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 3900.50.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.50.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 13 September 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 6 October 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.50.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.50.0-rel.17+6e36127 to Test/Stage servers to take place on 4 October 2022.

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

 


October 2022 – 3900.50 Release

The October 2022 - 3900.50 release is complete with features in four areas:

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

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

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

All users:

Administrators:

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Assessments and Grading

Improved access to Student Grades Overview – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

An overview of a student's performance is helpful to instructors when working in the gradebook. In the List View of the Gradebook, when an instructor selects a student card an overview of the student’s assessment performance displays.

Before, in the Grid View of the Gradebook, when an instructor selected a student the student’s account information appeared. This was an unexpected result. Now, an overview of the student’s performance on assessments is displayed.

This change supplies a consistent experience when instructors select a student in the list and grid views. This change also supplies an expected behavior and improved access to the student grades overview.

Image 1. The gradebook grid view

The gradebook grid view

Image 2. An overview of a student’s grades

An overview of a student’s grades

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Enhanced auto save capability in the Content Editor in Tests & Assignments – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Test anxiety is a real problem that some students face today. To help, we want to ensure that students have confidence that all progress in an assessment is auto saved. In the past, student responses entered in the content editor only auto saved when a student clicked outside of the content editor.

Now student responses entered in the content editor auto save two seconds after the student stops typing. The "last saved" time is displayed at the bottom of the assessment. This time stamp auto updates.

Image 1. Last saved time stamp

Last saved time stamp for auto save capability of the content editor

If there is a disruption in connectivity, students receive a "Connection lost" warning. This warning informs students that they must act to re-establish the connection. When the connection is restored, the student’s work is saved automatically.

Image 2. Connection lost warning

Connection lost warning for auto save capability in the content editor

Auto saving is independent of any browser undo function. When a student uses the undo action, contents change according to browser behavior. Any changes because of an undo action will auto save.

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design:

Math Formulas accessible with screen readers - 3900.50

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

Math formulas are a critical part of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. Participants in these courses expect that all aspects of the course are accessible, including the math formulas. Now instructors and students can use screen readers to access math formulas when creating, editing and viewing content.

This update helps people who use a screen reader independently access math formulas. This new functionality also supports easier content creation since no added effort is needed to make the math formulas accessible.

Image 1. Math formulas added with the math editor and LaTeX equations read with screen readers

Math formulas added with the math editor and LaTeX equations read with screen readers

Image 2. Math formulas read with screen readers in user’s local language (Spanish)

Math formulas read with screen readers in user’s local language (Spanish)

Key considerations:

  • Math formulas alternative text and language depends on the Learn Ultra course language configuration.
  • Screen reader language, speed, and voice depend on the user’s device language configuration.
  • Users should confirm that their device and Learn Ultra course have the same language configuration.
  • Languages supported depends on WIRIS library. As of October 2022, WIRIS supports Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish.
  • If the Learn Ultra course is configured to use a language not supported by WIRIS, math formulas are read in English.
  • Math formulas can be added in content editors using the math editor or by typing LaTeX equations. Both formats are accessible with screen readers.
  • LaTeX equations display as text in the content editor. When users save the text, the LaTeX equations render as images. The screen reader reads the equations as text in the content editor and reads the math formulas when rendered as images.
  • Content editors that have the math editor option also render LaTeX equations.
  • LaTeX equations are not rendered inside code snippets because LaTeX equations are treated as part of the code format.

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Student Progress report for course content - 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors need to know how their students engage with course content. This knowledge helps instructors take important actions, such as improving course content or reaching out to idle students. Now instructors can see the progress that students indicate for the following content types:

  • Ultra Documents
  • SCORM packages
  • Uploaded files
  • Links
  • Cloud documents
  • LTI content with no associated grade
  • Learning modules
  • Folders

The new report allows instructors to select a piece of content and view:

  • Students who have not yet opened content;
  • Students who have opened or started viewing content; and
  • Students who have marked the content as complete.

The report includes the date and time an action occurred (e.g., when a student started viewing content). Instructors may sort by student name or progress status. Instructors can act based on this information by sending an individual or bulk message with a blind copy to each student.

The Student Name list includes the most recent improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion. If the student has provided this information, the list displays additional name, pronunciation, and pronoun information.

Image 1. Student Progress report for a specific piece of course content

Student Progress report for a specific piece of course content

Instructors may access this report from:

  • Select the ellipsis menu for the piece of content, select “Student Progress”
  • Select the piece of content (e.g., Ultra Document) and select the “Student Progress” tab

Image 2. Select the ellipsis menu of a piece of content

Select the ellipsis menu of a piece of content

For administrators: This feature is dependent on the “progress tracking” feature flag on the administrator panel. If you wish for Instructors to use this report, ensure “progress tracking” is turned on. Access the configuration options from the “The Ultra experience is here!” section on the administrator panel.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Granular Content Copy - Improvements to Legacy Content – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators

In the past, we used a type of file storage called Legacy Content in Original courses. When a user deleted the course content items, Legacy Content could become orphaned.

When upgrading an Original Course to the Ultra Course View, the process could retain the Legacy Content. Legacy Content may also increase with the use of Granular Content Copy feature. Storage and course copy performance could be affected. The Legacy Content folder is not available for user access in SaaS.

Starting with this release, Legacy Content will move to the Content Management System. Administrators will have access to a new ‘lost and found’ folder in the Course home folder.

Courses affected by this issue will see a reduction in Legacy Content in the course size report.

For administrators: Please review the files in the new "Lost and Found" folder. Move the files to permanent storage or discard them.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Course Messages recipient picker improvement for courses with more than 100 participants – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn Original
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

Course Messages is a useful tool for course communication.

In the past, the recipient picker did not work as expected in courses with more than 100 participants. When a user clicked the “Add recipients” button, the Compose Message page collapsed and was unusable.

Now users may add recipients as expected.

Image 1. Recipient picker for courses with more than 100 users

Recipient picker for courses with more than 100 users

When users select recipients, a recipient chip is created. If the user wishes to edit the list of recipients, the user should remove the chip and select the desired recipients.

Image 2. Recipient chip with all selected recipients

Recipient chip with all selected recipients

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Course name in browser tab – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: All users

Some users open different courses in separate browser tabs. Adding the course name to the browser tab helps users find the right tab. When a user is in the following areas of a course, they will see the name of the area and the name of the course: Analytics Calendar Content Discussion Gradebook Messages

Image 1. Area and course name appear in browser tab

Area and course name appear in browser tab

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management:

Global HTML Filter Requirement Change – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

We conduct continuous reviews of Blackboard Learn to improve our security. Learn has an HTML filter in the Original Experience and Original Course View. This filter removes scripts that users add in the content editor. This helps prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities.

In the past it was possible for an administrator to turn off this filter. Starting with this release, the filter will always be on. Administrators can still allow certain users to bypass the filter. They can grant users the privilege Add/Edit trusted content with scripts. As before, we recommend administrators restrict the number of users with this privilege.

The Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View do not use this filter. In the Ultra Course View, HTML blocks render in an iframe from a separate domain. This prevents XSS risk to the Learn application.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. This change will happen automatically. It will not be possible to turn off the global HTML filter.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Improvements to Blackboard App Settings – 3900.50

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

Users expect to have access to their courses on mobile devices. The transition between mobile and desktop applications should be seamless and frustration free. To support effortless movement between the two, we added settings categories and mobile-specific categories. A new design of this section provides simplified toggles for configurating your preferences.

Image 1. Stream notification option in the Settings section

Stream notification option in the Settings section

Image 2. Stream notification settings

Stream notification settings

Image 3. Disrupted connectivity alert

Disrupted connectivity alert

For administrators: This feature is available for all users of the Mobile App. Users with enabled automatic updates on their devices are not required to do any actions. Users with disable automatic updates on their devices must download the update.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Base Navigation - Grades: Reduce height of course tiles for courses without grades – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users

In the Grades section of the base navigation, we have reduced the space used on course tiles for courses without grades.

Reducing this space for courses without grades gives users with multiple courses a better browsing experience.

Image 1. When there are no grades, space for course grades is reduced

When there are no grades, space for course grades is reduced

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Course Upgrading:

Preserving the forced sequencing setting on Learning Modules during course upgrading - 3900.50

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

In the past, when upgrading from the Original to Ultra Course View, we did not preserve the forced sequence setting selection for Learning Modules. Now we now preserve this setting selection during the upgrade process. If enabled in the Original Course View, the upgrade process keeps the setting in the Ultra Course View.

Image 1. The Forced Sequence setting in the Original Course View

The Forced Sequence setting in the Original Course View

Image 2. The Forced Sequence setting in the Ultra Course View

The Forced Sequence setting in the Ultra Course View

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 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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