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Learn SaaS release 3900.26.0: Release to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Course View

We're releasing a new Learn version 3900.26.0 (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.2+6bc051d) to client Test/Stage servers on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. The details on new features and updates will be published in the corresponding individual feature release notes.


Set and display pronouns in Ultra Course View - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

As part of planned diversity, equity, and inclusion improvements, this release gives institutions the option to allow users to express to others their personal pronouns. This fosters greater respect between students and with faculty engaging online by letting others know how best to refer to them in their group activities and discussions.

Included in this release:

  • Administrators can opt-in to allow use of the new pronoun field.
  • Administrators can set the pronoun values users will be able to select, allowing conformance with institutional standards, policy, and culture.
  • Administrators can allow users to request additional pronouns to be added to the approved list.
  • When allowed, users can select one or more pronoun values to display to others.
  • Users in Ultra Course View courses can see the pronouns populated by others in the class.
  • Data integration supports populating pronoun values for users through REST, flat file, XML, LIS, and IMS Enterprise methods.

A future release will allow for the display of pronouns in Original Course View courses. User self-selection of pronouns will require that Base Navigation is enabled. When using Original Experience (Base Navigation is not enabled), only data population through data integration will be supported.

Pronouns settings and visualization example

Ultra: Course Overview M2 – Banner - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We have frequently heard from clients about a desire to include additional visuals into Ultra Course View, for both aesthetic and identification purposes. As a next phase in our work to improve overall navigation and an intuitive course experience, the course card image from base navigation can now be used as a course banner in Ultra courses.

When adding a new course image, instructors can opt to make it visible within the course and are able to easily crop the image to the preferred size and zoom in or out on the uploaded image to select the part they want to focus on. This change also makes it easier for instructors to add a course schedule and for students to identify course faculty members and class meeting days, times, and location.

Providing a visually appealing course, images consistent with Base Navigation, and easy-to-locate course details, is key to engagement and the overall student experience.

Ultra Course Overview image with new top banner included

 


Ultra Rich Text Editor Improvements: Tables. New options available when using tables - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We recently released the tables function in the Ultra rich text editor. In this release, we are pleased to share that additional formatting options are now available when using tables.

  • Text Style
  • Alignment options
  • List Attachment
  • Insert content

These options provide greater flexibility for faculty and students, especially in disciplines where the presentation and formatting of data is particularly important.

Table showing different text style, alignment options, list attachment, and content insertion within a it

Microsoft Teams integration - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Blackboard is excited to announce continued improvements to the recently released Microsoft Teams classes integration, solidifying our commitment to providing best-in-class tools and technologies for the Ultra Course View.

To ensure consistency of data processing and to reduce potential synchronization issues between Learn Ultra course view and an institutions Microsoft Tenant, at initial launch in August, Blackboard introduced a new Institutional email field within the Student Information System framework. This was specifically for cloud providers such as Microsoft who use email as their primary user identifier. This was made available for all SIS integration types.

This release includes the following capabilities:

  • The ability to allow courses to be Archived and Restored but keeping all institution emails intact. This is a continued change management improvement, and the first of several process improvements planned with this integration.
  • Support for large course sizes up to 10,000 enrollments, keeping inline with the maximum number of users that can be supported in a single Microsoft Team.
  • Greater system administration messaging within the integration setup flow, to detect Microsoft Tenants that don’t have the Teams Education profile added. This was an enhancement added as a result of our initial beta testing that took place earlier this year.

Progress Tracking M1.2: Permanent Tracking and Feature Flag Removal - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

As part of our August release, we included our Beta version of progress tracking. From this release on, progress tracking in Ultra Course View (UCV) could be activated in new courses, where no previous activity had taken place. This feature was also the first functionality behind a feature flag. In other words, administrators had the ability to decide whether they want to enable progress tracking at their institution or hold it for a while. We are happy to share that we are removing the current limitations around this feature.

With this release, instructors will be able to enable progress tracking at any time during the term. Enabling this functionality will give students an easy way to keep track of what they have done inside each one of their courses. When enabling progress tracking later than the beginning of the term, participatory items will be retroactively marked as complete. For example, assessments submitted previously by students will be marked as complete. Non-participatory items, like Ultra documents, will still need to be manually marked by students.

This is the next step in our work on progress tracking, and we’re excited to move forward alongside our clients. Future releases will provide additional instructor capabilities, such as the ability to monitor progress made by their students inside their courses.


API updates - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’ve made some noteworthy API updates, including the ability to manage the release or visibility of a course content based on timing or student success criteria:

  • Ultra Discussion APIs: Read - Discover (Filters). We’ve made some noteworthy API updates, including filters for the READ Discussion topic(s) and post(s) - collection and individual, where the user can filter before/after creation, or modify dates.

For more information about our REST Public APIs, please explore the Learn API at: https://developer.blackboard.com/portal/displayApi


Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

  • 'Needs grading' didn't take effect in Ultra grade journal on 'Grades and Participation' screen: this issue is now fixed and the Needs Grading filter is working as expected.

  • Unable to rename file in Ultra assignment: when an instructor tries to rename a file added into an Ultra assignment, a pop up titled "Close Without Saving?" appears when the user navigates away from the page. The edit option is there for instructors to be able to rename assignment's files, and it is now working without errors.

  • When the search box was clear in the gradebook grid view, not all columns were restored: when interacting with the search box, the elements (students(rows) and gradable items (columns)) are filtered. Now when the input is clear (by using the X button or removing the text explicitly with the keyboard), and all elements are restored, meaning no filtering.

  • Completed Course was not displayed in the vertical message tab for students: this has been fixed. Completed courses are displayed in the messages tab for students.

  • The number of unread messages was displayed twice on the Japan Language pack: the  number of unread messages was displayed twice in the Ultra Base navigation on the Japanese Language. This is now fixed.

You can view all 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 3900.26.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


Ally File Transformer in Blackboard Assist (North America availability)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Test/Stage and Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Base Navigation, and Blackboard App

The Ally File Transformer helps students to personalize their learning experience. It can convert files into alternative formats that better fit their needs, devices, and learning preferences.

  • Available at no cost with Blackboard Assist enabled. An Ally license is not required.
  • It converts files to alternative, more accessible formats including HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio, or BeeLine reader. Also, to a PDF that’s undergone optical character recognition (OCR).
  • For institutions licensing Ally, the Ally File Transformer allows students to convert their own files, or files they've found via research or project work.
  • The Ally File Transformer comes automatically with Blackboard Assist. There is an option to turn it off, if preferred, in the Administrator Panel > Partner Cloud Settings.

The Ally File Transformer will be available with Blackboard Assist for Higher Education clients in North America on August 5. Availability for clients outside this region is expected later this year.

Ally file transformer trial promo

Chatbot enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 and v3900.17.0 | Release to Test/Stage and Production 17 June 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View and Base Navigation

On June 17, Blackboard Student Success updated Blackboard Chatbot. Chatbot is included in Blackboard Learn at no additional cost, so the Learn experience is also improved:

  • Search Blackboard Learn Help documentation for Instructors as well as Students.
  • In addition to asking the chatbot questions, users can now also navigate a category hierarchy to discover common topics.
  • Resulting help information is now previewed directly in the chat interaction. Users can click to open the full documentation from the Help site.
    • The default Help articles reference the Ultra Course View to better support users transitioning to our latest interface and may need more assistance. However, users can easily switch to the Original Course View versions of Help articles as needed.
  • Institutions can upgrade to the premium version of Blackboard Chatbot that now supports adding institutional-specific help resources and defining a unique, branded chatbot persona.

Blackboard Chatbot currently supports English language North American SaaS environments using Base Navigation. The June 17 update applies to all production and test/stage environments.



Looking for older release notes?

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