

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.

More on Instructor: Discussion Board | Student: Discussion Board

Crocodoc to New Box View Update

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 Administrator: Crocodoc to New Box View | Instructor: Assignment inline grading

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 on Grade Center cleanup

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.

More on course availability

Collaborate Ultra Building Block update

Students now can have “face time” with their groups. 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

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.

More on email permissions for administrators

Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) improvements

LTI 2.0 tool registration 

Tool providers who use the LTI 2.0 specification can be registered using the proxy service standard. 

Improved launch experience

LTI links now open in a lightbox within the course, rather than directing users to a new window or tab. This loads tools within the same window from where they are launched, creating a more consistent and contained workflow for students.

Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) content item messages

The Content Item Message specification is now supported, allowing improved integration for tool providers also supporting this standard. When used, instructors and course designers can create links to specific resources without knowing and specifying resource IDs. Instead, they can launch into the tool provider’s user experience, select one or more resources to add to their course, and the individual links are created in the correct place in the Blackboard Learn course. Students clicking the links will be taken directly to the specific resource rather than to a generic tool page for the tool provider.

More on Administrator: LTI 2.0 tool registration | Instructor: LTI content in courses

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

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.

Administrator: Three-Legged OAuth | Instructor: Manage third-party applications | Student: Manage third-party applications