This page contains features released to production in April 2018 and later. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features released to production through March 2018. Maintenance items for releases 3400.0.0 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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Course role for facilitators

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.

3600.0.0 marks the culmination of previous content lockdown releases with the introduction of the Facilitator role. This course role contains a set of default privileges regarding course calendar, discussions, gradebook, announcements, materials, and groups. Course members can be granted this role to help maintain the pace of the course throughout the term or as needed.

This release includes two new privileges to grant a user the ability to create or delete a discussion in the Ultra Course View.

Additionally, the privileges list shows when certain entitlements are inherited by other privileges. For example, the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability privilege is automatically granted to a user who also has the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Materials privilege. We’ve made this association clearer in the user interface.

If your environment already contains a custom course role with FACILITATOR as the Role ID, you may notice errors after the 3600.0.0 update. We're working on addressing this issue before the release reaches Production servers. To troubleshoot, copy your custom role, rename it to eliminate FACILITATOR, apply it to the appropriate users, and remove the old custom role.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

DELAY: Upcoming changes to Open JDK and impact to Building Blocks in Learn SaaS deployments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

To address recent changes in Oracle’s Java support model, Blackboard Learn is transitioning to adopt the latest version of OpenJDK as it’s released. We previously announced this change with the introduction of OpenJDK 11 as part of Blackboard Learn release 3600.0, scheduled for release to SaaS Continuous Delivery production environments on 4 April 2019.

Based on the results of testing with Technical Preview participants and our partners, we concluded that Java 11 adoption should be removed from this release due to compatibility issues with extensions. The new target release timeframe for SaaS Continuous Delivery Production environments is June 2019. The delay allows for continued testing to uphold the user experience and minimize disruptions.

Previous announcement:

We’re changing the way we adopt Java updates in Blackboard Learn. These changes start with Blackboard Learn SaaS release 3600.0 with the adoption of Open JDK 11.

While we expect that building blocks will continue to work as is, Blackboard is aware that some fundamental library changes could affect compatibility. To help ensure that you’re able to thoroughly test for these upcoming changes, we’re introducing a Learn SaaS Technical Preview program.

Partners in the Blackboard Developers’ Network (BbDN) should enter a support case requesting to participate in the program.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Building Block

Improvements for auto-archived courses

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

This release includes improvements to automatically archived courses to provide clients with greater flexibility and customization. You can access these settings through the Course Settings area of the Administrator Panel. Administrators can choose the length of time to keep a course archive on their system and whether course archives should include content that lives outside of the course’s directory.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Improvements to how the Activity Stream shows external content

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Ultra Experience

The Activity Stream is the go-to place for instructors and students to understand what’s happening in a course. We’ve improved reporting behavior so third-party content due dates appear in the Activity Stream in a more dynamic way.  

Previously, instructors and students could see an upcoming due date for this type of content. When the due date passed or the content status changed, the notification in the Activity Stream wouldn’t update. With this release, the Activity Stream more accurately reports on third-party content to keep everyone more up to date. Specifically, LTI and manual grade column notifications will update in the Activity Stream when: 

  • The item transitions from due to overdue 
  • The item’s due date is updated 
  • The item is deleted 
  • The item is graded 
  • The item’s visibility is changed 
Experience: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can 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 3600.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Preview course as a student

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to be confident that their courses are well-designed and function as intended—before their students see them. Instructors can use student preview to review the course content. They can also validate the course behaviors, such as those that control course content availability or require a particular interaction from the students to be triggered. With student preview, instructors can experience their courses exactly as their students do. 

Start student preview from anywhere within your Ultra course. The preview creates user in your course that you can use to view everything as a student would. 

Course View: Ultra

Self-service log download and deprecation of Kibana Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

We’ve added support for server log storage and access from within the Blackboard Learn user interface. Select Manage Content in the Administrator Panel to access logs.

Server logs are created once every hour and stored in the internal > logs folder. Logs are grouped by year, month, day, and hour. Logs are generated in the same format as those you’re used to viewing in Kibana as a JSON file.

As part of the 3600.0.0 release, we will remove the Kibana Building Block and stop sending logs to Kibana. All logs will need to be accessed via the new workflow in the user interface.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Share calendar with external services

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Ultra Experience

Instructors and students often use calendars to organize and keep track of events. Access to a course calendar is crucial to meeting deadlines and overall success. Having access to all events—both personal and academic—in one place helps keep everyone one track. In this release, users can synchronize their Blackboard Learn Ultra calendars to external calendars.

Generate a URL to share course calendar details with an external service. Share the URL only with trusted sources. When you connect your Blackboard Learn calendar to an external calendar, all course events appear one year in the past and into the future.

Experience: Ultra

Support for IMS Global’s Questions and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Course View

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.

Learn more about QTI at the IMS Global site

Additional details:

  • 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.
Course View: Original

Additional updates in the user interface

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3600.0.0 | Release to Production 4 April 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • If your institution uses the Turn It In Building Block, students will no longer receive a Past Due notification when they have submitted an assignment on time.
  • We’re building more and more content capabilities into the Ultra Course View. In this release, you’ll notice a redesigned menu to accommodate additional options in course content, gradebook, discussions, and documents.
  • Users who subscribe to email notifications will notice we’ve updated the message format. We’ve reduced Blackboard branding and optimized the format for better appearance on more devices and email clients.
  • We’ve updated the Global HTML filter to accept .txt files for student submissions
  • Push notifications in the Ultra experience support discussions. Users can receive notifications when someone responds to their discussion, someone replies to their posts, an instructor creates a new discussion, or when participation deadlines are approaching.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Learn SaaS release 3500.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.11.0 (full release number 3500.11.0-rel.10+071f567) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 6:00AM EST on March 4, 2019.

Updates in this version include:

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Learn SaaS release 3500.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.11.0 (full release version 3500.11.0-rel.9+0b3fe2f) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 6:00AM EST on February 22, 2019.

Updates in this version include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, students with accommodations and assessment exceptions can be granted additional time in timed assessments.
  • Users can access SCORM content in a copied course. More information on Behind the Blackboard.

 

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Blackboard Learn achieves LTI Advantage certification

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is an initiative managed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium to seamlessly integrate learning applications used by instructors into their courses. It includes a standard protocol for establishing a trusted relationship between the tool provider and the Learning Management System (LMS), so that students and teachers can have a seamless, integrated experience of using the tool within the context of their course.

Blackboard Learn is now LTI Advantage certified. Blackboard is among the first edtech companies to meet the rigorous IMS certification requirements for all components of LTI Advantage. LTI Advantage builds on the latest set of IMS standards and provides educational institutions and edtech suppliers with a set of extensions that allow deeper integration and enhanced interoperability between IMS certified tools and LMSs. LTI Advantage also leverages a robust security framework that offers more advanced protection of sensitive student data and adds features to support the delivery of innovative learning tools and applications necessary for digital transformation within an institution.

More on LTI in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for course announcements control

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

3500.11.0 contains enhancements for granular entitlements in Original and Ultra course roles in support of the formalized facilitator role. Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.

The set of privileges contained in this release relate to course announcements. Individuals with these privileges can create course announcements in both course views. Additional entitlements allow users to view draft announcements in addition to posted announcements.

More on announcement privileges

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Cross-origin resourcing tool for administrators

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Administrators may need to allow an external script or third-party application to make direct calls to their Blackboard Learn instance’s REST API. Previously, these requests would be blocked at the browser level. In this release, we introduce a Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) tool to allow your institution to leverage cloud-based or third-party extensions more fully. Administrators can also use the CORS tool to strictly define the allowed domains within an access control list and headers allowed as part of those requests. This secure, scalable tool lets you explore more integration possibilities using REST APIs.

From the Administrator Panel, select Cross-Origin Resource Sharing in the Integrations menu. Select Create Integration to get started.

More on the CORS tool for SaaS administrators

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Enhanced discussion analysis metrics

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Course View

To better inform grading and provide additional insight in to the level of engagement in graded discussions, we've added three new metrics to the Discussion Analysis area of the Ultra Course View. Now, in addition to sentence complexity, critical thinking, and counts of responses and replies, graders can view statistics for the number of substantive posts, lexical classification (counts of content and functional words), and the percentage of word variation in a student’s posts for a given discussion. These market-leading analytics provide instructors a holistic overview of the level at which students are writing and may better inform differentiation in grading discussions.

Find discussion analytics on the Grades & Participation page for a discussion. Select a student’s name to view their responses and replies. Discussion Analysis appears next to the student’s discussion activity to give you an overview of their engagement.

What do the metrics mean?

Course View: Ultra

Grant students exceptions in specific assessments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Course View

This feature is included in the 3500.11.0 release, but wasn't enabled in time for the push to client Test servers. It will be available when the release reaches client Production servers.

There are times when unforeseen circumstances lead an instructor to grant a student extended access or additional attempts for a specific assessment. With the introduction of assessment exceptions, instructors are no longer forced to create copies of an assessment for individual students, create and remove accommodations, or use other cumbersome workarounds.

Instructors can grant individual students additional time to access an assessment, even if it is hidden to other students. Additional attempts may also be configured, again for an individual student on an individual assessment. In the future, we hope to introduce due date exceptions so that students who are granted extended access will not be marked late for submissions made after the original due date.

On the Submissions page, you can add an exception for an individual student. You can adjust the number of attempts or the assessment’s availability.

More on per-assessment exceptions

Course View: Ultra

Granular Activity Stream settings

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Experience

In this release, Activity Stream notification settings are more granular for students and instructors, giving them the option to choose which information they wish to receive.

Settings have been reformatted so users can select to receive all notifications at a high level, like notifications for new discussions. Users can also choose to see updates about specific events or activity in their Activity Streams. For example, an instructor can choose to be notified when a blog entry is edited.

Existing settings are carried over and saved in the new format. Visual cues display if all, some, or none of the notification types are selected.

More on notification settings for instructors

Experience: Ultra

Kaltura integration in the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Course View

This feature was previously announced as part of 3500.5.0

Instructors can now use Kaltura in the Ultra Course View. Specifically, instructors can use Kaltura in these ways when configured in Blackboard Learn:

  • Add a link to the Kaltura My Media (personal video storage repository) and the Kaltura Media Gallery (course shared media repository). An instructor can add these links to their Course Content page from within Books & Tools and Content Market
  • Embed video content directly from Kaltura into the editor using the Insert/Edit LTI Item option. This allows instructors to embed videos in documents, assessments, discussions, conversations, and messages.

Administrators can leverage LTI tools and placements to create these access points for instructors.

More on managing Kaltura

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can 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 3500.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • Instructors at institutions based in the EU/UK will be able to use the recording feature in assessment feedback. This feature will be enabled in the eu-central-1 region when this release reaches Production servers. More on recording creation for administrators.
  • A word count appears when drafting responses and replies in discussions in the Ultra Course View.
  • The Messages page in the Ultra Course View wasn’t responsive for users on mobile devices. We’ve made it responsive.
  • Instructors can now rename an LTI link from the gradebook in the Ultra Course View.
  • Users enrolled in a demo environment may have noticed their SMS notifications were overwritten when upgrading to the 3500.9.0 release. We fixed this issue before the release reached Production servers.
  • In a previous release, some institutions may have noticed the CAS authentication provider threw errors. We fixed the issue.
  • When an administrator sought to delete all users not enrolled in a course, the system didn’t correctly list the number of users it would remove in the operation. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When copying an Ultra course using SIS, the new course duration was overwritten by the source course. We’ve fixed the issue by excluding a duration on the course copy.
  • Users may have received an error message when attempting to connect to OneDrive for Business through Blackboard Learn. The vendor has fixed the issue.
  • Group submissions in the Ultra Course View weren’t appearing consistently in the gradebook. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Instructors may have received an error message when saving course reports to the Content Collection. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • A synchronization issue caused unexpected behavior in custom language packs. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Course messages with attachments sometimes resulted in an error message asking the user to contact their system administrator. We fixed the issue.
  • SafeAssign Originality Reports weren’t loading correctly for users with Korean language packs enabled. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • SafeAssign Originality Reports weren’t loading for users after a system update to the 3500.7.0 release. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Unenrolled users can view announcements in unavailable courses.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Regrade questions in the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
Ultra Course View

Without the ability to edit and regrade test questions after they have been delivered to students, instructors were forced to open each student’s submission and update scores one-by-one. With this release, test questions can be edited in one place. These edits, along with any score adjustments, are automatically performed for all submissions that contain the updated question.

In some cases, a question may be beyond repair and it is more appropriate to give all students full credit for the question, regardless of their answers. To support this scenario, full credit can be given to all students for a specific question. Instructors can trigger question regrading from the assessment canvas or from any student’s submission – the result is the same. When an instructor edits a question, the update appears in all submissions for that assessment and students’ grades adjust automatically based on the new correct answer or selection of the Give full credit for question option.

To edit or regrade a question, go to the assessment. Point to the question's menu and select Edit/Regrade to modify the question.

More on regrading questions

Course View: Ultra

Cumulative Update 3 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.3)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 3 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Collaborate Attendance Integration with Blackboard Learn

Continuous Delivery Collaborate February 2019 | Release to Production 6-7 February 2019
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2019
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2019
New features, Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Building Block

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.

More on Collaborate attendance reporting in Blackboard Learn 9.1

More on Collaborate attendance reporting in Blackboard Learn SaaS 

New Features, Integrations, Blackboard Learn Integration, Course View: Ultra, Building Block, Course View: Original

Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for course calendar control

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

3500.9.0 marks the third release containing enhancements for granular entitlements in Original and Ultra course roles. Our next and final release of this feature will include the formalized facilitator role. Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.

The set of privileges contained in this release relate to course calendar events. Individuals with these privileges can add, edit, and delete course calendar events in both course views. In the Ultra Course View, individuals with these privileges can also add, edit, and delete office hours and course schedules.

More on course facilitator privileges

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Gradebook improvements: Search gradebook columns and categories

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Course View

There are times when an instructor needs to check on the status for a single gradebook column or create a simple, filtered view of a specific gradebook category across all students. Building on the student search we built for the gradebook grid view in an earlier release, instructors can search using column and category criteria. These additional search options reduce the scrolling and visual scanning required to quickly verify or filter.

Begin typing the title of a column or category in to the gradebook grid view search field. Search results include any columns, categories, or even students who match the search term or phrase. We've included a label within the search results to help distinguish among these three types of results.

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can 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 3500.9.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • To improve performance times and user experience, course messages no longer appear in the activity stream.
  • Instructors are now prompted to name content they create in the Ultra Course View.
  • We’ve made several AX improvements in Ultra:
    • Improved the color contrast ratio for reorder and move icons on the Course Content page.
    • Added a stroke around the panel close button to comply with color contrast ratios. 
    • Improved the hover and keyboard states for active elements to be more visually significant. 
  • We’ve updated gradebook entitlements to address security concerns. Visit Behind the Blackboard for more information and guidance. The solution listed in the article will be included in 3500.9 when it reaches Production servers.
  • In the Original Course View, we’ve updated the color key in the Course Coverage report to match the legend more accurately.
  • When an instructor attached a file as feedback on a graded discussion, students encountered errors trying to download it. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When an unread discussion post appeared as a link in the What’s New module, users encountered errors when opening it. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Calculated questions using exponents in answers in the Original Course View were marked incorrect when students input an acceptable answer. We’ve fixed the issue. 
  • Instructors encountered an error when trying to use anonymous grading for attempts still in progress. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • We’ve improved the logic for grading multiple choice questions when a student selects both correct and incorrect answers in the Ultra Course View. 
  • We’ve removed the ability for students to edit graded group discussion forum titles and descriptions.
  • We’ve fixed a CSS error that caused text tagged with <em> HTML to appear on separate lines. 
  • We’ve improved the course import feature to preserve the content package’s folder structure.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Proctoring service using Respondus Lockdown Browser

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Course View

Respondus LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments. The LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard Learn, which means that students are unable to copy, print, access other applications, or visit other websites during an online exam. It works seamlessly with Blackboard Learn and is built in to the assessment settings. When instructors configure an assessment to require the LockDown Browser, students will only be able to begin their attempts if they access the assessment with the LockDown Browser.

Secure assessments are delivered using tools provided by Respondus. If this integration is available at your institution, you can access the Respondus Dashboard in the Settings area of both assignments and tests in the Ultra Course View. On the dashboard, choose to deliver the assessment using Respondus LockDown Browser alone, or include the Webcam.

More on Respondus integration with Blackboard Learn SaaS

Course View: Ultra

Push notifications to Blackboard App

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Experience

Many students use push notifications on their devices to check and engage with content. Push notifications for Learn Ultra will allow students to gain direct insight via this notification modal. Notifications may help students stay on top of new content added to their courses, new grades and feedback that have been created for assessed items, and due date reminders for upcoming assessments that need to be completed and submitted. 

Push notifications further the integration between the Blackboard Learn Ultra experience and the Blackboard mobile app for students. In this release, users on the Ultra experience can select which push notifications they’d like to receive. In the app, they’ll see notifications for due date reminders and new grades and feedback. Push notifications for new content will be available in the app in the coming months.

Experience: Ultra

SCORM advanced settings and reporting

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Course View

Over the past year, Blackboard has been focusing development attention on incorporating SCORM functionality into the Ultra Course View. This release includes the advanced settings functionality as well as reporting analytics for instructors.

Advanced settings options appear for instructors when they add a SCORM package to their course. After students submit SCORM attempts, instructors can view detailed reporting on time spent, average score, and attempts completed.

This marks the final milestone for SCORM’s foundation. Our next focus will be on xAPI and partnering with a Learner Record Store to use the deeper reporting functionality of the xAPI format. 

More on SCORM analytics

Course View: Ultra

Select theme colors

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Ultra Experience

Institution branding is an easy way for institutions to differentiate their learning management system and adds an element of personalization at an institution level. Many institutions have requested to move away from the default purple in Ultra to express institution colors as part of their user experience. This functionality covers three highly used areas but will be expanded to further the institution’s color schema to more locations over time.

To customize the theme color, go to the Institution Page. Select the gear icon to open the settings panel. Enter a hex code to find your precise color or use the color picker. A preview appears to show you how the new color would look to all users. Don’t like what you see? You can revert your choice back to the default.

More on how to select a theme color

Experience: Ultra

Blackboard SOAP Web Services deprecation

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2019
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

With the release of Blackboard Learn Q2 2019, Blackboard is deprecating our SOAP APIs. We recommend that if you use Blackboard's SOAP APIs as an external application or as part of a Building Block, you should immediately refactor your integration using our Blackboard REST APIs.

Visit Behind the Blackboard for more information on SOAP web services deprecation and guidance on migrating to REST APIs.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Q2 2019

Cumulative Update 2 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.2)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 2 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Caliper 1.1 update for Blackboard Learn Telemetry Service

Blackboard Learn 9.1
Blackboard Learn SaaS | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is pleased to announce updated support for the Caliper Analytics® standard in Blackboard Learn. Caliper is a specification from the IMS Global Learning Consortium® that defines a standard for the exchange of user activity information. Blackboard Learn supports this standard, giving institutions the option to emit near-real-time and batch user event data to an event store system for further analytics and reporting.

The centralized service that processes the Learn telemetry stream into Caliper events data currently uses the Caliper 1.0 specification. On January 3, 2019 this service will change to use the Caliper 1.1 specification. 

For more information about how this update affects your Blackboard Learn environment, visit Behind the Blackboard

More on Caliper event configuration is available on the Developer Community

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Gradebook improvements: Search submission list and pagination

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Ultra Course View

There are times when an instructor needs to find a specific submission or submission status for a specific student. To address this need, we’ve expanded gradebook search capabilities. Previously, we added the ability to search for students in the grade book grid view. This release brings that capability to the submission list view.

An instructor can go to the submission list and quickly locate a particular student to check the status of submissions or access the submission itself. Additionally, we’ve added pagination to the submission list. The default view is for 25 students, but instructors may also set the page to display 50 or 100 users. This setting is sticky, so a selection of 50 or 100 is retained when instructors leave the submission list and return later.

More on searching the submission list

Course View: Ultra

Learning modules supported in conversion from Original to Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Ultra Course View

In an earlier release, we brought the learning modules capability to the Ultra Course View. Starting with this release, learning modules are preserved in course copy, export, import, and restore operations.

When converting a learning module from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View, the force sequence requirement is unchecked by default. Additionally, the file and folder structure may be flattened because the Course Content page only supports nested content two folders deep.

Student activity in a learning module is removed when converting to Ultra. However, instructors and administrators can choose to keep student progress in learning modules when exporting and copying an Ultra course.

More on the Ultra Course Preview

More on adding a SCORM package in Ultra
 

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can 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 3500.7.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
 

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • This release resolves an issue where the Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor app weren’t compatible with Session Fingerprint settings. Session fingerprint settings to Create New Session When Fingerprint Changes are now compatible with the mobile apps’ mBaaS architecture.
  • When you access individual students' attendance record in the Ultra Course View, the date column has been renamed Meeting and now appears first. 
  • An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block (v3.101.2018040483) is bundled with this release.
  • To accommodate Microsoft Azure SAML requirements, we’ve added the option to keep the SAML session age unlimited.
  • When viewing assessments that were graded using a rubric more than a year ago, users may have noticed a discrepancy between rubric totals and the grade displayed in the Grade Center. Raw data was not affected. We fixed the issue.
  • Grade Journey wasn’t consistently displaying optional data when the extraction was initiated from merged courses. We fixed the issue.
  • Users may have encountered an error when attempting to download a file package in the Content Collection. We fixed the issue.
  • When a student submission was deleted, attached files were orphaned and retained in storage, sometimes unnecessarily. We fixed the issue. 
  • When an Ultra assessment was set to assign automatic zeros, the system wouldn’t log a zero score in the gradebook when a student had saved a draft but not submitted work. We fixed the issue.
  • Importing a Canvas course to the Ultra Course View resulted in missing content. We fixed the issue.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Ultra Course View, Original Course View

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.

More on how to read the new Originality Report
 

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original

Question analysis and report download

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
Ultra Course View

Instructors who make use of Item Analysis in Original courses recognize the benefit this report provides, specifically for reviewing the quality of assessment questions and improving assessments from one term to the next. However, many instructors are either unaware that this report is available or are not familiar with the term “item analysis” and don’t open the report. 

In the Ultra Course View, we’ve updated the title to Question Analysis as a way to raise awareness of this powerful report and encourage its use. We’ve also made the help content more accessible and added helpful explanatory text to help instructors understand the statistics within the report. 

Question analysis provides statistics on overall performance, assessment quality, and individual questions. This data helps you recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance. Question analysis is for assessments with questions. You can also download the report with raw question data to analyze it or keep it for future uses.
 
Instructors can use question analysis in these ways:

  • Improve questions for future assessment administrations or to adjust credit on current attempts
  • Discuss assessment results with your class
  • Provide a basis for remedial work
  • Improve classroom instruction

Explore question analysis in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra

Batch edit due dates in course content

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Course View

Building on the previous feature to batch edit visibility of course content, we’ve added the ability to adjust due dates in bulk.

Instructors often teach the same courses and curriculum each semester or year. When these courses use the same material, it can be challenging to update due dates for each item to reflect the new course calendar. In the Original Course View, this was achieved with Date Management. In this release, we bring that ability to Ultra.

With Batch Edit, you can update selected course content using a new course start date. Enter the new course start date and the existing start date. The tool calculates the difference between the two dates and uses the number of days to shift dates in all selected course content at once. You don’t have to spend time opening course content and determining new dates. Alternatively, you can shift all due dates backward or forward based on a chosen number of days.

Content without due dates isn't affected by batch editing dates.

Learn more about batch editing dates in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra

Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for gradebook control

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Course View, Original Course View

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.

Explore use cases for the facilitator role and privileges

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original

Course Groups

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors often need to organize students into groups. Previously, instructors created groups of students only in the context of assessments and discussions. This ability is useful and important, but it didn’t account for many other reasons why an instructor would want to create groups independent of assessments.

In this release, instructors can create groups and group sets at the course level, outside of assessments. Group sets help identify students who are paired together based on specific attributes or purposes.

In a future release, instructors will have the ability to apply course groups to graded content.

More on creating course groups in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Learning modules and forced content sequence 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Course View

This feature was initially expected to be part of 3500.5.0 and is now confirmed as part of 3500.5.0. In an earlier update, we incorrectly stated the feature had been delayed to a later release. We apologize for the confusion.

Learning modules are a valuable way to organize and present content in the Original Course View. Modules let content creators require students to access learning materials in a specified order, walking learners through a guided path. In this release, we bring the power of learning modules to the Ultra Course View.

Use learning modules to organize content for an immersive learning experience. Students can work on content in sequence without needing to close and open content items. Instructors can also enforce a content sequence so students access and complete content in the sequence specified.

Learning modules are available in new courses only. Courses created in a Learn environment prior to this release won’t have access to learning modules.

More on creating learning modules in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

You can 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 3500.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • The Consulting Central Building Block is bundled with this release. Learn more about Consulting Central on Behind the Blackboard.
  • The French language pack previously used an incorrect phrase to label new discussions. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Users saw an error when downloading an annotated PDF with comments. We’ve fixed the issue so the downloads now include a summary list of comments.
  • To avoid permissions and grading issues, all LTI tools are excluded from the Copy Content option in the Ultra Course View.
  • When a student attempted to access an unavailable course in the Ultra experience, the date was recorded in the Performance Dashboard under “Last Course Access.” We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When a user attempted to access Organizations in the Ultra experience while using a touchscreen device, the page would display an error. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When the Attendance tool was set to unavailable or inactive at the system level, instructors may have encountered error messages in the gradebook. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Optional data wasn’t consistently included in Grade Journey extractions using REST. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When an administrator attempted to move a user from one child course to another, the user enrollment wouldn’t change successfully. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Students may have had trouble accessing the activity stream due to conflicting backend logic regarding grade columns and due dates. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Special characters in custom Ultra locales weren’t displaying correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Course reports weren’t enforcing the date format for the system’s chosen language pack. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Some devices displayed misaligned numbers for options in multiple choice, either/or, and true/false questions. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • The words points and score were sometimes used interchangeably in the Ultra Course View. We've updated the user interface to use points where it's more accurate.
  • Based on user feedback, we’ve updated the activity stream messages regarding student achievement and activity in courses. The new messages aim to reduce confusion and be more encouraging.
  • The Availability Override option didn’t work as expected when a start date wasn’t specified. We’ve fixed the issue so students with this privilege can access courses with or without a specified start date.
  • The service that connected cloud storage to Learn environments used a case-sensitive check to verify domain security. When domains used a mix of upper and lower case letters, the service couldn’t complete the request and resulted in incomplete attachments. We’ve fixed the issue.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Ally 1.23.1 | Release to Production 23 November 2018
New Features, Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.23.1) contains new features, bug fixes, and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

Updated Features, Integrations, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Ally 1.23 | Release to Production 14 November 2018
New Features, Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.23) contains new features, bug fixes, and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

New Features, Updated Features, Integrations, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Additional search criteria in Reuse Questions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

On the Reuse Questions page, instructors can filter questions by more criteria. In addition to assessments and question banks that come over from the Original Course View, you can also filter by question types and Original Course View tags, such as categories. You can also search for keywords to find questions. The active filter area changes automatically as you select or clear criteria.

More on how to reuse questions in Ultra assessments

Course View: Ultra

Advanced settings in SCORM

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

SCORM is a content standard that is used by some institutions, instructors, and instructional designers to author and present online learning materials and assessments to students.

In this release, we’ve added a number of enhancements to SCORM in the Ultra Course View:

  • Instructors can assign a grade category to SCORM packages.
  • Instructors can upload SCORM packages from the Content Collection.
  • SCORM due dates appear on the calendar and in the activity stream.
  • SCORM packages are supported in Ultra Course Preview and conversion from the Original Course View.

More on SCORM in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra

Ally integration available for the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

Starting with this release, Blackboard Ally integrates with the Ultra Course View. Ally provides detailed accessibility reports for content uploaded to Blackboard Learn. The integration is available to institutions who license Ally. 

In the Ultra Course View, instructors have access to Ally’s accessibility scores and feedback, including tutorials on how to make common file types more accessible to learners of all abilities. Students can view and download course content in alternative accessible formats. 

In a future release, we’ll show the file’s accessibility score on the Course Content page so instructors can quickly prioritize items to edit. 

Get started with Blackboard Ally

Course View: Ultra

Batch edit visibility of course content

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors often reuse courses and content from one term to the next without major changes. At the start of a new term, instructors need a way to make these changes en masse. In this release, we introduce a new Batch Edit option on the Course Content page. Here, an instructor can select multiple pieces of content and edit visibility for each selected piece at the same time.

Along with this feature, instructors and course builders will notice that the Books & Tools link has moved to the Details & Actions menu. In a future release, instructors will also have the ability to adjust dates in course content using Batch Edit.

Learn how to use Batch Edit in a course

Course View: Ultra

Calendar items and due date notifications for additional content types

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Original Experience

The Calendar and To Do modules show the due dates of course items, but this was previously limited to activities and assessments using just Blackboard Learn tools. In this release, the capability is expanded so that other content types, including those from 3rd party solutions, are now incorporated into these Original Experience areas when using a web browser.

Users see these due items in their Course Calendar or My Blackboard Calendar, and due date notifications appear in the To Do module and through other notification subscription channels.

All of the following create calendar items and due notifications:

  • Assessment items such as assignments and tests
  • Interactive tools including graded discussions, blogs, journals, and wikis
  • Grade Center columns created manually and not linked to content items such as an observation or offline assignment
  • SCORM packages
  • Content items generated from building blocks when a linked Grade Center column has a due date
  • LTI resource links when a linked Grade Center column has a due date
Experience: Original

Create percentage-based grading rubrics

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors give very specific rubric scores with feedback when grading student submissions. A simple rubric with wide gaps between levels of achievement are insufficient for providing the granularity these institutions require. For example, two students may both meet the criteria for Sufficient for a given rubric row, but one student barely met the criteria while another almost did enough to be marked with the next highest level of achievement. With a normal rubric, these students would receive the same score. Instructors working under these requirements need to be able to mark both students as Sufficient, but provide more granular scoring within the range of scores associated with this rubric row.

In this release, we’ve expanded rubric criteria to include more granular levels of achievement, measured with percentages.

How to create rubrics with percentage ranges

Course View: Ultra

Data Integration Logs storage load reduced

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

We’ve improved the way that data integration logs store information in the shared file system. Searches in SIS logs are limited to seven-day date ranges to improve performance and reduce system strain.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Maintenance items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

You can 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 3500.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • When versioned files are imported/restored as part of course import/restore, the version number (of the file in the source course) is appended at the end of the file name so that users can differentiate which version it is. For example, if version 1 and 2 of a file named "geography.html" are imported, the new files will be named "geography_v1.html" and "geography_v2.html", respectively.
  • A permissions issue in the Mobile Web Services building block caused tests to be inaccessible when first opened through the app. We fixed the issue.
  • An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the Wiley Plus Building Block is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the Cengage Mindlinks Learning Building Block is bundled with this release.
  • An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block is bundled with this release. Grade syncing in the VitalSource Building Block is disabled by default in this release to prevent issues on the vendor's side.
  • Files uploaded as part of a SCORM package are now saved in a Content Collection folder (/internal/courses/<courseID>/content/<contentID>) rather than the Local/Shared File System. When a client system is upgraded to this release, a background migration task is invoked upon server startup to move all existing SCORM files from Local/Shared File System to Content Collection. Several optimizations have been added to minimize the performance impact and memory usage for this task and it should be virtually transparent for users.
  • Counts in the Ultra gradebook were confusing when some students were denied access in the course after participating in discussions or submitting assessments. We fixed the issue.
  • In the Original Course View, users designated as Observers were unable to view files added to the course through the Build Content > Add File workflow. We fixed the issue.
  • Attachments to course messages in the Original Course View resulted in the Tomcat temp directory disappearing, which led to other areas of Learn malfunctioning. We fixed the issue.
  • When an instructor attempted to grade a group assignment using a rubric and the language pack used commas to designate decimal places, the grade would display inconsistently. We fixed the issue.
  • In the Original Course View, pattern matching questions with incorrectly formatted regular expressions in the answer were marked wrong. We fixed the issue.
  • As part of an earlier improvement for content delivery in the Content Collection, we added the ability to disable certain MIME types in Learn. We expanded the list of default allowed MIME types.
  • Instructors encountered errors when grading a group discussion with a rubric. We fixed the issue.
  • We’ve fixed some issues in reports: All User Activity Inside Content Areas and Course Performance Report.
  • Clients using the Australian English language pack in Ultra encountered problems when creating calendar items. We fixed the issue.
  • Conversations on course content in the Ultra Course View were capped to the previous 10 replies, with no way to view earlier parts of the conversation. In this release, students and instructors can access earlier parts of the conversation.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

SAML updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

We’ve enhanced the logout process for SAML single-sign on sessions. When a user logs out of Blackboard Learn, a message appears and asks them to confirm log out for all associated apps in the session. Previously, the SSO session persisted until it expired. Users can choose to terminate their entire SSO session when they log out of Blackboard Learn to protect their security when using public or shared computers.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Building Block

Upload gradebook data in the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
Ultra Course View

In an earlier release, we introduced the ability for instructors to download gradebook data in the Ultra Course View. The counterpart to downloading grades is the ability to upload them, which is useful for instructors who prefer to work in an application like Excel and load student grade data into the LMS. In this release, instructors have the option to upload course gradebook data in Ultra.

Offline grading is a valuable and important enhancement. Instructors may prefer, or even require, that they are able to download the files students have submitted for an assessment. Limited WiFi access on a train, for example, shouldn’t impact the instructor’s ability to grade student submissions. In this scenario, the instructor can download the gradebook, enter the grades for the assessment, and then upload the grade data at a later time.

Learn how to upload grade data

Course View: Ultra

Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018

The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q4 2018 (3500.0.0) 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 3400.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.

More on the FDO release schedule

FDO Q4 2018

Expanded ability to reconcile grades in Delegated Grading

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Course View

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.

More on Delegated Grading in the Original Course View

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Internet Explorer no longer supported

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Support for Internet Explorer ends with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018 and SaaS 3500.0.0. Older releases may still work using this browser. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Some newer features in Learn may not work, including Attendance and Create Recording. Reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer won't be resolved by Product Support. We recommend using another browser.

Q4 2018, FDO Q4 2018, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3500.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • When a course was converted from Original to Ultra, instructors found they weren’t able to edit point values for assessments and questions that used decimal points in the number of possible points. We’ve fixed the issue by rounding point values down to the nearest whole number. This change is listed as an exception during the Ultra Course Preview.
  • Some users were unable to save drafts in discussion forum threads when using a language pack other than English. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Placeholder text in the Ultra login page would sometimes obscure the username and password when the user input this information. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Discussion descriptions in courses using the Learn 2016 theme were sometimes obscured or displayed with a limited width. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • Some users were unable to create criteria for Self and Peer Assessments when accessing the feature on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When the Ultra experience is enabled, the Exit button overlapped the Add button in the Original Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • We’ve rewritten an error message in Ultra to make acceptable date formats clearer.
  • When an instructor reversed the decision to ignore an attempt in the Original Course View, the message displayed on the screen was unclear and didn’t indicate the workflow. We’ve updated it to say Attempt marked as Not Ignored.
  • When users attempted to select all text in an Ultra assessment attempt, the browser didn’t select the text included in the attempt. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • When a user edited a test question in the Original Course View, some options in the text editor didn’t display correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Search the Ultra gradebook

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
Ultra Course View

Today’s courses, both online and mixed mode, can have large enrollments and volumes of course work. Instructors and other course facilitators may find it difficult to browse a gradebook in this type of course. In this release, we’ve introduced a search function in the Ultra gradebook to help users locate specific students when the list may be too long to browse.

To search for a student, open the Ultra gradebook in grid view. You can type the student’s name or student ID. Matching names appear below the search box. Select a student to filter your gradebook view and see their attempts and grades. In the future, we’ll continue development on this feature to include the ability to search for gradebook columns and categories.

Learn how to search for students in the Ultra gradebook

Course View: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Ally 1.19.3 | Release to Production 9 September 2018
Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.19.3) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018

We are 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 3400.11.0 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 into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Download annotated PDFs
  • Anonymous grading in Ultra Course View
  • Unsubmitted work counts as zero

Learner engagement

  • Download annotated PDFs
  • Improvements for course messages
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Anonymous grading

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors need a way to ensure the anonymity of students (hiding personally identifying information) to avoid bias when grading. Some regions mandate anonymity for high-stakes assessment.

To support this, we developed an enforceable means to anonymize student information to instructors and other reviewers. After grading is complete, the information can be revealed. Student identities remain hidden until all grades are posted, at which point names are revealed.

Learn more about anonymous grading in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Content delivery improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Multimedia is essential in many mixed-mode and online courses, and poor performance can lead to a frustrating user experience. To help speed the delivery of online media, such as video, we’ve added configuration options for administrators to control content delivery through signed URLs. Signed URLs allow content to be delivered directly and securely from cloud storage, which provides faster transfers and requires fewer resources to run on the system. A signed URL is equivalent to the actual file after it’s delivered to the browser.

Find the settings on Administrator Panel > Content Management Settings > Cloud Signed URL Settings.

Learn more about content delivery improvements

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Download annotated PDFs

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

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

Learn more about downloading annotated PDFs in New Box View

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) User Report

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

One of the requirements of the European Union (EU) GDPR is to allow users to receive human-readable reports of personal information that has been collected about them. Clients receiving user requests may submit a case on Behind the Blackboard, including the user’s ID, to request the exported report package. The report is a ZIP file that contains CSV files with site- and course-level information about user activity, tool interactions, uploaded content, or submitted work within Blackboard Learn. Any grade data in the report are raw values and don’t include any calculations or weighting the instructor may have applied in the Grade Center. The report won’t contain information about other users in the system, content created by the institution or other users, or information from deleted courses.

Flexible Deployment Option customers: In Q4 2018 CU1 (3500.0.1), the GDPR User Report includes Activity Log and Attendance data.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Improvements for course messages

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Experience

We’ve updated the global and course messages pages for more intuitive and easy navigation. You’ll notice the following changes:

  • On the global Messages page in the base navigation, courses are grouped according to term, similar to the way they are grouped on the Courses page. Your current courses appear first when you open the Messages page. You can use the arrows to navigate through the groups.
  • The number of messages you've received in each course is displayed with a course card. Select the course card to jump to all of your messages.
  • In your course, you can select the number of messages that appear per page.
  • When you select a course message to view, you can use arrows to browse through messages in order.

Learn more about improvements to course messages

Experience: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3400.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • In the Original experience, administrators had no option in the user interface to remove images they had added to a default brand. This issue was fixed.
  • Some institutions who customized the default landing page in the Ultra experience noticed some inconsistent behavior for the destination when users logged in. This issue was fixed.
  • Some custom administrator roles were unable to access courses delivered in the Ultra Course View. This issue was fixed.
  • Attachments to course messages caused unnecessary file backups that could lead to system performance issues. This issue was fixed.
  • In the Ultra experience, default course view settings would sometimes reset on system restart or upgrade. This issue has been fixed.
  • Some instructors who used percentage-based rubrics to grade assignments noticed that mid-range values would revert on save. This issue was fixed.
  • For environments with automatic course archive enabled, some files older than 45 days weren’t included in course backup files. This issue was fixed.
  • We’ve updated the text shown to administrators who choose to use the Ultra experience on Test environments. The message now states more clearly that the environment will need to be completely rebuilt and all data will be lost to convert back to the Original experience.
  • We’ve updated the text shown to users when content controlled with conditional release is unavailable. When a student hovers on the content after access is over, the message now reads: You can't access this content after MM/DD/YYYY, 00:00AM. Previously, the message only stated when the content became available, not when access ended.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Unsubmitted work counts as zero

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors may want to set up the gradebook so that unsubmitted, past-due work is automatically marked as zero. For larger courses, it can be burdensome and time-consuming to grade these missing submissions as zeros manually.

This release includes a global gradebook setting to allow instructors to assign automatic zeros to missing work past the due date. Instructors can save the time it takes to go through the gradebook to manually enter zeros for this work. Students can still submit work after an automatic zero is assigned and instructors can grade as normal.

The Automatic Zero option is enabled by default in all new Ultra courses.

Learn more about automatic zeros for unsubmitted work in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Upload an image to the Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Experience

On the Institution Page, administrators can upload a picture hosted in the Content Collection. Previously, images used for the institution logo or banner were added with a URL. Institutions who host the images with other institution content needed to take an additional step to locate the file path. Starting with the release, administrators can open and browse the Content Collection to use these images on the Institution Page.

Images can also be added to the Helpful Links module in this way. When the administrator adds an image from the Content Collection, the permissions for the image file update to include any user who’s able to view the module.

Learn more about uploading images to the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018

We are 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 3400.9.0 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 into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • SCORM support in Ultra
  • Download gradebook
  • Custom locales in Ultra

Learner engagement

  • Group creation & grading enhancements
  • Course list optimization
  • Conversation improvements
  • Add LTI links to the Institution Page
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Add LTI links to the Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

In this release, we bring the LTI standard to the Institution Page. Schools can now surface LTI tools outside of the course context for all their users or a select subset of users based on institution role.

To add an LTI item to the Institution Page, create a Custom Content module. Select Insert/Edit LTI Item in the editor and browse for system tools available in the system. LTI tools appear in the editor with the provider’s icon, but you can change the display text.

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

Conversation improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Course View

Conversations on course content items have been improved in the following ways:

  • The Conversations panel has been increased to full-width.
  • Students can now respond and reply to each other in conversations the same as they do in discussions.
  • We’ve added activity indicators for new conversation posts.
  • A student or instructor can see all conversation participants.
  • A student or instructor can search all conversation participants.

More on conversations regarding Ultra course content

Course View: Ultra

Course list optimization

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

In an earlier release, we improved the Courses page in the Ultra experience to better course terms and let institutions display courses in a way that aligns to the student journey. With this release, we will continue to refine the page as we allow for more user choice and improve the layout of the page overall. These changes include:

  • Addition of a quick drop down for quick past-term navigation
  • Original Course View label added to all Original courses
  • Original courses descriptions are now available from the expanded course card view
  • Term sub-listings are now displayed on the current courses page to let users scan quickly

More on how terms affect the Courses page in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Custom locales in Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

Previously, Learn Ultra supported predetermined language packs without the ability to customize. This release introduces custom locale capabilities that will allow an institution to change specific words or phrases within their site and not have it break with each monthly update.

With multitudes of dialects comprising the world’s many languages, Blackboard understands how many varieties and nuances of languages exist. The adjustments you make to your locale end up making a huge difference in the lives of educators and learners and it is one less barrier to overcome when digesting the material being taught.

Ultra locales only contain strings in the Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View user interfaces. To edit strings that appear in the Original Experience or Original Course View, see Create and Edit Language Packs for the Original Experience

More on custom locales in Ultra

Experience: Ultra

Download gradebook

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors sometimes find the gradebook insufficient for doing statistical analysis or other ad hoc computational work with student grades. These instructors prefer to download the raw student and grade data and manipulate it in an application like Microsoft Excel.

In this release, instructors can download grade data within their Ultra courses. Instructors can select to download the entire gradebook or select columns, choose to export in a .CSV or .XLS format, and save it to the device or the Content Collection for future access. Uploading gradebook data is not yet available but in development for future release.

More on how to download gradebook data in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Group creation & grading improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors may require the ability to edit groups after they’ve released a group discussion, assignment, or test for students. Previously, instructors didn’t have the option to modify groups at all after students started drafting submissions. However, the ability to make small changes is sometimes necessary to provide minimal disruption for all course members.

To help support instructors in these situations, we’ve added the following enhancements to group assessments:

  • New empty state page lets instructors create as few or as many groups as they’d like from the beginning.
  • Instructors can edit group names after students begin attempts.
  • New Unassign All option appears when creating groups.
  • Instructors can edit group membership if a given group hasn’t started working or existing attempts are removed.

More on how instructors create an Ultra group assignment

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3400.9.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • We've updated text regarding external submissions in the Ultra Course View. The assessment setting now says Collect submissions offline, and students see a message that says Offline submission when accessing assessments of this type.
  • Instructors encountered an error in graded discussion boards converted from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View. The error appeared when the instructor tried to change the grade schema. This issue was fixed.
  • Recipients were unable to download message attachments that contained special characters in the file name. This issue was fixed.
  • Instructors may have encountered an error when attempting to delete submissions that contained attachments. This issue was fixed.
  • Course members may have experienced issues opening and viewing discussion boards where a deactivated user had once participated. This issue was fixed.
  • Messages in the Ultra Course View sometimes showed the incorrect sender and recipient names. This issue was fixed.
  • Administrators may have seen an error regarding permissions when attempting to download an attachment on a student submission. This issue was fixed.
  • Users who change their language setting can see system announcements that were posted before changing the setting.
  • In the Original Course View, some users had to refresh the page to see their reply to a discussion forum. This issue was fixed.
  • In the Original Course View, some users were unable to remove file attachments in draft discussion posts. This issue was fixed.
  • Instructors may have observed unexpected characters in the Due Date column of the Ultra gradebook when the assignment had no due date assigned. This issue was fixed.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

SCORM support in Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Course View

SCORM is a content standard that is used by some institutions, instructors, and instructional designers to author and present online learning materials and assessments to students. In this release, we’re adding support for selecting, adding, presenting, and using SCORM content in Ultra courses.

Instructors can import SCORM packages into an Ultra course and select grading options for the package as a whole or each content item individually.

More on SCORM in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.17 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
New features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.17) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

New Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

Mobile Web Services

Blackboard Learn 9.1 October 2014+
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 94.9.12. 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?

Q4 2018, Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, October 2014, Q4 2015, Q2 2016, Q4 2016, Q2 2017, Q4 2017, Q2 2018, FDO Q4 2018

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018

We are 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 3400.7.0 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 into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Reuse questions
  • Matching questions

Learner engagement

  • Matching questions
  • Course announcements
Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Announcements in the Ultra Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors often want to post information for students in a certain course. Rather than sending a message that can easily be dismissed or left unread, instructors may prefer to post an announcement that every course member sees when opening the course. Instructors can draft, schedule, and post course announcements in the Ultra Course View in this release.

Announcements are a high-profile way to communicate a message as it relates to the course environment. Instructors can communicate schedule changes, upcoming exams, or anything else the students should pay attention to. Students can access the announcement archive to double-check any of the information you’ve posted. You can also schedule announcements for the future.

More on how instructors can create a course announcement in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Cloud storage integration in the Original Course View

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
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.

Get started with the cloud storage integration

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3400.7.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Matching questions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors need flexibility in how they evaluate a student's mastery of a concept. Matching is a common question type instructors use in assessments where students are shown two sets of options and asked to associate options from the first set with the correct option in the second set. Matching questions are a popular question type in the Original Course View. In this release, we’ve brought the same capability to the Ultra Course View.

Instructors have many options when creating a matching question in Ultra. There can be more answers than prompts to prevent students from answering by a process of elimination. Additionally, instructors can grade matching questions with partial credit, all or nothing, subtract points for incorrect answers, and even allow negative scoring to discourage guessing.

More on matching questions in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • In the Ultra Course View, the Add Content icon is now a darker shade and heavier weight to provide greater contrast with the surrounding elements in the user interface.
  • When setting up SMS notifications in Ultra, users now see a message reminding them that their cellular carrier may charge a fee for these messages.
  • The SafeAssign Originality Report is disabled for assessments set to collect external submissions.
  • An updated version of the Cengage Building Block (v1.101.20182347) is bundled with this release.
  • Some students may have had trouble accessing a group assignment if a group member was disabled from accessing the course. This issue has been resolved.
  • Lengthy videos displayed through the New Box View service were stopping before reaching the end of playback. The vendor has fixed this issue.

Localization updates

  • The German translation for Open to Students in the Ultra Course View has been improved.
  • The word “goals” was inconsistently translated in the Spanish language pack for the Ultra experience. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Reuse questions in an Ultra assessment

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors invest a lot of time and effort crafting questions for assessments. A test or assignment may be created for a specific purpose, but the questions within may be repurposed for a unit test or a final exam. To support instructors who create assessments in this way, we’re introducing the ability to reuse questions in a course.

In this release, instructors can reuse questions from any other assessment within an Ultra course. Select Reuse questions within an assignment or test to get started. Filter questions by assessment or view all available questions to copy. When browsing questions to reuse, instructors can quickly view what type of question it is, as well as the content.

Selected questions are copied into the assessment, so any edits to the original question won’t carry over to other places it appears.

More on how to reuse questions in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.16.5 | Release to Production 2 July 2018
Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.16.5) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

Educator Preview is now the new CourseSites!

Release to Production 27 June 2018

Educator Preview is now the new CourseSites. The learning environment will still serve as the premier place to test drive the Ultra experience, with the added bonus of having a course delivery option for you to teach live courses using either the Ultra Course View or the Original Course View. Check out the new CourseSites and visit the CourseSites Community for more information.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018

We are 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 3400.5.0 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 into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Discussion Analysis
  • External submissions
  • Additional cloud storage providers

Learner engagement

  • Improvements to user privacy
  • Announcements on the Ultra login page
  • Insert recordings using the editor in assessment feedback
Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Announcements on the Ultra login page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Experience

Institutions sometimes want to communicate messages to users in a prominent place, possibly even before users log in to the system. Prior to this release, announcements could be placed on the login page only in the Original experience. Now, we bring the same functionality to Ultra.

Administrators can create and place announcements on the login page the same way for both experiences. Go to Admin Panel > Announcements > Create Announcement to get started. Set Show at Login to Yes to have your announcement appear to unauthenticated users.

More on announcements

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Configure static resources

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Starting with this release, you can specify a desired directory in the Content Collection. To access this setting, go to Admin Panel > System Configuration > Configure Static Resources. Blackboard Learn ships with this set to an internal default directory, but you can change that to any location of your choice. Files in the chosen location are served by the Learn application server as if they were located at the server root, allowing the server to serve static files such as robots.txt and favicon.ico. Before this improvement, this functionality required custom workarounds.

This feature is intended solely for files such as those listed; it is not intended for serving dynamic content or large files.

More on system configuration in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Connect additional cloud storage services

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Using cloud storage in the Ultra Course View, instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where you 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.

In this release, we're expanding the cloud services you can connect to in your course. Add content directly from your OneDrive for Business, Dropbox, or Google Drive accounts to your Ultra course. In an earlier release, we included the ability to connect to Box and personal OneDrive accounts.

We added the ability to add files from cloud storage for the Original Course View in Blackboard Learn SaaS release v3400.7.0.

More on how instructors add content from cloud storage

Course View: Ultra

Improvements to User Privacy in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018 CU1 (3400.0.1), Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is committed to protecting the privacy of all users. Due to changing regulations globally concerning use of data and privacy, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this release includes updates that impact user experience. Administrators should evaluate the impact this may have for their users.

  1. On the login page, we've added links to access the Blackboard privacy and data use statement, the Blackboard terms of use, and an optional privacy and data use statement from the institution have been added to the login page. In the Original experience, the links also appear in the login module and the settings area of My Blackboard. In the Blackboard and Blackboard Instructor mobile apps, the links are found in Settings and in the Terms of Use shown at login. This way, users can access important information about the use of their data and their privacy both before and after authentication.
  2. The Security Management: Cookie Disclosure Building Block, originally intended to address regulations in the European Privacy Data Directive, has been replaced by the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure Building Block. This Building Block is part of the core system and can't be disabled or removed.
  3. For institutions that don't have users who would fall under regulations requiring this acceptance, the terms acceptance interface can be disabled in the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page. However, we recommend institutions keep the acceptance interface enabled because some users might access from another location with such regulations.
  4. The Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page allows an administrator to define a web link to institutional statements about data use and privacy. An administrator could also store such a statement in the Content Collection as a public file and link to it.

More on the Security Management - Data Use and Privacy Disclosure Building Block

FDO Q2 2018, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, Learner Engagement, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Insert recordings using the editor in assessment feedback

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors providing students with feedback, whether for in-person or distance education, is a critical aspect of the pedagogical process. It is also challenging to engage learners in non-face-to-face settings, thus increasing the importance of audio communication media. The ability to embed video/audio communication into a course provides a simple way for users to provide feedback.

Instructors can record video and audio using the editor in assessment feedback. When paired with text-based feedback, video and audio messages can help provide students with useful, actionable, and more personal feedback regarding their submissions.

This feature is controlled by a service that is independent of Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery releases. The feature became available on June 12th for Continuous Delivery environments in the United States (additional regional available will be added over time).

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3400.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View

  • We've updated the scoring options for multiple choice questions so they are shorter and easy to scan:
    • All or nothing: All correct answers must be selected to receive full credit
    • Partial credit: Give credit for correct answers with no penalty for incorrect answers
    • Subtract points for incorrect answers: Give credit for correct answers, but subtract points for incorrect answers. The question score can total less than 0.
  • When accessing the course catalog as a guest in Ultra, the user wasn't always able to return to the login page from within a course. This issue has been resolved.
  • The Maximum Score field in Ultra assessments now displays an error message when a user attempts to input a negative number
  • We fixed a bug that incorrectly displayed the number of students with accommodations in a discussion
  • When more than one instructor was enrolled in a course, these users were assigned to groups in group discussions in the Ultra Course View. This issue has been resolved.
  • Students may have seen an error message when attempting to view grades in a course where a graded discussion was available at a certain date and time. This issue has been resolved.
  • The Ultra course roster was including disabled enrollments in the overall count of course members. This issue has been resolved.
  • The link to chat with Support in Educator Preview was updated to a new destination

Original Experience and Original Course View

  • We've fixed an error that appeared when an instructor attempted to create an assignment using a Portfolio template in the Original Course View
  • The number of points possible for an assessment in the Original Course View was inconsistent when a rubric was applied. This issue has been resolved.
  • When students uploaded multiple attachments to Self and Peer Assessments, only the first attachment was displayed. This issue has been resolved.
  • On the Goal Performance page, the overall progress for a goal was incorrectly aggregating the performance on aligned course items. This issue has been resolved.

General

  • Some institution announcements may have disappeared after upgrading from Managed Hosting to SaaS. This issue has been resolved.
  • SafeAssign sporadically failed to generate Originality Reports for assignments. This issue has been resolved.
  • An error occurred when attempting to create a new system role in Blackboard Learn. This issue has been resolved.

Localization updates

  • Placeholder text in fill in the blank questions wasn't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
  • Fields in the attendance report for instructors weren't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
  • Users who selected Swedish as their default language in Ultra saw untranslated strings when viewing events on the base calendar. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Collect submissions offline and grade with rubrics 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Sometimes an instructor wants to create a rubric to assess a student's performance in an offline or non-Ultra course context. For example, if a student is being assessed for a public speaking project, the instructor may want to convey instructions or the rubric preview to the student to prepare them for this offline assessment but won't expect to collect the submissions through the course. 

In this release, we're introducing a new assessment setting to allow users to track offline submissions and use a rubric to grade. This feature helps bridge the gap for hybrid courses that meet in person and conduct course activities online. Instructors can keep track of all relevant coursework within Ultra and eliminate the need to transcribe grades from items or activities that took place physically. 

More on collecting submissions offline in Ultra

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Speed up grading with Discussion Analysis

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors use graded discussions to encourage thoughtful and relevant conversation related to a given topic. The act of grading is already a time-consuming process that can be exaggerated in the context of discussions. A student's discussion participation grade can be based on many qualitative factors that aren't easy or quick to evaluate but deserve in-depth analysis.

We're happy to announce a new feature in graded discussions to help assist instructors determine complexity and engagement for each student. The new Discussion Analysis feature displays key metrics such as critical thinking, sentence complexity, responses, replies, and average word count. The critical thinking metric is analyzed using a Blackboard-developed algorithm, while sentence complexity uses Flesch-Kincaid readability benchmarks.

More on Discussion Analysis

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.16.2 | Release to Production 23 May 2018
New features, Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.16.2) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally 1.16.2 release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

New Features, Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

Accommodations for timed assessments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Accommodations allow instructors to mark certain students exempt from high pressure aspects of a course, such as due dates. Accommodations can help students complete coursework and succeed where they might otherwise be at a disadvantage.

In this release, we're introducing the ability to accommodate students for timed assessments. From the roster, an instructor can allow chosen students extra time on a timed test or assignment or exempt them from the time limit completely. A student with the Unlimited Time accommodation never sees the time limit for the assessment, reducing the pressure or anxiety that comes with coursework.

More on accommodations

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Activity indicators for active Collaborate rooms

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Distance courses hold virtual meetings to foster communication and reinforce engagement among course members. Without a pre-established meeting time, a student or other course member may not know when others are engaged in the Collaborate session. With this release, we’ve made it easy to see when virtual meetings—for the entire course or among assessment groups—are taking place.

When a course Collaborate room is in session, an indicator appears on the Course Content page to let others know the room is in use. The same icon appears in group assessments when the instructor has enabled conversations and another group member is in the room.

This feature is a subtle but impactful enhancement around user presence in a course.

More on joining a Collaborate session from Blackboard Learn

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Add web content in the editor

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Today, in the Original experience, content creators can add links and embedded content from a variety of external content sources from the Rich Text Editor. Instructors need to be able to discover any content from the spot where they’d like to place it. Instructors often use content from outside sources in courses rather than building all of their course materials from scratch.

To support these instructors, we've introduced the ability to add web content directly in the editor. This ability was previously restricted to direct links to videos or images. In the first phase of the Insert Web Content feature, we've added the ability to browse and search YouTube for videos. Instructors don't have to leave their course to find a relevant video. We're adding more content providers in this menu over the forthcoming releases.

More on how to add web content in the editor

Course View: Ultra

Auto-archive courses

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is introducing a new feature that automatically archives active courses on Blackboard Learn SaaS client sites. Auto-archive is an automated process that archives any course that has had activity since the last time the process ran. Archives are stored in the Content Collection where administrators can view, restore, and download the archives as needed. Blackboard Learn keeps the latest archive of a course indefinitely, but deletes older archives after 30 days.

Using this tool, an administrator can restore an archive of an existing course if the owner has damaged the course. Administrators can also restore previous versions of a course (within 30 days) if the owner needs to compare the current version to an earlier version of the course.

This feature is being introduced to client sites incrementally, so you may not see it available on your system even though the 3400.3.0 release is available.

Learn more about archiving courses in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Course list optimization

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Experience

The Courses page in Ultra is a simple, quick way to access all of your courses, including those in the past or in the future. But is it really that simple if you're enrolled in a lot of courses?

In this release, we've enhanced the Courses page to work for instructors and students who are enrolled in a small or large number of courses. Improvements include:

  • A new search bar lets a user quickly find one key course without scrolling through all of their courses.
  • Course cards now occupy the full width of the list so you can easily read the full course name, instructors, and other key information.
  • The Courses page now include pagination for longer lists to improve load speeds and prevent information overload.
  • Users can now add courses to a Favorites list for quick access. Favorite courses appear at the top of the course list.
  • Courses in the Original Course View appear with a grey course card. Ultra course cards contain colors.

Explore the courses page from the instructor perspective

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Discussion Forum Insights for group discussions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to understand the contribution, or lack of contribution, of students in a group discussion to encourage participation. To support this need, we’re pleased to share that discussion forum insights is now available for group discussions.

With discussion forum insight for group discussions, instructors can determine how effective their discussion was in soliciting class participation and engagement, the top student contributors, as well as the overall class activity. Reports clearly show the number of participants, the percentage of students who have participated so far, the average number of comments per student, the average word count of student comments, and the average grade for the class if it's a graded discussion. Discussion insights also highlights the top five participants in the discussion and allows you to drill down into their comments and replies for more context.

Instructors can view information for both the overall discussion and each assigned group. Insights include how many students have opened the discussion, how many students have posted, and the average number of posts for each group member.

More on discussion analytics

Course View: Ultra, Education Insight

Institution Page – Role-based modules

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Institutions publish and share lots of information for different audiences. While all users may need access to the help desk, for example, the contact information for students and faculty may be different.

Modules on the Institution Page can now be displayed to selected user groups. By reducing the amount of information that doesn't affect a user, administrators can help maximize the available real estate on the Institution Page and help prevent confusion for all users.

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Learn Data Pipeline Upgrade

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is upgrading the data management process for Blackboard Learn clients with Direct Data Access (DDA). This change applies to Blackboard Learn SaaS Advantage customer institutions using DDA. Blackboard is migrating SaaS reporting data to a new state-of-the-art Snowflake database. After the migration is complete, clients will have access to a new data microservice for Blackboard Learn. You can get the same data that supports Learn's built-in reporting using the new microservice.

This change is being introduced to client sites incrementally, so you may not see it available on your system even though the 3400.3.0 release is available. Full documentation, including credential requests, user interface access, and affected Building Blocks, will be available soon.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra 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 3400.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • We've updated a message in the mobile view of the Ultra Course Preview to be more consistent with the experience on desktop. Both platforms now show the user the following message:
    If you like the preview, you can permanently convert your course and save any changes you've made during the Ultra Course Preview. If you switch back to Original Course View, changes made during preview are lost.
  • We've updated text for students beginning assessments without time limits in the Ultra Course View. When a student opens an assignment or a test without a time limit, the button says View assessment instead of Start attempt. This language more clearly communicates that the student is not compelled to submit the attempt after opening it if it isn't timed.
  • We've improved the user experience in the new editor. Previously, when a user wanted to remove a hyperlink from a piece of text, they would need to delete the text entirely. Now, a user can simply remove the hyperlink without affecting their content.
  • In both Ultra and Original courses, when instructors first access the attendance feature, they’re able to select Add Attendance and add an attendance column after attendance records are generated. In the Ultra Course View gradebook, instructors can delete attendance if no attendance records exist.
  • Administrator preview for a system notification in the Ultra experience previously cut off long pieces of text. The preview now wraps text and this issues has been resolved.
  • The SafeHTML filter now applies to additional files types in Blackboard Learn.
  • Course content wasn't appearing as expected when a course bound to a term was archived and restored in a system that did not have the equivalent term. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructions on how to set up shared locations and web folders in the Content Collection previously displayed natively in Blackboard Learn. In this release, these instructions now lead to help.blackboard.com so the content can be kept up to date.
  • Some users received a past due notification for assessments, even when they had already submitted ahead of the due date. This issue has been resolved.
  • In-product help links now appear for all users on the Institution Page.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

NewBoxView is default service

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Starting with the 3400.3.0 release, New Box View will be the default service (instead of Crocodoc) for all new Blackboard Learn installations. If your institution decided not to transition to New Box View and is upgrading to a more recent version of Blackboard Learn, this change won't affect you unless you are starting with a fresh install for the new target instance.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Ultra access to the Course Catalog

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Experience

Large institutions offer many courses as part of different curricula or degree programs. To help students learn more about the course options and expectations, administrators may want to allow visibility into the current or upcoming courses for those who aren’t yet enrolled. The Course Catalog has been available in the Original Experience. With this release, we bring Course Catalog access to Ultra.

Students and instructors can access the Course Catalog directly from the Courses page. The Catalog contains the same search and browse functions as it had in the Original Experience, allowing users to find courses by course name, ID, description, term, or instructor. If the administrator created categories within the catalog or uses terms to group courses, users can also browse the catalog with this information.

Administrators can make the Course Catalog in Ultra available for all logged in users and for guests by placing a link on the Login page.

Experience: Ultra

Cloud storage integration

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Blackboard is pleased to announce additional cloud storage integration providers available in the Ultra Course View. With this release, instructors and students have access to an aggregated cloud service that lets users connect to their preferred cloud storage accounts and place content directly into their course. In the Ultra Course View, instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where you store files.

This integration is happening from a few different places in Ultra:

  • Within ‘add content’ workflows in the Course Content page,
  • In assessment creation and submission workflows, and
  • In the editor

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 service is being introduced over multiple releases and won’t be available in all regions simultaneously.

  • In 3400.3.0, the first services available are Box and OneDrive (personal accounts only)
  • Remaining services, such as Google Drive, will be introduced in 3400.5.0
  • Regional availability begins with the United States
  • Additional regions will be added over time and may be independent of release cadence
  • Availability in the Original Experience and Original Course View is forthcoming

Cloud storage integration is available in Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery environments, but isn't compatible with the generally available version of 9.1 Q2 2018 (build 3400.0) or SaaS Q2 2018 Flexible Deployment Option release. A Cumulative Update will be required to enable the feature in these environments.

Get started with the cloud storage integration

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Content lockdown

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Many institutions use Subject Matter Experts to create content for a course. This content is used across all sections of a course and is facilitated by multiple faculty. To ensure that the content in each course section remains consistent, we’ve added new entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that will allow them to view the content but they will not be able to modify the content.

In the coming releases, we’ll introduce even more granular entitlements like these with the goal of ultimately providing a formal Facilitator role that you can enable and designate for chosen users. You’ll find the following permissions are now available:

  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Create Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Delete Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Edit Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > Change Due Date of Grade Center Items

More on course roles in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, FDO Q4 2018

Randomize question answers (multiple choice/multiple answer)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Sometimes instructors want to change the display order of question and answer options for individual students to support practice/drilling, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty. Unpredictable order of answers can help reduce the risk of students memorizing material from study guides without truly absorbing the information.

In this release, instructors can now randomize the order of answers in multiple choice and multiple answer questions in the Ultra Course View. Combined with randomized questions, this new option puts more control in the instructor's hands to have assignments and tests appear differently for each student.

More on how to randomize answers in Ultra assessments

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Rearrange gradebook with drag and drop

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors may not create graded course content in the exact sequence students will complete them. In a course where there is a weekly quiz, weekly discussion, and monthly written assignment, the order of these items in the gradebook may not match the order on the Course Content page. This can be frustrating for instructors and students. Further, students may be confused if they refer to the gradebook as a guide to what they should be working on next, or if they look for their grade on a specific item but can't find it because items appear to be "out of order" in the gradebook.

This release includes the ability for instructors to rearrange gradebook entries in the Ultra Course View. Instructors can drag and drop items in the gradebook so the list appears in an order that makes sense to instructors and students alike. This improvement can save time, confusion, and frustration for users who prefer to browse course content from multiple entry points in a course.

Drag and drop isn't yet available in the gradebook grid view.

More on organizing grade data in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 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 3400.1.0 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 into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

Learner engagement

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Institution Page enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Experience

This release includes customization features in the Institution Page. In the existing Helpful Links module, you can now:

  • Move the module image to the right side or remove the module image
  • Associate the module image with a hyperlink in the list

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3400.1.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 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 3400.1.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • Instructors can sort the roster by student last name in the Ultra Course View.
  • Attendance in the Original Experience now supports Internet Explorer 11.
  • File attachments in the Ultra editor were not displaying as expected due to copy/paste behavior. A message has been added to the editor prompting the user to reinsert any pasted attachments to ensure they display correctly for other course members.
  • Content items in the Original Course View were unexpectedly moving their position in a list after being edited. This issue has been resolved.
  • Some students who had been removed from an Original course were receiving notifications regarding group activity in the course. This issue has been resolved.
  • When upgrading Blackboard Learn, the Mobile Building Block’s environment setting was reset and caused issues for users searching for courses via mobile apps. This issue has been resolved.
  • After an upgrade, the scrollbar in the Grade Center appeared on the left side of the screen and obscured information. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

New editor available in multiple areas

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 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.

Starting with this release, the editor appears for instructors creating assessments questions and for students drafting freeform responses in assessments, including essays.

More on the Ultra editor

Course View: Ultra

Outcomes roles based on Institutional Hierarchy

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

When the centralized Assessment team demonstrates the simplicity and time-saving power of Outcomes Assessment, other departments and programs across the institution often want to take advantage of the solution and move their Assessment practices to Outcomes. Historically, though, institutions have been hesitant to roll it out to individual departments because adding Outcomes roles for users outside of the central office would grant full access to the entire institution’s evidence collections, evaluations, and reports.

With this update, we have enhanced Outcomes to respect the access limitations you’ve put in place by configuring Institutional Hierarchy. You can now assign Outcomes roles to key stakeholders within each department and these users will only be able to create evidence collections, manage evaluations, and view reports for courses within their node of the Institutional Hierarchy.

More on Outcomes Assessment in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Education Insight, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

User interface changes in Ultra assessments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Course View

We’ve upgraded the technology that powers assessments in the Ultra Course View. Instructors will notice that the Add Question button no longer opens a panel of options. Now, an instructor can add any type of content to the test or assignment, such as questions, text, and files, using one simple menu in the assessment body. We’ve applied these updates to your existing assessments as well, so you can enjoy this improved experience whether you are creating new assessments or working on existing content.

More on creating assignments in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Fill in the Blank questions now available in Ultra Course View assessments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Course View

Instructors want to construct context-based questions where the student responds with text as part of a longer text prompt. The system can automatically assess the student response, matching the characters entered compared to the correct answer.

With this release, instructors can craft fill in the blank questions to assess student understanding in tests and assignments. Fill in the Blank questions are graded automatically. Answers are scored based on if student answers match the correct answers the instructor provides. Instructors choose the evaluation method for answers:

  • Exact match
  • Contains part of the correct answer
  • Matches a specified pattern

More on Fill in the Blank questions in the Ultra Course View

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Improvements to course conversion process

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Experience

The Blackboard Learn course conversion experience can be intimidating for instructors, as many features don’t function in Ultra the same way they did in Original. This often causes unexpected course behavior or appearance and can be seen a barrier for Ultra adoption. While many of these changes are minor, there is a need for instructors to know and understand the implications before fully adopting the Ultra Course View.

With this release, we’ve improved the conversion experience so instructors have more insight into what’s changing. Exceptions are now categorized into groups based on priority and potential impact. Instructors can explore their courses and view the exceptions to better understand how students will experience the Ultra Course View.

More on the Ultra Course Preview

Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

LTI placement improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

A number of enhancements have been made to LTI Tool Provider setup and placements:

  • Administrators can now access LTI Tool Providers directly from the Administrator Panel in the Integrations menu.
  • There are new naming and capabilities in the placement options for an LTI tool.
    • Under Type, the student tool has been renamed to Course tool, with availability options for students and non-students. Student Course tools appear in the Student Tools area and no longer require instructor action for students to use the tool. Non-student Course tools appear in the Control Panel for instructors and other course users with access to the Control Panel.
    • The Content Item Message tool type is now the Supports deep linking option within the Course content tool to reflect a name change by the IMS Global organization.
    • There is a new Administrator tool placement type, which lets administrators place LTI tools in the Tools and Utilities menu on the Administrator Panel.

More on LTI placements

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, FDO Q4 2018

Looking for older release notes?

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