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 3900.44.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.44.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 21 June 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 7 July 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.44.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.44.0-rel.12+0229dfa to Test/Stage servers to take place on 28 June 2022.

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

 


Assessments and Grading

Points overall grade calculation option - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors prefer to define the overall grade calculation based on points. Now the Overall Grade supports a points-based calculation. This new calculation gives instructors greater flexibility and supports varied evaluation practices.

The instructor may use the 'Set it up' option to configure the Overall Grade.

Image 1. Setting up the overall grade

Setting up the overall grade

The setup wizard guides the instructor to select points or weighted calculation. The wizard includes examples of each calculation type.

Image 2. Overall Grade calculation wizard

Overall Grade calculation wizard

Image 3. Overall Grade calculation wizard with examples

Overall Grade calculation wizard with examples

The interface displays all grade categories with the associated points values. The total points available in the course auto sum.

Instructors can:

  • Add calculation rules to assessments within a category.
  • This is existing functionality that supports the following:
    • dropping scores
    • using only the lowest or highest score in the total calculation of the category
  • Exclude a category from the overall grade calculation. This removes the category's points from the total points available in the course.
  • Expand categories to reveal the individual items within the category and point values.
  • Unlink an item from its category. This is useful if you want to exclude an item from a category calculation rule.
  • Exclude an item within a category from the overall grade calculation. This removes the item points from the total number of points available in the course

Image 4. Expand categories and unlink or exclude items within a category

Expand categories and unlink or exclude items within a category

Instructors who have already configured the Overall Grade will see a new tab. This tab supports switching between points and weighted calculations.

Image 5. Tabbing option to switch the Overall Grade calculation

Tabbing option to switch the Overall Grade calculation

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Points overall grade display option - 3900.44

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

The method of presenting the overall grade in a course is as important as the calculation. In the past, instructors could present the overall grade as a letter or percentage. Now, the instructor may choose to display the overall grade as points. This display option supports the new points-based calculation for the overall grade.

Image 1. Instructor Overall Grade settings, the overall grade display options, including points

Instructor Overall Grade settings, the overall grade display options, including points

With the points display option, instructors and students see the overall grade as a fraction. For example, 745/800.

Image 2. Instructor gradebook view, in the grid view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Instructor gradebook view, in the grid view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Image 3. Instructor gradebook view, in the student list view the Overall grade is displayed as points

nstructor gradebook view, in the student list view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Image 4. Student gradebook view, current grade displayed as points

Student gradebook view, current grade displayed as points

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Copy Question Banks - 3900.44

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

Instructors spend a great amount of time building and refining assessment questions. Reusing these questions across courses is of utmost importance. Now instructors can copy question banks from Original and Ultra courses. This saves time and provides greater efficiency.

From the Copy Content menu, instructors may select the Question Banks folder from the desired course. To copy all banks the instructor may select the checkbox for the Question Bank folder.

Image 1. Question Banks folder option from Copy Content menu

Question Banks folder option from Copy Content menu

To copy individual banks the instructor may select the Question Banks folder to open it. Select the checkbox for each bank to copy.

Image 2. List of all Question Banks

List of all Question Banks

Copied Question Banks appear in the Question Banks area. Select 'Manage banks' in the Details & Actions menu to review all question banks in the course.

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Display one question at a time – Prohibit backtracking - 3900.44

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

Robust assessment settings are key for supporting a range of instructional scenarios. Building on the one-question-at-a-time feature, instructors can now prevent backtracking. This option allows instructors to force a sequence through questions in an assessment. A sequence is important when upcoming questions provide hints or reveal answers to earlier questions.

Once the student answers the question and continues to the next, the student cannot go back. If a student skips a question, an alert informs the student that they cannot go back to the question.

Image 1. Student view of assessment with backtracking prohibited

Student view of assessment with backtracking prohibited

Image 2. Alert if a student tries to skip a question

Alert if a student tries to skip a question

Instructors can choose this setting in assessments with questions configured to display one question at a time.

Image 3. Assessment Settings panel with prohibit backtracking

Assessment Settings panel with prohibit backtracking

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Grade History Download - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors and administrators need a record of changes to grades in a course. These records are important for addressing quickly student questions and grade challenges. Now instructors can download the grade history from an Ultra course.

Instructors may save the history as a tab or comma separated file (.xls or .csv) to their device or the Content Collection.

Image 1. Download Grades with Grade History option

Download Grades with Grade History option

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Edit points a student earns on an assessment question - 3900.44

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

Instructors can now change the points a student earns on an assessment question. The points field supports negative and positive values with up to two decimal points.

Image 1. Instructors may select the question score pill to change the points earned.

Instructors may select the question score pill to change the points earned

Image 2. When an assessment does not post grade automatically, a banner alerts the instructor that scores appear after posting.

When an assessment does not post grade automatically, a banner alerts the instructor that scores appear after posting

Image 3. Overrides must be removed so that the assessment grade reflects changes the instructor makes to the points a student earns on a question.

Overrides must be removed so that the assessment grade reflects changes the instructor makes to the points a student earns on a question

Students will receive a grade change notification if an assessment grade changes. We honor students' notification preferences. The grade on an assessment may change when:

  • an assessment posts grades automatically, but then the instructor changes the points earned on a question
  • the instructor removes an overridden grade so that changes to points earned reflect on the assessment grade

Image 4. Student notification of a posted grade in the Activity Stream

Student notification of a posted grade in the Activity Stream

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Test question filtering improvements - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

In an earlier release, we added a question filter to support students as they take a test. In this release we are making improvements to the filter options:

  • Enhance prominence of applied filters to increase awareness
  • Improved filter management experience for students who use assistive technology

When a student applies a filter, a corresponding filter chip appears below the test header. A student may quickly remove any applied filter from this area by selecting the X on the filter chip.

Image 1. Student view of a test with no filters applied

Student view of a test with no filters applied

When a student applies a filter, a filter button appears. If a student selects the filter button, the question filter options menu opens below.

Image 2. Essay questions filter applied

Essay questions filter applied

Image 3. Essay questions and unanswered questions filters applied

Essay questions and unanswered questions filters applied

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Recategorize graded discussions and journals - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

A best practice in course design is to use a variety of assessments. Recategorizing assessments is important to instructors who assign weight to categories in the overall grade calculation. An instructor may select a category that does not match the assessment tool used. For example, an instructor may wish to include an Assignment in the Test category. We support this option. In the past, recategorizing graded discussions and journals was not allowed.

There is now a 'Grade category' selector in the settings panel for graded discussions and journals. The category options include both default and custom categories.

In a future release, the icon for the assigned category will appear in the course content area, gradebook, and activity stream for both students and instructors.

Image 1. Discussion Settings panel

Discussion Settings panel

Image 2. Journal Settings panel

Journal Settings panel

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Multiple Choice Question type improvement - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

The multiple choice question is one of the most popular question types used in an assessment. Instructors told us that some of the text within the user interface was confusing. We removed the text.

Image 1. Multiple choice question with text

Multiple choice question with text

Image 2. Multiple choice question with text removed

Multiple choice question with text removed

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Improvements to Group Feedback and Grade Overrides - 3900.44

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

Instructors often provide meaningful feedback to students. In the past, when a group assessment grade was overridden, the feedback for the student was hidden. We have corrected this. Now feedback shows as expected for any posted grade that has been overridden.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Inline file rendering of files in Course Content, Folders, and Learning Modules – 3900.44

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

Content creation and presentation are key for designing engaging courses. Various files will now render inline in Course Content, folders, and learning modules. Instructors can set the behavior of these files for users:

  • view and download (default)
  • view only
  • download only

Image 1. Instructor view - Edit File Options

Instructor view - Edit File Options

Supported file types:

Supported file types
Adobe Acrobat Documents (PDF) Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX) Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX)
Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX. XLST, CVS, TSV) OpenOffice Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP) Standard text file (txt)

Non-supported file types will always be downloadable for users.

For the file types: .xlsx, .xls, .xlst, .csv, and .tsv, inline viewing is only supported for files up to 10 Mb in size. Files over 10 Mb are downloadable only.

 

Some image, video, and audio file types will now open in a large panel. Users can view or play back media in the browser:

Images:

Supported image types
JPEG GIF PNG

Audio:

Supported audio types
m4a mpeg mp3 ogg
mp4 flac wav  

Video:

Supported video types
mp4

Image 2. Several types of files in Course Content

Several types of files in Course Content

Image 3. Audio recording - inline display and playback

Audio recording - inline display and playback

Image 4. Document inline display

Document inline display

Image 5. Image inline display

Image inline display

Image 6. Presentation inline display

Presentation inline display

Image 7. Video inline display and playback

Video inline display and playback

For administrators:
- Inline rendering applies to new and existing files in the course. Existing files will be set to ‘view inline and download’ by default. Instructors can change the files to 'view only' or 'download only' if preferred.
- We convert supported content types to PDF on demand when a user accesses them. This conversion provides an improved user experience. We cache these files for 30 days. Files converted to PDF as part of this feature do not count towards your storage quota.
- Hyperlinks in files are disabled.
- Inline file rendering is not yet available for non-Gov Cloud clients.

 

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Conversion of Blank Pages to Ultra Documents - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Course Builders, Administrators

An exemplary course design practice focuses on content composition and structure. In the Original Course View, instructors often use Blank Pages for course content creation. In the Ultra Course View, the Ultra Document is a similar content creation tool.

In the past, Blank Pages did not convert in course conversion. Now Blank Pages are converted to Ultra Documents. This conversion will help ensure a smoother transition from Original to Ultra Course View.

For administators: When there is an attachment to the Blank Page with the “Display media file within the page” option, the attachment may duplicate after conversion to an Ultra Document. The instructor should remove the duplicate attachments.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Quality and accessibility improvements of math formulas - 3900.44

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

Instructors and students often use math formulas in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. In the past, formulas might render slowly or lose quality when zoomed. Now we will render math formulas as images in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format. This allows users to zoom in or enlarge formula images without losing quality. This change also improves accessibility for users with low vision.

Image 1. Before rendering images in SVG format

Before rendering images in SVG format

Image 2. After rendering images in SVG format

After rendering images in SVG format

Users can create math formulas using the text editor. Some content types include a description. The description appears on the Course Content page. Some notifications on the Activity Stream also display the description. When a description for a discussion or journal includes a math formula, we replace the formula image with '[Math formula].' When the user selects the content or notification, the math formulas will render as images.

Image 3. Example discussion description that includes a math formula.

Example discussion description that includes a math formula

Image 4. Example discussion topic that has math formulas.

Example discussion topic that has math formulas

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Updated Panel for Messages - 3900.44

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

In the past, Messages used a small panel for authoring and presenting a message. This made authoring and viewing messages on devices with larger screens difficult. Now users will author and view Messages on a large panel, supplying a better user experience.

Image 1. Before - Viewing Message on small panel

Before - Viewing Message on small panel

Image 2. After - Viewing Message on large panel

Image 2. After - Viewing Message on large panel

We have also moved two options above the rich content editor:

  • Allow replies to this message
  • Send an email copy to recipients

Image 3. Before - Authoring Message on small panel

Before - Authoring Message on small panel

Image 4. After - Authoring Message on large panel

After - Authoring Message on large panel

Relocating these options improves the user experience for those who use assistive technologies.

Now users on mobile and larger devices will have a great user experience with Messages.

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Display Pronouns and Pronunciation in Original Course View - 3900.44

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

The November 3900.26 and February 3900.32 releases included these features for Ultra Course View. This release adds full support for Original Course View. It also adds limited capabilities for Original Experience without Base Navigation enabled.

This release continues to deliver on planned diversity and inclusion improvements. Institutions can allow users to express their personal pronouns. This fosters greater respect among students and with faculty.

Institutions can also enable name pronunciation. Users can add text guidance to describe the pronunciation of their names for other users. Users can record the pronunciation of their names. The recording tool counts down to when the recording begins. The recording may be up to 20 seconds long. For accessibility reasons, text guidance must be allowed if name recording is enabled. Recordings are compressed and included in storage use calculations.

If a user has pronoun or pronunciation information, it is displayed on a profile card. Selecting any avatar icon in Original Course View displays the profile card. All avatars are selectable in user lists, course tools, and grading workflows.

Image 1. Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission.

Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission

Image 2. Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion.

Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion

Base Navigation is required for the following features:

  • Administrator can enable pronunciation recording
  • Administrator can configure pronoun options for user choice
  • Users can select their own pronouns
  • Users can create or play back pronunciation recordings

All deployments support the following, including Original Experience:

  • Display pronouns and pronunciations in Original Course View
  • Integrate pronoun and pronunciation guidance text from a user information system
  • Administrators can manually set user pronouns and pronunciation guidance text
  • Users can manually set pronunciation guidance text

Known issue in Safari browsers: There is a known issue creating or playing pronunciation recordings in Safari. The issue is because of a mismatch of compression codecs that Safari supports.

For administrators: Manage these features in Administrator Panel > Customize User Information. You may add pronouns and pronunciation guidance text through data integration. This includes REST, flat file, LIS, XML, and IMS methods.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

LTI Item name change to Content Market – 3900.44

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

The rich text editor is a valuable tool used throughout the course. The insert content button gives users the option to add math, media, and other types of content. Users shared feedback about uncertainty of the "LTI item" option. To provide greater clarity, we have changed the name of the "LTI item" button to Content Market. For more information about the content market, please visit our Help site.

Image 1. Instructor view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

nstructor view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

Image 2. Student view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

Student view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Institution Role Mapping to LTI Institution Roles - 3900.44

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

Some third-party integrated tools function better when users’ institution roles are more specific. This is especially true for tools accessed outside of courses. In the past, Learn did not send institution role information to LTI tools. Learn will now send to LTI tools users’ mapped primary institution role information. Secondary institution roles are not supported.

When administrators edit institution roles, they may select from a list LTI Institution Roles that their tools expect.

The mappings are supported for all deployment types. Mappings apply to both user experiences and course types. You can map the Learn default institution roles or any custom ones made by the institution. We support mapping for LTI 1.1 or 1.3/Advantage.

To prevent disruption for current users, the default role behavior remains unchanged. Administrators may edit each role configuration and choose the best LTI role for each. LTI institution role mapping applies to all LTI tools.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Administrator launch for LTI course links - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators, System Support Roles, Node Administrators

In the past, administrators would receive an error when selecting an LTI link in a course. To remediate the error, administrators would have to enroll in the course. Because only course members could launch LTI links, enrollment was a requirement.

Now administrators no longer need to enroll in the course.

The tool shows the user with an LTI system role of “Administrator” and an LTI context role of “Administrator.” The administrator or support user will not appear in tool requests for course membership. The tool shows them as an administrator, not an instructor. A tool must follow the LTI specification and be able to give a proper experience to an administrator user.

This change applies to the mobile application as well since LTI links are handed off to the responsive web browser.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.41.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.41.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 10 May 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 2 June 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.41.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.41.0-rel.22+d0bc71c to Production servers on 23 June 2022.

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

 


June 2022 – 3900.41 Release

The June 2022 - 3900.41 release is rich with new features and improvements in three areas: assessment and grading; richer course and content design; and integration, extension, and management.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Administrators:

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Multiple attempts for Group Assessments - 3900.41

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

Some instructional scenarios are better supported when students have multiple attempts. With this release, we are adding support for multiple attempts in group assessments. Instructors may want student groups to submit work in phases. Other instructors may wish to provide student groups with iterative feedback. This approach may improve students' experiences in group work, engagement, and learning.

Instructors will now have the option to give more than one attempt for group assessments.

Image 1. Assessment Settings for group assessment with more than one attempt

Assessment Settings for group assessment with more than one attempt

From the submissions page, the instructor can view the following:

  • all groups
  • attempt and submission details
  • status
  • group grade(s)
  • option to post all grades or individual group grades
  • more options, including add or edit exceptions

When grading, the instructor can view the following:

  • the assessment and all groups
  • the number of members in each group
  • the number of remaining attempts and/or submission details,
  • the status
  • the grade

The instructor may select a group to view/grade their attempts. All attempts with their respective grades and the final posted grade appear. There is also a possibility to search for submissions by the submission receipt number.

Image 2. Submissions panel for Group 2 with all group submissions in the background

Submissions panel for Group 2 with all group submissions in the background

Image 3. Assignment Content, Grading and Feedback for Attempt 4 for Group 2

Assignment Content, Grading and Feedback for Attempt 4 for Group 2

When a student in a group begins a submission for the group assessment, the number of remaining attempts is displayed. There are no changes to all other details and information related to the group.

Image 4. Single student in a group before viewing a group assessment

Single student in a group before viewing a group assessment

After a student submits the assessment for the group, group members can view the number of remaining attempts. The members can view the grade and assessment (depending on the instructor's settings).

Image 5. Single student in a group views previous and remaining attempts information and grade

Single student in a group views previous and remaining attempts information and grade

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

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Calculate Overall Grade options (running total or not) - 3900.41

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

Philosophies and practices are quite diverse when calculating the overall course grade. Today, the overall grade is the quotient of points earned divided by total graded points. This calculation is the running total. In this release, we are adding the option to calculate the overall grade as earned points divided by total possible points. This calculation is the not running total option.

Image 1. Instructor view of Overall Grade Settings - Before

Instructor view of Overall Grade Settings - Before

Image 2. Instructor view of Overall Grade Settings - After

Instructor view of Overall Grade Settings - After

To provide greater clarity to students, dynamic text explains the instructor's calculation choice. Students can see the Overall Grade and calculation details from the information icon in their Gradebook. The student may also select the Overall Grade pill to see calculation details.

Image 3. Student view of dynamic text to explain the Overall Grade calculation options

Student view of dynamic text to explain the Overall Grade calculation options

For administrators: This feature will be behind a feature flag. Administrators may turn on this feature to allow instructors to choose the preferred calculation: Administrator Panel | Configure in "The Ultra experience is here!" module | Available Features | Running total grade calculation. When the feature is on, the default is the running total calculation. For students, the dynamic text only appears when the feature is on.

Image 4. Administrator view to configure the feature

Administrator view to configure the feature

Watch a video about overall grade calculations using earned points

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: New Overall Grade calculation option (running total or not) shows how to use the not running total option for the overall grade calculation.

New Overall Grade calculation: Not running total option video

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements – 3900.41

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Each instructor takes care to decide how to calculate their students' grades. It is important that we provide great flexibility to support diverse needs. In the past, instructors could only weight gradebook items or grade categories. Now, both items and categories can have weight in the overall grade calculation. This allows instructors to weight high stakes assessments while also weighting categories.

Instructors may unlink items from categories to assign weight at the item level. Unlinked items appear ahead of the related category. An instructor may specify the weight and lock it to prevent further changes to the weight. Locking is helpful because the weights auto-adjust to ensure that the weighted calculation sums to 100%.

Image 1. An instructor may set the weight of items and categories. The instructor may lock the weight. Weights auto-balance to ensure the weights sum to 100%.

An instructor may set the weight of items and categories. The instructor may lock the weight. Weights auto-balance to ensure the weights sum to 100%.

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


Watch a video about item and category weighting

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: item and category weighting shows enhancements made on how to weight course items and categories in Learn Ultra.

Item and category weighting video

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Journals display more than 50 entries - 3900.41

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

Journals are a valuable tool for facilitating reflection. Journals also allow students to express their feelings about their learning experiences.

To better support instructors and students who use this tool, we have made a series of updates:

  • students may make unlimited entries
  • students and instructors have improved navigation with pagination on the entries page
  • students and instructors can decide the number of items that appear per page
  • instructors have a count of graded journals

Image 1. Instructors may select the number of entries displayed per page

Journals: Instructors view to select the number of entries displayed per page

Image 2. Instructor's view of improved page navigation with choice to control the number of entries per page

Journals: Instructors view showing page navigation and control the number of entries per page

Image 3. Instructor's view of the count of graded journals and students filtered for grading

Journals: Instructors view showing graded journals count and students filtered for grading

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

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Attachments render inline for Ultra Documents and Assessments – 3900.41

Blackboard Learn SaaS (all non-Gov Cloud clients)
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students

Robust options for content creation are important to instructors. Equally important is the flexibility for how the content is rendered for users. Currently, instructors can add file attachments to Ultra Documents and Assessments. Students who click on the file attachment link(s) can download the file(s). Now instructors can set the behavior for attachments in Ultra Documents and Assessments:

  • view and download (default)
  • view only
  • download only

Image 1. Instructor view - edit file options

Inline file rendering, instructor view of edit file options window

The view option renders the file in the web browser without the need for the native application(s).

Supported file types:

  • Adobe Acrobat Documents (PDF)
  • Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX)
  • Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX)
  • OpenOffice Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP)

Users can still download non-supported file types.

Image 2. Student view of an attachment in an Ultra document

Inline file rendering, student view of an attachment in an Ultra document

Image 3. Student view of a Microsoft Word document rendered inline

Inline file rendering, student view of a Microsoft Word document rendered inline

For administrators: Inline rendering applies to new and existing attachments to Ultra Documents and Assessments. To render files inline, Office files are converted to PDF on demand and are cached for 30 days. Files converted to PDF as part of this feature do not count towards your storage quota.
This feature is on by default for all non-Gov Cloud clients. This will be an opt-in feature for Gov Cloud clients in a future release.


Watch a video about file rendering in Ultra documents and assessments

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Attachments render inline for Ultra Documents and Ultra Assessments shows how files attached can appear within documents and assessments.

Attachments render inline for Ultra Documents and Ultra Assessments video

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Changed behavior for pasting JavaScript in Original Course View Content Editor - 3900.41

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

The Original Course View Content Editor allows users to paste JavaScript into their HTML. JavaScript can add rich capability to web content but can be malicious. The Content Editor removes JavaScript automatically for most users when saved. This way, scripts cannot harm other users. Only authorized users can keep JavaScript when they save.

In the past, the Content Editor would temporarily render pasted scripts in the edit view. A user copying a script from a bad actor could inadvertently run a script against themselves.

A user could still run malicious JavaScript against their own device, but not by using the Content Editor. For users authorized to save scripts, JavaScript will still render after they save.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Original courses. There are no configurations needed. The existing permission for the ability to save scripts is called, “Add/Edit trusted content with scripts.”

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

Support Max File Upload Limit for Ultra Courses – 3900.41

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

File upload is an important part of online teaching and learning. Instructors upload files as part of course content. Students may upload files as part of an assessment submission or discussion post. When a user uploads or drags and drops a file, if the file is larger than the size specified by the administrator, a new upload error appears. The new upload error provides clear information to help the user know how to continue.

A user may upload multiple files at once. If some files are too large, the upload error will note the specific files so that the user may correct those files.

If an assessment requires a file upload and the student selects a file that is too large, the upload error displays. The student may select another file before submitting.

The upload error may include the following:

  • maximum upload size
  • size of the file(s) the user attempted to upload
  • Optional storage locations if the administrator includes this information
  • Optional support page link if the administrator includes this information (Ultra Experience Only)

Administrators may configure the upload error from the Administrator Panel: System Configuration > File Size Limits.

Image 1. Warning message without alternative storage location or support page link.

Warning message without alternative storage location or support page link

Image 2. Warning message with alternative storage location without support page link.

Warning message with alternative storage location without support page link

Image 3. Warning message with alternative storage location with support page link.

Warning message with alternative storage location with support page link

Image 4. Administrator flow for maximum file size settings, alternative storage, and support link page.

Administrator flow for maximum file size settings, alternative storage, and support link page

For administrators: To configure the maximum file size, alternative storage location, and personalized link: Administrator Panel > System Configuration > File Size Limits. The optional support link is only available for the Ultra Experience.


Watch a video about maximum file size limit

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Max file size limit shows information about the maximum size a file can have to upload on Learn Ultra, and the related errors the user may get when attempting to upload a file.

Max File Upload Limit video

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Blackboard Home: storage and utilization reports – 3900.41

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

Administrators need access to timely information about storage and usage. They use this to compare actual usage against contracted limits. We send administrators monthly reports of peak usage metrics. Using Insights Reports, admins can also look at many daily metrics over time to find the peaks. Blackboard Home now provides up-to-date peak usage metrics. The reports show peak usage over a configurable number of months. These metrics include billable storage and users, displayed together with the contracted limits. There are also reports for login counts and current storage use segmented by file type. Blackboard Home has not yet replaced the Insights Report. Both reports will appear for now. Blackboard Home appears to full System Administrators in the Admin panel.

Blackboard Home will become available to all Blackboard Learn SaaS instances with the next SaaS Feature Release in June, scheduled for June 2nd, 2022. This includes production, stage, and test environments. Blackboard Home is only for Learn SaaS.

Image 1. Peak storage usage

Peak storage usage

Image 2. File type breakdown

File type breakdown

Image 3. Peak User Counts

Peak User Counts

For administrators: This feature is an LTI 1.3 application and managed via DevPortal.
Application must be enabled via Administrator Panel > LTI Tool Providers > Blackboard Home. LTI application must be configured to send the user fields "Role in Course". Administrators are unable to further limit access.
If the application is not present, you may just need to resynchronize the LTI Tool Providers via: Administrator Panel > LTI Tool Providers > Synchronize LTI 1.3 Tools > Submit.


Watch a video about storage and utilization reports appearing in the Blackboard Home

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Storage and Utilization reports in the Blackboard Home shows how Blackboard Home provides up-to-date peak usage metrics.

Storage and Utilization reports in the Blackboard Home video

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


REST APIs to read all Content Collection files - 3900.41

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

The Content Collection stores files used in courses. It also stores files needed for other features of Blackboard Learn. Some third-party apps need access to these files to function. In the past, tool developers may have used Building Blocks APIs to read these files. Now developers can use REST APIs to read all files in all Content Collection directories. An administrator must authorize this access for a third-party app. The admin should assign permission “Read-only access to the Content System filesystem” to the API user. This improvement is part of ongoing work to expand the capabilities of the Content Collection REST APIs.

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description


Improvements to Permissions - 3900.41

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra 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 users such as graders and course builders having an unexpected experience. In this release, we have corrected the following permission issues:

  • Linked Help documentation for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors
    Users in Ultra courses can click links to access Help documentation. There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. In the past, these users would be linked to student documentation for several tools. This also happened in warning messages that have Help links. We have corrected this.

    Image 1. Example of corrected Help links
    Example of corrected Help links
  • Progress tracking behavior for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors
    There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. Students can have a progress tracking experience in the Course Outline. In the past, these other roles would see the student experience for progress tracking. We have corrected this.

    Image 2. Example of progress tracking corrected behavior
    Example of progress tracking corrected behavior

Return to June 2022 – 3900.41 Release description



Looking for older release notes?

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

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