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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:

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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


Improve the display of and access to the Course Activity Related to Grades Report icon - 3900.37

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

Instructors gain insight into student performance through the Course Activity Related to Grades report. This helps instructors intervene early, if necessary, to improve student outcomes. Students may use this report to review their performance and compare it to other members of the class.

In the Ultra Course View, the icon to access the report is now always visible to instructors. Students can see their report earlier because we reduced the activity rule. We also made updates to the way the metrics are processed.

This report is also available for Original Course View.

Image 1. Course Activity to Grades Report icon for instructors

Course Activity to Grades Report icon for instructors

Students can always access the "How Am I Doing?" panel from the Course Progress icon on the Grades page. This report is available for both Ultra and Original Course Views.

Image 2. Course Progress icon students select to access the "How Am I Doing?" Panel

Course Progress icon students select to access the "How Am I Doing?" Panel

For instructors and administrators: This feature is available from the Course Progress icon on the Grades page of the Ultra Base Navigation. The charts in these reports are based on data obtained from courses. In Ultra courses, for the Grades chart to appear to instructors and the My Grades chart to appear to students, instructors must set up the course overall grade.

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


In-product updates and user engagement surveys - 3900.37

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

To help users understand changes and effectively use new features, we are introducing in-product updates. Product updates are brief mentions of what is new in the Ultra Course View or Original Course View. Product updates will vary by role. For example, instructors will have different updates from students.

Image 1. Example of a product update for an instructor.

Example of a product update for an instructor

We strive to be data-informed to help make our products better. Feedback and input from those who use our products every day is a critical part of this process. User engagement surveys are brief polls launched to a small sample of users. Each survey has its own purpose. For example, a survey might ask users to rate their overall experience of a feature or workflow. A user can easily dismiss a survey and will not see the survey again. Only a small set of users will see the survey. The collected feedback will help us improve the product and prioritize our roadmap. We will share survey results with our clients.

Image 2. Example of a user engagement survey for a student.

Example of a user engagement survey for a student

For instructors and administrators:

  • Product updates and user engagement surveys do not support right to left languages.
  • These new settings apply to Base Navigation and include Original and Ultra courses.
  • Both options are off by default in the April release. In the May release, the options will be on by default. Administrators will be able to opt out if desired.
  • Administrators can define the setting for their institution: Administrator Panel | Configure Ultra Experience.

Image 3. Administrator’s view of Product Updates and User Engagement Surveys set to "on."

Administrator’s view of Product Updates and User Engagement Surveys set to "on."

 

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


Manage Gradebook username display by course role - 3900.37

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Course Roles with corresponding permissions

Instructors can see student usernames even when the username display is off for all other users. At some institutions, this can help instructors distinguish between students with similar names. In the past, this permission was only managed by system role. This restriction created too much management burden for administrators. Now administrators can grant the permission to the correct course roles for teaching staff. The permission is “Show username even when hidden from other users.”

For administrators: Please review course role configurations to decide if instructional roles should have this permission.

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


API Updates:
Ability to set node administrators via APIs - 3900.37

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

Blackboard Learn clients use institutional hierarchy to distribute management tasks to authorized staff. Using APIs, developers can now manage hierarchy level administrators. This is also beneficial for segmenting access to data in Blackboard Data reporting.

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

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description