Release Notes for Learn SaaS

This page contains features and updates currently on Learn SaaS Test/Stage and Production environments. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features and updates in older versions. Visit In-Product Updates to learn more about in-product updates.

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Learn SaaS release 3900.56.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.56.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 6 December 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 5 January 2023
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.56.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.56.0-rel.4+81fed2f to Test/Stage servers to take place on 6 December 2022.

For more information on updates and bug fixes, please visit Behind the Blackboard.

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.54.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 8 November 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 December 2022
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.54.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 33900.54.0-rel.19+238d3d6 to Production servers to take place on 8 December 2022.

For more information on updates and bug fixes, please visit Behind the Blackboard.

 


January 2023 – 3900.56 Release

The January 2023 - 3900.56 release is complete with features in five areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • mobile app;
  • integration, extension, and management; and
  • course upgrading;

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

All users:

Other - Support roles:

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Assessment and Grading

See and edit grades for anonymous submissions prior to posting – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Anonymous grading is an important practice to ensure fair and consistent grading. In the past when anonymously grading, instructors could view grades on the Submissions page only after posting grades. This prevented instructors from editing grades before students could view grades.

Now instructors can view grades on the Submission page before they post grades. Student anonymity is still preserved until the grades are posted. To edit a grade, an instructor can open the attempt.

Image 1. Grades are viewable on grading submissions page when anonymously grading

Grades are viewable on grading submissions page when anonymously grading

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Improved attempt switching when grading student submissions with multiple attempts – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Multiple-attempt assessments can be more complicated for instructors because there are more submissions. To switch between attempts for a student in the past, an instructor would have to close an attempt then select a different attempt. This was not intuitive and required extra clicks. Now instructors can navigate directly between a student’s attempts. If a student has multiple attempts for an assessment, an instructor will see an option to switch attempts. This is more efficient.

Image 1. Instructor view of the attempt drop-down menu on the grading page

Instructor view of the attempt drop-down menu on the grading page

When the instructor clicks a student name in the Submissions list, the last submitted attempt loads. 

The attempt selector displays information to help instructors select the desired attempt:

  • Attempt number
  • Submission time stamp
  • File size
  • Grade (if graded)
  • Late indicator (if applicable)

Image 2. Navigating between student attempts using the attempt drop-down menu

Navigating between student attempts using the attempt drop-down menu

For administrators:This feature is available behind a feature flag and available by default. If you would like to opt out of using this feature, you can turn set it to unavailable on the Ultra Experience Management page in the administrator panel. The feature flag will be removed in the April release and this feature will become permanent.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Essay Question Model Answer – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

Instructors want to ensure that they grade students’ work fairly and consistently. This can be especially challenging when evaluating student responses to essay questions. Instructors like to have a reference while grading. Now instructors can include a model answer for essay questions. Instructors and graders can see this when grading.

Image 1. Model answer when authoring essay questions

Model answer when authoring essay questions

Students can see the model answer when reviewing their results if the test is configured to show correct answers. Students do not see the model answer when they take a test.

Image 2. Student viewing the model answer along with their own response

Student viewing the model answer along with their own response

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Non-posted grades included in Grade History – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Grade history provides a log of changes to grades in a course. This is important in situations such as grade challenges and ensuring grading errors were not made. The grade history now includes non-posted grades. Including non-posted grades supplies greater insight into grade changes in the course.

Image 1. Grade history download file with non-posted grade information

Grade history download file showing the new non-posted grade information

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Test Question and Page Randomization – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors randomize test question to improve academic integrity. In the past, instructors couldn’t randomize questions if the test contained text blocks, files, or images.

Now instructors can enable randomization when the test has text blocks, files, or images. The non-question elements are locked in place. The test randomizes questions between those non-question elements.

Image 1. Instructor sets randomize option for a test with non-question elements

Instructor sets randomize option for a test with non-question elements

Instructors can also randomize questions in a test that contains page breaks. Questions randomize within their assigned page. If a page contains non-question elements, the questions randomize between those elements.

When there are pages for the test, instructors can also randomize page order. If instructors randomize the page order, they can also lock the first page into position. This is useful when the first page is a cover page or contains test instructions.

Image 2. Instructor selects to randomize both questions and pages

Instructor selects to randomize both questions and pages

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Progress tracking: Status and filters for group submissions– 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors need clear information about the status of group progress on an assessment. In the past, the submission view of assessments and discussions included two status columns:

  • Student status
  • Grading status

Now we also show both in the group submission page. This gives instructors greater clarity into group work status. We also separated the filter to allow compound filtering of student and grading statuses. The default filter shows everything. The filter resets every time an instructor accesses the submission view.

Image 1. Group submission filters

Group submission filters

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Original Course View: “Needs Grading” retains tasks when AWS auto-scales – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: Instructors

Because Learn SaaS is in the cloud, the application scales on demand. When more users are on Learn, the cloud provides more resources. In the past in Original Course View, this cloud scaling could disrupt instructors grading student work. Instructors navigating to their next task in “needs grading” would see an error.

Now instructors can navigate to their next task even when the application scales. In some cases, instructors can’t return to completed tasks. If this happens, instructors receive clear instructions to return to the Grade Center where they can review these submissions.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Improvements to Messages recipient types by course role - 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

In the past an “all course members” recipient type appeared for all course users. Students could send messages to all course users, on accident or on purpose.

Now students can only send messages to:

  • all instructors
  • selected course members

Instructors can send messages to:

  • all course members
  • all instructors
  • all students
  • selected course members

Image 1. Instructors can send messages to all course members, all instructors, all students, or selected users

Instructors can send messages to all course members, all instructors, all students, or selected users

Image 2. Students can send to all instructors or selected users

Students can send to all instructors or selected users

Image 3. Selected recipients appear to the author of a Message

Selected recipients appear to the author of a Message

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Discussions - No Activity After Due Date – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

In the past students could continue posting in Discussions after the due date had passed. This created problems for instructors when grading discussions. Now instructors may lock the discussion after the due date has passed. When selected, students can’t create, reply to, or edit posts after the due date. Students with a due date accommodation can continue to create, reply to, and edit posts after the due date.

Image 1. Instructor view of the “Stop discussion activity after due date” setting

Instructor view of the “Stop discussion activity after due date” settings

Image 2. Student view of Discussion once the due date has passed

Student view of Discussion once the due date has passed

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

Show icons for Third-Party app content (LTI) in Gradebook and Grades – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

In the past, it has been difficult for users to differentiate between third-party app content (LTI tools). In the December 2022 release (3900.54), we began displaying icons selected by the third-party app provider or an administrator. Now we display icons in the following additional areas:

  • Gradebook grid view
  • Gradebook list view
  • Gradable Items tab
  • Students Grades Overview
  • Grades tab on Base Navigation

Image 1. Third-party app icon added by a System Administrator

Third-party app icon added by a System Administrator

Image 2. Third-party app icon in Gradebook grid view

Third-party app icon in Gradebook grid view

Image 3. Third-party app icon in Gradebook list view, Gradable Items tab

Third-party app icon in Gradebook list view, Gradable Items tab

Image 4. Third-party app icon in Student Grades Overview

Third-party app icon in Student Grades Overview

Image 5. Third-party app icon Grades tab on Ultra Base Navigation

Third-party app icon Grades tab on Ultra Base Navigation

For administrators:We recommend Administrators review LTI placement configurations after this release because icons will now display to users in more places. Icons set for the placement type Deep Linking Content Tools will display in the Course Content and Gradebook areas. Other placement types will continue to display generic icons. Tool providers may also set the icons. An administrator can retrieve icons set by tool providers using the “Synchronize placements” action. When the provider sets icons, they will replace and override institutional icon choices because they are the owner of their branding.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Blackboard Learn Mobile App

Expand and Collapse Course Faculty, Details & Actions, and Course Content sections – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Mobile App
Ultra Course View
Impact: All users

In the past users on a mobile device had to scroll through the Course Faculty and Details & Actions sections to see course content. Now users can collapse these sections, making it easier and faster to access course content. 

Image 1. Collapsible sections

Collapsible sections in the Course Outline page

For administrators:This feature is available for all users of the Mobile App. No action is needed from users who have enabled automatic updates on their devices. Users who have disabled automatic updates on their devices must download the update.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

User Interface Improvement - Microsoft OneDrive Integration – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors can embed OneDrive files in a course. These files may be read-only for students or allow collaboration for students and instructors. In the past, instructors accessed the option to create these files under Cloud Document in the Create Item panel.

We heard from users that these options were not obvious. Acting on client feedback, we updated the user interface. Now instructors will find two options as separate items in the “Create Item” panel:

  • Embedded Cloud Document – this creates a link to a read-only file
  • Cloud Collaboration – this creates a document that students and instructors can edit together

Image 1. Before improvements to the user interface

Before improvements to the user interface

Image 2. After improvements to the user interface: Access the two items in one click

After improvements to the user interface: Access the two items in one click

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. For clients who have already enabled the Microsoft OneDrive integration, you will need to resynchronize the LTI 1.3 tool and LTI tool placements for this enhancement to take effect. This can be done by following these steps:
     1. Administrator Panel – Integrations - LTI Tool Providers
     2. Select Synchronize LTI 1.3 Tools
     3. Search for Microsoft OneDrive LTI Tool in the main tool list
     4. Select Manage Placements – Synchronize Placements

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Custom HTML/CSS content blocks in Institution Pages – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users

Institutions can target personalized content to users with Institution Pages. Now administrators can create custom HTML/CSS content blocks in Institution Pages for even greater flexibility. Content blocks will size automatically for better display. Content blocks are served in an iframe from a separate domain to keep Blackboard Learn secure.

Image 1. Custom HTML content type in Institution Pages

Custom HTML content type in Institution Pages

Image 2. HTML module authoring page for Institution Pages

HTML module authoring page for Institution Pages

For administrators: 
You’ll see the Add HTML option in Institution Pages if an alternate domain configured.
- Contact product support for help if an alternate domain isn’t configured. Browser security can prevent external links from opening in an iframe. We recommend configuring your HTML to open links in a new browser window.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Base Navigation: Visibility controls for the Course and Organization Catalog, Hide Organizations tab – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users

Institutions have different policies and use different tools. Some institutions do not use Organizations. Previously, administrators couldn’t hide the Organizations tab in Base Navigation. This could confuse users. Now, the availability of the Course Catalog and Organization Catalog can be configured independently. This lets administrators configure how Organizations are used at the institution:

  • If an institution doesn’t want to use Organizations, they should turn off the Organization Catalog and not enroll users in Organizations. This will hide the Organizations tab in Base Navigation from all users.
  • If an institution wants to use Organizations for some users but hide the Organizations tab from others, they should turn off the Organization Catalog. Administrators would then enroll appropriate users into Organizations. When a user has an active enrollment in an Organization, they see the Organizations tab in Base Navigation. Users without an Organization will not see the Organizations tab in Base navigation.
  • If an institution wants all users to see the Organizations tab in Base Navigation, they should turn on the Organization Catalog. This is the default setting.

Image 1. Ultra Experience Management panel: options to display links for Course and Organization Catalogs

Ultra Experience Management panel: options to display links for Course and Organization Catalogs

Image 2. Ultra Base Navigation without Organizations Tab

Ultra Base Navigation without Organizations Tab

For administrators: Set your preferences for displaying links to the Organization or Course Catalog on the Ultra Experience Management page in the administrator panel. Users always see the Courses tab in Base Navigation even if the Course Catalog is not available.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Activity Stream new submission notification improvement – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users

For instructors, the Activity Stream includes notifications for new submissions from students. In the past, these links directed the instructor to the Submissions List View of that assessment in Ultra Course View. Now these links direct the instructor to the Submissions List View with the "Needs Grading" filter already applied. This improves grading efficiency.

Additionally, the instructor can add a browser bookmark for the Submission List filter views. This provides faster access to the instructor's preferred filtered view.

Image 1. Submissions view filtered by Needs Grading 

Submissions view filtered by Needs Grading

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Privileges: Support role can access Course Content page without progress setting privilege - 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Support roles

Users with system role privileges may be configured to access courses. In the past, these support users couldn’t access the Course Content page if they were missing the privilege Course/Organization Control Panel (Customization) > View Progress Tracking Configuration. These users would see an error and the course page would close.

Now support users without this privilege who have the privilege Course/Organization (Content Areas) > View Material Settings can view the Course Content page.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Course Upgrading

Convert Test Passwords to Passcodes – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

The Original Course View allows instructors to add passwords to Tests. In the past when an instructor converted an Original test to Ultra, the passwords were lost. Now a generated passcode replaces passwords when the Test is copied. Instructors can view the new access code in Test settings. They may need to update references to passwords in the course.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Additional Improvements to Unsupported Text Color Removal – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

The Original Course View allows instructors to choose any color for text. This content may be difficult to read or not accessible. Ultra Course View has a curated set of text colors to ensure readability: black, gray, purple, blue, and green. During conversion, we remove unsupported text colors. This text becomes black. This release adds several areas where text colors are corrected for readability:

  • Journals
  • Groups within group sets
  • Tests

We remove unsupported text colors during conversion from the following:

  • Announcements
  • Discussions
  • Assignments
  • Documents
  • Journals
  • Groups and Group Sets
  • Tests and Question Types

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


Preserve Text Sizes – 3900.56

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In the past, the text copied from Original to Ultra Course View did not support different text sizes. During the conversion process, text would be set to size 14 pixels. Now we preserve text sizes during the conversion process using the following logic:

  • If text size is less than or equal to 10, set to 10 pixels.
  • If text size is 11 or 12, set to 12 pixels.
  • If text size is 13 or 14, set to 14 pixels.
  • If text size is less than 17, set to 14 pixels.
  • If text size is greater than or equal to 17, set to 18 pixels.
  • If text size is less than 22, set to 18 pixels.
  • If text size is greater than or equal to 22, set to 24 pixels.
  • If text size is less than 31, set to 24 pixels.
  • If text size is greater than or equal to 31, set to 36 pixels.
  • If text size is less than 43, set to 36 pixels.
  • If text size is greater than or equal to 43, set to 48 pixels.

Text sizes are different in the Original and Ultra Content Editors. The conversion logic preserves similar text sizes to reduce cleanup.

Sizes are preserved when converting text associated with the following items:

  • Announcements
  • Discussions
  • Assignments
  • Documents
  • Journals
  • Groups and Group Sets
  • Tests and Question Types

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2023 – 3900.56 Release description


December 2022 – 3900.54 Release

The December 2022 - 3900.54 release is complete with features in seven areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • data and analytics;
  • integration, extension, and management;
  • course upgrading;
  • security; and
  • usability.

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

All users:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Security change in release 3900.54 may be incompatible with some Building Blocks

 

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students, Administrators

Anthology constantly works to improve the security stance of Blackboard Learn and proactively reacts to vulnerabilities identified in third-party and open source libraries used in the application. Recently, security experts published a vulnerability for an open source library used in the Learn application. This vulnerability is now addressed in the 3900.54 release.

Depending on whether third-party providers also use this library and how they manage it in their Building Blocks, some Building Blocks and versions of Building Blocks may be incompatible with 3900.54. The impact is specific to third-party (add-on) Building Blocks only. This change doesn't affect Building Blocks that are part of the Learn core application, and doesn't affect integrations using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), REST APIs, or Ultra Extension Framework (UEF).

For administrators: We encourage administrators to test third-party (add-on) Building Blocks as soon as possible, to prepare for the 3900.54 release. If you provide a Building Block that’s affected, contact Anthology product support for remediation details.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Assessment and Grading

Question Banks Descriptions & Search – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Course Builders

Instructors often use question banks to organize assessment questions. Reusing these questions creates efficiency and ensures consistency. Instructors can now add descriptions to question banks. These descriptions are useful for noting the topics or objectives the questions cover. The question bank description is displayed with the question bank title on the Question Banks page.

Image 1. Description for a question bank

Description for a question bank

Instructors sometimes have many question banks in their courses. To help instructors search for and locate a specific bank in the course, we added a search bar. The search functionality queries both the bank title and description.

Image 2. Search field for Question Banks; descriptions appear beneath the Question Bank name

Search field for Question Banks; descriptions appear beneath the Question Bank name

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Needs grading for first and last attempts – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Graders

Instructors need to know what grading work remains for them to complete. When assessments have multiple attempts, the instructor may elect how to grade those attempts:

  • average of all attempts
  • first attempt with a grade
  • attempt with highest grade
  • last attempt with a grade
  • attempt with lowest grade

When the instructor selects “first attempt with a grade” or “last attempt with a grade” sometimes the "needs grading" count was inaccurate or confusing.

We have updated the way that the "needs grading" count increments when more than one attempt is allowed. The "grade attempts" selection is honored for the following:

  • last attempt with a grade - when the instructor grades and post the last attempt, previous attempts do not increase the "needs grading" count
  • last attempt with a grade - if the student makes a new attempt after the instructor grades, that attempt does increase the "needs grading" count
  • first attempt with a grade - when the instructor grades and post the first attempt, attempts that follow do not increase the "needs grading" count

Image 1. The assessment is set to grade using “last attempt with a grade.” The needs grading count does not include earlier attempts from this student.

The assessment is set to grade using “last attempt with a grade.” The needs grading count does not include earlier attempts from this student.

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Drag-and-drop improvements – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Course Builders

This feature will not be immediately available when the 3900.54 release is applied to test/stage and production sites. Please prepare for this feature to appear automatically up to 1 or 2 days after your site is updated.

Instructors organize and sequence their course materials when authoring. Contents are arranged by dragging and dropping them. In this release, drag-and-drop has been greatly improved, increasing efficiency. Instructors can grab items more quickly. When moving an item, it’s clearer to instructors where it will go when dropped.

Instructors can also use keyboard commands to reorder the content:

  • tab to navigate to an item
  • enter to select an item
  • up/down arrows to move an item
  • enter to drop the item

Image 1. Drag and drop functionality in Course Content

Drag and drop functionality in Course Content

Image 2. Drag and drop utilizing keyboard commands

Drag and drop utilizing keyboard commands

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed at the administrator level.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Course Links – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

This feature will not be immediately available when the 3900.54 release is applied to test/stage and production sites. Please prepare for this feature to appear automatically up to 1 or 2 days after your site is updated.

Instructors may need to reference information contained in other sections of the course. For example, an instructor may want students to revisit an earlier activity to reinforce their learning. Course links provide access to content without excessive scrolling and reduce clicking. This new feature allows instructors to:

  • Insert a link at the desired location on the Course Content page
  • Browse the elements of a course to select an item
  • Rename the link that will appear on the Course Content page
  • Move a link on the Course Content page independent of the target item

To add a course link, select create from the plus option on the Course Content page. Select the Link option from the Course Content Items section. There are now two tabs:

  • Create Web Link (the options on this page are unchanged)
  • Create Course Link

Select the Create Course Link tab. Enter a keyword and/or select categories to locate the target content. Click search to view the search results. Select the desired content. Edit the Display Name as desired. Course links inherit the description of their targets, if one is included. Instructors may edit the description. Instructors can change the visibility and release conditions by editing the Course Link or the target content. A change made to one applies to the other. Instructors can use Batch Edit to modify linked items, but not associated Course Links.

Linking Exceptions

Instructors can create course links for most course materials and activities. There are exceptions:

  • In this release, an instructor cannot create course links using the Content Editor.
  • In this release, an instructor cannot create Course Links for Folders, Learning Modules, Discussions, and Web Links.
  • We do not support Course Links with Learning Modules where force sequence is enabled. This is because links could allow users access to something they should not yet access. If a Course Link exists in a Learning Module, it will not be possible to enable forced sequence.

Copying Content

When a course is copied into a new course, Course Links are updated to link within the new course. There are exceptions:

  • In this release, instructors cannot copy Course Links for Documents and third-party content (LTI).
  • When copying or converting from an Original course, the copy process will exclude Course Links for Folders, Learning Modules, and Web Links.

Image 1. Adding a new course link to an Ultra document

Adding a new course link to an Ultra document

Image 2. Course Link created on the Course Content page

Course Link created on the Course Content page

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed at the administrator level.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Data & Analytics

Single student progress report - 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often desire insight into the progress students are making in their course. This information helps instructors to engage early with students or adjust the course content. We have created a new single student progress report. This report focuses on the path each student is taking on the course. In this new report instructors can view:

  • The content they have created for their students
  • The progress the student has made with relevant date/time stamps
  • The current visibility status of each item

Instructors can access this new report:

  • By selecting a single student from the Student Progress report on a content item
  • By selecting a single student from the gradebook list view, Students tab, Student Progress tab
  • By selecting a single student from the gradebook grid view, Student Progress tab

Image 1. Student progress report

Student progress report

When grading anonymously, the student progress status is hidden until the instructor posts grades. This ensures the student’s identity remains anonymous during the grading process.

Image 2. Anonymous test progress information hidden

Anonymous test progress information hidden

This report is only available when progress tracking is turned on in the course.

For administrators:This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

REST APIs to Read Rubrics and Goals – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

Rubrics are a valuable tool for instructor-to-student communication about performance expectations. Rubrics also help instructors with consistent and unbiased grading. Rubrics may also enable students to self-assess their performance on an assessment. Some rubrics may also be aligned to Goals. In a recent release, we included an option for REST API to read rubrics. Now we are happy to make available a new public Goals API.

This new API provides a suite of GET endpoints that allow users to read:

  • Goals
  • Goal Sets
  • Goal Set Types
  • Goal Categories

This allows developers to read matrices of criteria that enable measurements of student performance.

For administrators: The REST integration user must have the privilege “Administrator Panel (Tools and Utilities) > Goals.”

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Icon Display and Synchronization for Third-Party App Content (LTI) – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

Content from third-party apps are a significant portion of materials and activities in many courses. Generic icons for these materials made it difficult for users to understand their purpose. Now unique icons can be displayed for each third-party content type. These icons can be set by the tool provider or by the institution administrator. When an icon is not set, third-party contents show a generic icon.

The updated icons apply to contents that are selected or created in the third-party app. Adding a simple link to a tool that can be accessed in Books and Tools (Ultra) or Course Tools (Original) do not display the custom icon at this time.

Image 1. A third-party app icon in the Course Outline of Ultra Course View

A third-party app icon in the Course Outline of Ultra Course View

Image 2. A third-party app icon in a Content Area of Original Course View

A third-party app icon in a Content Area of Original Course View

For administrators: We recommend Administrators review LTI placement configurations after this release because icons will now display to users in more places. Icons set for the placement type Deep Linking Content Tools will display in the Course Outline and Content Areas. Other placement types will continue to display generic icons. Tool providers may also set the icons. An administrator can retrieve icons set by tool providers using the “Synchronize placements” action. When the provider sets icons, they will replace and override institutional icon choices because they are the owner of their branding.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Security

Password policies and logging when users change their passwords – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

Most institutions use an identity provider (e.g. Azure Active Directory) to manage and authenticate users. Sometimes, some users are created in Learn. These users may be allowed to set their own passwords in Learn. Now, administrators can determine length and complexity requirements for these passwords. This can improve the security stance of Learn environments when the default authentication provider is used.

The administrator can set a password length requirement between 8 and 32 characters. The default is 12 characters. The administrator can individually set whether upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters are required.

The authentication logs now capture password change events. This only applies to Learn password changes, not to password changes in an identity provider. There are three event types:

  • A user changed their own password.
  • An administrator or other privileged user changed another user’s password. The event details will show who changed the password.
  • A user reset their password using the forgotten password feature in Learn.

Image 1. A user changes their password in Original Experience.

A user changes their password in Original Experience

Image 2. A user changes their password when Base Navigation is enabled.

A user changes their password when Base Navigation is enabled

For administrators: We recommend administrators review this configuration when users see the password reset option in Learn. The settings appear in the Administrator Panel on a new Password Settings page. Only a full System Administrator can access the configuration page. The default settings enforce the following policies: a minimum of one numeric and one special character, and the minimum length is set to 12. Administrators may also wish to review that system roles are configured correctly so users don’t see Learn’s password reset option when an identity provider is used (single sign-on). In this release, policies are enforced when a user is changing their own password. This includes when using the password reset tool. Password policies aren’t enforced when a support user changes the password of another user. Password policies aren’t enforced when using SIS Framework, Building Blocks, or REST APIs to change passwords.

Image 3. An administrator configures the password length and complexity policies.

An administrator configures the password length and complexity policies

Image 4. Authentication logs include Password Change events.

Authentication logs include Password Change events

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Course Upgrading

Improvements for copying content – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

When building and managing courses, course content reuse provides an important efficiency. We continue to make the copy process for courses and organizations simpler and more effective. In this release, we have changed the following:

  • A larger item selection page shows selected items and items that can be selected at the same time. In the past, instructors would need to switch between two views.
  • Tabs now separate courses and organizations. This makes it easier for instructors to find the correct source location.
  • Breadcrumbs make navigation easier. Using breadcrumb links, instructors can return to a higher level of the course or organization structure. This prevents instructors from having to start again from the top level.
  • The course and organization lists are displayed in alphabetical order. This makes it easier for instructors to find the correct one.

Image 1. Previously, copy actions were managed in a small panel.

Previously, copy actions were managed in a small panel

Image 2. Copy actions are now more efficient in a larger panel.

Copy actions are now more efficient in a larger panel.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed at the administrator level.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Readability/accessibility improvements copying or converting Original content into Ultra Course View – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In Original Course View users can choose any color for text. Content could be hard to read or not accessible—for example, yellow text on white background. The Ultra Course View has a curated selection of font colors to ensure readability. Users choose from black, gray, purple, blue, and green font colors. We now remove any unsupported font colors during a content copy or course conversion from an Original course.

This release focuses on announcements, discussions, assignments, and documents (not file attachments). We plan to remove unsupported font colors for tests, journals, and other item types in a later release.

Image 1. The last paragraph of light gray text is difficult to read when viewing in Original Course View.

The last paragraph of light gray text is difficult to read when viewing in Original Course View

Image 2. When copied, the light gray text is changed to improve readability and accessibility.

When copied, the light gray text is changed to improve readability and accessibility

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed at the administrator level.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description


Usability

Simpler Exit Actions for Student Preview – 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Student Preview helps instructors experience their course contents and settings. Saving the preview user on exit retains the user in the Roster and Gradebook. Discarding the preview user on exit removes this user from the course. Previously, the two options were displayed with a default selection and a confirmation action. This was confusing. Now when exiting Student Preview, only the two choices are displayed as actions.

Image 1. Student Preview - Exit function

Student Preview - Exit function

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2022 – 3900.54 Release description



Looking for older release notes?

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

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