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 3900.62.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.62.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 7 March 2023 | Release to Production: Thursday, 6 April 2023
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.62.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: v3900.62.0-rel.11+43c0809 to Test/Stage servers to take place on 14 March 2023.

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

 


Multiple Grading Schemas: Add, Edit, Copy – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In the past, Ultra courses allowed only one grading schema per course. Now instructors can add, copy, and edit up to 100 grading schemas per course. Items copied from other courses will keep their grading schemas. When copying, any configured schemas copy even if not aligned to gradable items.

Instructors can now choose the best grading schema for each assessment in a course.

Image 1. Grading schema creation

Grading schema creation

Image 2. Instructor view - Grading schema gradebook grid view

Instructor view - Grading schema gradebook grid view

Image 3. Student View - grading schema

Student View - grading schema

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Submission page sorting controls – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Record sorting provides a more efficient grade review experience. Instructors may wish to sort students by grade to identify submissions at a grade boundary. This helps instructors make any changes necessary before posting grades.

Any sorting applied yields a temporary change to the sort order of all columns on the Submissions page.

Instructor view – sorting students by name

Instructor view – sorting students by name

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Gradable Items View usability improvements – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

It is important for the gradebook to support efficient workflows. We have made several improvements to improve the Gradable Items View:

  • Instructors can now sort the records of any column on this page. Sorting helps instructors more easily find the desired information. For example, instructors may sort on Grading Status to locate assessments that need grading.
  • Selecting the assessment name now navigates the instructor to the selected assessment.
  • Selecting '# to grade’ now navigates to a Needs Grading  filtered Submissions page. This provides instructors with quick entry into the grading process.
  • The new Post column provides instructors with status information for an assessment. This also simplifies the action to post all grades for the assessment.

Image 1. Instructor view – Sorting by Grading Status

Instructor view – Sorting by Grading Status

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Bb Annotate: Enhanced comments – 3900.62

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

It is important for instructors to provide rich and meaningful feedback for students. We have improved formatting and editing options for instructors.

  • Instructors can now include richer formatting in comments. This includes font colors, bold, underline, and hyperlinks.
  • Instructors can now edit already placed comments.

For administrators:This feature might not be available at the same time the release takes place. The deployment information will be updated on status.blackboard.com.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Course Content Title Search – 3900.62

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

It is sometimes difficult to remember the location of a course item. In the past, locating an item was a time-intensive task and unintuitive. Searching for the item would involve opening every folder or learning module to find the item.

You can now search course content titles to find these items on the course content page. The course search icon, a magnifying glass, is easy to find at the top of the course content page. When a user types a few letters, the course search function displays a list of matching items by title. A user may expand the search results to view more information related to the course item(s).

Image 1. Course content with course search icon in top right

Course content with course search icon in top right

Image 2. Course Search Text Box

Course Search Text Box

Image 3. Course Search findings

Course Search findings

Image 4. “Show all item results” window

“Show all item results” window

Image 5. “Clear search” option

Clear search” option

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Discussion navigation improvements – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often review various aspects of course discussions to assess and engage students. To improve navigation and increase visibility, we have introduced a new tab navigation:

  • Discussion
  • Student Activity
  • Grading & Participation

The Grading & Participation appears only when the discussion is marked for grading.

Image 1. Discussion tab

Discussion tab

Image 2. Student Activity tab

Student Activity tab

Image 3. Grades & Participation tab

Grades & Participation tab

Image 4. Tab options when a discussion is not marked for grading

Tab options when a discussion is not marked for grading

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Data & Analytics

Deactivated students no longer show in the student progress reports – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors want to know their students’ engagement with course material. The per item progress report offers the information needed, such as if a student has started or if an item is unopened. Now this report excludes deactivated students. This may happen when a student drops the course. The numbers in the report are aligned with the actual number of active students in the course. Students who cannot access the course but are not deactivated will continue to display. These students who cannot access are identified in the report.

Image 1. Progress report before and after students have been deactivated.

Before:

Progress report before, showing students who have been deactivated

After:

Progress report after. Students who have been deactivated no longer appear.

For administrators: You must enable progress tracking to see this report. A deactivated student is one where the Student Information System sets the row status of either the user or enrollment record to the disabled state.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


New access points to Student Overview – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Quick access to student information is helpful during the grading and feedback process. The Student Overview page provides the most important information for each student.

Image 1. Student Overview

Student Overview

Now instructors can access the Student Overview page in 3 locations:

  • Roster
  • Messages
  • Discussions

These additional access points provide instructors with convenient access to this student information. As before, instructors can continue to reach this page by selecting a student in the Gradebook.

Image 2. An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student from the Roster

An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student from the Roster

Image 3. An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student in the conversation participants section of a Message or in a Message thread

An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student in the conversation participants section of a Message or in a Message thread

Image 4. An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student in a discussion response or reply

An instructor may access the Student Overview by selecting a student in a discussion response or reply

Most of the time when closing the Student Overview, the instructor will return to the point of access. However, if navigating deeply and opening many panels, there may be times when navigation varies. An instructor may return to the student list in the Gradebook when closing the Student Overview. This navigation is designed to avoid circular referencing.

For administrators: This feature is available for all courses and organizations. There are no configurations needed to allow instructors to use these access points to the Student Overview. To view the Progress tracking tab in the Student Overview progress tracking should be enabled.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Course Activity Report accessibility improvements – 3900.62

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

We commit to providing accessible and inclusive solutions for all users. Many users navigate Ultra using assistive technologies. To better support instructors using assistive technology, we have made several accessibility improvements to the Course Activity Report:

  • The description of the Course Activity Report includes a “Learn more” link. Now the screen reader states this link, directing the instructor to the related Help documentation.
  • Instructors can sort data on any column. Now screen readers indicate if column sorting is in ascending or descending order.
  • Instructors can select many students to send messages. Now screen readers state the number of students selected.
  • Screen readers now state when an instructor selects or deselects all students.
  • In medium and small screens some options of the Course Activity Report combine in a single drop-down menu. Now screen readers state that the 3-dot menu contains more options.

Image 1. The screen reader indicates the “Learn more” link directs the user to the related help page

The screen reader indicates that 2 students are selected

Image 2. The screen reader indicates that sorting is applied to the Overall Grade in descending order

The screen reader indicates that sorting is applied to the Overall Grade in descending order

Image 3. The screen reader indicates that 2 students are selected

The screen reader indicates the “Learn more” link directs the user to the related help page

Image 4. The screen reader indicates that the 3-dots button displayed in medium and small screens contains more options

The screen reader indicates that the 3-dots button displayed in medium and small screens contains more options

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. To experience these improvements, users need to turn on a screen reader tool using the assistive technology installed on their personal devices.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

Cloud document “Refresh” button improvement – 3900.62

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

User experience in Ultra is of utmost importance to us. To help users better focus on interacting with Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Documents, we removed a banner.

Image 1. Before - Informative banner for the Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Document

Before - Informative banner for the Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Document

We retained the "Refresh" button for student and instructor users.

We made this change to both embedded cloud documents and cloud collaborations.

Image 2. After – Refresh button for a Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Document

Refresh button for a Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Document

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Sort Courses and Organizations by Course View – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators

Administrators often search for courses and organizations in the administrator panel. The search results show the course or organization view as Ultra, Original, Undecided, or Preview. Now administrators can sort search results on this column. Sorting helps administrators better find the desired courses or organizations. Sorting may also help administrators better understand adoption of the Ultra Course View.

A course designated as Undecided is in the Original Course View, but an instructor may change it to Ultra Course View. A course designated as Preview uses the Ultra Course View, but an instructor can revert to Original Course View.

Image 1. Course search results sorted by Course View

Course search results sorted by Course View

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


View Enrollment Data Source Keys – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators

Data source keys allow administrators to segment data sets. They help to limit changes to records except by an appropriate data authority. To change some aspects of a record, you must know the data source key. In the past, administrators could view the data source key for user, course, organization, and term records. Data source keys for course and organizations enrollments were not displayed in the administrator panel.

If an administrator needed to update aspects of an enrollment record, they had to know the data source key because it was not displayed. Now the courses and organizations enrollments list pages, display the data source key for each enrollment. Administrators can also sort by the Data Source Key column.

Image 1. Listed enrollments for a course, displaying the data source key

Listed enrollments for a course, displaying the data source key

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

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


LTI Tool Content: Standardize default icons – 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators

Content icons are an important aspect of identifying content types in the course. In the past, when LTI tool icons were not defined the iconography was inconsistent. Now, all LTI tool icons that are not defined will display the default rocket icon.

These icons appear in these locations in the base navigation and Ultra course:

  • Content Outline
  • Gradebook grid view
  • Gradebook list view
  • Gradable Items tab
  • Students Grades Overview
  • Grades tab on Base Navigation
  • Course Calendar Day Schedule
  • Course Calendar Day Due Dates
  • Base Nav Calendar Day Schedule
  • Base Nav Calendar Day Due Dates
  • Books & Tools
  • Base Nav Calendar
  • Overall Calculations

Image 1. LTI Tools default icon as shown on the Course Content page

TI Tools default icon as shown on the Course Content page

For administrators: We recommend administrators review LTI placement configurations. When the tool provider manages their icons, those are always used and cannot be changed. When the tool provider does not supply an icon, the administrator can add one. When no icon is defined, a default icon is used.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Configure decimal and number separators in locale– 3900.62

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators

People use different number formatting around the world. Larger numbers are grouped in different ways, and different punctuations are used for decimals. In Learn, these behaviors are included in the locale settings, so this is done automatically. A number would appear as 1,095.5 in the United States and 1.095,5 in Germany.

For some language selections, however, there can be variance from one country to another. In Spanish-speaking countries, for example, the decimal point is used in Mexico, but the decimal comma is used in Colombia.

Previously, custom configurations could be applied for Original courses. Now, these same custom settings will also apply to Ultra courses.

In Ultra courses, there are two places that will still display decimal point when the locale uses decimal commas:

  • Numeric questions
  • The Overall Grade configuration. Final calculations are not affected.

We plan to fix these in an upcoming release.

The Attendance tool always uses decimal points regardless of locale.

Image 1. The Spanish locale has been edited to use decimal points instead of decimal commas

The Spanish locale has been edited to use decimal points instead of decimal commas

For administrators: The improvement in this release is limited to left-to-right languages. Action is only necessary if your local number handling doesn’t match what is coded into your selected locale. To change the number handling:

  • Export the appropriate language pack
  • Manually edit the locale settings
  • Upload the language pack and make it available

 

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Course Upgrading

Remove HTML for plain text fields – 3900.62

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

Sometimes users may add HTML to fields in the Original Course View to change styling. For example, users cannot change the color of web link objects like they can for other items. Users worked-around this by adding HTML into the text field to change the color of the web link.

Image 1. HTML in a Web Link Name Field to change its color to red

HTML in a Web Link Name Field to change its color to red

When converted to the Ultra course view, the same fields no longer support HTML, and the HTML becomes exposed. Users then must rename the objects and remove the exposed HTML.

Image 2. HTML code is now exposed

HTML code is now exposed

Now we remove any HTML that is no longer supported during conversion. Conversion preserves the text-based content within the HTML tags.

For administrators: There are no administrative configurations required.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description


Updated Text for Copies and Imports – 3900.62

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

When copying entire courses or individual items from courses, instructors may have seen the following message: "Oops! An error occurred copying your content". The message has created concerns when copying materials from Original courses. The text gives the impression that there are a lot of errors with copy and conversion. Yet, most exceptions are notifying instructors of changes during conversion.

Image 1. Misleading Error Message

Misleading Error Message

We have updated the message to reduce the association of exceptions with errors. Exceptions are for the most part changes to content during conversion. Our hope is that this change will reduce fear when copying from Original courses.

Image 2. Updated Error Message

Updated Error Message

Another example of where we have made a change is with the results from a copy, import, or conversion. Before, instructors would see this message under each category: "# items were not copied". The message gave the impression that each exception message was a failure to copy, which is not true.

Image 3. Misleading Text on Copy Results

Misleading Text on Copy Results

We have updated the message to inform users that they have exceptions to review.

Image 4. Updated Text on Copy Results

Updated Text on Copy Results

For administrators: There are no administrative configurations required.

Return to April 2023 – 3900.62 Release description



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