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More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | How to enable the Ultra experience

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You can also see our instructions to create and export a list of Known Issues in Behind the Blackboard.

Check earlier versions' notes at the end of this page.

Learn SaaS release 3900.50.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.50.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 13 September 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 6 October 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.50.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.50.0-rel.21+840a19d to Production servers to take place on 26 October 2022. The build number doesn't increase from last week's as this is an Ultra UI only update. Also, it includes Bb Annotate iterative conversion improvements and bug fixes.

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

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.48.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.48.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 16 August 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 September 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.48.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.48.0-rel.18+c7edfda to Production servers to take place on 22 September 2022.

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

 


October 2022 – 3900.50 Release

The October 2022 - 3900.50 release is complete with features in four areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • integration, extension, and management; and
  • course upgrading.

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

All users:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Improved access to Student Grades Overview – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

An overview of a student's performance is helpful to instructors when working in the gradebook. In the List View of the Gradebook, when an instructor selects a student card an overview of the student’s assessment performance displays.

Before, in the Grid View of the Gradebook, when an instructor selected a student the student’s account information appeared. This was an unexpected result. Now, an overview of the student’s performance on assessments is displayed.

This change supplies a consistent experience when instructors select a student in the list and grid views. This change also supplies an expected behavior and improved access to the student grades overview.

Image 1. The gradebook grid view

The gradebook grid view

Image 2. An overview of a student’s grades

An overview of a student’s grades

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Enhanced auto save capability in the Content Editor in Tests & Assignments – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Test anxiety is a real problem that some students face today. To help, we want to ensure that students have confidence that all progress in an assessment is auto saved. In the past, student responses entered in the content editor only auto saved when a student clicked outside of the content editor.

Now student responses entered in the content editor auto save two seconds after the student stops typing. The "last saved" time is displayed at the bottom of the assessment. This time stamp auto updates.

Image 1. Last saved time stamp

Last saved time stamp for auto save capability of the content editor

If there is a disruption in connectivity, students receive a "Connection lost" warning. This warning informs students that they must act to re-establish the connection. When the connection is restored, the student’s work is saved automatically.

Image 2. Connection lost warning

Connection lost warning for auto save capability in the content editor

Auto saving is independent of any browser undo function. When a student uses the undo action, contents change according to browser behavior. Any changes because of an undo action will auto save.

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design:

Math Formulas accessible with screen readers - 3900.50

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

Math formulas are a critical part of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. Participants in these courses expect that all aspects of the course are accessible, including the math formulas. Now instructors and students can use screen readers to access math formulas when creating, editing and viewing content.

This update helps people who use a screen reader independently access math formulas. This new functionality also supports easier content creation since no added effort is needed to make the math formulas accessible.

Image 1. Math formulas added with the math editor and LaTeX equations read with screen readers

Math formulas added with the math editor and LaTeX equations read with screen readers

Image 2. Math formulas read with screen readers in user’s local language (Spanish)

Math formulas read with screen readers in user’s local language (Spanish)

Key considerations:

  • Math formulas alternative text and language depends on the Learn Ultra course language configuration.
  • Screen reader language, speed, and voice depend on the user’s device language configuration.
  • Users should confirm that their device and Learn Ultra course have the same language configuration.
  • Languages supported depends on WIRIS library. As of October 2022, WIRIS supports Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish.
  • If the Learn Ultra course is configured to use a language not supported by WIRIS, math formulas are read in English.
  • Math formulas can be added in content editors using the math editor or by typing LaTeX equations. Both formats are accessible with screen readers.
  • LaTeX equations display as text in the content editor. When users save the text, the LaTeX equations render as images. The screen reader reads the equations as text in the content editor and reads the math formulas when rendered as images.
  • Content editors that have the math editor option also render LaTeX equations.
  • LaTeX equations are not rendered inside code snippets because LaTeX equations are treated as part of the code format.

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Student Progress report for course content - 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors need to know how their students engage with course content. This knowledge helps instructors take important actions, such as improving course content or reaching out to idle students. Now instructors can see the progress that students indicate for the following content types:

  • Ultra Documents
  • SCORM packages
  • Uploaded files
  • Links
  • Cloud documents
  • LTI content with no associated grade
  • Learning modules
  • Folders

The new report allows instructors to select a piece of content and view:

  • Students who have not yet opened content;
  • Students who have opened or started viewing content; and
  • Students who have marked the content as complete.

The report includes the date and time an action occurred (e.g., when a student started viewing content). Instructors may sort by student name or progress status. Instructors can act based on this information by sending an individual or bulk message with a blind copy to each student.

The Student Name list includes the most recent improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion. If the student has provided this information, the list displays additional name, pronunciation, and pronoun information.

Image 1. Student Progress report for a specific piece of course content

Student Progress report for a specific piece of course content

Instructors may access this report from:

  • Select the ellipsis menu for the piece of content, select “Student Progress”
  • Select the piece of content (e.g., Ultra Document) and select the “Student Progress” tab

Image 2. Select the ellipsis menu of a piece of content

Select the ellipsis menu of a piece of content

For administrators: This feature is dependent on the “progress tracking” feature flag on the administrator panel. If you wish for Instructors to use this report, ensure “progress tracking” is turned on. Access the configuration options from the “The Ultra experience is here!” section on the administrator panel.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Granular Content Copy - Improvements to Legacy Content – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators

In the past, we used a type of file storage called Legacy Content in Original courses. When a user deleted the course content items, Legacy Content could become orphaned.

When upgrading an Original Course to the Ultra Course View, the process could retain the Legacy Content. Legacy Content may also increase with the use of Granular Content Copy feature. Storage and course copy performance could be affected. The Legacy Content folder is not available for user access in SaaS.

Starting with this release, Legacy Content will move to the Content Management System. Administrators will have access to a new ‘lost and found’ folder in the Course home folder.

Courses affected by this issue will see a reduction in Legacy Content in the course size report.

For administrators: Please review the files in the new "Lost and Found" folder. Move the files to permanent storage or discard them.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Course name in browser tab – 3900.50

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

Some users open different courses in separate browser tabs. Adding the course name to the browser tab helps users find the right tab. When a user is in the following areas of a course, they will see the name of the area and the name of the course: Analytics Calendar Content Discussion Gradebook Messages

Image 1. Area and course name appear in browser tab

Area and course name appear in browser tab

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Improvements to Blackboard App Settings – 3900.50

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

Users expect to have access to their courses on mobile devices. The transition between mobile and desktop applications should be seamless and frustration free. To support effortless movement between the two, we added settings categories and mobile-specific categories. A new design of this section provides simplified toggles for configurating your preferences.

Image 1. Stream notification option in the Settings section

Stream notification option in the Settings section

Image 2. Stream notification settings

Stream notification settings

Image 3. Disrupted connectivity alert

Disrupted connectivity alert

For administrators: This feature is available for all users of the Mobile App. Users with enabled automatic updates on their devices are not required to do any actions. Users with disable automatic updates on their devices must download the update.

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Base Navigation - Grades: Reduce height of course tiles for courses without grades – 3900.50

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users

In the Grades section of the base navigation, we have reduced the space used on course tiles for courses without grades.

Reducing this space for courses without grades gives users with multiple courses a better browsing experience.

Image 1. When there are no grades, space for course grades is reduced

When there are no grades, space for course grades is reduced

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Course Upgrading:

Preserving the forced sequencing setting on Learning Modules during course upgrading - 3900.50

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

In the past, when upgrading from the Original to Ultra Course View, we did not preserve the forced sequence setting selection for Learning Modules. Now we now preserve this setting selection during the upgrade process. If enabled in the Original Course View, the upgrade process keeps the setting in the Ultra Course View.

Image 1. The Forced Sequence setting in the Original Course View

The Forced Sequence setting in the Original Course View

Image 2. The Forced Sequence setting in the Ultra Course View

The Forced Sequence setting in the Ultra Course View

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

Return to October 2022 – 3900.50 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.46.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.46.0
Release to Test/Stage: Wednesday, 20 July 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 4 August 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.46.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.46.0-rel.27+79a83af to Production servers to take place on 25 August 2022.

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

 


September 2022 – 3900.48 Release

The September 2022 - 3900.48 release is complete with features in four areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion; and 
  • integration, extension, and management.

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students, but value is truly added for all users. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Rubric Copy between Courses – 3900.48

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

Instructors spend a great amount of time building and refining assessment rubrics. Rubrics provide instructors with a set of criteria to grade student assignments. Reusing these rubrics provides instructors with greater flexibility in how they design and build their courses. This saves time and reduces the need to recreate items within their Ultra courses.

From the Copy Content menu, instructors may select the Rubrics folder from the desired course. To copy all rubrics the instructor may select the checkbox for the Rubrics folder.

Image 1. Rubrics folder option from Copy Content menu

Rubrics folder option from Copy Content menu

To copy individual rubrics the instructor may select the Rubrics folder to open it. Select the checkbox for each rubric to copy.

Image 2. List of all Rubrics

List of all Rubrics

Copied Rubrics appear in the Gradebook Settings area. Select ‘Gradebook,’ select the gear icon in the top right-hand corner, and review all the rubrics in the ‘Course Rubrics’ section.

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Question Banks Sorting Controls – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often use question banks to organize their assessment questions. In the past, question banks were difficult to navigate. With this release, instructors can now use sorting controls. These controls supply improved navigation through the questions in the bank. Instructors can easily sort question banks based on the name, number of questions in a bank, or the last edited date.

Image 1. Sorting arrows added for name, number of questions, and last edited date

Question Banks sorting controls: Sorting arrows added for name, number of questions, and last edited date

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Discussion replies are available on the individual discussion grading page – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may want to respond to a student in a discussion while grading the student's participation. In the past, this was not possible. Grading discussions and taking part in discussions were on separate pages. Now an instructor can reply to posts from the individual student grading page. This provides greater efficiency in the grading process for instructors.

Image 1. Instructors may now reply to a student’s discussion post while grading a single student

Instructors may now reply to a student’s discussion post while grading a single student

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Grade History: Non-Posted Grades Included – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Grade records are important to instructors and academic leaders. These records are helpful for addressing student questions and grade challenges. In an earlier release, we added Grade History to the Ultra Course View. In this release, we are including a log of changes to non-posted grades.

There are no changes to how Instructors and other privileged users access and download Grade History.

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Summary list of annotations for inline grading – 3900.48

 

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

File submissions can be annotated inline when grading. Now a side panel will summarize all comments in a list. Selecting a comment will navigate the instructor or student to the location of that comment in the document. This change makes it easier to find all comments and feedback in a student’s submission.

This functionality will be released in September, independently from the 3900.48 release.

Rollout schedule by region:

  • Korea (prod-ap-northeast-2) - Tue 06 Sep  1pm EDT
  • Singapore (prod-ap-southeast-1) - Tue 06 Sep  2pm EDT
  • South Africa (prod-af-south-1) - Tue 06 Sep  7pm EDT
  • GOV US (prod-us-gov-west-1) - Wed 07 Sep  6am EDT
  • Sydney (prod-ap-southeast-2) - Wed 07 Sep 11am EDT
  • EU (prod-eu-central-1) - Wed 07 Sep  7pm EDT
  • Canada (prod-ca-central-1) - Thu 08 Sep  8am CET
  • US (prod-us-east-1) - Thu 08 Sep  8am CET

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Set points for manually added gradable items  – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with the same gradebook privileges

Manually added gradable items collect additional scores and grades for students. Previously, instructors would need to set the item to display as points to edit the maximum points. Then they could change the display option to letter or percentage. Now instructors can always edit the maximum points value when using any display type.

Image 1: Instructor creates an manually graded item, selects the percentage grade option, and has the choice to edit the maximum points

Instructor creates an manually graded item, selects the percentage grade option, and has the choice to edit the maximum points

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Test Timer Notifications – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

When taking a timed assessment, it is important for students to be aware of the time that remains to complete it. However, a fixed display of the timer can also add stress. To support various student preferences, we are introducing notifications for timed assessments. These notifications are less invasive yet keep the student informed.

  • For assessments less than 10 minutes, there is no notification.
  • For assessments less than 1 hour but greater than 10 minutes, there will be a single reminder when 10% of the time remains. For example, for an assessment with a 10-minute time limit, the notification will appear when 1-minute remains.
  • For assessments longer than or equal to an hour, there will be an added notification when 50% of the time remains. For example, for an assessment with a one-hour time limit, the notification will appear when 30 minutes remain. A second notification will appear when 10% of the time remains.
  • If a student has a time limit accommodation, a notification will appear when 10% of the extra time remains. If the extra time allowed is less than 10 minutes, there will be no added notification.
  • If a student has an unlimited time accommodation, there will be no notifications for the time remaining.

All notifications for remaining time auto-dismiss after 20 seconds. If a student prefers, they can dismiss the notification.

Image 1: Example notification of time remaining

Example notification of time remaining

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Improved Access to Feedback – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Student access to feedback is critical. Students need consistent ways to access feedback regardless of how an instructor grades. In the past, there were times when students could not access feedback if an instructor had overridden a grade. Now students have access to feedback regardless of how an instructor grades.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Microsoft Immersive Reader for Anthology Ally for LMS – 3900.48

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

Many classrooms today, both physical and digital, include participants with diverse needs. To better support learning needs and preferences, alternative formats are key. Alternative formats let all participants access course content according to their preferences.

Anthology Ally for LMS now includes a new alternative format: Microsoft Immersive Reader. Microsoft Immersive Reader helps students improve their reading, comprehension, and grammar skills. All course participants are empowered by Anthology Ally with Microsoft Immersive Reader.

From the Ally Alternative Format menu, users may select the Immersive Reader option and select download.

Image 1: Select the Anthology Ally Icon

Course Content displayed. Select the Anthology Ally Icon to start

Image 2: Select Immersive Reader Alternative Format

Select Immersive Reader Alternative Format

Image 3: Immersive Reader View

Immersive Reader View

This functionality will be released on August 31 independently from the 3900.48 release and as part of the Ally release.

Your institution will need to license Anthology Ally for LMS to use this functionality.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Prevent copying an entire course into the same course – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and other users with course copy privileges

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. In an earlier release, we added a way to copy content within a single course. In this release, we made modifications to the course copy options to prevent inadvertent full course copying in the same course. Instructors may continue to copy or duplicate content within a course.

Images 1: Disabled checkbox to prevent copying an entire course into the same course

Disabled checkbox to prevent copying an entire course into the same course

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Activity Stream navigation improvements – 3900.48

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

The Activity Stream supplies updates about various actions taking place in a course. For example, it is simple for users to navigate straight to a new test in a course. To help make it clearer where a user is navigating, we have added an on-hover underline to the course name and the content item name.

Images 1 and 2: Activity Stream - course name and assignment name underline on hover

Activity stream: course name and assignment name underline on hover. No underline visible.
Activity stream: course name and assignment name underline on hover. Underline visible (hover state)

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

Blackboard Home: Additional Site Health and Utilization Reports – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Original Experience
Impact: System administrators

Blackboard Home gives administrators insights into how their Learn site is being used. The previous release of Blackboard Home focused on storage usage metrics.

The September release has updates related to site health and utilization. It also helps administrators understand adoption of Ultra Course View.

As before, administrators can see metric changes over time. They can also use the time picker to look at specific timeframes. In this release, there are six new reports.

  • Unique users. See the count of active unique users over time.
  • Logins. See the count of user logins over time. Multiple logins by the same user are counted multiple times.
  • Requests Per Minute. See the average requests per minute served by the Learn application. This reflects the traffic volume (throughput) of the site. Request volume includes traffic from web browsers, mobile apps, and integrated systems.
  • Application Performance Index (Apdex). This is a measure of the timeliness of the user experience. It is impacted by both the application performance and users’ bandwidth. Apdex is on a scale from 0 to 1. A 0 is an unsatisfactory slow experience; 1 is very fast loading. The apdex measure is a standard managed by an open standards organization. It is meant to act as one indicator of a satisfactory user experience.
  • Uptime. This report helps administrators identify outages where users were impacted. An outage for this report is defined in the Service Level Agreement.
  • Ultra adoption. Administrators managing sites with instructor choice for Ultra course adoption need to track adoption and use trends. This report shows the share of active Original and Ultra courses.

Administrators can now switch between viewing different environments. This includes looking at test/stage environments separate from production. Each site will display its deployed version, URLs, deployment location, and information about direct database access (DDA) if enabled.

This functionality will be released in September independently from the 3900.48 release. Details will be shared later on this page.

For administrators: Blackboard Home is only available for Learn SaaS. There are no configurations needed if Blackboard Home was previously enabled. In some environments, it can be necessary to perform the following action to allow access. Go to Administrator Panel > LTI Tool Providers. Find “Blackboard Home” and edit it. Enable “Role in Course” to send role information to Blackboard Home and click submit. Only full system administrators can access Blackboard Home.

Image 1: Course count over time shows the share of courses that are Original, Ultra, Undecided, and in Ultra Preview.

ourse count over time shows the share of courses that are Original, Ultra, Undecided, and in Ultra Preview

Image 2: Site utilization visualizations include throughput and user count reports.

Site utilization visualizations include throughput and user count reports

Image 3: Site health reports including uptime and Application Performance Index (Apdex).

Site health reports including uptime and Application Performance Index (Apdex)

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Display Name Choice – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: All users, if enabled by administrator

As part of planned diversity, equity, and inclusion improvements, this feature gives institutions the option to allow users to express their preferred name. Name expression fosters greater respect among students and with faculty. Name expressions inform other course members about how best to refer to them.


Profile page settings

When administrators enable this feature, users may select their display name. The new options will appear for all users when editing their own profile in the Base Navigation area. A user editing their name will have options to display the first name, the additional name, or both names. A card preview shows how their name will appear.

  • First name: The first name field continues to display to users. This is the default for all users.
  • Additional name: A user chooses to display a different name to others. This is used when someone does not go by their legal given name.
  • Both names: A user chooses to display both the first name and additional name to other users. When selected, the additional name appears before the first name. This is used for nicknames or when a name has multiple forms.

Image 1: A user selecting to display additional name

A user selecting to display additional name

Image 2: A user selecting to display both first and additional names

A user selecting to display both first and additional names


Name display in Ultra Course View and Original Course View

Anywhere name information appears, the user’s choice is displayed to other users. This applies to areas throughout Learn:

  • Ultra Course View tools and pages
  • Original Course View tools and pages
  • Base Navigation and tools
  • Administrator experiences
  • Non-course tools such as Portfolios and Content Collection

Images 3 and 4: Examples from Ultra and Original Discussions

Examples from an Ultra Discussion showing a student's name
 
Examples from an Original Discussion showing a student's name

Images 5 and 6: Examples from Ultra and Original Groups

Example from an Ultra Group showing a student's name
 
Example from an Original Group showing a student's name

Sometimes administrators, faculty, and graders need to see actual name values. They may need to match up a user to an external system such as a Student Information System. The following locations show name values in the fields as they are set by the Student Information System:

  • Ultra Course View: Instructors, assistants, and graders viewing the user details in the Course Roster under the Basic Information header.
  • Original Course View: Instructors, assistants, and graders viewing the “Edit” page in the Control Panel user list
  • Administrator Panel: An administrator viewing the user “Edit” page in the user management panel
  • Gradebook exports and system and course reports

Image 7: An instructor viewing the student details in the Ultra Course Roster sees both the student’s display name choice and first name (defined in the Student Information System).

An instructor viewing the student details in the Ultra Course Roster sees both the student’s display name choice and first name (defined in the Student Information System).


Integration frameworks: REST, LTI, SIS Integration

  • Full name information sent for LTI will be the selected display name.
  • The SIS Framework remains unchanged. Field control configurations and field names are the same.
  • REST calls to First Name and Other Name fields remain unchanged.

For administrators: This feature is off by default. Enable in Admin Panel > Customize User Information. To use this feature, enable Base Navigation, and the “other name” field set to display. There are no other permissions configurations needed. Administrators still control whether users can edit data in the name fields. Admins still control whether data populates by external systems. The “Other Name” field name remains unchanged for integration purposes. This field displays to end users as “Additional Name.”

Image 8: Setting for allowing users to choose their displayed name

Setting for allowing users to choose their displayed name

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


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.23+b930328 to Production servers to take place on 28 July 2022.

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

 


August 2022 – 3900.46 Release

The August 2022 - 3900.46 release is replete with features in three areas: assessment and grading; richer course and content design; and integration, extension, and management. These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

  • Enhanced auto save capability in the content editor in Tests & Assignments
    On the Submission page, instructors and students were unable to download files attached from Cloud Storage. Due to this issue, this feature has been removed from this release to be included in a future one.

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Advanced calculation for Overall Grade – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors have varying preferences about how they define the overall grade calculation. Now the Overall Grade supports an advanced 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. An instructor may select a points, weighted, or advanced calculation for the overall grade

An instructor may select a points, weighted, or advanced calculation for the overall grade

Image 2. An instructor may configure an advanced calculation for overall grade

An instructor may configure an advanced calculation for the overall grade

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Managing Question Banks - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, System and Course Roles with privileges to manage question banks

Outside of course content, test questions are one of the most valued artifacts in a course. Instructors often spend a great deal of time building and refining banks of test questions. These banks are important as they enable question reuse across various assessments. Up until now, instructors could only import existing banks into their Ultra courses. Instructors could use the questions in their assessments. But instructors could not create new question banks or manage questions in existing banks.

Image 1. Before - former Question Banks interface

Before - former Question Banks interface

With this enhancement, instructors will be able to:

  • Create new, empty question banks in their Ultra courses,
  • View and search for questions within a question bank, and
  • Add, edit, and delete all aspects of a question within new and existing question banks.

Image 2. After – new Question Banks interface

After – new Question Banks interface

This functionality is available both on the desktop and in the mobile app. Instructors may access these options from Manage Banks in the Details and Actions.

Image 3. Add New or Import question banks from a file

Add New or Import question banks from a file

Image 4. Question bank interface – add questions

Question bank interface – add questions

Image 5. Edit a question in a question bank

Edit a question in a question bank

Image 6. View questions in a question bank with filter criteria

View questions in a question bank with filter criteria

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Due date exceptions - 3900.46

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

In the past, instructors could cater to specific student's needs by:

  • allowing additional attempts
  • changing item visibility

Now instructors may accommodate special circumstances by also allowing due date exceptions. This exception has been added to the existing exceptions panel.

Image 1. Exceptions panel

Exceptions panel

Key considerations:

  • Due date exceptions support is for individual tests and assignments only.
  • If an assignment or test does not have a due date, an exception cannot be set.
  • If an instructor wishes to remove the due date on an assignment or test, the instructor must first remove all due date exceptions.

Image 2. Banner warning when instructor attempts to delete a due date on an assessment with due date exceptions

Banner warning when instructor attempts to delete a due date on an assessment with due date exceptions
  • To find students with the due date exception, instructors may access the submission list view page. Students with the clock icon next to their name have the due date exception.

Image 3. Submissions list view; clock icon for students with the due date exception.

Submissions list view: clock icon for students with the due date exception
  • Instructors may grant due date exceptions in combination with other exception types.
  • Automatic zeros respect due date exceptions. Automatic zeros are only applied if students with the due date exception do not submit on time.
  • The “prohibit late submission” and “prohibit new attempts” options respect due date exceptions. These settings only apply if students with the due date exception do not submit on time.
  • Students with a due date exception will see the excepted date in:
    • Ultra Base Navigation
      • Activity Stream
      • Calendar
      • Grades Page
      • Email, depending on a user’s notification settings
    • Ultra-Course
      • Assignment or Test Details & Information
      • Course Outline
      • Calendar
      • Grades

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Progress Tracking: Status and Filter updates for Submission View - 3900.46

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

Instructors need clear information about the status of student progress in a course. In the past, the submission view of tests, assessments, and discussions had a single "Status" column.

Image 1. Before - Assessment submission view

Before - Assessment submission view

Image 2. Before - Discussion submission view

Before - Discussion submission view

We have split this column into two:

  • Student Status
  • Grading Status

This change provides instructors with greater clarity while grading and supporting students.

We have also separated the current filter to allow compound filtering between the two columns. The default for filters is to show everything. The filter resets every time the instructor accesses the submission view.

Image 3. After - Assessment submission view
After - Assessment submission view

Image 4. After - Discussion submission view

After - Discussion submission view

There are slight differences in filtering options based on role. When selecting two graders per student, the filters change:

  • Graders do not have the "needs posting" filter
  • Reconcilers have the "needs to reconcile" option

These changes will not apply to anonymous grading, journals, or group assessments/tests.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design:

Microsoft OneDrive: Create a Collaborative Document - 3900.46

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

Collaborative documents provide students opportunities to engage with one another and course content. Instructors can now create a Microsoft OneDrive collaborative document in the Ultra and Original Course Views.

Supported file types:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

In the Ultra Course View, a new choice, Cloud Document, appears on the menu after selecting “Create” from the plus sign to add content.

Ultra Course View Flow

Image 1. Improved workflow for adding content from OneDrive

Learn Ultra add file by open it from the Cloud Content item in the Create Content panel, and then, chose Open from OneDrive

An instructor can choose Cloud Document from the “Create Item” panel and select “One Drive.” The following options are displayed:

  • 'Open from OneDrive' to create a document link
  • 'Start a new Collaboration' to create a collaborative document

Image 2. Start a new collaboration

In the Course Content page, select Add Content, then Cloud Document and then Start a new Colaboration

Instructors may need to sign into a Microsoft account to continue.

Instructors can select an existing document or create a new file for collaboration.

Image 3. Create a new collaboration

Start a new collaborative document with Microsoft OneDrive

All student members of the course will be able to access the file. The students may select Edit Document to begin collaborating on the file.

Image 4. Students select Edit Document to begin collaborating on the document

Students select Edit to begin collaborating on the document

Any existing file linked to OneDrive stays unchanged. These files will remain read only.

In the Original Course View, a link appears in the content add tools menu and/or the add content button (+) in the content editor. The system administrator can decide the specific name in the Original Course View.

Original Course View Flow

Image 5. Adding Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document in Learn Original

Adding Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document in Learn Original

An instructor can choose to create an item or edit an existing item and select the + symbol from the content editor. Select the "Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document" to continue.

Image 6. Start a new collaboration

Start a new collaboration

Instructors may need to sign into a Microsoft account to continue.

Instructors can select an existing document or create a new file for collaboration.

All student members of the course can access the file. 

Image 7. Students select "Edit Document" to begin collaborating on the document.

Students select "Edit Document" to begin collaborating on the document.

For administrators: Please register the LTI Tool Provider in the Administrator Panel. Only users in the same Microsoft tenant can collaborate on documents.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Delete Student Preview User – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often need to preview their course as a student. Student preview helps instructors understand students' experiences in all aspects of the course. In the past, when an instructor exited student preview there was no choice to remove the preview student and related data from the course. This was problematic as the preview user appeared in the course as a student to all course members. Now instructors have a choice when exiting student preview:

  • save the preview student and data
  • delete the preview student and data

Image 1. Save or delete the preview student and data

Save or delete the preview student and data

The delete option removes the preview user and data from these areas:

  • roster
  • gradebook
  • gradebook filter
  • messages
  • messages recipient
  • discussions
  • journals
  • conversations

The method for exiting Student Preview also changed. We removed the three-dot menu and X option to close the Student Preview panel. Now to exit Student Preview, an instructor will choose the exit icon.

Image 2. Before - three dot menu and X options to close the student preview panel

Before - three dot menu and X options to close the student preview panel

Image 3. After - exist student preview via the exit icon

After - exist student preview via the exit icon

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Improvements to LaTeX question support - 3900.46

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

Instructors and students often use math formulas in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. LaTeX is a descriptive markup language used to typeset technical or scientific documents. Now instructors and students can create LaTeX equations in the content editor.

LaTeX equations display as text in the content editor. When users save the text, the LaTeX equations render as images.

Image 1. LaTeX equation as text in the content editor

LaTeX equation as text in the content editor

Image 2. LaTeX equation rendered as image after it is saved

LaTeX equation rendered as image after it is saved

Users can edit the LaTeX equation in text format in the content editor. Also, users can edit the equation using the Math formula option.

Image 3. LaTeX equation edited as formula using math editor

LaTeX equation edited as formula using math editor

Key considerations:

  • Content editors that have math editor option render also Latex equations.
  • Essay questions and the "Additional Content" section in Assessments do not have a save option in the text editor. In these areas, LaTeX equations will render as images after submission. Students can verify that the formula will render by opening the equation using the Math editor option.
  • Formatting such as italics or bold must be in the LaTeX code. Users can add the code formats in text or when editing using the Math editor. If a user chooses the bold format in the content editor, the image will render without that format. Example:
    • Code without format: $$axˆ2+bx+c=0$$
    • Code with format: $$\style{font-size:72px}{axˆ2+bx+c=0}$$
  • LaTeX equations are not rendered when they are inside code snippets. This is because LaTeX equations are treated as part of the code format.
  • Upgrading from the Original to Ultra course experience: LaTeX equations convert and respect the size limit and options of the text editor in Ultra. If the text editor in Ultra does not support math formulas, the LaTeX equations will copy as plain text.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Import/Export Group Sets and Members – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

This functionality will become available in Test/Stage environments on Tuesday 26 July, 2022.

In the past, instructors did not have a way to bulk create group sets or add group members in Ultra courses. Creating group sets and adding students to groups one at a time was very inefficient. Now instructors can create group sets and add group members by importing a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file. This feature also supplies the ability to export group sets and members to a CSV file.

Image 1. Import Group Set

Import Group Set

Instructors can create a group set by importing a CSV file from the course group set page or the groups view page. When assigning an assessment to a group set, instructors can import a CSV file. This allows the instructor to assign an existing group set or create a new one while creating an assessment.

Image 2 and 3. Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided template.

In the template, all mandatory cells are marked with an asterisk (*). There are two templates included in the download:

The asterisk will appear in the production version of the release.

  • one template for creating group sets
    Upload file option. We recommend instructors use the provided templates
  • one for importing members into the groups
    Template for one for importing members into the groups

After importing a file, the instructor will receive a confirmation email. The email will say that the file imported successfully or had errors. We recommend instructors use the template supplied to avoid errors.

Instructors can export and download their Group Sets, Groups, and Group members as a CSV file.

Images 4 and 5. Import or Export Group Set & Groups

Import Group Set and Groups
Export Group Set & Groups

Image 6. Export Group Set

Export Group Set

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Messaging in Private Courses – 3900.46

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

Some instructors need to communicate with students before a course is open to students. When a course is set to private, students cannot access the course. This means that students cannot access the course inbox to review messages. Because of this, we disabled the ability for instructors to send messages since there was no way for students to access those messages.

Image 1. Before – Instructors did not have a way to send messages when a course was private

Before – Instructors did not have a way to send messages when a course was private

Now instructors can send messages from within the course. Students can access the messages from the email address associated with their Blackboard account. This change does not change the access to the course inbox when the course is private. This change allows students to receive messages from the instructor via email when the course is private.

Image 2. Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided templates

Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided templates

Image 3. After – When composing a new message in a private course, instructors are informed how students receive those messages

After – When composing a new message in a private course, instructors are informed how students receive those messages

When a course is private, instructors will see a banner in the course inbox or when drafting a message. The banner states that students cannot access the messages in the course when the course is private but will receive an email copy instead. Students will receive an email copy of any message sent. They will be able to access the message from within their course once the instructor opens the course.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Force Email Copy for all Messages – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators and all users who can send messages

When drafting a message, users have had the option to choose “Send an email copy to recipients.” For policy reasons, some institutions may want this choice to always be on by default for all messages.

Image 1. Before – Users can choose to “Send an email copy to recipients” when composing a message

Before – Users can choose to “Send an email copy to recipients” when composing a message

With this update, administrators now have the choice to force an email copy to recipients for all messages sent.

Image 2. After – “Send an email copy to recipients” is now the default behavior for all messages; users are informed that recipients will receive an email copy

After – “Send an email copy to recipients” is now the default behavior for all messages. Users are informed that recipients will receive an email copy

Image 3. Before - Administrators did not have the choice to force email copies for all messages

Administrators did not have the choice to force email copies for all messages

Image 4. After - Administrators have the choice to force email copies for all messages

After - Administrators have the choice to force email copies for all messages

For administrators: Configure this setting from Tools & Utilities > Messages on the administrator panel.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Explicit declaration of Messages handling – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In the past, it was unclear how individual users received messages sent to more than one recipient. Some instructors expected that messages with multiple recipients would be sent as a group message. Others thought that messages with more than one recipient were private, like a blind carbon copy email.

Now when an instructor adds more than one recipient, the interface makes clear how the message is sent: group message or private message. This is a temporary solution. In a future release, instructors will be able to make this choice for themselves.

Image 1. Before – Users were not informed if the message was a group message or private message

Before – Users were not informed if the message was a group message or private message

Image 2. After– Users are informed when a message is a group message

After– Users are informed when a message is a group message

Image 3. After– Users are informed when each recipient receives their own private message

After– Users are informed when each recipient receives their own private message

All Roles:

  • With Multiple Recipients. The message is treated as a group message.
    • Base Navigation > Messages > + Symbol
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Messages > + Symbol
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Messages > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Roster > User Profile > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Message Icon next to Course Faculty

Instructor Roles:

  • With Multiple Recipients. The message is treated as a group message.
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Course Groups > Elipsis next to Group Set > Edit > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Assignment > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Test > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Discussion > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Student List View > Elipsis next to Student > Message Student
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Student List View > Student > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Elipsis associated with a Discussion > View Analytics > Elipsis > Message Non-Participant
  • With Multiple Recipients. Each Recipient receives an individual message/copy from the sender:
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Elipsis associated with a Discussion > View Analytics > Elipsis > Message # Non-Participants
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Settings > View Class Performance > Message Icon
    • Base Navigation > Grades > Pie Chart > Messages Icon

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Granular Content Copy – Copy Status in Course Tasks and Logs - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, System and Course Roles with privileges to copy/export/import

Content reuse is an important aspect of building out and updating courses. In recent releases, we have made improvements in this area:

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

Instructors will now have access to the status of all the course tasks that they start. This includes:

  • Copy
  • Convert to Ultra
  • Archive
  • Export
  • Import
  • Restore

Image 1. Course Tasks and Logs Access Point

Course Tasks and Logs Access Point

Image 2. Course Tasks and Logs – Tasks tab

Course Tasks and Logs – Tasks tab

Image 3. Conversion Report - See Report

Conversion Report - See Report

Logs are available for all course tasks. Instructors will be able to view the conversion report, view/filter, and download logs. These logs will help instructors triage any issues that may arise.

Image 4. Course Tasks and Logs - Logs tab

Course Tasks and Logs - Logs tab

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Granular Content Copy – Retain links to assessment questions - 3900.46

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

Content copying is an important feature. Instructors rely on content copy for easy reuse. Content copy is also helpful for quickly updating or building a course. In the past, there were instances when an assessment would be copied but the contents would not. This would happen in these cases:

  • An assessment has a question set or random block that links to questions in another assessment
  • An assessment has a question set or random block that links to questions in an assessment pool

When this happened, the copied test rendered incomplete. In some cases, the assessment was non-functional. Now all the linked questions stay intact after the copy process. Assessments now copy as expected.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management:

Microsoft Teams Meetings – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students, and any course role with privileges to engage and access Teams meetings

Microsoft Teams supports communication and collaboration for instructors and students. Now Microsoft Teams Meetings seamlessly integrates in Ultra courses. In the Original Experience and Original course view, users may access Teams Meetings from the Course Tools.

This integration includes easy access recordings and options to manage meeting settings. In addition, and for the Ultra course view only, we built Teams Meetings into the existing Teams classes integration and data sync process. This allows instructors to access the Ultra course roster while scheduling meetings.

With this integration, instructors will be able to:

  • Schedule new or reoccurring Teams Meetings
  • Invite specific users from the course or the entire course
  • Access recordings
  • When integrated with Teams Classes, support scheduling of Teams Meetings for dedicated Teams channels (Ultra course view only)
  • All scheduled Teams Meetings will populate in the Teams and Outlook calendar

This integration is available on both the desktop and mobile app. The integration supports access to Teams from within the Teams app. Users can also access Teams Meetings from the Original course view. Teams Meetings may be used as a replacement to the existing Microsoft Teams meeting scheduler.

Image 1. Before - Only Teams Classes enabled (Ultra Course View)

Before - Only Teams Classes enabled (Ultra Course View)

Image 2. After - Teams Classes and Teams Meetings enabled (Ultra Course View)

After - Teams Classes and Teams Meetings enabled (Ultra Course View)

Image 3. Manage Teams Meetings menu choice in Course Tools (Original Course View)

Manage Teams Meetings menu choice in Course Tools (Original Course View)

For administrators: Administrators will need to enable this feature for Ultra courses. Teams Classes must be enabled to use this feature. For Original courses, administrators will need to enable the feature using the administrator LTI setup. When enabled by the administrator, instructors may choose to disable the integration at the course level.

For Ultra and Original course views Teams meetings will be available for access on August 4, 2022.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Unified Blackboard App– 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Assistants, and Graders

In the past we had two separate mobile apps: the Blackboard App and the Blackboard Instructor App. The two apps caused confusion for many instructors. They did not realize that they needed to use a different app to manage their courses.

With this release, we are consolidating to a single app for both instructors and students. The user experience will change based on the user’s role within a course. Instructors can use the updated Blackboard app for both Original and Ultra courses.

Action needed: Support for the Blackboard Instructor iOS and Android apps ends in September 2022. Instructors, Assistants, and Graders should download the Blackboard app for iOS or Android.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. We encourage admins to notify instructors of the need to download a different app.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Congruent Mobile App and Desktop Experiences for Ultra Course View – 3900.46

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

The user experience in the Ultra Course View is now the same between the Blackboard mobile app and a web browser. In the past, users had to make a choice because the features were different between the app and a web browser.

This new Blackboard mobile app will be available August 8, 2022, from the iOS and Android app stores. Students using the current Blackboard app should simply update. Instructors, assistants, and graders should remove the Blackboard Instructor app. These users should download the Blackboard app.

The Blackboard app update does not change the experience for Original Course View.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Bb Annotate undo/redo functionality: Roll out deployment - 3900.46.0

 

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with grading permissions

We will do a phased roll-out deployment for the new undo/redo functionality of Bb Annotate. This new capability will allow instructors to easily edit their annotations. The schedule is:

Region/Date

  • ap-southeast-1-p: Aug 1, 2022
  • af-south-1: Aug 2, 2022
  • ap-southeast-1: Aug 3, 2022
  • us-gov-west-1: Aug 4, 2022
  • ap-northeast-2: Aug 5, 2022
  • us-east-1, eu-central-1, ap-southeast-2, and ca-central-1: Aug 11, 2022

The deployment will include some downtime, and we will avoid high traffic hours in each specific region.

The downtime will only be for Bb Annotate not the entire Learn environment.
It is expected to be around 1 hour long. During this time users will see a maintenance message inside the Bb Annotate framework.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


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

A message telling students they're not able to go back is highlighted.

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

A message asking students if they are sure they want 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

The boxes for display one question at a time and prohibited backtracking in assignment settings are ticked and highlighted.

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 grades automatically, a banner alerts the student that question scores appear after the instructor posts the grades.

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

Image 3. Instructors must choose "Undo Override" so that the assessment grade reflects changes made 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 administrators: 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


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


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Description field length increased to 750 characters - 3900.44

 

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors use the description field to provide more information about their content. In the past, the description field was limited to 250 characters. Now this field supports up to 750 characters.

Students can now better identify the topic of content.

Learn will inform the instructor the number of characters entered.

 

Image 1. Learn Ultra informs instructors the amount of characters supported.

Max length for the description field is now expanded to 750 characters

Image 2. Learn Ultra informs instructors when there are no available characters remaining.

Learn lets instructors learn they have written a specific number more characters allowed

Image 3. Learn Ultra informs instructors if they have exceed the number of supported characters. The number of excess characters appears. The border of the description field shows in the color red.

Learn lets the user know that they have surpassed the limit of characters allowed for the item description
 

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Blackboard Home Improvements – 3900.44

 

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

Administrators need access to timely information about storage and usage. We released Blackboard Home in the June 2022 - 3400.41 release. In response to client feedback, we have made four improvements:

 
  • Added a new ‘Courses’ Tab under Insights with two pie charts to show the number of Active and Total courses. Pie charts display the number of courses on Ultra and Original

Image 1. New Courses Tab

Courses Tan view in the Blackboard Home page
 
  • Included more support links in the My Support section

Image 2. More general support options from My Support menu

General Support menu view with more help options within the Blackboard Home page
 
  • Updated the language on the Logins subtab of Insights. We made this change to more clearly define unique logins and how they are counted.

Image 3. Updated description for Unique Logins

Unique logins description within the Blackboard Home page
 
  • A major change we added is the new option to download the metrics in .csv format. At the moment, it's available for Storage, Users, and Logins graph types, but not for Courses.

You asked, we listened: this feature was added as per initial feedback from one of our clients who took part on the Beta release. Thank you for helping us improve our platform for the benefit of all.

Image 4. Option to download the metrics in .csv format

Option to download metrics in cvs format

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.

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


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


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:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


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

Watch a video about test question filtering and timer

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: test question filtering and timer options shows how to filter test questions and set visibility to the timer.

Test question filtering for students video

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.


Watch a video about weighted overall grade calculation improvements

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: Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements shows how to configure a weighted overall grade that includes empty grade categories.

Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements video

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


Learn SaaS release 3900.37.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.37.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 15 March 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 21 April 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.37.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.37.0-rel.37+c829417 off-cycle release to Production servers on 29 April 2022.

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

 


April 2022 – 3900.37 Release

Educators consider many areas as they design high-quality, engaging courses. This release features improvements for instructors and students around assessment. Other features focus on intuitive and time saving workflows and surfacing data insights.

The April 2022 - 3900.37 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


One Question at a Time - 3900.37

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

Careful assessment design is important. Instructors desire flexibility in question presentation. For example, an instructor may select a one-question-at-a-time presentation so that students:

  • Focus on a single question at a time without feeling overwhelmed by all the questions
  • Enhanced browser performance for student access on older computers
  • Enhanced experience for students in remote areas with poor network connections
  • Have an improved user experience when test taking from a mobile device, where touch scrolling can lead to mistakes

Image 1. Instructor View - Test Settings - Without Display One Question at a Time

Instructor View - Test Settings - Without Display One Question at a Time

Image 2. Instructor View - Test Settings - With Display One Question at a Time

Display one question at a time from test settings is highlighted.

Image 3. Student View - Test Question Presentation - Without Display One Question at a Time

Student View - Test Question Presentation - Without Display One Question at a Time

Image 4. Student View - Test Question Presentation - With Display One Question at a Time

Student View - Test Question Presentation - With Display One Question at a Time

Instructors may enable this setting, if desired, from the Test Settings panel. This option also appears in Assignment Settings when the assignment includes questions.

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


Watch a video about the display of one question at a time in 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: Display one question at a time shows how an instructor may select a one-question-at-a-time presentation for students and its potential benefits.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Granular Content Copy within the current Ultra Course - 3900.37

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

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. Instructors desire flexible approaches to support how they design and build courses. To better equip instructors, we have added a way to copy content within a single course. This new workflow supplies a way to duplicate content for quicker course building. Instructors can access the Copy Content menu to search for the current course. From there it is easy to navigate content and select content to copy or duplicate.

Supported content types include:

  • Folders
  • Documents
  • Tests, including group tests
  • Assignments, including group assignments
  • Links to websites
  • SCORM packages
  • Discussions and Journals
  • Learning Modules and individual items within a Learning Module

Image 1. Instructor view - Copy Content from an Ultra course within the Same Ultra Course

Instructor view - Copy Content from an Ultra course within the Same Ultra Course

Image 2. Instructor view - Copy items from within a Learning Module

Instructor view - Copy items from within a Learning Module

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


Watch a video about granular content copy enhancements

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: Granular content copy enhancements shows how to copy content within a single course.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Student Feedback Display Controls - 3900.37

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

Supporting academic integrity and protecting assessment content is important. Instructors need controls and flexibility for sharing assessment results with students. This new choice allows the instructor to decide when assessment results become available.

If selected, the instructor defines when the student can view their assessment submission:

  • after submitting the assessment,
  • after the instructor posts the individual student's grade for the assessment,
  • after the assessment due date,
  • after the instructor posts all the grades for the assessment, or
  • on a specific date.

When not selected, students cannot view:

  • assessment content such as the title, videos or images, text sections,
  • the assessment questions,
  • answers,
  • automatic feedback, or
  • the additional content section at the end of the assessment.

Scenario examples:

  1. Scenario. An instructor is delivering a high-stakes exam. Students should not be able to return to the exam questions after they submit their answers.

    Image 1. The instructor should de-select "Allow students to view their submission."
    The instructor should de-select "Allow students to view their submission"
    Image 2. The student can view the due date, number of attempts remaining, number of submissions, and the grade.
    The student can view the due date, number of attempts remaining, number of submissions, and the grade
    Image 3. If the student clicks on the submitted attempt link or the grade, the student submission is hidden. But the student can view the overall assessment feedback.
    If the student clicks on the submitted attempt link or the grade, the student submission is hidden. But the student can view the overall assessment feedback
  2. Scenario. Students take an exam asynchronously. The instructor wants students to review the questions, answers, and automated feedback after all grades are posted.

    Image 4. The instructor should select the "After all grades are posted” option.
    The student view reflects the instructor's choice.
    The instructor should select the "After all grades are posted” option
    Image 5. Student view before all grades are posted.
    Student view before all grades are posted
    Image 6. Student view after all grades are posted.
    Student view after all grades are posted

For instructors and administrators: The default setting is that students can view the assessment results after submitting. Deselecting this option hides the student submission view. Other feedback options included in the side panel remain visible. This includes the overall assessment feedback, final grade, and originality report (if applicable).


Watch a video about student feedback display controls for instructors

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: Student Feedback Display Controls shows how instructors can decide when assessment results become available for students.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Prevent Grades from Auto-Posting - 3900.37

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

The option to control if a grade auto-posts supports academic integrity. This new option gives control to the instructor to post grades at the right time. When selected, an assessment grade appears to the student as soon as the attempt is graded. To prevent students from viewing grades, the instructor may de-select this option. This new setting is in the assessment settings and assessment preview panels. The workflow to manually post grades is still the same.

Image 1. "Post assessment grades automatically" setting on the assessment settings panel

Post assessment grades automatically checkbox is shown on the test settings panel

Image 2. Automatic grade posting status indicator on the assessment preview panel

Automatic grade posting status indicator on the assessment preview panel and how to change the status of the grades posting setting

When this setting is de-selected, the instructor will need to manually post grades. Students will see ‘not graded’ in the grade pill until the instructor posts results.

When instructor selects the option to auto post, the post grades button will not appear.

“Post assessment grades automatically” is not selected by default for Assignments. The option is default on for new Tests. When an instructor adds an essay question to a Test, a banner displays when the question is saved. The banner asks the instructor if they want to post grades automatically or manually. The banner includes a link so that the instructor may change the grade posting setting.

Image 3. A new banner warns the instructor that a question that needs manual grading has been added to a test set to auto post grades.

Banner warning for instructors to review and choose grade posting settings when adding a manually graded type of question

The banner alerts the instructor that they have added a question that needs manual grading on a test set to auto post grades.

For instructors and administrators: Behavior for existing Tests and Assignments stays unchanged. Grades of Tests with essay questions or Assignments will not auto post. Tests with auto-graded questions will auto posted.


Watch a video about preventing grades from auto-posting

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: Prevent grades from auto-posting shows how instructors can control to post grades at the right time.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Calculated Numeric Question Type - 3900.37

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

Robust and diverse questions better support assessment across various disciplines. The calculated numeric question type is important for math and other STEM courses.

This new question type supports the following:

  • Students may enter a number as an answer. The number can be an integer, decimal, or scientific notation. The largest value supported is 16 digits.
  • Instructors may combine text and mathematical formulas in the question.
  • Instructors may define an answer range. The range value can be an integer, decimal, or scientific notation. The largest value supported is 16 digits.
  • The answer field validates only numeric digits.

Image 1. Instructor view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Instructor view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Image 2. Student view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Student view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

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


Watch a video about the Calculated Numeric Question type

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: Calculated Numeric Questions shows how to use this new question type within assessments and other student resources.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Download Assessment Results - 3900.37

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may need to download test results for external analysis and evaluation. External analysis is important for supporting course quality and assessment efforts. Furthermore, institutions often want compiled assessment data for accreditation and program review activities.

With this release, instructors may download assessment results in the Ultra course experience. Instructors may download assessment results from either the gradebook grid or list views.

Image 1. Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook grid view

Download Results option from Gradebook grid view highlighted.

Image 2. Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook list view

Download Results option from Gradebook grid view highlighted.

When downloading results, the following options are available:

  • file type - Excel spreadsheet (.xls) or Comma Separated Value (.csv); the default is .xls
  • format results by student or by question and student; the default is by student
  • download all attempts or only attempts included in the grade calculation. The instructor defines which attempts to include in the grade calculation in the ‘Grade attempts’ settings. The default is to download only attempts used for calculation.

Image 3. Download Results peek panel

These are the file types, formats and attempts you have to download results.

The downloaded report includes the following information:

  • Student name
  • Username
  • Questions
  • Answers
  • Grading status
  • Any content the student may have included with their submission

Image 4. Sample for the result format “Download by student”

Sample from the Download by student format.

Image 5. Sample for the result format “Download by student and question”

Sample for the result format “Download by student and question”.

The “Download All” option is now named “Download Submissions.”
 

For instructors and administrators: We improved the readability of the downloaded data by removing extraneous HTML tags. This is the same for reports downloaded in the Original Course View and Ultra Course View.

When using anonymous grading the downloaded results exclude student and score details until grades are posted for all students.


Watch a video about how to download assessment results

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: Download assessment results shows how to download test and assessment results data.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Instructor Reporting for Submission Receipts - 3900.37

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

Learner support is a key part of exemplary course building and instruction. To better enable instructors to support students, we have expanded submission receipt functionality. For each attempt a student makes, the instructor can search for a receipt confirmation number. This helps instructors find student submissions when extra verification is needed. Using this receipt confirmation number, the instructor can find the following information:

  • assessment name
  • assessment grade
  • the number of attempts for an assessment the student who submitted the assessment
  • the size of any file included with the submission; this allows the instructor to insight into what a student has attached for marking
  • submission date and time stamp

This information appears on the peek panel for all submitted attempts.

Image 1. Submission date and time stamp, file size, and submission receipt number for all attempts.

Submission date and time stamp, file size, and submission receipt number for all attempts

The receipt number and size of any attached files appears at the top of the submission view.

Image 2. Submission receipt number, date and time stamp, and file size on the submission view.

Submission receipt number, date and time stamp, and file size on the submission view

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


Watch a video about submission receipt enhancements

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: Submission receipt enhancements shows expanded submission receipt functionality for instructors and students.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Code Snippet - Content Editor Improvements - 3900.37

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

Supporting collaboration and assessment across diverse disciplines is important for students and instructors. This includes computing, logic, and math courses where participants discuss programming syntax. Now instructors and students can author and share computer code in the Content Editor using a new Code Snippet tool.

The Content Editor identifies eleven programming syntaxes:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Kotlin
  • R
  • PHP
  • Go
  • C
  • Swift
  • C#
  • HTML

Image 1. Code snippet is now featured as a choice from the Text option icon.

Code snippet is now featured as a choice from the Text option icon

The text style menu in the Content Editor has changed from text to an icon. This improves tool spacing for different screen sizes.

For instructors: This feature is included in the Content Editor in all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.


Watch a video about code snippets

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: Code snippets shows how to author and share computer code in the Content Editor using the new Code Snippet tool.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Enhanced Blackboard Instructor App - 3900.37

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

Mobile devices are a significant part of our lives. From staying in touch with family and friends across the globe to mobile banking, we expect to do almost anything from our mobile phones. For instructors, the same expectations apply to teaching and learning. The Blackboard Instructor app provides instructors with a way to manage courses on a mobile device. We have made improvements to the app to better meet instructor expectations. These updates include improvements to managing course content, grading, and engaging students. The new app uses Responsive Web Design (RWD) for Ultra courses. RWD ensures consistency and reduces the differences between desktop and mobile experiences.

Instructors will now be able to complete the following tasks using the Blackboard Instructor app:

  • course building - including creating and uploading content
  • grading students work - including updating assessment settings
  • communication - including participation in discussions

The enhanced Blackboard Instructor app is the first in a series of planned improvements to our mobile solutions. Stay tuned for more as we move towards a single unified app experience.

Instructors can navigate the base navigation from within the app. The primary navigation controls display the following:

  • Stream
  • Courses
  • Grades
  • More including View Profile, Organizations, Institution, Tools, Messages, Settings, Feedback, Logout. (Calendar access is available from within an Ultra course)

For instructors and administrators: The enhanced Blackboard Instructor app will be available on April 11, 2022, from the iOS and Android app stores. If you have already downloaded the app then it will be automatically updated if you have this choice enabled on your device or will require a manual update if this choice is not selected.

Image 1. Main Blackboard Instructor App Navigation Menu

Main Blackboard Instructor App Navigation Menu

Image 2. Ultra Course view displaying in Responsive Web Design

Ultra Course view displaying in Responsive Web Design

Branded URLs in Scheduled Notification Emails - 3900.37

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

Some institutions use domain branding. Different authentication providers (IdPs) can have an association with a specific domain. When this is the case, notification emails reflect the domain in the URL for each individual user. This functionality supplies support for all authentication types for each individual user. When a user clicks into a notification email, they will authenticate to that domain.

Recently scheduled notifications sent daily had correct URLs in links. This release improves links for emails sent because of a user action (e.g., a user may share a portfolio or send an announcement).

For administrators: No action is necessary. This update is structural only.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Improvements to permissions – 3900.37

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: 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 over 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 issues:

Change course availability permissions for non-instructors

Non-instructor users with permissions to change course availability states may have experienced problems:

  • opening a course,
  • setting a course to complete, or
  • setting a course to private.

We have corrected this.


Student preview access for support roles

Some privileged support roles could not access the student preview mode. The permission is “Course/Organization > Student Preview > Access Preview Account.” We have corrected this.

Fixes to role permissions for accommodations

There are four permissions for course and system roles that relate to accommodations. These were not working as expected. We have corrected this. When granting an “edit” permission, administrators should select the associated “view” permission. This ensures the user can access the settings as expected.

  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > Edit User's Due Date accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > Edit User's Time Limit accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > View User's Due Date accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > View User's Time Limit accommodation

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Session timeout warning for Original Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Original 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. Yet the user will not be able to extend their session. When the user closes the warning, they will return to the current page instead of returning to the login page. This allows the user to copy anything authored before it is lost. A user in this situation will redirect to the login page when they select any link or button on the page.

Image 1. Session Expiring Soon warning

Session expiring soon warning modal message

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. Some institutions have configured other durations. This feature will work with these other configurations, and always give users at least six minutes to extend their sessions.

We are planning to make similar improvements to the Ultra Course View.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.34.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 15 February 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 3 March 2022.
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.34.0 version included below on this page. Details will also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.34.0-rel.63+d2ece0b to Production servers on 24 March 2022.

Due to the way that our release calendar lines up in March, we will release 3900.34 to production on Thursday, 3 March. It will remain for a week in both Test/Stage and Production environments while version 3900.37.0 is released to Test/Stage on Tuesday, 15 March.
Any changes to version 3900.34 after the initial release to Production will go directly to the Production environment.

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

 


March 2022 – 3900.34 Release

The March 2022 - 3900.34.0 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Learning Modules - Forced Sequence and Other Improvements - 3900.34.0

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

Learning modules are a helpful tool for arranging content. A learning module provides navigational elements for students. Enforced sequence guides students through the content in the order the instructor defines. We have made a series of improvements to the workflows related to learning modules. These improvements are more intuitive and provide time-saving efficiencies for instructors.

Updated behavior for learning modules:

When an instructor creates a learning module, all settings appear in a peek panel. From the peek panel an instructor can:

  • name the learning module,
  • set the visibility of the learning module for students,
  • add an optional description, and
  • apply forced sequence to the content in the module. Note this option is no longer available on the Release Conditions panel.

New behavior for learning modules:

An instructor can add more content to a learning module with forced sequence applied. This new behavior allows instructors to make modifications to the learning module. This change supports instructors as they guide students towards the desired learning outcomes. For example, results on a formative assessment may show that some concepts need reinforcement. The instructor can add content to the learning module and still control the sequence. If an instructor adds or changes content, a warning notifies the instructor: "Additions and changes in content can make students who already started the module follow a different order."

Figure 1. Before

Learning Modules Forced Sequence for instructors before upgrade

Figure 2. After

Learning Modules Forced Sequence for instructors after the upgrade

For Administrators: These improvements are on by default for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations required.


Watch a video about Learning Modules enhancements

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: Learning Modules enhancements shows the latest changes applied to Learn Ultra Learning Modules including forced sequence.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Automatic grades release for 3rd party tools using LTI Advantage - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1 MH/SH
Original & Ultra Experience, Original & Ultra Course Views
Impact: Instructors and Students

We support the latest interoperability standards for adding 3rd-party apps into your courses. We use LTI Advantage from IMS Global. In the past, scores from integrated apps would not auto-post in Ultra Course View. This required instructors to act so students could see their grades.

The specification for LTI Advantage was ambiguous about how to handle grade visibility. We partnered with the IMS organization to update the standard. Now the LTI Advantage / LTI v1.3 tools can define whether grades should auto-post to students.

Updated behavior for tools

  • Ultra Course View: We now default to auto-post grades for LTI Advantage tools. Instructors will not have to remember to post grades. One exception exists when a tool indicates that grades should not post to students.
  • Original Course View: The behavior for LTI Advantage tools remains unchanged. Grades auto-release when the tool sends scores. One exception exists when the Grade Center column is not visible.

New capability for tools

We also now support the ability for an LTI Advantage tool to manage the release of grades. When appropriate, grades auto-post to students. TurnItIn, for example, plans to use this approach in an upcoming release.

  • Ultra Course View: If a tool sets that grades should not auto-post, scores sent to the Learn Gradebook only display to instructors. Instructors can choose to post grades for students, or the tool can auto-release grades later.
  • Original Course View: If a tool sets that grades should not auto-post, scores sent to the Learn Grade Center appear behind a “Needs Grading” status indicator. Students and instructors see that students have submitted work but not the result. When the tool releases grades, all students will see their scores.

The improvements in this release are specific to LTI Advantage/LTI 1.3 tools. Behavior for older LTI 1.1 tools remains unchanged. For older LTI 1.1 tools in Ultra Course View, new scores sent from tools are always auto posted.

For developers and tool providers: LTI Advantage has a new Line Item attribute - gradesReleased. You can specify it in a Deep Linking message or an Assignment and Grades service call. You only need to update your tool if you want to send scores to Learn but release them to students later. The default value for gradesReleased is true if you do not specify the attribute. When set to false, students will not see scores sent to the gradebook. When the attribute is true, students see current scores and future updates. If you use the gradesReleased=false attribute and want to maintain compatibility with Original Course View, you will need to manage the release of grades. Instructors do not have a post action in Original Course View to release grades. Instructors do have the post action in Ultra Course View.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Microsoft OneDrive - Document Linking - 3900.34.0

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

We have partnered with Microsoft to create a new LTI integration for OneDrive. Once enabled, this integration can be accessed within the Ultra Course View and the Original Course View. This new intuitive workflow allows instructors to add OneDrive files to:

  • the Course Content area
  • Learning Modules
  • Folders

Document linking for Microsoft OneDrive is important for many reasons.

  • Document linking provides a link to a document instead of duplicate copies of a file in courses. This helps reduce storage space used.
  • Linking allows instructors to edit a single document. All links to the file reflect the most current version of the document. This approach provides greater efficiency and saves the instructor time.
  • The OneDrive integration enables instructors to edit the file from an Ultra course and Original course. This is a time saver for instructors.
  • Instructors access and manage OneDrive storage from within Learn. This provides a centralized and at-your-fingertips location for access and management.
  • Students can access and manage their own OneDrive storage from within Learn. Students can submit content from OneDrive using the rich text editor in Learn. This option provides greater choice and flexibility for content sharing.

The instructor may need to sign into a Microsoft account to view and select files. After adding the OneDrive file, the instructor may rename the file link in the course. The instructor can control the student visibility/availability setting. The instructor can enter full screen to edit the content of the file. When selecting this option, a new browser tab opens, and the file will be editable.

Figure 1. Add a OneDrive file to the Course Content.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from the Cloud Content item in the Create Content panel, and then, chose Open from OneDrive
 

Figure 2. Select the OneDrive file.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive selecting the file from the OneDrive used
 

Figure 3. To change the name of the file and set visibility, select the file.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive and see it in the Course page content list
 

Figure 4. After changing the title and visibility, the instructor can modify the contents of the file by selecting the "Full Screen" option.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive and visualizing it within a course
 

Figure 5. The instructor can make edits as desired.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive edition options for instructors
 

The student has a read-only view of the file in the course.

Other existing LTI options in the course remain unchanged:

  • Content Market (Ultra)
  • Books and Tools (Ultra)
  • Rich text editor (Ultra and Original)
  • Build Content (Original)
  • Course Tools (Original)

For Administrators: Please register the LTI Tool Provider in the Administrator Panel.


Watch a video about OneDrive documents integration within Learn Ultra

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: OneDrive Integrations shows how to open a document from Microsoft OneDrive within any Learn course content.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Sticky Test Header - 3900.34.0

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

Test taking can be a stressful experience. We have designed a new test header to improve the student's testing experience. The new header provides students with key information to inform their test-taking strategy. The new header displays the following helpful information:

  • a progress bar,
  • the number of answered questions out of the total questions in the test or assignment,
  • and time remaining if the instructor has set a time limit.

The header is sticky, meaning that it is always visible as a student navigates the test. This header also appears in assignments that include questions.

Figure 1. Before

Learn Ultra StickyHeader functionality for assessments before upgrade

Figure 2. After

Learn Ultra StickyHeader functionality for assessments after upgrade

For Instructors and Administrators: This feature is on by default for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations required.


Watch a video about the new sticky test header

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: Sticky Test Headers shows the new look and permanent position of test headers in Learn Ultra.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Automatic cleanup of user-created archive and export packages - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1 MH/SH
Original and Ultra Experience, Original and Ultra Course Views
Impact: Users with permission to create course packages (Administrators; in some cases, instructors, course builders, and other privileged users)

Export and archive packages within a course will now have auto-delete settings. This automatic cleanup enables institutions to reduce storage space used. The auto-cleanup also allows administrators to control storage growth. This also saves time and reduces frustration for administrators.

In the past, all packages remained in the course until the deletion of the packages or the course. The retention of the course packages resulted in extensive storage usage.

Existing user-generated course packages will be set to expire in 90 days from the 3900.34 upgrade. This gives more time to copy packages to external storage if needed. In the course package list view, the expiry date for these packages will reflect a 90-day expiry. Packages are deleted on the expiry day.

Course packages created after the upgrade to 3900.34 will expire and auto-delete 30 days after the creation date.

We will notify users of this behavior in three ways:

  • When creating the package, the interface informs the user of this time constraint.
  • The notification that a package is ready to download informs the user of the time constraint.
  • In the course package list view for the course, the removal date displays for each package.

This improvement does not change the way administrators delete courses. These changes only apply to the export/archive packages stored within the course. There are no changes to the behavior of automatic archive creation or deletion.

For Administrators: Please leverage your own communication channels to reinforce this change to affected users.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Access automatic archive packages from within courses - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Original and Ultra Experience, Original and Ultra Course Views
Impact: Administrators, others to whom admins grant permissions

In SaaS, daily archives are auto created for active courses. Administrators can retrieve lost data from these archives. These archives are available for 30 days. Now privileged users can now access and download archive packages from the course. The daily archives often lessen the need for other users to create their own packages. This change in access reduces storage space used. The access change saves time and reduces frustration for privileged users and administrators.

For Administrators:

  • This permission is not on by default for instructors. Required permission: Course/Organization Control Panel (Packages and Utilities) > Archive Course/Organization, including user passwords
  • Automatic archive packages include highly sensitive personal information for users. If you use the default authentication type in Learn, the package includes an encrypted version of users' passwords. When this is the case, we recommend that you do not enable this feature for instructors.
  • The password values in the Learn database pose no security risk if you use an identity provider (IdP) for authentication (e.g., SAML/LDAP) without fallback to the default Learn authentication.
  • We recommend that you review policies about storing and handling sensitive personal data. These archives contain highly sensitive data. Please ensure it is appropriate to grant users privileges to access these archives.
  • There are no changes to the restore process with this enhancement. Only administrators can retrieve user data through a restore process. We always recommend restoring courses into a non-production environment. This helps to ensure no disruption to current courses/users in production.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


API Updates:
Adaptive Release API Support: User Predicate APIs and Group Predicate APIs (Ultra and Original) - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: All clients and partners

Instructors value the option to release course content according to various criteria. Using APIs, developers can now manage the release of content by group membership. Added with this release are PUTs endpoints:

  • one that will receive a list with only the userId set
  • one that will receive a list with only the groupId set

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

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience

The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

  • Date picker uses the default server time zone rather than the user’s time zone: The date/time selector for course duration on course management pages uses the default server time zone rather than the user’s time zone.

    This applies to course properties management:

    • in the administrator panel
    • in course settings for the Original Course View when instructors have access to course properties
    • To provide greater clarity, we have added a time zone indicator to display the time zone that applies. For example, a Learn environment with a default time set to US Eastern Standard Time (EST) would display UTC –05:00.

    Integration behaviors remain unchanged:

    • course duration times set through REST APIs should use UTC
    • times set through SIS Framework should use server default time.

    Also, users can configure the availability dates with hours precision from the user interface. This configuration does not affect the integrations.

  • Notifications are not created for some users: In the past, because of performance reasons, we omitted notifications for users with 500 or more enrollments. Now if the number of enrollments for a user falls below 500, the notifications resume. Please remember that this process will run only every 24 hours.

  • Unable to change course role in Ultra courses due to "Save" button disabled: Users with the appropriate privileges were unable to save role changes made in other users' profiles. The issue was that the "Save" button was disabled. We have corrected this behavior.

You can view all maintenance items on 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. You can view the 3900.34.0 maintenance issues details on Behind the Blackboard.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.32.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 11 January 2022
| Release to Production: Thursday, 10 February 2022.
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.32.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.32.0-rel.35+f6a6242 to Production servers on 17 February 2022.

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

 


February 2022 – 3900.32 Release

The February 2022 - 3900.32.0 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors, Students

Instructors may set both a due date and a time limit on an assessment. The Ultra experience accepts and marks "late" submissions received after the due date. But depending on the situation, instructors may want to enforce a due date and/or a time limit on an assessment. In some cases, the due date is not a strict deadline, but the time limit is. In other cases, the time limit is less of a concern, but the student must complete the assessment by a specific date. There may be times when enforcement of both the due date and time limit is important.

Robust assessment settings are necessary to support a range of different scenarios. These settings are also important for academic integrity and honesty in courses. Two new assessment settings are now available. These settings give instructors more control over due dates and time limits.

New Settings for Tests and Assignments:

  1. "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.
  2. "Prohibit new attempts after due date" - Select this setting to prevent students from beginning a new attempt after the due date.

Note that selecting "Prohibit late submissions" auto-enables "Prohibit new attempts after due date." But an instructor can enable the "Prohibit new attempts after due date" option on its own. This supports a scenario when students should have the full amount of time available on a timed test. In this scenario, we assume that the due date is of less importance. A student can resume any attempt saved before the due date passes. This supports a scenario where the student experiences a disruption during the assessment. Students who submit an attempt after the due date will have their submission marked as late.

If an instructor enables the due date and/or time limit, students see these details. These details appear in the Details & Information section for the assessment.

 

Scenario examples – 1-hour timed test due today at 6:00 PM

Scenario 1 – "Prohibit late submissions" enabled:

Instructor settings:

Instructor detail view of Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date settings

Student view:

Student view of Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date settings

When starting a 1-hour timed test less than 1-hour before the due date:

Student view of a warning message when there is less than one hour to complete a test
Student view of Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date when there's less than one hour left
Student view of the timer running when there is less than one hour to complete a test
  • Students starting an attempt before 5:00 PM today will have the full 1-hour time limit available.
  • Students starting an attempt after 5:00 PM today will not have the full 1-hour time limit available to them. For example, a student who starts the test at 5:15 PM will only have 45 minutes available.
  • Attempts not submitted before the 6:00 PM deadline will auto-submit at the due date.
  • No new attempts can begin after the 6:00 PM deadline.
  • Students with accommodations can continue working past the due date. Their attempt will not be auto-submitted.

Scenario 2 - "Prohibit new attempts after due date" enabled on its own:

Instructor settings:

Instructor detail view of Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date settings

Student view if the due date has passed:

Student view of Prohibit late submissions and new attempts after due date when due date has passed
  • Students starting an attempt before 5:59 PM today will have the full 1-hour time limit available.
  • Students who submit an attempt after 6:00 PM today will have their submission marked as late.
  • No new attempts can begin after the 6:00 PM.
  • Students with accommodations can continue working past the due date. Their attempt will not be auto-submitted.

 

Limitations:

"Prohibit late submissions" does not work in combination with:

  • Peer review
  • Group submissions
  • Offline submissions
  • LTI tools

"Prohibit new attempts after due date" setting enabled on its own does not work with:

  • Peer review
  • Offline submissions
  • LTI tools

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Pronunciation display and recording - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience (pronunciation description only)
Impact: All users

When enabled, all users can add text guidance and an audio recording of their name to their user profile. Users can use the text guidance to describe the pronunciation of their names for other users. Users can record the pronunciation of their name. The recording tool counts down to when the recording begins. The recording may be up to 20 seconds long.

If enabled, text guidance and audio recordings appear with pronouns in these locations:

Assessments

  • Group Assessments
    • A user can see group pronunciation information in the overview panel.
    • A user can see group members’ pronunciation information while taking the assessment.
  • Peer Review
    • A user entitled to see peer reviewers’ names can see their pronunciation information. This information displays above their feedback when viewing a student’s attempt.

Course Roster

  • Roster
    • Users can see other users’ pronunciation information in the course roster view.
  • User Management
    • A user can see pronunciation information when searching for users to enroll.
    • A user can see a user’s pronunciation information when editing users in the course roster.
    • A user can see a user’s pronunciation information when editing their accommodations.

Communication Tools

  • Discussions
    • Users can see other users’ pronunciation information with their responses.
  • Messages
    • Users can see other users’ pronunciation information when searching for message recipients.
    • Users can see other users’ pronunciation information in the message panel.

Gradebook

  • Instructors and graders can see users’ pronunciation information in the grid view.
  • Students can see their own pronunciation information when viewing their own grades.

Groups

  • A user can see the pronunciation information of users in a group.
  • Instructors can see the pronunciation information of students in the group management view.

User profile

  • A user can see their own pronunciation information in their profile page.
  • A user can see their own pronunciation information when editing their profile.
Before and after image. On the right, the name pronunciation option is now available in the basic information panel for all users

System administrators should configure this feature. Define preferences from the Customize User Information option in the Users section. Enabling the audio recording option also enables the textual pronunciation description. We have designed this rule for accessibility reasons. You may choose to manage the pronunciation description field through data integration.

 

Providing this functionality to all users is important to us. We will complete this feature work for other experiences in an upcoming release.

Base Navigation and Original Course View:

For now, if enabled, users can create audio recordings of their name pronunciation. Users may also add a pronunciation description. The pronunciation description appears to users who have privileges to edit others’ profiles. The information will not appear to students in courses.

Original Experience and Learn 9.1:

For now, administrators can enable a text field for pronunciation description. Users may add a pronunciation description. The pronunciation description displays to those with privileges to edit other users’ profiles. Pronunciation information will not display to students in courses.

Known issue in Safari browser:

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. Safari users will receive warnings about the issue in the interface.

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Granular Course Copy - Copy from Original - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors

Instructors now have the option to copy content from Original courses to an Ultra course. This enhancement to course copy provides efficiencies and greater flexibility for reusing content. This will save time and reduce frustration when building a course.

The course copy procedure and process remain the same. The Copy Content menu now includes both Original and Ultra courses. Instructors may choose to copy all or select content. If the system encounters a problem with content copy an error report will appear. The details will provide more information about why the content failed to copy.

Supported content types are as follows:

  • folders
  • documents
  • tests, including group tests
  • assignments, including group assignments
  • links to websites
  • SCORM packages
  • discussions and journals

More detailed information on supported content types is available.

Granular content copy from Original now allows selection of individual files

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Branded URLs in Scheduled Notification Emails - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: All Users

Some institutions use domain branding. Different authentication providers (IdPs) have an association with a specific domain. When this is the case, notification emails reflect the domain in the URL for each individual user. This functionality provides support for all authentication types for each individual user. When a user clicks into a notification email, they will now authenticate to that domain.

System administrations do not need to take any action. This update is structural only. Changes apply only to emails sent per the notification settings that each user has made.

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Other improvements - 3900.32.0

Force Completion changes to better support Multiple Attempt Tests

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Impact: Instructors, Students

In Original Course View, enabling Force Completion on a test or survey has new behaviors. The Force Completion option now requires a time limit and automatic submission. We made this change to enforce the submission of incomplete or abandoned attempts. This change is important so that instructors can access and grade these attempts. Instructors may also create a multiple attempt assessment with the Force Completion option. This change ensures that students can now start new attempts in this scenario.

 

Gender Field update: Other

Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: All users

We have updated the gender field to include a new parameter for "other." This change is important as we strive to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in Learn. As part of this work, we have updated REST APIs and SIS Frameworks to map a value of "X" to "other." As a categorical field, gender is primarily important for institutional reporting. The gender field is an option for inclusion in two Learn reports:

  • Enterprise Surveys
  • Outcomes reports

Note for Administrators: We recommend that administrators do not enable the gender field. Instead, enable the pronouns option for personal expression in teaching and learning. Pronouns provide a more valuable option for self-expression when interacting with course members.

 

Text on Page update: Exceptions setting consistency

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors

In the Assessment view list, the descriptive text reads "Edit settings." In the Submission view, the descriptive text reads "Exceptions." We updated both texts, which now read "Add or edit exceptions." This change provides a more consistent experience and improves clarity. We also changed the title of the peek panel. The title was "Edit Submission Settings" but is now "User or Group Exceptions."

Exceptions Setting Consistency

Content Editor improvements for Original Course View

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

  • Pasting from Google Docs now gives an option to keep styling or simplify the HTML.
  • Users can move the spellchecker window so that it does not cover the text the user is checking for errors.
  • Missing icons for table row and column cut/copy/paste will now appear.

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


API updates: Adaptive/Conditional Release API Support - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: All clients and partners

Instructors value the option to release course content according to various criteria. Using APIs, developers can now manage the release of content by group membership.

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

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.32.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience

The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

  • Future courses shown as "ended" to students: When a student tried to access a course that began on a future date, the student received this error:
        "This course has ended. You can no longer access this course."
    This message is now updated to provide clearer information.
        "You can't access this course right now. Your instructor will allow access when the course is ready."
  • Students received error when trying to access group assessment:
    When a student tried to access a group assessment, the student received this error:
        "Oops! Something went wrong. Please reload the page."
    We corrected this error. Students can now access the group assignment as expected.
  • Incorrect submission date on assignment submission receipt:
    The assignment submission receipt included the timestamp when the student started the attempt. The timestamp now shows the time/date the student submitted the attempt.
  • Feedback was not saved if the instructor did not click save before updating and saving the grade:
    Feedback was not saved if the instructor did not click save before updating and saving the grade. This problem occurred only in Ultra courses. We have corrected this error. Both the grade and feedback save as expected.

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 3900.32.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.30.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.30.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 7 December 2021
| Release to Production: Thursday, 6 January 2022.
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

For full feature details please see the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.30 version included below on this page. Details can be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.30.0-rel.39+97a2be2 to Production servers on 24 of January 2022.

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

 


Bb Annotations: Save preferences / Settings 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Original Experience

For this improvement, we constantly work with our partners to align the product functionality with the pillars of efficiency and pedagogy, now we are pleased to present this update for Bb Annotate tool, available for both Original and Ultra Courses which is built around the common and really used workflow: the grading process.

Since the initial deployment of Bb Annotate, we have identified that saving preferences is a great need for instructors and grading roles, avoiding the need to reset common preferences when switching from submission to submission. For this release, we will be able to go through the inline grading process in the Course, saving common preferences for Annotation tools, and having the possibility to save custom Stamps to add to the submissions, these new functionalities are user-defined, which means that user preferences and custom stamps will persist through all courses.

With this release, we help our instructors and grader roles to improve their productivity, decreasing work time in a “do it once and then forget” way and encouraging the use of the application as a preferred tool for feedback.

Enhancement is going to be out in January, the exact date may differ from the release update and even be different across regions. This improvement will be released to client Production environments with the 3900.30.0 release.


Assist disclaimers for third-party tools

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.30.0 | Release to Test/Stage and Production 6 January 2022
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

The Assist updates are micro-service changes that will affect all Test/Stage and Production instances on the same day. On this first launch for a third-party tool, as a user, you'll see and need to accept a legal disclaimer anywhere Assist is used. You can set later not to see the disclaimer again for each tool.


Ally File Transformer in Blackboard Assist (global availability)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.30.0
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. Ally File Transformer, as a free part of Blackboard Assist, is available by default but can be turned off.

  • 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, BeeLine reader and 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.

Previously available for North American higher education clients, the Ally File Transformer will now be available with Blackboard Assist for clients globally on January 6. Blackboard Assist is available for all Learn SaaS clients except for US K12.

Ally file transformer brief explanation

Blackboard Assist (business/government availability)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.30.0
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Base Navigation, and Blackboard App

Assist offers your learners one central hub within Blackboard Learn to find and access the services they need to flourish. Previously, Blackboard Assist was not available to clients with business or government licenses. From January 6, 2022 these clients will also have the chance to enable Assist.

Enable Blackboard Assist within Blackboard Learn and you will:  

  • Give learners one place to find vital support services: Blackboard Assist’s prominent placement in Blackboard Learn helps make learners increasingly aware of all connected support resources.
  • Get learners to take advantage of available services: Blackboard Assist’s around-the-clock availability through both the desktop and Blackboard app means that learners can access these support resources whenever and wherever they need them. Featuring services offers an additional way to capture your learners’ attention.  
  • Gain access to Ally File Transformer: Blackboard’s Ally File Transformer helps learners to personalize their learning experience. It can convert files into alternative formats that better fit their needs, devices, and learning preferences.