Looking for the latest release information? Check out the Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes feed.
Browse the list of features or view the maintenance items.
You can also see our instructions to create and export a list of Known Issues in Behind the Blackboard.
Learn SaaS release 3500.0.5: Update to FDO client Production environments
As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3500.0.5 (full release number 3500.0.5-rel.49+4a09578) to Flexible Deployment Option client Production servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 5:00PM EST on May 20, 2019.
Cumulative Update 5 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.5)
Cumulative Update (CU) 5 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Cumulative Update 4 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.4)
Cumulative Update (CU) 4 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Cumulative Update 3 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.3)
Cumulative Update (CU) 3 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Cumulative Update 2 for FDO Q4 2018 (release 3500.0.2)
Cumulative Update (CU) 2 for the Q4 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q4 2018 (3500.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers will soon be available. Contact Blackboard Support to schedule your upgrade for the time and date that works best for you.
This release includes features released as part of continuous delivery releases since 3400.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.
Expanded ability to reconcile grades in Delegated Grading
Delegated grading lets an instructor share grading responsibilities by assigning course members to grade sets of submissions. Grading and feedback from more than one grader can promote reliability, improve consistency, and remove bias. The instructor can reconcile grades and settle on final scores after the graders have completed their assigned submissions.
The ability to reconcile grades was previously limited to instructors and users who were granted the permission by an administrator. In this release, instructors can grant this permission to graders. The Can reconcile grades option appears when the instructor delegates grading. Instructors can choose to grant the permission to any or all graders who are delegated submissions.
Internet Explorer no longer supported
Support for Internet Explorer ends with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018 and SaaS 3500.0.0. Older releases may still work using this browser. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Some newer features in Learn may not work, including Attendance and Create Recording. Reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer won't be resolved by Product Support. We recommend using another browser.
You can now view 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 3500.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- When a course was converted from Original to Ultra, instructors found they weren’t able to edit point values for assessments and questions that used decimal points in the number of possible points. We’ve fixed the issue by rounding point values down to the nearest whole number. This change is listed as an exception during the Ultra Course Preview.
- Some users were unable to save drafts in discussion forum threads when using a language pack other than English. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Placeholder text in the Ultra login page would sometimes obscure the username and password when the user input this information. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Discussion descriptions in courses using the Learn 2016 theme were sometimes obscured or displayed with a limited width. We’ve fixed the issue.
- Some users were unable to create criteria for Self and Peer Assessments when accessing the feature on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When the Ultra experience is enabled, the Exit button overlapped the Add button in the Original Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.
- We’ve rewritten an error message in Ultra to make acceptable date formats clearer.
- When an instructor reversed the decision to ignore an attempt in the Original Course View, the message displayed on the screen was unclear and didn’t indicate the workflow. We’ve updated it to say Attempt marked as Not Ignored.
- When users attempted to select all text in an Ultra assessment attempt, the browser didn’t select the text included in the attempt. We’ve fixed the issue.
- When a user edited a test question in the Original Course View, some options in the text editor didn’t display correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
Content delivery improvements
Multimedia is essential in many mixed-mode and online courses, and poor performance can lead to a frustrating user experience. To help speed the delivery of online media, such as video, we’ve added configuration options for administrators to control content delivery through signed URLs. Signed URLs allow content to be delivered directly and securely from cloud storage, which provides faster transfers and requires fewer resources to run on the system. A signed URL is equivalent to the actual file after it’s delivered to the browser.
Find the settings on Administrator Panel > Content Management Settings > Cloud Signed URL Settings.
Download annotated PDFs
This feature was also available for Self- and Managed-Hosting environments as a Cumulative Update for Blackboard Learn 9.1.
Users were accustomed to downloading annotated files when Crocodoc handled inline file rendering. With the switch to New Box View, this capability wasn’t available and highly requested. Blackboard listened and developed the ability to download annotated files using the New Box View.
In this release, both instructors and students can download certain file types (DOC, DOCX, PDF) with annotations as an annotated PDF. Students can download the annotated file after their submission has been graded.
Visit Inline Grading and New Box View Update on the Blackboard Community for more information and a video demonstration
Check out the October 2018 Inline Grading and New Box View Update for an update about comment summaries in annotated PDFs
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) User Report
One of the requirements of the European Union (EU) GDPR is to allow users to receive human-readable reports of personal information that has been collected about them. Clients receiving user requests may submit a case on Behind the Blackboard, including the user’s ID, to request the exported report package. The report is a ZIP file that contains CSV files with site- and course-level information about user activity, tool interactions, uploaded content, or submitted work within Blackboard Learn. Any grade data in the report are raw values and don’t include any calculations or weighting the instructor may have applied in the Grade Center. The report won’t contain information about other users in the system, content created by the institution or other users, or information from deleted courses.
Flexible Deployment Option customers: In Q4 2018 CU1 (3500.0.1), the GDPR User Report includes Activity Log and Attendance data.
You can now view 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 3400.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- In the Original experience, administrators had no option in the user interface to remove images they had added to a default brand. This issue was fixed.
- Some institutions who customized the default landing page in the Ultra experience noticed some inconsistent behavior for the destination when users logged in. This issue was fixed.
- Some custom administrator roles were unable to access courses delivered in the Ultra Course View. This issue was fixed.
- Attachments to course messages caused unnecessary file backups that could lead to system performance issues. This issue was fixed.
- In the Ultra experience, default course view settings would sometimes reset on system restart or upgrade. This issue has been fixed.
- Some instructors who used percentage-based rubrics to grade assignments noticed that mid-range values would revert on save. This issue was fixed.
- For environments with automatic course archive enabled, some files older than 45 days weren’t included in course backup files. This issue was fixed.
- We’ve updated the text shown to administrators who choose to use the Ultra experience on Test environments. The message now states more clearly that the environment will need to be completely rebuilt and all data will be lost to convert back to the Original experience.
- We’ve updated the text shown to users when content controlled with conditional release is unavailable. When a student hovers on the content after access is over, the message now reads: You can't access this content after MM/DD/YYYY, 00:00AM. Previously, the message only stated when the content became available, not when access ended.
Mobile Web Services
The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block enables users to connect to their courses through Blackboard's mobile applications: Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor. The latest version of the Mobile Web Services Building Block is 94.9.12. Check these links for the best available version for your installation.
Cloud storage integration in the Original Course View
Blackboard is pleased to announce cloud storage integration in the Original Course View. Instructors and students can access an aggregated cloud service that lets users connect to their preferred cloud storage accounts and place content directly into their course. Instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where they store files.
Your files are stored on secure, online servers where they're protected from accidents and viruses. If something happens to your computer or phone, you don't have to worry about file loss. You can access your files in the cloud any time you're connected to the internet, on any of your devices.
This feature was also made available with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018 CU4.
You can now view 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 3400.7.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- In the Ultra Course View, the Add Content icon is now a darker shade and heavier weight to provide greater contrast with the surrounding elements in the user interface.
- When setting up SMS notifications in Ultra, users now see a message reminding them that their cellular carrier may charge a fee for these messages.
- The SafeAssign Originality Report is disabled for assessments set to collect external submissions.
- An updated version of the Cengage Building Block (v1.101.20182347) is bundled with this release.
- Some students may have had trouble accessing a group assignment if a group member was disabled from accessing the course. This issue has been resolved.
- Lengthy videos displayed through the New Box View service were stopping before reaching the end of playback. The vendor has fixed this issue.
- The German translation for Open to Students in the Ultra Course View has been improved.
- The word “goals” was inconsistently translated in the Spanish language pack for the Ultra experience. This issue has been resolved.
Configure static resources
Starting with this release, you can specify a desired directory in the Content Collection. To access this setting, go to Admin Panel > System Configuration > Configure Static Resources. Blackboard Learn ships with this set to an internal default directory, but you can change that to any location of your choice. Files in the chosen location are served by the Learn application server as if they were located at the server root, allowing the server to serve static files such as robots.txt and favicon.ico. Before this improvement, this functionality required custom workarounds.
This feature is intended solely for files such as those listed; it is not intended for serving dynamic content or large files.
Blackboard is committed to protecting the privacy of all users. Due to changing regulations globally concerning use of data and privacy, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this release includes updates that impact user experience. Administrators should evaluate the impact this may have for their users.
- The Security Management: Cookie Disclosure Building Block, originally intended to address regulations in the European Privacy Data Directive, has been replaced by the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure Building Block. This Building Block is part of the core system and can't be disabled or removed.
- For institutions that don't have users who would fall under regulations requiring this acceptance, the terms acceptance interface can be disabled in the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page. However, we recommend institutions keep the acceptance interface enabled because some users might access from another location with such regulations.
- The Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page allows an administrator to define a web link to institutional statements about data use and privacy. An administrator could also store such a statement in the Content Collection as a public file and link to it.
You can now view 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 3400.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View
- We've updated the scoring options for multiple choice questions so they are shorter and easy to scan:
- All or nothing: All correct answers must be selected to receive full credit
- Partial credit: Give credit for correct answers with no penalty for incorrect answers
- Subtract points for incorrect answers: Give credit for correct answers, but subtract points for incorrect answers. The question score can total less than 0.
- When accessing the course catalog as a guest in Ultra, the user wasn't always able to return to the login page from within a course. This issue has been resolved.
- The Maximum Score field in Ultra assessments now displays an error message when a user attempts to input a negative number
- We fixed a bug that incorrectly displayed the number of students with accommodations in a discussion
- When more than one instructor was enrolled in a course, these users were assigned to groups in group discussions in the Ultra Course View. This issue has been resolved.
- Students may have seen an error message when attempting to view grades in a course where a graded discussion was available at a certain date and time. This issue has been resolved.
- The Ultra course roster was including disabled enrollments in the overall count of course members. This issue has been resolved.
- The link to chat with Support in Educator Preview was updated to a new destination
Original Experience and Original Course View
- We've fixed an error that appeared when an instructor attempted to create an assignment using a Portfolio template in the Original Course View
- The number of points possible for an assessment in the Original Course View was inconsistent when a rubric was applied. This issue has been resolved.
- When students uploaded multiple attachments to Self and Peer Assessments, only the first attachment was displayed. This issue has been resolved.
- On the Goal Performance page, the overall progress for a goal was incorrectly aggregating the performance on aligned course items. This issue has been resolved.
- Some institution announcements may have disappeared after upgrading from Managed Hosting to SaaS. This issue has been resolved.
- SafeAssign sporadically failed to generate Originality Reports for assignments. This issue has been resolved.
- An error occurred when attempting to create a new system role in Blackboard Learn. This issue has been resolved.
- Placeholder text in fill in the blank questions wasn't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
- Fields in the attendance report for instructors weren't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
- Users who selected Swedish as their default language in Ultra saw untranslated strings when viewing events on the base calendar. This issue has been resolved.
Many institutions use Subject Matter Experts to create content for a course. This content is used across all sections of a course and is facilitated by multiple faculty. To ensure that the content in each course section remains consistent, we’ve added new entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that will allow them to view the content but they will not be able to modify the content.
In the coming releases, we’ll introduce even more granular entitlements like these with the goal of ultimately providing a formal Facilitator role that you can enable and designate for chosen users. You’ll find the following permissions are now available:
- Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Create Date-Based Criteria
- Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Delete Date-Based Criteria
- Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Edit Date-Based Criteria
- Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability
- Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > Change Due Date of Grade Center Items
You can now view 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 3400.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- We've updated a message in the mobile view of the Ultra Course Preview to be more consistent with the experience on desktop. Both platforms now show the user the following message:
If you like the preview, you can permanently convert your course and save any changes you've made during the Ultra Course Preview. If you switch back to Original Course View, changes made during preview are lost.
- We've updated text for students beginning assessments without time limits in the Ultra Course View. When a student opens an assignment or a test without a time limit, the button says View assessment instead of Start attempt. This language more clearly communicates that the student is not compelled to submit the attempt after opening it if it isn't timed.
- We've improved the user experience in the new editor. Previously, when a user wanted to remove a hyperlink from a piece of text, they would need to delete the text entirely. Now, a user can simply remove the hyperlink without affecting their content.
- In both Ultra and Original courses, when instructors first access the attendance feature, they’re able to select Add Attendance and add an attendance column after attendance records are generated. In the Ultra Course View gradebook, instructors can delete attendance if no attendance records exist.
- Administrator preview for a system notification in the Ultra experience previously cut off long pieces of text. The preview now wraps text and this issues has been resolved.
- The SafeHTML filter now applies to additional files types in Blackboard Learn.
- Course content wasn't appearing as expected when a course bound to a term was archived and restored in a system that did not have the equivalent term. This issue has been resolved.
- Instructions on how to set up shared locations and web folders in the Content Collection previously displayed natively in Blackboard Learn. In this release, these instructions now lead to help.blackboard.com so the content can be kept up to date.
- Some users received a past due notification for assessments, even when they had already submitted ahead of the due date. This issue has been resolved.
- In-product help links now appear for all users on the Institution Page.
NewBoxView is default service
Starting with the 3400.3.0 release, New Box View will be the default service (instead of Crocodoc) for all new Blackboard Learn installations. If your institution decided not to transition to New Box View and is upgrading to a more recent version of Blackboard Learn, this change won't affect you unless you are starting with a fresh install for the new target instance.
A number of enhancements have been made to LTI Tool Provider setup and placements:
- Administrators can now access LTI Tool Providers directly from the Administrator Panel in the Integrations menu.
- There are new naming and capabilities in the placement options for an LTI tool.
- Under Type, the student tool has been renamed to Course tool, with availability options for students and non-students. Student Course tools appear in the Student Tools area and no longer require instructor action for students to use the tool. Non-student Course tools appear in the Control Panel for instructors and other course users with access to the Control Panel.
- The Content Item Message tool type is now the Supports deep linking option within the Course content tool to reflect a name change by the IMS Global organization.
- There is a new Administrator tool placement type, which lets administrators place LTI tools in the Tools and Utilities menu on the Administrator Panel.
Maintenance items for 3400.1.0
You can now view 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 3400.1.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- Instructors can sort the roster by student last name in the Ultra Course View.
- Attendance in the Original Experience now supports Internet Explorer 11.
- File attachments in the Ultra editor were not displaying as expected due to copy/paste behavior. A message has been added to the editor prompting the user to reinsert any pasted attachments to ensure they display correctly for other course members.
- Content items in the Original Course View were unexpectedly moving their position in a list after being edited. This issue has been resolved.
- Some students who had been removed from an Original course were receiving notifications regarding group activity in the course. This issue has been resolved.
- When upgrading Blackboard Learn, the Mobile Building Block’s environment setting was reset and caused issues for users searching for courses via mobile apps. This issue has been resolved.
- After an upgrade, the scrollbar in the Grade Center appeared on the left side of the screen and obscured information. This issue has been resolved.
Outcomes roles based on Institutional Hierarchy
When the centralized Assessment team demonstrates the simplicity and time-saving power of Outcomes Assessment, other departments and programs across the institution often want to take advantage of the solution and move their Assessment practices to Outcomes. Historically, though, institutions have been hesitant to roll it out to individual departments because adding Outcomes roles for users outside of the central office would grant full access to the entire institution’s evidence collections, evaluations, and reports.
With this update, we have enhanced Outcomes to respect the access limitations you’ve put in place by configuring Institutional Hierarchy. You can now assign Outcomes roles to key stakeholders within each department and these users will only be able to create evidence collections, manage evaluations, and view reports for courses within their node of the Institutional Hierarchy.
Release notes for earlier versions
Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.