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 3900.91.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.91.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 9 April 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 2 May 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details, please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.91.0 version included below on this page. Details can be found Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.91.0-rel.27+4aba7e1 to Production servers to take place on 16 May 2024.

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


Competency Based Education/Mastery Learning

Align goals to questions in question pools – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Administrators
Related topics: Question Pools, Goals

Institutions want to align goals to course content. Goal alignment ensures curriculum design meets specific learning outcomes.

Now, instructors can align goals to questions within a question pool. Question-level goal alignment ensures that assessment items measure the desired learning outcomes. This helps to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of evaluation and feedback practices.

Image 1: Option to choose Align with goal from the menu when adding or editing a question in a question pool

Instructor option to choose the “align with goal” menu when adding or editing a question in a question pool

Learn more about goal alignment in the Ultra Course View.

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Supporting multiple performance criteria in release conditions – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related topics: Content Release Conditions

Release conditions determine when students can view course content. Release conditions are on the content's visibility setting on the course content page. Currently, you can set:  

  • Which course members or groups have access;
  • When the course content is accessible, visible, and hidden;
  • When student performance is necessary for completing an assignment or scoring.

Instructors can now set more than one performance criteria per content item.  

Image 1. Release condition panel with additional performance criteria selected

Release condition panel with additional performance criteria selected

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Tests & Assignments 

Reuse questions in Forms – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related topics: Forms

Reusing questions streamlines the Form creation process and saves users time and effort.  Instructors can now select Reuse questions when editing or creating a Form. 

Image 1. Reuse questions option in a Form

Reuse questions option in a Form

Instructors can filter questions from existing Forms within the course. Filter criteria include a keyword search, select Forms, and by question type. Any question the instructor selects is then copied into the Form. The instructor may edit the question, if desired.

Image 2. Filter criteria for question reuse in Forms

Filter criteria for question reuse in Forms

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Multiple attempts for Forms assigned to groups – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors 
Related Topic: Forms

Instructors can now assign a Form to a group and allow multiple attempts. When assigning forms to groups, enabling multiple attempts promotes dynamic, iterative learning experiences. Groups can now submit the Form, receive feedback, and submit another response. 

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Flexible Grading

Add question feedback when grading a test by question – 3900.91

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

When grading by student or by question, instructors can provide contextual feedback. Instructors can add feedback to all question types. Question level feedback promotes deeper understanding and personal growth among students. Question level feedback enhances overall submission feedback and automated feedback for auto-graded questions.

Image 1. Instructor view of adding per-question feedback when grading by question

Instructor view of adding per-question feedback when grading by question

Image 2. Instructor view of question with saved feedback  

Instructor view of question with saved feedback  

After scores are posted, students can access their feedback in the Gradebook. Students can access both overall feedback and question-specific feedback.

Image 3. Student view of feedback added to an essay question

Student view of feedback added to an essay question

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Improved Gradebook navigation – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors

To create a more intuitive navigation, we replaced the grid and list view buttons with text links. The options are now:  

  • Gradable Items
  • Grades (grid view)
  • Students

The Gradebook will remember the last view you used in each course.

Image 1. Instructor view of the new gradebook navigation menu

Instructor view of the new gradebook navigation menu

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Weighted Calculation Improvements – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Students
Related topics: Calculate Grades, Grade Columns

 

Instructors have diverse grade calculation needs. Some instructors use weighted calculations to help with aggregating calculations like midterm or final grades.

Now instructors can assign equal weights to items in the same categories. The chosen calculation method, whether proportional or equal, applies to all categories. In the past, weighted items in the same category had proportional weights. These weighted items were based on the possible points of each item. 

To better understand student performance, some instructors use drop rules to remove outliers. Because it’s important to know the weighting method when managing these settings, we now display the instructor's chosen weighting option in the calculation rules panel.

Image 1. Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options

Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options

Image 2. Instructor view of the new proportional weighted calculation option. Instructors can see what percentage each item in the category contributes to the overall category weighting

 Instructor view of the new proportional weighted calculation option. Instructors can see what percentage each item in the category contributes to the overall category weighting

Image 3. Instructor view of the equally weighted calculation option; instructors are informed of the equal percentage that items count towards the overall category weighting

Instructor view of the equally weighted calculation option. Instructors are informed of the equal percentage that items count towards the overall category weighting

Image 4. Instructor view of the updated Edit calculation rule panel confirming the selected category weighting option

Instructor view of the updated Edit calculation rule panel confirming the selected category weighting option

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Observer role support in Ultra Courses – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Observers 
Related Topic: Observer Role

Academic advisors, parents, coaches, and other users may find it beneficial to monitor the progress of one or more students. This enables them to effectively support the students in their learning journey. Now these observers can monitor student progress and performance in Ultra courses. 

The streamlined process for Ultra courses eliminates the need for complicated instructor settings. Observers will have access to the following information: 

  • Last Access Date: Observers can view when the student last accessed the course. 
  • Grades tab: This tab provides details on a student’s earned grades. The information included is: 
    • Overall Grade
    • Upcoming and past due dates 
    • Any exceptions granted to the student 
    • Late submissions
  • Progress tab: This tab helps the observer understand a student's progression in the course. The information included is:
    • Navigation through the course content 
    • Course elements visible on the student’s learning path 
    • Completeness and progress indicators for items, folders, and learning modules 

To view a student's progress, progress tracking must be enabled in the course. 

Image 1: Observer view of a student’s grades in an Ultra Course

Grades tab of a student on an Observer dashboard

Image 2: Observer view of a student’s progress in an Ultra Course

Progress tab of a student on an Observer dashboard

Observers can access a dedicated dashboard in the Tools area of the Base Navigation. Observers should first select the student they wish to observe and then choose the specific course they want to access. Both Original and Ultra courses can be observed from this dashboard. 

Image 3: An observer chooses which student they want to observe in the Observer Dashboard

The Observer Dashboard, showing two students available for observation

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. As before, administrators can manage observer-to-student relationships manually, with a bulk file, or through data integration. 

A user must be assigned the Observer system role as their primary system role. In this release, Observer accounts continue to be mutually exclusive from other user accounts. We plan to remove this restriction in a future release.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Integrations

Limit enrollments by Course Role – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

For some institutions, instructors or staff manage some course membership manually. For example, institutional policy might define that student enrollments and instructor assignments come from the student information system (SIS), but instructors manage graders and assistants in their own courses.

Now administrators can limit the course roles that a user can add, edit, or remove from the roster. This allows institutions to better enforce their policies. It also helps prevent potential data conflicts and mismanagement. We changed some course role privileges in this release to support this.

There are now two privileges for allowing a course user to add other enrollments:

  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User
    • Use this privilege when you want course role limits to apply.
  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User for all roles
    • Use this privilege when the user can enroll users with any course role but you want to apply course role limits to the enrollment edit and remove privileges.

Similarly, there are now two privileges for batch enrolling users:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Batch Enroll Users
    • Use this privilege when you want course role limits to apply to batch actions.
  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Batch Enroll Users for all roles
    • Use this privilege when the user can batch enroll other users with any course role. Course role restrictions would still apply to the edit and remove privileges. 

To configure restrictions, go to the Administrator Panel and select Course/Organization Roles. In Course/Organization Roles, select Edit for the appropriate course role. A new section allows selecting course roles and adding them to the list of manageable roles.

Image 1. An administrator configures a course role so users can only manage Course Builder, Grader, and Teaching Assistant roles.

Administrator panel to manage course enrollments by role

Image 2. User is only allowed to enroll others with the course roles of Teaching Assistant, Course Builder, or Grader.

Roster page showing panel with limits on roles that can add to enrollment

Image 3. User is able to edit or remove this enrollment because the role, “Teaching Assistant” is allowed. 

Roster page showing panel with limits on roles that can add to enrollment

These restrictions also apply to other course role privileges for editing and deleting enrollments.

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization.
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set Non-System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View 

For administrators: We recommend administrators review course role configurations, so they best align to institutional policies. Confirm the assignment of expected privileges. Set any appropriate course role restrictions for course roles with the privileges above.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Learn Core & Security 

Reduced motion setting – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View, Original Course View 
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Accessibility Overview

The Ultra Experience has animated elements such as panels opening and closing. Some users may prefer or need to reduce animations and motion. Many devices and operating systems have settings to reduce non-essential motion. 

We added support for the ‘prefers-reduced-motion’ feature to select animated panels. Panels will snap into place when users have configured reduce motion. Before they used a swiping motion.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. It is also available for the Original course panel when Base Navigation is enabled. Users should use device settings for reducing motion.

  • iOS: Accessibility > Motion > Reduce motion (on)
  • Android: Settings > Accessibility > Remove Animations (on)
  • Windows: Settings > Accessibility > Visual effects > Animation effects (off)
  • Mac OS: System Settings > Accessibility > Display > Reduce motion (on)

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Set the size limit for file type uploads to zero – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: File size upload limit

Administrators set policies to help ensure responsible storage use. We reduced the minimum size setting for a group of file types from 25 MB to 0 MB. This allows setting limits for very small files. Administrators can also restrict certain file types completely by setting them to zero. This can help encourage users to store certain file types elsewhere. For example, institutions may use these settings to prevent video uploads to Blackboard. They may want users to upload videos to a specific video streaming platform instead.

For administrators: We recommend reviewing any extensions and limits previously set. Restrictions apply for new uploads only in Ultra courses and in Content Collection. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Mobile App

Landing page enhancements for Blackboard Learn Mobile App – 3900.91

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

The landing pages (Grades, Messages, Courses, Organization) are now designed in a card layout. For the Courses and Organization pages, the course status indicator previously located in the course image has been moved below the course or organization title. The current functionality remains the same. These design changes align the landing pages with the design principles and language of the Blackboard Mobile App.

These enhancements are a part of a larger redesign of the Blackboard Learn mobile app landing pages to ensure uniform design, optimized user experience, and natural user flow across various devices and screen sizes.

Blackboard Learn Mobile App Course Landing page designed in card layout

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Support for Observer role for Ultra Courses in Mobile App - 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View
Impact: Observers

Users with the Observer role can now view student progress in Ultra Courses using our mobile app. This provides student advisors and support staff the ability to track student success. 

They also can view grade related information. Observers view the same information displayed to a student. Mobile access for the Observer role makes it easier for support staff to help students.

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Upgrade to Ultra

Option to convert Content Areas to Learning Modules – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Administrators
Related Topic: Convert Courses to Ultra

In previous releases, Content Areas converted to Folders when converting Original courses to Ultra. We updated conversion so administrators can choose if Content Areas convert to Learning Modules or folders. 

Converting to Learning Modules is helpful for the following types of courses: 

  • Original Courses using more than one Content Area to organize course materials 
  • Courses migrating from Canvas, Brightspace, and Moodle Learning Management Systems 

The default setting is to convert Content Areas to Learning Modules. 

Image 1. Convert Content Areas to Learning Modules toggle

Ultra Experience Management page in the Admin panel, showing the option to Convert Content to Learning Modules at the bottom

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. We recommend administrators review this configuration to set the most appropriate institutional choice. 

A new configuration option is available on the Ultra Experience Management page. The default state is ON. When OFF, Content Areas will convert to Folders instead of Learning Modules.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Restricting Original Course View Course Copy workflow – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Original Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators
Related Topic: Copy Courses 

We have added a restriction to the Course Copy workflow in Original courses. Users can no longer push a copy from an Original course to an Ultra course. We made this change to reduce the likelihood of an Ultra course becoming corrupted. The Original Course Copy workflow was never designed for copies into an Ultra course.

Instructors can still copy from one Original course to another. For Ultra courses, instructors should always start a copy process from the Ultra course.

Image 1. Copies to Ultra courses are blocked when copying from Original

Copy Course workflow in Original

Users can copy course materials from Original to Ultra by using Copy Items in an Ultra course. They can copy an entire Original course into an Ultra course. They also have the option to pick and choose which items they want to copy into an Ultra course. 

Image 2. Users can copy content from Original to Ultra using Copy Items

Ultra Experience Management page in the Admin panel, showing the option to Convert Content to Learning Modules at the bottom

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. Administrator copy processes aren’t changed in this release. While unchanged, admins should use caution when copying from Original to Ultra. The admin copy workflow can have the same types of issues and can lead to course corruption. If possible, try to limit to doing only full course copies using the admin copy workflow.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Moodle Conversion Improvement: Question Pools – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Original Experience, Ultra Experience 
Original Course View, Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators
Related Topic: Migrate from Moodle

In Moodle, any time you edit or save a question it creates a new version of that question. Our conversion process was bringing over every version of a question as a new question. Question Pools and Tests were being affected and didn't match what was in Moodle. We updated our conversion logic in the following ways: 

  • If a question in a Test is using the latest version, we add it to a Question Pool that is linked with that Test. This matches the behavior in Moodle with Quizzes and Question Banks. 
  • If a question in a Test is using an older version, we only add that question to that Test. This ensures that Question Pools only have the latest versions of questions. This matches the behavior in Moodle with Quizzes and Question Banks. Question Pools will no longer contain every version of a question as they did before. 

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Moodle Conversion Improvement: Partial Credit for Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer Question Types – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Original Experience, Ultra Experience 
Original Course View, Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators 
Related Topic: Migrate from Moodle

In Moodle you can create a Multiple Choice question type. Multiple Choice question types can have a single answer or more than one answer. They can also support partial credit. We have updated our conversion logic so that partial credit weights convert. 

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

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Bulk Conversion for Moodle and Brightspace – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Administrators 
Related Topic: Convert Courses to Ultra

Bulk Conversion from Moodle and Brightspace is now available. Institutions moving from Moodle and Brightspace can share exports with our implementation team. Our implementation team will take the packages and bulk import and convert them. This service is part of our standard implementation for institutions transitioning to Blackboard.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description



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