Release Notes for Learn SaaS

This page contains features and updates currently on Learn SaaS Test/Stage and Production environments. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features and updates in older versions. Visit In-Product Updates to learn more about in-product updates.

Filter the list of features to learn more.

More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | Export the list of Known Issues | Access the latest API and database documentation | Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes archive | Learn Releases White Paper

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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.22+29d441b to Test/Stage servers to take place on 9 August 2022. Note that this update is an Ultra UI only change, so the build number did not increase.

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

 


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.

 


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:

  • Submission Status
  • Grade 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


Enhanced auto save capability in the Content Editor in Tests & Assignments - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Students should 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 are auto saved two seconds after the student stops typing. The "last saved" time is displayed at the bottom of the assessment and auto updates.

Image 1. Last saved time stamp

Last saved time stamp

If there is a disruption in connectivity, students receive a "Connection lost" warning. This warning informs students that action is needed to re-establish the connection so that their work is saved.

Image 2. Connection lost warning

Connection lost warning

Auto saving is independent of any browser undo function. When the undo action is used, contents will change according to browser behavior. That content will then be saved automatically.

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


File Upload Indicator for Original Course View - 3900.46

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

Users sometimes upload large files or have slow upload speeds. In Original Course View, it may not be clear to users that anything is happening. Some pages in Original Course View will now display a file upload indicator after users submit. We added this upload animation to four course tools where large file uploads are most common. Other pages stay the same. The upload indicator will now appear on these pages:

  • Assignment Submission
  • Content Item
  • Discussion Board Thread or Reply
  • SCORM

Image 1. Before – no file upload indicator

Before – no file upload indicator

Image 2. After – new file upload indicator

After – new file upload indicator

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. As before, a user cannot upload a file if it is larger than the configured file size limit.

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


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Display Pronouns and Pronunciation in Original Course View - 3900.44

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

The November 3900.26 and February 3900.32 releases included these features for Ultra Course View. This release adds full support for Original Course View. It also adds limited capabilities for Original Experience without Base Navigation enabled.

This release continues to deliver on planned diversity and inclusion improvements. Institutions can allow users to express their personal pronouns. This fosters greater respect among students and with faculty.

Institutions can also enable name pronunciation. Users can add text guidance to describe the pronunciation of their names for other users. Users can record the pronunciation of their names. The recording tool counts down to when the recording begins. The recording may be up to 20 seconds long. For accessibility reasons, text guidance must be allowed if name recording is enabled. Recordings are compressed and included in storage use calculations.

If a user has pronoun or pronunciation information, it is displayed on a profile card. Selecting any avatar icon in Original Course View displays the profile card. All avatars are selectable in user lists, course tools, and grading workflows.

Image 1. Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission.

Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission

Image 2. Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion.

Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion

Base Navigation is required for the following features:

  • Administrator can enable pronunciation recording
  • Administrator can configure pronoun options for user choice
  • Users can select their own pronouns
  • Users can create or play back pronunciation recordings

All deployments support the following, including Original Experience:

  • Display pronouns and pronunciations in Original Course View
  • Integrate pronoun and pronunciation guidance text from a user information system
  • Administrators can manually set user pronouns and pronunciation guidance text
  • Users can manually set pronunciation guidance text

Known issue in Safari browsers: 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.

For administrators: Manage these features in Administrator Panel > Customize User Information. You may add pronouns and pronunciation guidance text through data integration. This includes REST, flat file, LIS, XML, and IMS methods.

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



Looking for older release notes?

Check out the Blackboard Learn Release Notes Archive for more information on past releases.

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