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Learn SaaS release 3900.39.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.39.0
Release to Test/Stage: Friday, 22 April 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 5 May 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.39.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.39.0-rel.27+6e72bbb off cycle release to Production servers on 13 May 2022.

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

 


May 2022 – 3900.39 Release

This release features a variety of improvements. Some improvements center on assessment and grading and better, more efficient workflows. Other features focus on refinement based on instructor, student, and administrator feedback.

The May 2022 - 3900.39 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Students:

Administrators:

All users:

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Test Question Filtering - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Test-taking anxiety is real. We want students' experiences taking tests to be as worry free as possible. To support students well, we are introducing

  • a question filter,
  • an unanswered question warning, and
  • a choice to hide the timer on timed tests.

The question filter supports common test taking strategies. For example, students may complete questions they know first and skip harder ones. The filter enables students to quickly return to skipped questions. Students may also use the filter to find essay questions.

Image 1. Question filter options

Test Question Filters

If a student submits a test with unanswered questions, a warning will alert the student. The alert shows the number of unanswered questions. The student may choose to submit the test or keep working. If the student chooses to keep working, the unanswered questions filter auto applies. The unanswered questions display automatically.

Image 2. Unanswered question warning.

Warning for students to let them know when a question in a test hasn't been answered before submission

In response to student feedback, students may now choose to hide the timer in timed tests. This may help to reduce pressure and anxiety during assessments. When students hide the timer, the timer icon stays visible. Students may view the remaining time as needed.

Image 3. Before we added the option to hide the timer.

Old timer appearance for questions with time limit

Image 4. Timer visible with choice to hide.

New timer with visibility control for students when answering tests with time limit

Image 5. Hidden timer with choice to unhide.

Hidden timer with visibility controls for students, when answering tests with time limit

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors prefer to use category weights to calculate the overall grade. Currently, instructors are unable to assign weight to any empty grade category. This restriction requires each category to have at least one assessment. This is not always practical, especially at the beginning of an academic term. Now instructors can configure a weighted overall grade that includes empty grade categories. This will give the instructor greater flexibility for configuring the calculation.

Image 1. Before Overall Grade Calculation Improvements

Weighted grade calculations before improvements on lock and self-balance categories

Image 2. After Overall Grade Calculation Improvements

Image 2. View after Overall Grade Calculation Improvements have been done

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

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Prohibit Late Submissions - Usability Improvements - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors appreciate control over assessment due dates and time limits. Robust assessment settings are necessary to support a range of different scenarios. These settings are also important for academic integrity and honesty in courses. The February release included two new assessment settings. These settings give instructors better control of due dates and time limits.

Settings for Tests and Assignments:

  • "Prohibit late submissions" - Select this setting to enforce a hard deadline and disallow a late submission. In-progress and saved attempts will auto-submit at the due date. Students will receive a submission receipt via email. Specified accommodations are still honored.
  • "Prohibit new attempts after due date" - Select this setting to prevent students from beginning a new attempt after the due date.

We have made changes to the "prohibit late submission" setting.

  • An instructor has selected this setting for an assessment. If students have submitted attempts, the instructor cannot change the due date to a date in the past.
  • If the due date has passed, the instructor will not be able to select the "prohibit late submission" setting.

These changes prevent instructors from triggering the submission of in-progress and saved attempts.

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

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Support "undo" and “redo” capability in Bb Annotate - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with grading permissions

We've paused the release of the new undo/redo capability in Bb Annotate due to an issue causing loss of information on comments. The root cause of it has been identified, and we'll communicate a new target date for the deployment in the following days. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, as we understand this is a critical timing, and a critical tool for the grading process.

Many instructors today enjoy the efficiency and effectiveness of using Bb Annotate. Assignments with file submissions include the Bb Annotate feature. This release adds new functionality to include an "undo" and "redo" option. An instructor may undo a change and then if inclined, redo it.

Image 1. Before - Bb Annotate toolbar.

BBAnnotate: Before the new Undo and Redo functionalities on the top bar

Image 2. After - undo and redo buttons on the Bb Annotate toolbar

BBAnnotate: After the new Undo and Redo functionalities included on the top bar

"Undo" and "redo" will not apply to comments. All other annotations are included for this capability.

For administrators: This feature is not aligned to the deployment dates for 3900.39. This feature will be released on 19 May 2022. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Session time-out warning for Ultra Course View - 3900.39

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

When a user is idle for over three hours the session ends. A user must login again to continue to use Learn. If a user saves a page or selects a button, the session refreshes and stays active for three more hours. There can be times a user is working but considered idle. This happens because the browser is not sending data to Learn. Some examples are when a user is:

  • authoring a Discussion Board post,
  • authoring an Assignment submission in the text editor in Learn, or
  • creating a Content Item.

With this release, users whose session is ending soon will receive a warning. This warning will appear at least six minutes before the session times out. If the user closes the warning before the session ends, the session will extend for three more hours. This is the primary scenario for this improvement. The goal is to help users who have been authoring for an exceptionally long time not to lose their work. A user away from the computer for an extended time will receive the warning. However the user will not be able to extend their session. When the user closes the warning, they will return to the login page.

Image 1. “Are you still there?” warning

With this release, for a user who was away from their computer for a long time it will be unclear when the warning appeared. Thus, the user will not know if the session renewed or not. We are considering future improvements for session timeout behavior. This release focuses on helping users who have been idle to the server but engaged in authoring content. The goal is to help these users not lose authored content.

For administrators:
* The user warning will appear at least six minutes before the session ends. Users may have more than six minutes to extend their session because the session cleanup process is a grouped background task.
* The most common setting for session duration is three hours. The most common timeframe for timeout warning is six minutes. Some institutions have configured other time durations. This feature will work with these other configurations, and always give users at least six minutes to extend their sessions.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Improvements to permissions - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: All users - system and course roles with corresponding permissions

There are several areas where permission checks do not work as expected. This results in “You’re not on the list” errors. We are making improvements in several upcoming releases that address permission issues. These improvements will also remove the need for a quick enroll option. In this release, we have corrected the following permission issues:

  • Managing settings in Course Timeline for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors:
    There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. In the past, they could not favorite their courses in the Course Timeline. They also could not choose to hide and show courses. When they had permissions, they could not open courses and make them private. We have corrected these issues in the Course Timeline.
  • Access to notification settings for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors:
    There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. Users manage their email notification preferences in the Stream. Before users with these roles could not set their email notification preferences. We have corrected this.
  • Support users accessing Journals will not receive errors:
    There are support users such as administrators who access courses. In the past, these users who accessed a Journal saw error messages in Ultra courses. We have corrected this.
  • Improved Rubric access for graders:
    In the past, some Rubric grading workflows would cause errors for graders. We have corrected these.
  • Improved SCORM access for course builders:
    Course builders could receive errors editing SCORM settings. We have corrected this.
  • Support users without view enrollment permissions will not see Roster errors:
    There are support users who access courses. Sometimes these users do not have permission to view course enrollments. At times, these users would click on the Roster tool and see errors. Now the Roster tool will not appear for these users. They also will not see the Course Faculty section in the Course Outline.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Improvements to Granular Content Copy – 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: System and Course Roles with permissions to copy content

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. In several upcoming releases we will be making a series of improvements. These improvements focus on copy and performance issues. They also build on recently released features:

  • copying content from Original Course View courses (March release)
  • copying content within the same course (April release)

In this release, we have corrected the following granular content copy issues:

  • No longer duplicate user-defined gradebook categories with Granular Content Copy action
    User-defined gradebook categories from the source course also copied into the destination course. This caused duplication and had a negative performance impact. We have corrected this.
  • No longer copy unrelated data to the copied item
    The gradebook included data unrelated to the copied content item. This could cause errors to display. We have corrected this.
  • Improved database logging and conversion exception messaging
    Database logging and the conversions exception report produced errors when copying content. These errors occurred when copying content within an Ultra course and from Original courses. We have corrected this.
  • Errors no longer shown in Copy Detail menu when copying content with custom font color in the title
    Original course content that included custom font-colors in the item title produced errors when copied. We have corrected this.
  • Improvements to Ultra Group Conversion and Batch Edit
    If a user deleted groups via the Batch Edit Delete option, groups associated with a content item were not removed. This resulted in orphaned but not visible groups. In Ultra course conversion, groups not in a group set or used in a content item were not removed. These groups remained in the course in a hidden state. Course conversion performance was negatively affected. We have corrected both issues.
  • Support for Ultra Preview Course
    In the past, instructors could not copy content into or from a course in Ultra preview. An Ultra preview course is a converted course in preview mode. We have corrected this issue.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


In-product Updates and User Engagement Surveys Improvements - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

We have a responsibility to help users understand new features and other changes. To support this effort, we introduced in-product updates and user engagement surveys. Product updates are brief mentions of what is new in the Ultra Course View. User engagement surveys are brief polls launched to small samples of users. These polls help us improve our product.

In the April release, these settings were "off" by default.

With the May release, these settings will be "on" by default.

For administrators: If you do not wish to allow in-product updates and/or user engagement surveys, you may opt out. Define the setting for your institution: Administrator Panel > Configure Ultra Experience.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Manage image title attribute in Original course Content Editor - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

The Content Editor in Original courses allows users to add image attributes. Now it also supports adding the "title" attribute. This attribute adds text tips to images. We still recommend prioritizing alternative description. An alternative description makes content more accessible, while a title doesn't.

Image 1. Before

Learn Original Content Editor: Before the new image title attribute existed

Image 2. After

Learn Original Content Editor: with the new image title attribute addition

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Check out the Blackboard Learn Release Notes Archive for more information on past releases.

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