About this release
Starting with this Learn 9.1 release, the name will shift from using the quarter/year as the name to a version number to align with the SaaS release model. There is also a new monthly release cadence for Learn 9.1 that will include bug fixes and feature improvements. These monthly releases will replace Cumulative Updates which will no longer be issued for 3900.0. You can choose any monthly 9.1 release and take improvements and bug fixes at any time. You do not have to wait until the next big twice-yearly release (Q2/Q4) to get an improvement you've been waiting for.
With the Original Experience (Learn 9.1), there are six categories that are a key focus for development: Enhancements through platform features, Iterative feature improvements, Mobile optimization and responsiveness, Data access and insights, Standards and interoperability, and Quality and maintenance. The 9.1 3900.0 release focuses on 4 of these areas:
- Enhancements through platform features. Enhancements are delivered in the Original Experience through enhancements to platform features, capabilities not specific to the Original Experience. In some cases, these features can also be enhanced without requiring a Learn release upgrade. These features sometimes have differing timelines for global availability due to regional requirements for data storage and handling.
- Iterative feature improvements. Enhancements to existing features in the Original Experience or are implemented as part of work for the Ultra Experience.
- Standards and Interoperability. As a leader in openness, Blackboard continues to invest in expanding support for standards and interoperability within Learn in order to give institutions increasing options for expanding and defining their unique EdTech platforms.
- Quality and Maintenance. Blackboard continues to make changes to technologies and processes to further improve quality. This includes improvements to security frameworks and processes to achieve various security certifications, performance improvements, changes to address compliance with ever-evolving global regulations, and updating technologies and libraries used within the application.
Enhanced content editor
This release introduces big changes to the Content Editor in the Original Course View including numerous simplifications and improvements:
- The Power of Plus - One easy menu for adding content from your computer, cloud storage, or integrated tool. The Content Editor will automatically recognize the kinds of files you add.
- Better for All Devices - The editor is better suited for all devices—small screen or big. Pop-ups are gone for a better mobile experience.
- Improved Accessibility - The editor is more accessible, and a new accessibility checker helps authors make content more accessible. Ally not required. Compliments Ally use.
- Better Copy and Paste - Pasting content from Word, Excel, and websites is even better. You can choose to remove extra HTML but retain basic formatting.
- Simple Embed - When pasting links to websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion, the videos are automatically embedded for inline playback. Similar to social media sites or collaborative services like Slack and Yammer, website links that express a meta description will display a summary preview card.
- Display Computer Code - Authors can now share formatted computer code snippets, super handy for computer science classes and coding clubs.
- Easy Text Wrapping - Flow text next to images by selecting an image and choosing left or right justification. Text will wrap next to the image using the float style which is both mobile responsive and accessible.
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.
To do module - Due week segmentation
Different global regions have different calendar conventions, including which day displays as the first day of the week. With this release, calendars will not only display based on this convention as it has previously, but week segmentation is handled in the To Do module. Upcoming due dates are properly categorized into today, tomorrow, this week, and the future beyond this week based on the user's locale.
Read-only messages for students
Administrators can now choose whether students are able to create and reply to messages or simply make them read-only. Messages can thus be used for one-way communications only.
Updated email announcements
Course email announcements have been updated to include the title and course name in the email subject making it easier to setup rules to organize class emails.
Discussion forum manager icon
The manager icon for course and system level Discussion has been updated. Users will now see a new green rosette icon symbolizing the manager status of the forum. This replaces a badge icon that was used previously. Clients on previous releases can update to the new icon as well.
Link tab handling for authenticated sites
For a more seamless experience, this release now supports the ability for admins in a Link Tab to force the rendering of web pages in an iframe. If there’s a webpage whose x-frame-options will only send a DENY if the user isn’t authenticated but will allow an authenticated user to view in an iframe, admins can configure a tab link to enforce that behavior and create a more integrated experience for their users.
Warning when grading with complex schemas
When grading schemas are complex and use smaller points possible values that aren’t whole, results can be unexpected since numbers are not rounded and explicitly use 5 decimals. The warning message is meant to help users understand they should review the results.
Passes in Content Collection 360-View
Users can more easily see all passes, permissions and expiries, as well as see the pass creators' usernames. When looking at the 360 view, not only will passes be listed under the passes header, but the permissions box will clearly outline existing passes and who created them.
Global Logout with SAML Authentication Providers
The experience has been improved for users when the institution is using SAML for federated authentication. The messages helps to clarify when the user is only logged out of Blackboard Learn and clarifies their options. Users can log out through their identity provider or they can login again presenting them with the option to log out of their SSO session.
Updated Achievements Text-on-Page
The text on page has been updated within the Achievements tool and within the Admin Panel to indicate badge publishing now uses Badgr Backpack.
Archive and Restore Improvements
The archive and restore process has been enhanced to include user data for dropped (disabled) students. This allows for a more comprehensive picture of user activity in restored courses for permanent records and future reviews.
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)
- LTI tools can now be limited by Institutional Hierarchy Nodes.
- The setup workflows for LTI Advantage and LTI 1.3 tools have been improved.
- The LTI configuration page has been improved to better distinguish between the LTI 1.1 and 1.3 setup.
- LTI launches from Student Preview users indicate pass new LTI role of Test User.
New or Updated APIs
- List and filter assessment attempts based on when the attempt was created, modified, or submitted
- Search and sort on course membership modification timestamp
- Redesigned Groups API, including separated Groups and GroupSets
- Access and manage user avatars
- Institutional Hierarchy management and associations
- Assignment APIs support SafeAssign options
- Course Copy APIs
- Read active user sessions through APIs
- Gradebook API Improvements
- Institutions and partners can now provide students direct, deep links to specific Learn course content from their own portal or tool
- Institutions with very large courses will see improved system performance and stability.
- Under LDAP Advanced Settings, a configurable Read Timeout setting has been added. The timeout limit will terminate requests that take too long getting a response from the LDAP server.
- When deleting courses, the system now uses a queued task and provides an indicator in the Admin Panel Course list during the process.
- To improve notification performance, users who have over 100 unread discussion forum messages will now see 100+ unread messages listed in the What's New module.
Blogs and Journals
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.
Other improvements and changes
Additional changes and improvements found in this release:
- The YouTube logo has been updated
- Security improvements:
- PBKDF2 encryption method has been removed
- Password data excluded from SIS settings export. See Behind the Blackboard for details.
- Search for Textbook has been removed from the Textbook Building Block
- The Visualization and Admin Console Building Blocks have been removed in this release