Here is everything you need to know about the December 29, 2015 release of Blackboard Open LMS 2.9.

In these release notes you'll find the following information.

More on the release schedule for this release

Major Features

The following are the major new and updated features for Blackboard Open LMS 2.9. 

  • Moodle Core 2.9.3 Upgrade
  • X-Ray Learning Analytics Integration
  • Snap Improvements
  • Mahara 15 Upgrade

Upgrade to Moodle Core 2.9.3

Recommended minimum browser: recent Google ChromeTM, recent Mozilla Firefox®, Safari® 6, Internet Explorer® (IE) 9. IE 10 is required for drag and drop of files from outside the browser into Moodle.

Moodle 2.9 New Features

The following are the features that are new or updated in this release. For a detailed description of each of these new features, including links to video tutorials, please see the official Moodle 2.9 New Features guide (may be available in English only) and YouTubeTM video overview of Moodle 2.9 (may be available in English only).

  • For all users
    • My home is now Dashboard
    • New Grades page
    • New Profile page
    • Browser sessions page
    • New Preferences page
    • Improved messaging
    • Drag and drop into Atto
    • Search Server files
  • Activity enhancements
    • Lesson
    • Quiz
    • Easily post to all groups in a forum
    • Extra options for Database and Glossary
    • Activity results
    • Grade to pass
  • Course management
    • Delete course sections
    • Faster addition of cohorts and meta linked courses
    • Keyholder
  • New options for administrators and developers
    • New template library for renderers
    • Add custom file types

More on the Moodle 2.9 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 2.9.1 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 2.9.2 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

More on the Moodle 2.9.3 Release Notes on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

Important Moodle Clarifications

  • A new Preferences page with link in the user menu (top right of each page) provides access to the edit profile and change password pages and to pages for other user preferences previously found in the Administration block under My profile settings.
  • In Snap you can also now access the new user preferences from your user profile page.
  • A new Grades link in the user menu provides access to an overview of a user's grades in all their courses. An administrator can configure the contents of the user menu in the 'User menu items' setting in Administration > Site administration > Appearance > Themes > Theme settings, so the grades link can be removed if desired.
  • As part of the navigation improvements in 2.9, certain links have been removed from the navigation and administration blocks and are instead available via the user menu. Thus, all themes must use the user menu.
  • The require activity description setting for various activities and resources has been replaced by a single common setting with default no.
  • The Quiz results block is hidden by default, as it has been replaced by the new Activity results block which can display results from any graded or rated activities in the course.
  • Some of the newly introduced User menu links are accessed differently when using the Snap theme:
    • The link to the Preferences page is available in the user's profile
    • Users can access all of their course grades using the My grades button in the personal menu feedback column.
    • There is no change to how users access their profile page, messages, or logout from previous versions.

Snap Improvements

  • We've made it easier to move resources, activities, and sections within your courses. A new icon has been added to facilitate this.
  • Course editing actions are now always available. The "Turn editing on" function now refers specifically to editing blocks within the Course Tools section.
  • Course, module, activity and resource edit forms now display in two columns on large screen devices.
  • We have adopted web best practices for opening files and URLs:
    • Resources of type "multimedia" will open in a lightbox style on the course page.
    • Images will continue to display inline on the page (no change from version 2.8).
    • Resources of any other type will open in a new tab/window and let the browser choose how to display them. For most browsers and file types this means downloading the file. For pdfs most browsers have a built in reader or plugin.
    • Resources of type "file" and "URL" no longer have options of opening the resource in a popup, embed, automatic, open
  • Uploading files to the course page is now performed through a drag-n-drop box. It is also provides a browse link so that you can drag multiple files into the box and upload multiple files through a standard web input type file picker. The browse link significantly improves a user's ability to upload files from a mobile device.
  • Learners can view new forum posts that are important to them within the menu improving their engagement within courses.
  • The setting for viewing forum posts in the personal menu now defaults to "On".
  • Users can access "Preferences" from the Snap User menu

Mahara 15 Upgrade

We are taking advantage of the new features in Mahara 15 eportfolio assignment plugin. Mahara is upgraded to version 15.04. Highlights of this version are available in the Mahara 15.04 forum topic. You can also view a YouTube video on the Mahara 15.04 release (may be available in English only).

Plugin Reviews and Updates

The plugins listed below will only be made available on your site by request. Updated versions of plugins you are already using do not need to be requested; you will automatically receive the update.

Updated Plugins

  • Attendance Module (2015102200)
  • Big Blue Button (2015080606)
  • Certificate Module (2015083101)
  • Collapsed Topic Course Format (2015062207)
  • Hotpot Module (2015110583)
  • Journal Module (2015052700)
  • * Kaltura 4.0.07 (2015091609)
  • Lightbox Gallery (2015091801)
  • * Luminis Message Broker (2015091700)
  • * Mahara Assignment Submission (2015021004)
  • * McGraw-Hill v2.9.3
  • * Moodle Mobile (2015050110)
  • * NLN Module (2015052100)
  • Questionnaire Module (2015051103)
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser (2015102000)
  • Respondus StudyMateClass (2015061700)
  • * Respondus WebServices (2015061600)
  • Turnitin Moodle Direct V1 (2015030304)
  • Turnitin Moodle Direct V2 (2015040110)
  • * Turnitin Plagiarism (2015040110)

New Plugins

  • * Progress Bar (2015121100)

Bug Fixes and Minor Enhancements

  • Advanced Forum
    • Advanced Forum doesn't allow for timed posts due to inline display
    • Fatal coding error in Advanced Forum when there are empty groups
    • * Students cannot add a second discussion via Atto or TinyMCE editors without refreshing the page.
  • Campus Vue Integration
    • * Campus Vue attendance does not work automatically
  • Conduit
    • Conduit grades report export to CSV/TSV never completes
    • Duplicate 'datecompleted' entries in Genius WS response
    • Conduit sync files task does not pass along log type
  • Collaborate
    • On SOAP fault error, Continue link now takes you back to current course
    • * Test API does not properly validate empty or invalid values
  • Datatel ILP Integration
    • Fix Grade Display in ILP
  • Google Apps Integration
    • Google Apps Block Causes Context Error
  • Joule Grader
    • Students cannot access Joule Grader
    • Site slowness due to issues with Joule Grader and long queries
    • Joule Grader does not display modules with hidden grade for Teacher and Administrator
    • Joule Grader only displays Advanced Forums posts to student if student has submitted an assignment or a post has been graded
  • Joule Reports
    • Needs grading report inaccurate
  • Moodle Core
    • Upgrading old assignments does not work with conditional access
    • User unenrollment not working with IMS Enterprise
    • Students receive assignment notifications from other student submissions
  • Snap
    • Orphaned activities cause drag and drop to fail
    • Page module in Snap does not trigger completion
    • URL Resource opening in new window in Snap does not directly open the resource unless clicking on name
    • Snap login panel positioned to right hand side of page
    • Users not enrolled on any courses should see an indication in the Snap personal menu where enrolled courses will be listed
    • Student can access new 2.9 Grades page in the Snap personal menu under the recent feedback column.
    • * Action column in Plugins Overview needs to be expanded
    • * Activity completion labels display improperly for activities and resources
    • * Cannot add Activity comments for a gradable activity via Joule gradebook
    • * Cannot close message dialog in User/Overview/Single view reports
    • * Snap with Folderview does not focus on module when saved
    • * IE11 scrolls to footer after various actions
    • * Remove empty My Profile settings menu on user profile page
    • * Page image alignment changes with the activity above it
    • * Settings block not found on page when user clicks LTI Provider
    • * Remove user's own posts from personal menu forum stream
    • * Clicking on roles in Activity/Resource More menu sends a user to Assign roles in course page
    • * Add a link to Preferences in user menu
    • * Course tools and Add a new section links do not display consistently in IE
  • Streams and Alerts
    • Streams and Alerts sends assignment notifications to teachers who aren't in a group and do not have accessallgroups permission
  • * Third Party Plugins
    • Class List block fails to load if course has a user enrolled with teacher role
    • Fatal error occurs if Attendance block and Attendance activity are both enabled in course
    • Strings for role definitions in MyLabMastering, my_home blocks, and Questionview report missing

Any information added to the release notes after December 14, 2015 is marked with a star ( * ).