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