This page contains features released to production in October 2018 and later. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features released to production through September 2018. Maintenance items for releases 3500.0.0 and earlier can also be found in the Archive.
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UPDATE: Upcoming changes to Open JDK and impact to Building Blocks in Learn SaaS deployments
To address recent changes in Oracle’s Java support model, Blackboard Learn is transitioning to adopt the latest version of OpenJDK as it’s released. We previously announced this change with the introduction of OpenJDK 11 as part of Blackboard Learn release 3600.0, and later announced a new target of June 2019. Based on the results of initial testing with Technical Preview participants and our partners, we concluded that Java 11 adoption should be removed from those target releases due to compatibility issues with extensions. The delay allowed for continued testing to uphold the user experience and minimize disruptions.
Our new target for adopting Java 11 is 3700.7.0, which is scheduled for SaaS Continuous Delivery release into test on 16 July 2019 and into production on 8 August 2019.
For developers, partners, and institutions, testing Building Blocks for compatibility is highly recommended because libraries may have changed. For developers, recompiling Building Blocks using the updated Java libraries is also a best practice and should be performed for Java 11. Partners and clients can access early builds of Learn with Java 11 by requesting to join the Learn SaaS Technical Preview program.
We’re changing the way we adopt Java updates in Blackboard Learn. These changes start with Blackboard Learn SaaS release 3600.0 with the adoption of Open JDK 11.
While we expect that building blocks will continue to work as is, Blackboard is aware that some fundamental library changes could affect compatibility. To help ensure that you’re able to thoroughly test for these upcoming changes, we’re introducing a Learn SaaS Technical Preview program.
Partners in the Blackboard Developers’ Network (BbDN) should enter a support case requesting to participate in the program.
Additional updates in the user interface
- To ensure privacy, only instructor names—not instructor usernames—appear to students throughout the Ultra experience.
- Building on the URL and role branding feature released earlier, administrators can see a brand’s host and role associations from the Brands page.
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 3700.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Office 365/G Suite Integration: Individual authentication
The ability to support institutionally managed access to cloud storage alongside personal storage is an important major request we hear from our clients. This release provides the ability for institutions and schools who leverage Microsoft or Google to select their preferred solution and allow users to access their institutional cloud storage account from within their profile or directly upload content in the Ultra Course View.
Allow your instructors and students to access Office365 or Google accounts from Blackboard Learn. Users can access cloud storage from their Ultra courses, profile, and the Tools page. Multiple entry points make it easier to get to the files they want when they want it. Administrators must configure the institution account to turn on instructor and student access. On the Administrator panel, go to Institution Cloud Storage to set up the integration.
Learn SaaS release 3500.0.5: Update to FDO client Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.0.5 (full release number 3500.0.5-rel.49+4a09578) to Flexible Deployment Option client Production servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 5:00PM EST on May 20, 2019.
Learn SaaS release 3700.3.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.3.0 (full release number 3700.3.0-rel.7+29b16e7) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 5:00AM EST on May 31, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- When a student submitted multiple attempts on a test in quick succession, the system's responsiveness would slow or stop. We've fixed the issue.
- On the Courses page in the Ultra experience, longer course names were appearing with unexpected symbols. We've fixed the issue.
- A few improvements for custom themes in the Ultra experience:
- We've improved how custom themes are created and updated on the backend in the Ultra experience to improve performance.
- Deleted custom brands weren't being removed from the database properly, leading to unexpected behavior. We've fixed the issue.
- When an administrator uploaded a custom navigation logo, the custom login logo was cleared. We've fixed the issue.
- Some users reported losing the ability to upload a logo to the Institution Page. We've fixed the issue.
- The Institution Page associated with a custom brand wasn't available for administrators if modules weren't visible. We've fixed the issue.
Add external calendars in Blackboard Learn
Instructors and students often use calendars to organize and keep track of events. Access to a course calendar is crucial to meeting deadlines and overall success. Having access to all events—both personal and academic—in one place helps keep everyone on track. In this release, users can synchronize external calendars with Blackboard Learn, building on the previously released capabilities.
On the Calendar page in the base navigation, open Calendar Settings and select Add Calendar. Drag and drop or click to upload your calendar file in ICS format. When you connect your external calendar to Blackboard Learn, all course events appear one year in the past and into the future.
Additional updates in the user interface
- Previously, the Courses page in the Ultra experience listed a user's oldest courses first. The order has been flipped and now the newest courses are listed first. If a user designates any courses as favorites, those courses still appear first in the list.
- To improve performance for system tasks, we’ve introduced new retention settings. You can configure how long your system retains information on asynchronous system tasks, including “complete,” “error,” and “incomplete” tasks. Find these options in Administrator Panel > Logs > System Tasks Status > Retention Settings.
- We’ve updated file behavior for Portfolios to improve performance. When a user downloads a portfolio, the assets will reference assets stored on Blackboard's content delivery network (CDN). File names will use https://learn.blackboardcdn.com/. Related updates are described on Behind the Blackboard.
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 3700.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Office 365/G Suite integration for Ultra Course View
Learning institutions all over the world are adopting Office 365 and G Suite. With the many benefits they offer, these cloud suites are a compelling solution for education. In this release, we’re pleased to introduce the Office 365 and G Suite integration with Blackboard Learn. Instructors and students can now add files from their institution cloud storage account directly into their courses. Before this release, they could only add files from their personal cloud accounts.
Administrators need to allow and set up the integration with the institution's suite account. The service provider and domain name are needed to complete institution account configuration. After configuration, authenticated institution cloud accounts are associated with Blackboard Learn accounts. This means that users don't need to authenticate more than once. The institution accounts display in their course no matter what device or browser they use.
Users must use a login ID that matches the domain configured for institution accounts to display.
Under Integrations in the Administrator Panel, select Institution Cloud Storage to set up the integration.
Parallel grading in the Ultra Course View
For higher stakes assessments, a double marking process is sometimes used in which each student’s submission is evaluated by two graders and a final grader reviews those evaluations to make the final decision on a student’s grade. This approach intends to reduce bias and is often paired with student anonymity. When setting up an assignment in the Ultra Course View, instructors can enable parallel grading and select non-student course members to act as graders and reconcilers. Instructors can also hide student names to prevent unintended bias.
Update to the Organizations and Courses pages in the Ultra experience
In this release, we've updated the Courses and Organizations pages in the Ultra base navigation.
We've brought the Ultra design language to the Organizations base page. Courses and organizations also now include the ability to add images. You can also view the Courses and Organizations pages as either a list or a grid, where banner images are on display. The Organizations page contains the same functions and workflows as the Courses page.
URL and role branding for the Ultra experience
Institutions want to be able to express their own brand and identity within the learning management system, and this often extends to specific branding for their faculties or affiliations. With the introduction of URL and role branding in the Ultra experience, institutions can now create their own domain and role specific Ultra brands, providing a sense of personalization for instructors and students.
Create a new brand from the Brands link on the Administrator Panel. You can customize the login logo, navigation and login icon, color selection, and Institution Page for a brand. Associate the brand to a new host/domain name and/or institution role in the Ultra experience.
Cumulative Update 1 for FDO Q2 2019 (release 3700.0.1)
Cumulative Update (CU) 1 for the Q2 2019 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to FDO client Test/Stage environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.0.0 (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.23+4c6d4de) to Flexible Deployment Option client Test/Stage servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 5:00AM EST on May 15, 2019.
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to Ultra Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of the 3700.0.0 Ultra user interface (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.23+4c6d4de) to client Production servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 1:00 PM EST on May 13, 2019.
Updates in this version relate only to the Ultra Course View and include:
- Instructors weren't able to use rubrics on graded group discussions in the Ultra Course View. We've fixed the issue.
- Students saw an error message when opening a rubric applied to a graded group assignment submission in the Ultra Course View. We've fixed the issue.
After your environment is updated, users will need to refresh their browser or log out and log in again to see the updates.
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to client Test/Stage and Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.0.0 (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.23+4c6d4de) to client Test/Stage and Production servers.
Your Production instance may be updated starting on May 9, 2019. Your Test/Stage instance may be updated starting on May 10, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- An issue introduced with the 3700.0 release caused Learn Ultra to frequently query the entire content management resource link. This caused extreme garbage collection and out-of-memory issues across application servers leading to system instability and eventual outage. We've fixed the issue, restoring environment stabilization and operations. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Delay for Continuous Delivery release to Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re delaying the Blackboard Learn SaaS 3700.0.0 Continuous Delivery release to client Production servers to be on May 3, 2019. This is one day later than previously announced. The release schedule and release notes have been updated to reflect this change.
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.0.0 (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.10+745b49a) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 5:00AM EST on April 15, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.0.0 (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.14+b5a694ef) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 1:00AM EST on April 30, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- A bug was introduced related to discussions in the Ultra Course View. Discussion settings weren't retained when an Ultra course was duplicated. We've fixed the issue.
Gradebook improvements: Filter based on merged courses
Grading tasks and workflows vary widely from instructor to instructor. To support these specific workflows in Ultra, we’re building features to help ease the administrative burden of working in the grade book. In this release, instructors can filter their gradebook view based on child courses that have been merged. Instructors who manage merged courses can filter the gradebook view to show only students in a specific child course.
Individual feedback for group assessments
Instructors often use group-based assessments as part of their curriculums. There are times when instructors want to provide specific feedback for individuals in a group, in addition to group feedback overall. In this release, we introduce the ability to provide feedback for an entire group as well as individual members.
For group assessments, instructors can add individual feedback for each student within a group. Previously, each student in a group received the same feedback and only differentiated grades were supported. Now group members can see feedback for the group and their individual feedback if provided.
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 3700.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Preview course as a student
This feature was previously announced as part of 3600.0.0. We found an issue with this feature that would impact the user experience. After carefully reviewing the issue and to ensure release quality, we concluded that we should remove Student Preview from that release for quality concerns.
This feature is now confirmed as part of 3700.0.0.
Instructors want to be confident that their courses are well-designed and function as intended—before their students see them. Instructors can use student preview to review the course content. They can also validate the course behaviors, such as those that control course content availability or require a particular interaction from the students to be triggered. With student preview, instructors can experience their courses exactly as their students do.
Start student preview from the Details & Actions menu within your Ultra course. The preview creates user in your course that you can use to view everything as a student would.
Question Banks in the Ultra Course View
With this release, instructors can now directly import question banks, including question pools that have been exported from Original courses and packages of questions that have been purchased from a publisher. These questions are then available for use and reuse across the assessments in that course. Imported question banks display in the same area of the question reuse search and filter panel as pools that were converted from Original courses. As with any conversion from Original to Ultra, question types that are not yet supported are dropped during the processing of the imported file.
Instructors can import question banks to use in their assessments. Access to question banks now appears on the Course Content page in the Details & Actions panel.
Additional updates in the user interface
- On the Details & Action panel of the Ultra Course View, the Collaborate link has been updated to say Blackboard Collaborate. It previously said Course Room. We've also updated the link text in this menu.
- Previously, assessment descriptions weren’t properly converted to plain text when a course was converted to the Ultra Course View. Assessment descriptions are now converted to plain text like other content descriptions in Ultra.
Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2019
The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q2 2019 (3700.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers is now available. Contact Blackboard Support to schedule your upgrade for the time and date that works best for you.
This release includes features released as part of continuous delivery releases since 3500.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.
Learn SaaS release 3600.0.0: Update to client Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3600.0.0 (full release number 3600.0.0-rel.11+318243c) to client Production servers. Your instance may be updated starting in the early evening hours on April 13, 2019 based on your region and timezone.
Updates in this version include:
- A critical security vulnerability has been internally identified and we have fixed the issue. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
Cumulative Update 5 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.5)
Cumulative Update (CU) 5 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Learn SaaS release 3600.0.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3600.0.0 (full release number 3600.0.0-rel.9+22b493d) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 6:00AM EST on April 1, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- Instructors and students were unable to view portfolio submissions after a recent upgrade. We've fixed the issue. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
- In the Original Course View, the breadcrumb navigation bar at the top of the browser window appeared twice. We've fixed the issue. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
- In the Ultra Course View, we've removed the new Student Preview feature to address quality concerns. It will be included in an upcoming release.
Course role for facilitators
Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.
3600.0.0 marks the culmination of previous content lockdown releases with the introduction of the Facilitator role. This course role contains a set of default privileges regarding course calendar, discussions, gradebook, announcements, materials, and groups. Course members can be granted this role to help maintain the pace of the course throughout the term or as needed.
This release includes two new privileges to grant a user the ability to create or delete a discussion in the Ultra Course View.
Additionally, the privileges list shows when certain entitlements are inherited by other privileges. For example, the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability privilege is automatically granted to a user who also has the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Materials privilege. We’ve made this association clearer in the user interface.
If your environment already contains a custom course role with FACILITATOR as the Role ID, you may notice errors after the 3600.0.0 update. We're working on addressing this issue before the release reaches Production servers. To troubleshoot, copy your custom role, rename it to eliminate FACILITATOR, apply it to the appropriate users, and remove the old custom role.
Improvements for auto-archived courses
This release includes improvements to automatically archived courses to provide clients with greater flexibility and customization. You can access these settings through the Course Settings area of the Administrator Panel. Administrators can choose the length of time to keep a course archive on their system and whether course archives should include content that lives outside of the course’s directory.
Improvements to how the Activity Stream shows external content
The Activity Stream is the go-to place for instructors and students to understand what’s happening in a course. We’ve improved reporting behavior so third-party content due dates appear in the Activity Stream in a more dynamic way.
Previously, instructors and students could see an upcoming due date for this type of content. When the due date passed or the content status changed, the notification in the Activity Stream wouldn’t update. With this release, the Activity Stream more accurately reports on third-party content to keep everyone more up to date. Specifically, LTI and manual grade column notifications will update in the Activity Stream when:
- The item transitions from due to overdue
- The item’s due date is updated
- The item is deleted
- The item is graded
- The item’s visibility is changed
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 3600.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Self-service log download and removal of Kibana Building Block
We’ve added support for server log storage and access from within the Blackboard Learn user interface. Select Manage Content in the Administrator Panel to access logs.
Server logs are created once every hour and stored in the internal > logs folder. Logs are grouped by year, month, day, and hour. Logs are generated in the same format as those you’re used to viewing in Kibana as a JSON file.
The hour folder uses the Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) hour. Logs are transferred to the local file system once per hour, but on a four-hour delay. For example, if the current hour is 4 then during this hour logs from hour 0 will be transferred.
As part of the 3600.0.0 release, we will remove the Kibana Building Block and stop sending logs to Kibana. All logs will need to be accessed via the new workflow in the user interface.
Share calendar with external services
Instructors and students often use calendars to organize and keep track of events. Access to a course calendar is crucial to meeting deadlines and overall success. Having access to all events—both personal and academic—in one place helps keep everyone on track. In this release, users can synchronize their Blackboard Learn Ultra calendars to external calendars.
Generate a URL to share course calendar details with an external service. Share the URL only with trusted sources. When you connect your Blackboard Learn calendar to an external calendar, all course events appear one year in the past and into the future.
Support for IMS Global’s Questions and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification
Instructors and instructional designers use various technologies to develop assessments and need to be able to move assessment items such as questions from one system to another easily. To ensure compatibility and easy re-use, IMS Global developed the Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standard so questions can be shared between learning management and assessment systems. In this release, instructors and course builders can add QTI packages to Blackboard Learn in the Original Course View.
- Blackboard Learn handles QTI 2.1 packages as pools for import and export. If a QTI import package contains multiple assessment objects, multiple pools are created.
- Blackboard Learn supports the following question types for import/export in QTI 2.1 format: true/false, multiple choice, multiple answer, fill-in-the-blank, and essay.
- For embedded media, Blackboard Learn will import HTML5 and HTML Object tags. It will export HTML5.
- In scenarios where there is a mismatch in question configuration options, Blackboard Learn will prioritize fidelity of the question and answer text over settings. For example, some exam systems allow differing partial credit allocations to be set per possible answer response whereas Blackboard Learn maintains a list of correct answers. In this case, all answer options will be imported as correct so they can be reviewed for continued applicability in Blackboard Learn.
- Question metadata such as tags, categories, and alignments are not exported or imported at this time.
- Questions using the optional QTI response processing are skipped and not imported.
- Because different assessment tools have different features and varying media/HTML/equation handling capabilities, you should always review and test questions after transfer between solutions.
Additional updates in the user interface
- If your institution uses the Turn It In Building Block, students will no longer receive a Past Due notification when they have submitted an assignment on time.
- We’re building more and more content capabilities into the Ultra Course View. In this release, you’ll notice a redesigned menu to accommodate additional options in course content, gradebook, discussions, and documents.
- Users who subscribe to email notifications will notice we’ve updated the message format. We’ve reduced Blackboard branding and optimized the format for better appearance on more devices and email clients.
- We’ve updated the Global HTML filter to accept .txt files for student submissions
- Push notifications in the Ultra experience support Ultra course discussions. Students can receive notifications when someone responds to their discussion, someone replies to their posts, an instructor creates a new discussion, or when participation deadlines are approaching. Instructors can receive notifications for replies to discussion threads or posts they authored.
Learn SaaS release 3500.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.11.0 (full release number 3500.11.0-rel.10+071f567) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 6:00AM EST on March 4, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- Participants in an Organization saw an "Oops! Something went wrong" message when clicking on Organizations in the Ultra base navigation. We've fixed the issue. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
- Users weren't able to log in to Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience with Microsoft Edge browser versions 30-41. We've fixed the issue. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
Learn SaaS release 3500.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.11.0 (full release version 3500.11.0-rel.9+0b3fe2f) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 6:00AM EST on February 22, 2019.
Updates in this version include:
- In the Ultra Course View, students with accommodations and assessment exceptions can be granted additional time in timed assessments.
- Users can access SCORM content in a copied course. More information on Behind the Blackboard.
Blackboard Learn achieves LTI Advantage certification
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is an initiative managed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium to seamlessly integrate learning applications used by instructors into their courses. It includes a standard protocol for establishing a trusted relationship between the tool provider and the Learning Management System (LMS), so that students and teachers can have a seamless, integrated experience of using the tool within the context of their course.
Blackboard Learn is now LTI Advantage certified. Blackboard is among the first edtech companies to meet the rigorous IMS certification requirements for all components of LTI Advantage. LTI Advantage builds on the latest set of IMS standards and provides educational institutions and edtech suppliers with a set of extensions that allow deeper integration and enhanced interoperability between IMS certified tools and LMSs. LTI Advantage also leverages a robust security framework that offers more advanced protection of sensitive student data and adds features to support the delivery of innovative learning tools and applications necessary for digital transformation within an institution.
Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for course announcements control
3500.11.0 contains enhancements for granular entitlements in Original and Ultra course roles in support of the formalized facilitator role. Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.
The set of privileges contained in this release relate to course announcements. Individuals with these privileges can create course announcements in both course views. Additional entitlements allow users to view draft announcements in addition to posted announcements.
Cross-origin resourcing tool for administrators
Administrators may need to allow an external script or third-party application to make direct calls to their Blackboard Learn instance’s REST API. Previously, these requests would be blocked at the browser level. In this release, we introduce a Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) tool to allow your institution to leverage cloud-based or third-party extensions more fully. Administrators can also use the CORS tool to strictly define the allowed domains within an access control list and headers allowed as part of those requests. This secure, scalable tool lets you explore more integration possibilities using REST APIs.
From the Administrator Panel, select Cross-Origin Resource Sharing in the Integrations menu. Select Create Integration to get started.
Enhanced discussion analysis metrics
To better inform grading and provide additional insight in to the level of engagement in graded discussions, we've added three new metrics to the Discussion Analysis area of the Ultra Course View. Now, in addition to sentence complexity, critical thinking, and counts of responses and replies, graders can view statistics for the number of substantive posts, lexical classification (counts of content and functional words), and the percentage of word variation in a student’s posts for a given discussion. These market-leading analytics provide instructors a holistic overview of the level at which students are writing and may better inform differentiation in grading discussions.
Find discussion analytics on the Grades & Participation page for a discussion. Select a student’s name to view their responses and replies. Discussion Analysis appears next to the student’s discussion activity to give you an overview of their engagement.
Grant students exceptions in specific assessments
This feature is included in the 3500.11.0 release, but wasn't enabled in time for the push to client Test servers. It will be available when the release reaches client Production servers.
There are times when unforeseen circumstances lead an instructor to grant a student extended access or additional attempts for a specific assessment. With the introduction of assessment exceptions, instructors are no longer forced to create copies of an assessment for individual students, create and remove accommodations, or use other cumbersome workarounds.
Instructors can grant individual students additional time to access an assessment, even if it is hidden to other students. Additional attempts may also be configured, again for an individual student on an individual assessment. In the future, we hope to introduce due date exceptions so that students who are granted extended access will not be marked late for submissions made after the original due date.
On the Submissions page, you can add an exception for an individual student. You can adjust the number of attempts or the assessment’s availability.
Granular Activity Stream settings
In this release, Activity Stream notification settings are more granular for students and instructors, giving them the option to choose which information they wish to receive.
Settings have been reformatted so users can select to receive all notifications at a high level, like notifications for new discussions. Users can also choose to see updates about specific events or activity in their Activity Streams. For example, an instructor can choose to be notified when a blog entry is edited.
Existing settings are carried over and saved in the new format. Visual cues display if all, some, or none of the notification types are selected.
Kaltura integration in the Ultra Course View
This feature was previously announced as part of 3500.5.0
Instructors can now use Kaltura in the Ultra Course View. Specifically, instructors can use Kaltura in these ways when configured in Blackboard Learn:
- Add a link to the Kaltura My Media (personal video storage repository) and the Kaltura Media Gallery (course shared media repository). An instructor can add these links to their Course Content page from within Books & Tools and Content Market.
- Embed video content directly from Kaltura into the editor using the Insert/Edit LTI Item option. This allows instructors to embed videos in documents, assessments, discussions, conversations, and messages.
Administrators can leverage LTI tools and placements to create these access points for instructors.
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 3500.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- Instructors at institutions based in the EU/UK will be able to use the recording feature in assessment feedback. This feature will be enabled in the eu-central-1 region when this release reaches Production servers. More on recording creation for administrators.
- A word count appears when drafting responses and replies in discussions in the Ultra Course View.
- The Messages page in the Ultra Course View wasn’t responsive for users on mobile devices. We’ve made it responsive.
- Instructors can now rename an LTI link from the gradebook in the Ultra Course View.
- Users enrolled in a demo environment may have noticed their SMS notifications were overwritten when upgrading to the 3500.9.0 release. We fixed this issue before the release reached Production servers.
- In a previous release, some institutions may have noticed the CAS authentication provider threw errors. We fixed the issue.
- When an administrator sought to delete all users not enrolled in a course, the system didn’t correctly list the number of users it would remove in the operation. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When copying an Ultra course using SIS, the new course duration was overwritten by the source course. We’ve fixed the issue by excluding a duration on the course copy.
- Users may have received an error message when attempting to connect to OneDrive for Business through Blackboard Learn. The vendor has fixed the issue.
- Group submissions in the Ultra Course View weren’t appearing consistently in the gradebook. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Instructors may have received an error message when saving course reports to the Content Collection. We’ve fixed the issue.
- A synchronization issue caused unexpected behavior in custom language packs. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Course messages with attachments sometimes resulted in an error message asking the user to contact their system administrator. We fixed the issue.
- SafeAssign Originality Reports weren’t loading correctly for users with Korean language packs enabled. We’ve fixed the issue.
- SafeAssign Originality Reports weren’t loading for users after a system update to the 3500.7.0 release. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Unenrolled users can view announcements in unavailable courses.
Regrade questions in the Ultra Course View
Without the ability to edit and regrade test questions after they have been delivered to students, instructors were forced to open each student’s submission and update scores one-by-one. With this release, test questions can be edited in one place. These edits, along with any score adjustments, are automatically performed for all submissions that contain the updated question.
In some cases, a question may be beyond repair and it is more appropriate to give all students full credit for the question, regardless of their answers. To support this scenario, full credit can be given to all students for a specific question. Instructors can trigger question regrading from the assessment canvas or from any student’s submission – the result is the same. When an instructor edits a question, the update appears in all submissions for that assessment and students’ grades adjust automatically based on the new correct answer or selection of the Give full credit for question option.
To edit or regrade a question, go to the assessment. Point to the question's menu and select Edit/Regrade to modify the question.
Cumulative Update 4 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.4)
Cumulative Update (CU) 4 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Collaborate Attendance Integration with Blackboard Learn
This will be available with the Collaborate February release scheduled 6-7 February 2019.
Let Collaborate take attendance for you. In this Collaborate release, Blackboard Learn instructors can host a Collaborate session without tracking attendance manually.
Based on criteria you can set, Collaborate tracks if a student is present, late, or absent from a session. Collaborate then sends that information directly to the Attendance page in your Blackboard Learn course.
Attendance from the Collaborate session is counted in each student's average attendance in the course, which can also be used in calculating student grades.
Cumulative Update 3 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.3)
Cumulative Update (CU) 3 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for course calendar control
3500.9.0 marks the third release containing enhancements for granular entitlements in Original and Ultra course roles. Our next and final release of this feature will include the formalized facilitator role. Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.
The set of privileges contained in this release relate to course calendar events. Individuals with these privileges can add, edit, and delete course calendar events in both course views. In the Ultra Course View, individuals with these privileges can also add, edit, and delete office hours and course schedules.
Gradebook improvements: Search gradebook columns and categories
There are times when an instructor needs to check on the status for a single gradebook column or create a simple, filtered view of a specific gradebook category across all students. Building on the student search we built for the gradebook grid view in an earlier release, instructors can search using column and category criteria. These additional search options reduce the scrolling and visual scanning required to quickly verify or filter.
Begin typing the title of a column or category in to the gradebook grid view search field. Search results include any columns, categories, or even students who match the search term or phrase. We've included a label within the search results to help distinguish among these three types of results.
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 3500.9.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- To improve performance times and user experience, course messages no longer appear in the activity stream.
- Instructors are now prompted to name content they create in the Ultra Course View.
- We’ve made several AX improvements in Ultra:
- Improved the color contrast ratio for reorder and move icons on the Course Content page.
- Added a stroke around the panel close button to comply with color contrast ratios.
- Improved the hover and keyboard states for active elements to be more visually significant.
- We’ve updated gradebook entitlements to address security concerns. Visit Behind the Blackboard for more information and guidance. The solution listed in the article will be included in 3500.9 when it reaches Production servers.
- In the Original Course View, we’ve updated the color key in the Course Coverage report to match the legend more accurately.
- When an instructor attached a file as feedback on a graded discussion, students encountered errors trying to download it. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When an unread discussion post appeared as a link in the What’s New module, users encountered errors when opening it. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Calculated questions using exponents in answers in the Original Course View were marked incorrect when students input an acceptable answer. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Instructors encountered an error when trying to use anonymous grading for attempts still in progress. We’ve fixed the issue.
- We’ve improved the logic for grading multiple choice questions when a student selects both correct and incorrect answers in the Ultra Course View.
- We’ve removed the ability for students to edit graded group discussion forum titles and descriptions.
- We’ve fixed a CSS error that caused text tagged with <em> HTML to appear on separate lines.
- We’ve improved the course import feature to preserve the content package’s folder structure.
Proctoring service using Respondus Lockdown Browser
Respondus LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments. The LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard Learn, which means that students are unable to copy, print, access other applications, or visit other websites during an online exam. It works seamlessly with Blackboard Learn and is built in to the assessment settings. When instructors configure an assessment to require the LockDown Browser, students will only be able to begin their attempts if they access the assessment with the LockDown Browser.
Secure assessments are delivered using tools provided by Respondus. If this integration is available at your institution, you can access the Respondus Dashboard in the Settings area of both assignments and tests in the Ultra Course View. On the dashboard, choose to deliver the assessment using Respondus LockDown Browser alone, or include the Webcam.
Push notifications to Blackboard App
Many students use push notifications on their devices to check and engage with content. Push notifications for Learn Ultra will allow students to gain direct insight via this notification modal. Notifications may help students stay on top of new content added to their courses, new grades and feedback that have been created for assessed items, and due date reminders for upcoming assessments that need to be completed and submitted.
Push notifications further the integration between the Blackboard Learn Ultra experience and the Blackboard mobile app for students. In this release, users on the Ultra experience can select which push notifications they’d like to receive. In the app, they’ll see notifications for due date reminders and new grades and feedback. Push notifications for new content will be available in the app in the coming months.
SCORM advanced settings and reporting
Over the past year, Blackboard has been focusing development attention on incorporating SCORM functionality into the Ultra Course View. This release includes the advanced settings functionality as well as reporting analytics for instructors.
Advanced settings options appear for instructors when they add a SCORM package to their course. After students submit SCORM attempts, instructors can view detailed reporting on time spent, average score, and attempts completed.
This marks the final milestone for SCORM’s foundation. Our next focus will be on xAPI and partnering with a Learner Record Store to use the deeper reporting functionality of the xAPI format.
Select theme colors
Institution branding is an easy way for institutions to differentiate their learning management system and adds an element of personalization at an institution level. Many institutions have requested to move away from the default purple in Ultra to express institution colors as part of their user experience. This functionality covers three highly used areas but will be expanded to further the institution’s color schema to more locations over time.
To customize the theme color, go to the Institution Page. Select the gear icon to open the settings panel. Enter a hex code to find your precise color or use the color picker. A preview appears to show you how the new color would look to all users. Don’t like what you see? You can revert your choice back to the default.
Blackboard SOAP Web Services deprecation
With the release of Blackboard Learn Q2 2019, Blackboard is deprecating our SOAP APIs. We recommend that if you use Blackboard's SOAP APIs as an external application or as part of a Building Block, you should immediately refactor your integration using our Blackboard REST APIs.
Blackboard SOAP APIs will become unavailable with the release of Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2020.
Visit Behind the Blackboard for more information on SOAP web services deprecation and guidance on migrating to REST APIs.
Cumulative Update 2 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.2)
Cumulative Update (CU) 2 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Caliper 1.1 update for Blackboard Learn Telemetry Service
Blackboard is pleased to announce updated support for the Caliper Analytics® standard in Blackboard Learn. Caliper is a specification from the IMS Global Learning Consortium® that defines a standard for the exchange of user activity information. Blackboard Learn supports this standard, giving institutions the option to emit near-real-time and batch user event data to an event store system for further analytics and reporting.
The centralized service that processes the Learn telemetry stream into Caliper events data currently uses the Caliper 1.0 specification. On January 3, 2019 this service will change to use the Caliper 1.1 specification.
For more information about how this update affects your Blackboard Learn environment, visit Behind the Blackboard
More on Caliper event configuration is available on the Developer Community
Gradebook improvements: Search submission list and pagination
There are times when an instructor needs to find a specific submission or submission status for a specific student. To address this need, we’ve expanded gradebook search capabilities. Previously, we added the ability to search for students in the grade book grid view. This release brings that capability to the submission list view.
An instructor can go to the submission list and quickly locate a particular student to check the status of submissions or access the submission itself. Additionally, we’ve added pagination to the submission list. The default view is for 25 students, but instructors may also set the page to display 50 or 100 users. This setting is sticky, so a selection of 50 or 100 is retained when instructors leave the submission list and return later.
Learning modules supported in conversion from Original to Ultra
In an earlier release, we brought the learning modules capability to the Ultra Course View. Starting with this release, learning modules are preserved in course copy, export, import, and restore operations.
When converting a learning module from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View, the force sequence requirement is unchecked by default. Additionally, the file and folder structure may be flattened because the Course Content page only supports nested content two folders deep.
Student activity in a learning module is removed when converting to Ultra. However, instructors and administrators can choose to keep student progress in learning modules when exporting and copying an Ultra course.
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 3500.7.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- This release resolves an issue where the Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor app weren’t compatible with Session Fingerprint settings. Session fingerprint settings to Create New Session When Fingerprint Changes are now compatible with the mobile apps’ mBaaS architecture.
- When you access individual students' attendance record in the Ultra Course View, the date column has been renamed Meeting and now appears first.
- An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block (v3.101.2018040483) is bundled with this release.
- To accommodate Microsoft Azure SAML requirements, we’ve added the option to keep the SAML session age unlimited.
- When viewing assessments that were graded using a rubric more than a year ago, users may have noticed a discrepancy between rubric totals and the grade displayed in the Grade Center. Raw data was not affected. We fixed the issue.
- Grade Journey wasn’t consistently displaying optional data when the extraction was initiated from merged courses. We fixed the issue.
- Users may have encountered an error when attempting to download a file package in the Content Collection. We fixed the issue.
- When a student submission was deleted, attached files were orphaned and retained in storage, sometimes unnecessarily. We fixed the issue.
- When an Ultra assessment was set to assign automatic zeros, the system wouldn’t log a zero score in the gradebook when a student had saved a draft but not submitted work. We fixed the issue.
- Importing a Canvas course to the Ultra Course View resulted in missing content. We fixed the issue.
New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration
We've updated the design of the SafeAssign Originality Report in Blackboard Learn SaaS environments. The new Originality Report uses Blackboard's Ultra design philosophy and includes some new information about a submission's overall risk for being copied from another source. This new report interface is also more responsive for mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design; we will be seeking VPAT compliance for this new design soon!
This release also allows the SafeAssign team to be more iterative and provide updates to the new report design on a more regular basis and without requiring an update to the LMS platform. We'll still be communicating changes on the SafeAssign help pages, so make sure to follow those pages as well for new information!
Users can switch back to the old Originality Report design for a little while longer to help ease the transition. Blackboard Learn 9.1 users should expect to receive the new Originality Report design with the Q2 2019 release next year.
Question analysis and report download
Instructors who make use of Item Analysis in Original courses recognize the benefit this report provides, specifically for reviewing the quality of assessment questions and improving assessments from one term to the next. However, many instructors are either unaware that this report is available or are not familiar with the term “item analysis” and don’t open the report.
In the Ultra Course View, we’ve updated the title to Question Analysis as a way to raise awareness of this powerful report and encourage its use. We’ve also made the help content more accessible and added helpful explanatory text to help instructors understand the statistics within the report.
Question analysis provides statistics on overall performance, assessment quality, and individual questions. This data helps you recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance. Question analysis is for assessments with questions. You can also download the report with raw question data to analyze it or keep it for future uses.
Instructors can use question analysis in these ways:
- Improve questions for future assessment administrations or to adjust credit on current attempts
- Discuss assessment results with your class
- Provide a basis for remedial work
- Improve classroom instruction
Batch edit due dates in course content
Building on the previous feature to batch edit visibility of course content, we’ve added the ability to adjust due dates in bulk.
Instructors often teach the same courses and curriculum each semester or year. When these courses use the same material, it can be challenging to update due dates for each item to reflect the new course calendar. In the Original Course View, this was achieved with Date Management. In this release, we bring that ability to Ultra.
With Batch Edit, you can update selected course content using a new course start date. Enter the new course start date and the existing start date. The tool calculates the difference between the two dates and uses the number of days to shift dates in all selected course content at once. You don’t have to spend time opening course content and determining new dates. Alternatively, you can shift all due dates backward or forward based on a chosen number of days.
Content without due dates isn't affected by batch editing dates.
Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for gradebook control
As part of an earlier release, we added entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that allow them to view course content but not modify it. In this release, we expand on those entitlements with respect to gradebook access and control.
Grading within a course is multi-faceted. Assigning a grade is only one piece of the process, which can also include grade maintenance, data download and upload, and release of grades. Institution administrators can grant some or all of these permissions to trusted facilitators to help ease the grading responsibility in larger courses.
Instructors often need to organize students into groups. Previously, instructors created groups of students only in the context of assessments and discussions. This ability is useful and important, but it didn’t account for many other reasons why an instructor would want to create groups independent of assessments.
In this release, instructors can create groups and group sets at the course level, outside of assessments. Group sets help identify students who are paired together based on specific attributes or purposes.
In a future release, instructors will have the ability to apply course groups to graded content.
Learning modules and forced content sequence
This feature was initially expected to be part of 3500.5.0 and is now confirmed as part of 3500.5.0. In an earlier update, we incorrectly stated the feature had been delayed to a later release. We apologize for the confusion.
Learning modules are a valuable way to organize and present content in the Original Course View. Modules let content creators require students to access learning materials in a specified order, walking learners through a guided path. In this release, we bring the power of learning modules to the Ultra Course View.
Use learning modules to organize content for an immersive learning experience. Students can work on content in sequence without needing to close and open content items. Instructors can also enforce a content sequence so students access and complete content in the sequence specified.
Learning modules are available in new courses only. Courses created in a Learn environment prior to this release won’t have access to learning modules.
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 3500.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- The Consulting Central Building Block is bundled with this release. Learn more about Consulting Central on Behind the Blackboard.
- The French language pack previously used an incorrect phrase to label new discussions. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Users saw an error when downloading an annotated PDF with comments. We’ve fixed the issue so the downloads now include a summary list of comments.
- To avoid permissions and grading issues, all LTI tools are excluded from the Copy Content option in the Ultra Course View.
- When a student attempted to access an unavailable course in the Ultra experience, the date was recorded in the Performance Dashboard under “Last Course Access.” We’ve fixed the issue.
- When a user attempted to access Organizations in the Ultra experience while using a touchscreen device, the page would display an error. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When the Attendance tool was set to unavailable or inactive at the system level, instructors may have encountered error messages in the gradebook. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Optional data wasn’t consistently included in Grade Journey extractions using REST. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When an administrator attempted to move a user from one child course to another, the user enrollment wouldn’t change successfully. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Students may have had trouble accessing the activity stream due to conflicting backend logic regarding grade columns and due dates. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Special characters in custom Ultra locales weren’t displaying correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Course reports weren’t enforcing the date format for the system’s chosen language pack. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Some devices displayed misaligned numbers for options in multiple choice, either/or, and true/false questions. We’ve fixed the issue.
- The words points and score were sometimes used interchangeably in the Ultra Course View. We've updated the user interface to use points where it's more accurate.
- Based on user feedback, we’ve updated the activity stream messages regarding student achievement and activity in courses. The new messages aim to reduce confusion and be more encouraging.
- The Availability Override option didn’t work as expected when a start date wasn’t specified. We’ve fixed the issue so students with this privilege can access courses with or without a specified start date.
- The service that connected cloud storage to Learn environments used a case-sensitive check to verify domain security. When domains used a mix of upper and lower case letters, the service couldn’t complete the request and resulted in incomplete attachments. We’ve fixed the issue.
Additional search criteria in Reuse Questions
On the Reuse Questions page, instructors can filter questions by more criteria. In addition to assessments and question banks that come over from the Original Course View, you can also filter by question types and Original Course View tags, such as categories. You can also search for keywords to find questions. The active filter area changes automatically as you select or clear criteria.
Advanced settings in SCORM
SCORM is a content standard that is used by some institutions, instructors, and instructional designers to author and present online learning materials and assessments to students.
In this release, we’ve added a number of enhancements to SCORM in the Ultra Course View:
- Instructors can assign a grade category to SCORM packages.
- Instructors can upload SCORM packages from the Content Collection.
- SCORM due dates appear on the calendar and in the activity stream.
- SCORM packages are supported in Ultra Course Preview and conversion from the Original Course View.
Ally integration available for the Ultra Course View
Starting with this release, Blackboard Ally integrates with the Ultra Course View. Ally provides detailed accessibility reports for content uploaded to Blackboard Learn. The integration is available to institutions who license Ally.
In the Ultra Course View, instructors have access to Ally’s accessibility scores and feedback, including tutorials on how to make common file types more accessible to learners of all abilities. Students can view and download course content in alternative accessible formats.
In a future release, we’ll show the file’s accessibility score on the Course Content page so instructors can quickly prioritize items to edit.
Batch edit visibility of course content
Instructors often reuse courses and content from one term to the next without major changes. At the start of a new term, instructors need a way to make these changes en masse. In this release, we introduce a new Batch Edit option on the Course Content page. Here, an instructor can select multiple pieces of content and edit visibility for each selected piece at the same time.
Along with this feature, instructors and course builders will notice that the Books & Tools link has moved to the Details & Actions menu. In a future release, instructors will also have the ability to adjust dates in course content using Batch Edit.
Calendar items and due date notifications for additional content types
The Calendar and To Do modules show the due dates of course items, but this was previously limited to activities and assessments using just Blackboard Learn tools. In this release, the capability is expanded so that other content types, including those from 3rd party solutions, are now incorporated into these Original Experience areas when using a web browser.
Users see these due items in their Course Calendar or My Blackboard Calendar, and due date notifications appear in the To Do module and through other notification subscription channels.
All of the following create calendar items and due notifications:
- Assessment items such as assignments and tests
- Interactive tools including graded discussions, blogs, journals, and wikis
- Grade Center columns created manually and not linked to content items such as an observation or offline assignment
- SCORM packages
- Content items generated from building blocks when a linked Grade Center column has a due date
- LTI resource links when a linked Grade Center column has a due date
Create percentage-based grading rubrics
Instructors give very specific rubric scores with feedback when grading student submissions. A simple rubric with wide gaps between levels of achievement are insufficient for providing the granularity these institutions require. For example, two students may both meet the criteria for Sufficient for a given rubric row, but one student barely met the criteria while another almost did enough to be marked with the next highest level of achievement. With a normal rubric, these students would receive the same score. Instructors working under these requirements need to be able to mark both students as Sufficient, but provide more granular scoring within the range of scores associated with this rubric row.
In this release, we’ve expanded rubric criteria to include more granular levels of achievement, measured with percentages.
Data Integration Logs storage load reduced
We’ve improved the way that data integration logs store information in the shared file system. Searches in SIS logs are limited to seven-day date ranges to improve performance and reduce system strain.
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 3500.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- When versioned files are imported/restored as part of course import/restore, the version number (of the file in the source course) is appended at the end of the file name so that users can differentiate which version it is. For example, if version 1 and 2 of a file named "geography.html" are imported, the new files will be named "geography_v1.html" and "geography_v2.html", respectively.
- A permissions issue in the Mobile Web Services building block caused tests to be inaccessible when first opened through the app. We fixed the issue.
- An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the Wiley Plus Building Block is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the Cengage Mindlinks Learning Building Block is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block is bundled with this release. Grade syncing in the VitalSource Building Block is disabled by default in this release to prevent issues on the vendor's side.
- Files uploaded as part of a SCORM package are now saved in a Content Collection folder (/internal/courses/<courseID>/content/<contentID>) rather than the Local/Shared File System. When a client system is upgraded to this release, a background migration task is invoked upon server startup to move all existing SCORM files from Local/Shared File System to Content Collection. Several optimizations have been added to minimize the performance impact and memory usage for this task and it should be virtually transparent for users.
- Counts in the Ultra gradebook were confusing when some students were denied access in the course after participating in discussions or submitting assessments. We fixed the issue.
- In the Original Course View, users designated as Observers were unable to view files added to the course through the Build Content > Add File workflow. We fixed the issue.
- Attachments to course messages in the Original Course View resulted in the Tomcat temp directory disappearing, which led to other areas of Learn malfunctioning. We fixed the issue.
- When an instructor attempted to grade a group assignment using a rubric and the language pack used commas to designate decimal places, the grade would display inconsistently. We fixed the issue.
- In the Original Course View, pattern matching questions with incorrectly formatted regular expressions in the answer were marked wrong. We fixed the issue.
- As part of an earlier improvement for content delivery in the Content Collection, we added the ability to disable certain MIME types in Learn. We expanded the list of default allowed MIME types.
- Instructors encountered errors when grading a group discussion with a rubric. We fixed the issue.
- We’ve fixed some issues in reports: All User Activity Inside Content Areas and Course Performance Report.
- Clients using the Australian English language pack in Ultra encountered problems when creating calendar items. We fixed the issue.
- Conversations on course content in the Ultra Course View were capped to the previous 10 replies, with no way to view earlier parts of the conversation. In this release, students and instructors can access earlier parts of the conversation.
We’ve enhanced the logout process for SAML single-sign on sessions. When a user logs out of Blackboard Learn, a message appears and asks them to confirm log out for all associated apps in the session. Previously, the SSO session persisted until it expired. Users can choose to terminate their entire SSO session when they log out of Blackboard Learn to protect their security when using public or shared computers.
Upload gradebook data in the Ultra Course View
In an earlier release, we introduced the ability for instructors to download gradebook data in the Ultra Course View. The counterpart to downloading grades is the ability to upload them, which is useful for instructors who prefer to work in an application like Excel and load student grade data into the LMS. In this release, instructors have the option to upload course gradebook data in Ultra.
Offline grading is a valuable and important enhancement. Instructors may prefer, or even require, that they are able to download the files students have submitted for an assessment. Limited WiFi access on a train, for example, shouldn’t impact the instructor’s ability to grade student submissions. In this scenario, the instructor can download the gradebook, enter the grades for the assessment, and then upload the grade data at a later time.
Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q4 2018 (3500.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers will soon be available. Contact Blackboard Support to schedule your upgrade for the time and date that works best for you.
This release includes features released as part of continuous delivery releases since 3400.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.
Expanded ability to reconcile grades in Delegated Grading
Delegated grading lets an instructor share grading responsibilities by assigning course members to grade sets of submissions. Grading and feedback from more than one grader can promote reliability, improve consistency, and remove bias. The instructor can reconcile grades and settle on final scores after the graders have completed their assigned submissions.
The ability to reconcile grades was previously limited to instructors and users who were granted the permission by an administrator. In this release, instructors can grant this permission to graders. The Can reconcile grades option appears when the instructor delegates grading. Instructors can choose to grant the permission to any or all graders who are delegated submissions.
Internet Explorer no longer supported
Support for Internet Explorer ends with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018 and SaaS 3500.0.0. Older releases may still work using this browser. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Some newer features in Learn may not work, including Attendance and Create Recording. Reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer won't be resolved by Product Support. We recommend using another browser.
You can now 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 3500.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- When a course was converted from Original to Ultra, instructors found they weren’t able to edit point values for assessments and questions that used decimal points in the number of possible points. We’ve fixed the issue by rounding point values down to the nearest whole number. This change is listed as an exception during the Ultra Course Preview.
- Some users were unable to save drafts in discussion forum threads when using a language pack other than English. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Placeholder text in the Ultra login page would sometimes obscure the username and password when the user input this information. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Discussion descriptions in courses using the Learn 2016 theme were sometimes obscured or displayed with a limited width. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Some users were unable to create criteria for Self and Peer Assessments when accessing the feature on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When the Ultra experience is enabled, the Exit button overlapped the Add button in the Original Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.
- We’ve rewritten an error message in Ultra to make acceptable date formats clearer.
- When an instructor reversed the decision to ignore an attempt in the Original Course View, the message displayed on the screen was unclear and didn’t indicate the workflow. We’ve updated it to say Attempt marked as Not Ignored.
- When users attempted to select all text in an Ultra assessment attempt, the browser didn’t select the text included in the attempt. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When a user edited a test question in the Original Course View, some options in the text editor didn’t display correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
Search the Ultra gradebook
Today’s courses, both online and mixed mode, can have large enrollments and volumes of course work. Instructors and other course facilitators may find it difficult to browse a gradebook in this type of course. In this release, we’ve introduced a search function in the Ultra gradebook to help users locate specific students when the list may be too long to browse.
To search for a student, open the Ultra gradebook in grid view. You can type the student’s name or student ID. Matching names appear below the search box. Select a student to filter your gradebook view and see their attempts and grades. In the future, we’ll continue development on this feature to include the ability to search for gradebook columns and categories.
Mobile Web Services
The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block enables users to connect to their courses through Blackboard's mobile applications: Blackboard app, Blackboard Instructor, and Bb Grader. The latest version of the Mobile Web Services Building Block is 94.9.12. Check these links for the best available version for your installation.
Looking for older release notes?
Check out the Blackboard Learn Release Notes Archive for more information on past releases.