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.
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Bb Annotate enhancements
Starting on Tuesday, November 24th, PDF files will be flattened for the BbAnnotate preview when uploaded for an assignment. On PDFs, text comment annotations made prior to submission will appear as yellow boxes in the document and will not be movable or collapsible. Drawings, pictures, shapes, and other annotations that are not comments will appear normally and also won't be movable after flattening.
When the file is flattened, students can also see their drawable annotations made with iPad or Microsoft Surface pens on PDF preview before the professor grades it. Currently students cannot see annotations until after professor grades it, which can cause confusion about whether the file appears correctly.
This enhancement is an additional security layer in BbAnnotate to prevent forgeable re-submissions of professor annotations. It also resolves an issue where iPad annotations (APStreams) weren’t appearing on annotated PDFs.
This change only affects PDFs submitted in the future. Previously uploaded files (including files with iPad annotations) will render as they have been.
Blackboard Chatbot for Learn
We’re excited to announce the first availability of Blackboard Chatbot in Learn. Blackboard Chatbot is a free tool offered in Blackboard Learn that will be automatically available to SaaS clients in North America who have enabled the Ultra Base Navigation. It launches beginning on November 5, with the 3900.0.0 Learn SaaS production release. Some institutions may not see Chatbot in Learn until November 6.
Seamlessly integrated into Ultra Base Navigation and Ultra courses, Blackboard Chatbot provides always-on support. It returns answers to students' commonly asked Learn questions and issues directly from Blackboard Help. For this initial release, Blackboard Chatbot is available only in English.
To access Blackboard Chatbot, select the help icon in the bottom right. Then select Chat Support to open the Chatbot panel. Students can ask Blackboard Chatbot their questions or select from a pre-populated list. Chatbot uses machine learning to better serve your learners over time.
Blackboard Chatbot will be on by default, but administrators can manage its availability.
As students re-engage in their disrupted educational experience, they'll need student services more than ever. At some institutions, these services will be virtual for the first time. Blackboard Assist is a student success hub for campus and online resources, available on your desktop or from anywhere with the Blackboard mobile app. Assist elevates campus and online resources, building awareness so students always find what they need.
Assist supports your educational continuity plans with institutional, Blackboard-sourced, and partner-provided solutions. Institutions can create and feature profiles of their existing services to appear in Assist. Assist also provides access to partner services: curated, high-quality providers offering scalable, virtual solutions to meet student needs. Administrators can manage available partner services that best benefit their students.
Assist will be available in Learn SaaS for higher education institutions in the Original Experience, the Ultra Experience, and the Blackboard app. At this time, it won't be available for K12, corporate, and government clients.
We encourage you to start planning the services you would promote in Assist, connecting with the offices that manage your student services including academic and financial assistance, health and wellness, housing and food security, and student life.
In future releases, Assist will adapt to users and offer personalized recommendations in places of learning such as in courses, the gradebook, and the activity stream.
Content editor updates
This release introduces big updates to the content editor in the Original Course View and the Original experience. We’ve made numerous simplifications and improvements, including:
A single menu to add content that automatically recognizes file types
Optimized experience for all devices and screen sizes
Better accessibility for both the editor and the content you create. Menus and icons have higher contrast, pop-ups are gone, and an accessibility checker lets you know about accessibility issues as you write
The ability to paste content from Word, Excel, and websites with basic formatting and easily remove extra HTML
The ability to paste a link in the editor and automatically embed videos and previews
The ability to display formatted computer code snippets
Institutions using custom language packs created for older versions of Learn have found they may need to update their language packs for the editor to work properly.
We’ve made some noteworthy API updates, including:
- Institutions and partners can now provide students direct, deep links to specific Learn course content from their own portal or tool.
In very large classes, performance is one of our top concerns. We’ve received feedback that including all students in the blog and journal view filter created slow loading times. To improve this performance, we’ve changed the view filter to display only those course members who have completed participation in the blog or journal activity. Non-participants are not displayed. For graded blogs or journals, instructors can display non-participants in the Grade Center.
Details & Actions items load together
With this release, items in the Details & Actions section of the Ultra Course View will now load in a single wave. This change will prevent students and instructors from selecting the wrong item as the page loads.
Embed Office 365 documents
In this release, students and instructors can embed Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files as well as Microsoft Stream videos from SharePoint into the rich text editor in the Ultra Course View. This option is only available with enterprise versions of Office 365.
Gradebook student list view improvements
This release introduces several improvements and new functionality for student list view in the Ultra gradebook.
- Instructors can send messages and add accommodations for a student within both the student list view and the grade details view
- Instructors can set up activity stream alerts about student inactivity and grade thresholds for themselves and their students. If their course contains enough activity and grading data, they can also see a detailed visualization of class performance.
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 3900.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Large icon updates
In this release, you’ll see new large icons in the Ultra experience. We made these changes to our icons to improve accessibility and differentiation for all users.
- Like the small icon update earlier this year, the new icons have a thicker stroke to improve accessibility.
- The new icons are more distinctive to avoid confusion between similar icons and to better support quick scanning.
Show seconds in quiz timer
With this release, students will know how much time they have left down to the last second when they take a quiz in the Ultra Course View. The quiz timer will change from minutes to seconds when less than 1 minute remains.
Looking for older release notes?
Check out the Blackboard Learn Release Notes Archive for more information on past releases.