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Analytics for Learn Data Integration Building Block

  • Version: v.4.3.6
  • Dependencies: Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 13 or later and other items
  • Release Date: May 2020

The Release Notes provide System Administrators with information about the changes from the previous version to this most recent version of Analytics for Learn. These release notes cover version 4.3.6.

The current release introduces new features and enhancements, and addresses bug fixes, that are recommended for all customers of Analytics for Learn. Along with this release, other relevant developments for Analytics for Learn include:

  • An Academic Continuity dashboard is now available for Pyramid 2018, to help with education continuity. This dashboard is offered as part of Blackboard’s response to COVID-19, to provide institutions with better insight into how Learn is being used within each course shell. More on the dashboard on the Community site.
  • With the adoption of Java 11 JDK in Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v 3800.0.0, Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019, and Learn 9.1 Q4 2019, testing was completed to verify functionality for the Analytics for Learn Data Integration B2 SH/MH installer. Testing served to verify functionality for the settings page, integration tasks, ETL extract process, and course reports.

The following list provides some highlights of changes that we believe will affect most usage scenarios. Always review the entire document and consider how the information listed below affects your specific usage patterns.

  • Several additions are included, which are known to be customized for some implementations. If your install has one of these customizations, consider using the product supplied functionality instead of the custom functionality.
  • Course dates can be provided in SIS data to be used when comparing courses using the new Day of Course dimension, which shows week of course. This is useful when courses do not start on the same date as the associated term.


The following prerequisites must be in place prior to applying this upgrade.

  • Analytics for Learn Version 4.3.5 - the upgrade will require version 4.3.5 of the Analytics for Learn module to be installed and operational.
  • Learn 9.1 must have Service Pack 13 or higher installed.

New features and enhancements

  • Add default configuration setting to remove users ending with “previewuser.”
  • Add global configuration setting to control name formats for students, users, instructors, and advisors.
  • Include specified fields on Student, User, Instructor, Advisors, and Course dimensions as an easier way to control parameter selection values in RS reports.
  • Add Course Start and End Dates and Day of Course to OLAP DB, to support institutions for which Term does not define the course timeline.
  • Add Student Advisor information to OLAP DB, to enable advisor-facing reports and advisor management analysis.
  • Improve Course Item dimension, to include additional information about item type, and to allow reporting detail from OLAP DB.
  • Improve Grade Center Column dimension, to include additional information about column type, and to allow reporting detail from OLAP DB.

Fixed bugs

  • FactCourseToolActivity, set Primary Key to BigInt datatype.
  • DimRubric transform view performance improvements.
  • Eliminate situations where Course Items for a course may show as duplicates, when alignable content relates only to course contents.

Hotfixes included

This release also serves as a cumulative update for hotfixes previously released for version 4.3.4, including:

  • Hotfix 222: Use Active attribute in DatasourceView in OLAP for DimTimeBand.
  • Hotfix 221: Update report help pages in SSRS reports.
  • Hotfix 220: Keep EnrollmentCount value once course is deleted in Learn.
  • Hotfix 219: Remove the test page and disable its execution for a case it would be re-deployed.
  • Hotfix 218: Add default shell tool and content count handling for Learn Ultra courses.
  • Hotfix 217: Fix Activity Matrix Report to use newly rank function for having students in same decile for same values (e.g., Score, Activity).
  • Hotfix 216: Improve performance of Learn Course At A Glance Report by materializing sub-select in HEA.RSLearnCourseAtAGlanceTimeSeries and HEA.RSIntLearnCourseAtAGlanceTimeSeries.
  • Hotfix 215: Expand logic of Stage.ETLHelperExtractSystemUserDataRemoval to remove possible duplicate Learn users from Final.DimStudent.
  • Hotfix 214: Fix Learn Attendance (R2T4) SSRS report to return data when All Students parameter is set to Enabled Students Only in non-English Learn environments.
  • Hotfix 213: Update calculation of Total Course Items from one per record to one per unique Source Key in Final.FactCourseItems.
  • Hotfix 212: Optimize structure of the pre-staging table for Grade Center to enhance populating Stage fact based on the Pre-Stage table. Fix Stage.ETLHelperExtractGeadeCenter to address cases in which an Attempt is graded again, after it has been marked as Needs Grading, by removing Overwritten Grade.
  • Hotfix 211: Improve performance of ViewDimGoalTransform by moving HEA.TranslateText from join to variable assignment.
  • Hotfix 210: Add capability to encrypt parameters in the URL when executing integrated reports through the integrated reports wrapper application. Add support for TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 security protocols.
  • Hotfix 209: Fix to not count Tests in Progress as Submissions.
  • Hotfix 208: Fix of FactCourseItemTypeSummary.CourseItemTypeSourceKey datatype from nvarchar(4000) to nvarchar(100), to prevent index creation warning.
  • Hotfix 207: Fix to resolve cases in which data in some tables could be truncated due to Isnull() parameters.
  • Hotfix 206: Materialize CTE used in FactUserCourseToolActivity Transform View and Source Count View to prevent being evaluated twice, and to improve performance.
  • Hotfix 205: Fix in Learn Attendance (R2T4) SSRS report to show only Departments that are valid for a College (in the parameters selection box when College is selected).
  • Hotfix 204: Update Getting DayOfTermKey logic to reflect extension of dimension in all involved facts, and to update TermKeys in Activity facts with known value in source data.
  • Hotfix 203: Improve performance of Submission Exception RS Report (HEA.RSSubmissionException).
  • Hotfix 202: Fix to calculate Course Item Interactions based on activity events indicating access to a Content Page.
  • Hotfix 201: Improve performance of Stage.HelperArchiveActivityAccumulator.
  • Hotfix 200: Fix Stage.HelperSourceCourseItemTool to include missing Course condition of Course-to-Wiki clause, and to populate the content link to a Wiki.
  • Hotfix 199: Fix HelperSISCourseExtract to handle Session Codes and to assign the correct instructor to course for PeopleSoft SIS.
  • Hotfix 198: Fix mismatch values in FactGradeCenter for students when non-students users have been graded and appear in FacGradeCenter.
  • Hotfix 197: Remove IncludeInLoad from group by clause from FactCourseToolActivity and FactUserCourseToolActivity source count views. Remove CourseRoleKey from group by clause from FactUserCourseToolActivity source count view.
  • Hotfix 196: Fix HEAdmin error in Final.DimSISCollege by enlarging DimSISCollege.Description max length.
  • Hotfix 195: Add table to store precalculated data used by Learn Course At A Glance Report, instead of calculating them on the fly. Fix error when division by zero could occur in Advisor At A Glance SSRS report.
  • Hotfix 194: Fix MDX query for Pyramid Report: Top 10 Courses, based on Avg Student Interactions Per Course. 
  • Hotfix 193: Fix to the logic in Stage.HelperCourseArchetypeSource that caused quartiles to be calculated incorrectly. Fix for UNKNOWN values in DimCourse.CourseArchetypeCode.
  • Hotfix 192: Change interpretation of values in “% of Items Accessed” section of Learn Course At A Glance Report. Fix Mobile Learn Course At A Glance Report to hide hyperlink if no data are presented. Fix hyperlink to Student At A Glance Report in Rubrics At A Glance Report. Fix Student At A Glance Report to filter Student parameter dataset in SQL instead of SSRS, to reduce amount of data transferred, and to display complete course history restricted by selected Term.
  • Hotfix 191: Fix FactSubmission and FactForumSubmissions table definitions to prevent null values into grain attributes.
  • Hotfix 190: Improve performance of ETL process after SIS extract failures.
  • Hotfix 189: Fix duplicates in FactUserCourseToolActivity and FactCourseToolActivity caused by incorrect group by clauses in their respective transform views.
  • Hotfix 188: Add missing data in Learn Attendance (R2T4) SSRS report.
  • Hotfix 187: Improve performance for Stage.ETLHelperExtractGradeCenter, Stage.HelperFactGradeCenterStage, Stage.HelperFactStudentCourseSummaryFinal, and Stage.HelperFactCourseItemActivityFinal.
  • Hotfix 186: Fix data conversion error in Stage.ETLHelperExtractGradeCenter, caused by incorrect data type defined in Stage.ETLHelperExtractGradeCenter and Stage.SourceGradeCenter.
  • Hotfix 185: Fix incorrect delete control key on FactCourseItemsGoals and FactUserCourseToolActivity.
  • Hotfix 184: Address empty FORUM_REGISTRY indicators in FactForumSubmissions.
  • Hotfix 183: Fix arithmetic overflow in FactCourseToolActivity, FactUserCourseToolActivity and FactRubricItems.
  • Hotfix 182: Fix to prevent duplicate records caused by Wiki items in copied courses.
  • Hotfix 181: Disable historical extract when Activity Days is -5. Replace empty value in Test Mode Extract Key parameter for WebService.
  • Hotfix 180: Fix DimCourse.ItemAccessBand calculation to move the DimCourse.ItemAccessBand updates to Stage.ETLHelperUpdateCourseItemAccessedIndicatorFact.
  • Hotfix 179: Improve performance of fact helpers for FactRubricEvaluation and FactRubricRowEvaluation.
  • Hotfix 178: Fix for arithmetic overflow in Stage.ETLHelperExtractGradeCenter caused by incorrect calculations.
  • Hotfix 177: Fix table aliases in the predicates for two Banner source tables.
  • Hotfix 176: Adjust data definition for Entitlement description and Rubric fact tables.
  • Hotfix 175: Fix to prevent duplicate Mobile Activity measures in Tool Detail Activity fact tables.
  • Hotfix 174: Fix for unset SIS keys in Activity facts for students that are removed from SIS.
  • Hotfix 173: Change ID used in UniqueDescription for Banner SIS (DimStudent, DimInstructor, DimUser, and DimAdvisor). Add DisplayId column to DimAdvisor.

Known Issues

No known issues.

Supported technologies

Server and software prerequisites

The following table describes the server and system prerequisites and optional components to be installed and configured prior to beginning the Blackboard Analytics installation process.

Supported Operating Systems
  • Microsoft Windows 2012R2 64-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2016 64-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2019 64-bit*

* with latest service pack

Supported SQL Server Version
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*

* with latest service pack applied to all installed SQL Server components

Additional SQL Server Components and Install Options
  • Analysis Services*
  • Integration Services
  • Reporting Services
  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • SQL Server Data Tools (Development tools)
  • SQL Server Default Collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
  • Server Authentication: SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode

* In SQL Server 2012, Analysis Services must run in Multidimensional mode

Application Server Requirements
  • IIS 7.x or later
  • IIS Options: ASP.NET, Basic Authentication, Windows Authentication
  • .NET Framework 4.0
For Institutions with Oracle-based ERP Source databases
  • Oracle Provider for OLE DB 32-bit*+
  • Oracle Provider for OLE DB 64-bit*+
  • Connectivity back to the Oracle database with an account having SELECT-only access

* Provider addressing architecture (32 or 64-bit) must match that of SQL Server
+ Provider can be downloaded from Oracle as part of Oracle Data Access Components Pack (ODAC)

Optional Reporting Tools for Included Sample Reports to be installed on Application Server
  • Pyramid Analytics bioXL & bioPoint (BI Office)
  • Pyramid Analytics 2018 (or later)

Configuration notes

  • Operating System and Memory
    • When choosing between the Standard and Enterprise Edition and the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the Windows operating system, be sure to understand the maximum amount of memory available under each configuration. The 64-bit version of the operating system is highly recommended, as is the 64-bit version of SQL Server.
  • Server Virtualization
    • While it is possible to run Blackboard Intelligence modules in a virtual server environment, special consideration must be taken to effectively allocate server resources within the virtual environment to minimize contention with other servers in the shared environment.
    • Many institutions host the reporting server in a virtual environment, with a virtual machine configuration typical of any web or application server.
    • Institutions larger than 10,000+ FTE intending to virtualize the database server should plan on isolating server resources as described below for optimal performance:
      • CPU – The ETL process is resource intensive and optimized to load as much data as possible in as little time as possible. All available CPU resources will be used to load as much in parallel as possible, so dedicating physical cores to the database server virtual machine is recommended. It is not uncommon for all available CPUs to run above 90-95% utilization during Analysis Services cube reprocessing, so adding the overhead of managing virtual cores will result in performance degradation.
      • Disk – During the ETL process, large amounts of data will be written, read and re-written to disk throughout the various ETL stages (e.g. source copy schema to staging schema to final reporting schema), so dedicated disk groups within the virtual environment are recommended to minimize disk contention with other virtual machines sharing the same disk subsystem. Please see the BbAnalytics Disk Configuration Considerations guide for more information on this topic.

Release Notes for Earlier Versions

Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.