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Learn SaaS release 3900.91.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.91.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 9 April 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 2 May 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details, please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.91.0 version included below on this page. Details can be found Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.91.0-rel.38+0f923c8 to Production servers to take place on 30 May 2024.

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


Competency Based Education/Mastery Learning

Align goals to questions in question pools – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Administrators
Related topics: Question Pools, Goals

Institutions want to align goals to course content. Goal alignment ensures curriculum design meets specific learning outcomes.

Now, instructors can align goals to questions within a question pool. Question-level goal alignment ensures that assessment items measure the desired learning outcomes. This helps to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of evaluation and feedback practices.

Image 1: Option to choose Align with goal from the menu when adding or editing a question in a question pool

Instructor option to choose the “align with goal” menu when adding or editing a question in a question pool

Learn more about goal alignment in the Ultra Course View.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Supporting multiple performance criteria in release conditions – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related topics: Content Release Conditions

Release conditions determine when students can view course content. Release conditions are on the content's visibility setting on the course content page. Currently, you can set:  

  • Which course members or groups have access;
  • When the course content is accessible, visible, and hidden;
  • When student performance is necessary for completing an assignment or scoring.

Instructors can now set more than one performance criteria per content item.  

Image 1. Release condition panel with additional performance criteria selected

Release condition panel with additional performance criteria selected

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Tests & Assignments 

Reuse questions in Forms – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related topics: Forms

Reusing questions streamlines the Form creation process and saves users time and effort.  Instructors can now select Reuse questions when editing or creating a Form. 

Image 1. Reuse questions option in a Form

Reuse questions option in a Form

Instructors can filter questions from existing Forms within the course. Filter criteria include a keyword search, select Forms, and by question type. Any question the instructor selects is then copied into the Form. The instructor may edit the question, if desired.

Image 2. Filter criteria for question reuse in Forms

Filter criteria for question reuse in Forms

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Multiple attempts for Forms assigned to groups – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors 
Related Topic: Forms

Instructors can now assign a Form to a group and allow multiple attempts. When assigning forms to groups, enabling multiple attempts promotes dynamic, iterative learning experiences. Groups can now submit the Form, receive feedback, and submit another response. 

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Flexible Grading

Add question feedback when grading a test by question – 3900.91

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

When grading by student or by question, instructors can provide contextual feedback. Instructors can add feedback to all question types. Question level feedback promotes deeper understanding and personal growth among students. Question level feedback enhances overall submission feedback and automated feedback for auto-graded questions.

Image 1. Instructor view of adding per-question feedback when grading by question

Instructor view of adding per-question feedback when grading by question

Image 2. Instructor view of question with saved feedback  

Instructor view of question with saved feedback  

After scores are posted, students can access their feedback in the Gradebook. Students can access both overall feedback and question-specific feedback.

Image 3. Student view of feedback added to an essay question

Student view of feedback added to an essay question

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Improved Gradebook navigation – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors

To create a more intuitive navigation, we replaced the grid and list view buttons with text links. The options are now:  

  • Gradable Items
  • Grades (grid view)
  • Students

The Gradebook will remember the last view you used in each course.

Image 1. Instructor view of the new gradebook navigation menu

Instructor view of the new gradebook navigation menu

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Weighted Calculation Improvements – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Students
Related topics: Calculate Grades, Grade Columns

 

Instructors have diverse grade calculation needs. Some instructors use weighted calculations to help with aggregating calculations like midterm or final grades.

Now instructors can assign equal weights to items in the same categories. The chosen calculation method, whether proportional or equal, applies to all categories. In the past, weighted items in the same category had proportional weights. These weighted items were based on the possible points of each item. 

To better understand student performance, some instructors use drop rules to remove outliers. Because it’s important to know the weighting method when managing these settings, we now display the instructor's chosen weighting option in the calculation rules panel.

Image 1. Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options

Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options

Image 2. Instructor view of the new proportional weighted calculation option. Instructors can see what percentage each item in the category contributes to the overall category weighting

 Instructor view of the new proportional weighted calculation option. Instructors can see what percentage each item in the category contributes to the overall category weighting

Image 3. Instructor view of the equally weighted calculation option; instructors are informed of the equal percentage that items count towards the overall category weighting

Instructor view of the equally weighted calculation option. Instructors are informed of the equal percentage that items count towards the overall category weighting

Image 4. Instructor view of the updated Edit calculation rule panel confirming the selected category weighting option

Instructor view of the updated Edit calculation rule panel confirming the selected category weighting option

 For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Observer role support in Ultra Courses – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Observers 
Related Topic: Observer Role

Academic advisors, parents, coaches, and other users may find it beneficial to monitor the progress of one or more students. This enables them to effectively support the students in their learning journey. Now these observers can monitor student progress and performance in Ultra courses. 

The streamlined process for Ultra courses eliminates the need for complicated instructor settings. Observers will have access to the following information: 

  • Last Access Date: Observers can view when the student last accessed the course. 
  • Grades tab: This tab provides details on a student’s earned grades. The information included is: 
    • Overall Grade
    • Upcoming and past due dates 
    • Any exceptions granted to the student 
    • Late submissions
  • Progress tab: This tab helps the observer understand a student's progression in the course. The information included is:
    • Navigation through the course content 
    • Course elements visible on the student’s learning path 
    • Completeness and progress indicators for items, folders, and learning modules 

To view a student's progress, progress tracking must be enabled in the course. 

Image 1: Observer view of a student’s grades in an Ultra Course

Grades tab of a student on an Observer dashboard

Image 2: Observer view of a student’s progress in an Ultra Course

Progress tab of a student on an Observer dashboard

Observers can access a dedicated dashboard in the Tools area of the Base Navigation. Observers should first select the student they wish to observe and then choose the specific course they want to access. Both Original and Ultra courses can be observed from this dashboard. 

Image 3: An observer chooses which student they want to observe in the Observer Dashboard

The Observer Dashboard, showing two students available for observation

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. As before, administrators can manage observer-to-student relationships manually, with a bulk file, or through data integration. 

A user must be assigned the Observer system role as their primary system role. In this release, Observer accounts continue to be mutually exclusive from other user accounts. We plan to remove this restriction in a future release.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Integrations

Limit enrollments by Course Role – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

For some institutions, instructors or staff manage some course membership manually. For example, institutional policy might define that student enrollments and instructor assignments come from the student information system (SIS), but instructors manage graders and assistants in their own courses.

Now administrators can limit the course roles that a user can add, edit, or remove from the roster. This allows institutions to better enforce their policies. It also helps prevent potential data conflicts and mismanagement. We changed some course role privileges in this release to support this.

There are now two privileges for allowing a course user to add other enrollments:

  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User
    • Use this privilege when you want course role limits to apply.
  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User for all roles
    • Use this privilege when the user can enroll users with any course role but you want to apply course role limits to the enrollment edit and remove privileges.

Similarly, there are now two privileges for batch enrolling users:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Batch Enroll Users
    • Use this privilege when you want course role limits to apply to batch actions.
  • Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Batch Enroll Users for all roles
    • Use this privilege when the user can batch enroll other users with any course role. Course role restrictions would still apply to the edit and remove privileges. 

To configure restrictions, go to the Administrator Panel and select Course/Organization Roles. In Course/Organization Roles, select Edit for the appropriate course role. A new section allows selecting course roles and adding them to the list of manageable roles.

Image 1. An administrator configures a course role so users can only manage Course Builder, Grader, and Teaching Assistant roles.

Administrator panel to manage course enrollments by role

Image 2. User is only allowed to enroll others with the course roles of Teaching Assistant, Course Builder, or Grader.

Roster page showing panel with limits on roles that can add to enrollment

Image 3. User is able to edit or remove this enrollment because the role, “Teaching Assistant” is allowed. 

Roster page showing panel with limits on roles that can add to enrollment

These restrictions also apply to other course role privileges for editing and deleting enrollments.

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization.
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set Non-System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View 

For administrators: We recommend administrators review course role configurations, so they best align to institutional policies. Confirm the assignment of expected privileges. Set any appropriate course role restrictions for course roles with the privileges above.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Learn Core & Security 

Reduced motion setting – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View, Original Course View 
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Accessibility Overview

The Ultra Experience has animated elements such as panels opening and closing. Some users may prefer or need to reduce animations and motion. Many devices and operating systems have settings to reduce non-essential motion. 

We added support for the ‘prefers-reduced-motion’ feature to select animated panels. Panels will snap into place when users have configured reduce motion. Before they used a swiping motion.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. It is also available for the Original course panel when Base Navigation is enabled. Users should use device settings for reducing motion.

  • iOS: Accessibility > Motion > Reduce motion (on)
  • Android: Settings > Accessibility > Remove Animations (on)
  • Windows: Settings > Accessibility > Visual effects > Animation effects (off)
  • Mac OS: System Settings > Accessibility > Display > Reduce motion (on)

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Set the size limit for file type uploads to zero – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: File size upload limit

Administrators set policies to help ensure responsible storage use. We reduced the minimum size setting for a group of file types from 25 MB to 0 MB. This allows setting limits for very small files. Administrators can also restrict certain file types completely by setting them to zero. This can help encourage users to store certain file types elsewhere. For example, institutions may use these settings to prevent video uploads to Blackboard. They may want users to upload videos to a specific video streaming platform instead.

For administrators: We recommend reviewing any extensions and limits previously set. Restrictions apply for new uploads only in Ultra courses and in Content Collection. 

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Mobile App

Landing page enhancements for Blackboard Learn Mobile App – 3900.91

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

The landing pages (Grades, Messages, Courses, Organization) are now designed in a card layout. For the Courses and Organization pages, the course status indicator previously located in the course image has been moved below the course or organization title. The current functionality remains the same. These design changes align the landing pages with the design principles and language of the Blackboard Mobile App.

These enhancements are a part of a larger redesign of the Blackboard Learn mobile app landing pages to ensure uniform design, optimized user experience, and natural user flow across various devices and screen sizes.

Blackboard Learn Mobile App Course Landing page designed in card layout

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Support for Observer role for Ultra Courses in Mobile App - 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View
Impact: Observers

Users with the Observer role can now view student progress in Ultra Courses using our mobile app. This provides student advisors and support staff the ability to track student success. 

They also can view grade related information. Observers view the same information displayed to a student. Mobile access for the Observer role makes it easier for support staff to help students.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Upgrade to Ultra

Option to convert Content Areas to Learning Modules – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Administrators
Related Topic: Convert Courses to Ultra

In previous releases, Content Areas converted to Folders when converting Original courses to Ultra. We updated conversion so administrators can choose if Content Areas convert to Learning Modules or folders. 

Converting to Learning Modules is helpful for the following types of courses: 

  • Original Courses using more than one Content Area to organize course materials 
  • Courses migrating from Canvas, Brightspace, and Moodle Learning Management Systems 

The default setting is to convert Content Areas to Learning Modules. 

Image 1. Convert Content Areas to Learning Modules toggle

Ultra Experience Management page in the Admin panel, showing the option to Convert Content to Learning Modules at the bottom

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. We recommend administrators review this configuration to set the most appropriate institutional choice. 

A new configuration option is available on the Ultra Experience Management page. The default state is ON. When OFF, Content Areas will convert to Folders instead of Learning Modules.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Restricting Original Course View Course Copy workflow – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Original Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators
Related Topic: Copy Courses 

We have added a restriction to the Course Copy workflow in Original courses. Users can no longer push a copy from an Original course to an Ultra course. We made this change to reduce the likelihood of an Ultra course becoming corrupted. The Original Course Copy workflow was never designed for copies into an Ultra course.

Instructors can still copy from one Original course to another. For Ultra courses, instructors should always start a copy process from the Ultra course.

Image 1. Copies to Ultra courses are blocked when copying from Original

Copy Course workflow in Original

Users can copy course materials from Original to Ultra by using Copy Items in an Ultra course. They can copy an entire Original course into an Ultra course. They also have the option to pick and choose which items they want to copy into an Ultra course. 

Image 2. Users can copy content from Original to Ultra using Copy Items

Ultra Experience Management page in the Admin panel, showing the option to Convert Content to Learning Modules at the bottom

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. Administrator copy processes aren’t changed in this release. While unchanged, admins should use caution when copying from Original to Ultra. The admin copy workflow can have the same types of issues and can lead to course corruption. If possible, try to limit to doing only full course copies using the admin copy workflow.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Moodle Conversion Improvement: Question Pools – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Original Experience, Ultra Experience 
Original Course View, Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators
Related Topic: Migrate from Moodle

In Moodle, any time you edit or save a question it creates a new version of that question. Our conversion process was bringing over every version of a question as a new question. Question Pools and Tests were being affected and didn't match what was in Moodle. We updated our conversion logic in the following ways: 

  • If a question in a Test is using the latest version, we add it to a Question Pool that is linked with that Test. This matches the behavior in Moodle with Quizzes and Question Banks. 
  • If a question in a Test is using an older version, we only add that question to that Test. This ensures that Question Pools only have the latest versions of questions. This matches the behavior in Moodle with Quizzes and Question Banks. Question Pools will no longer contain every version of a question as they did before. 

For administrators: This feature is available for all Original and Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Moodle Conversion Improvement: Partial Credit for Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer Question Types – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Original Experience, Ultra Experience 
Original Course View, Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators 
Related Topic: Migrate from Moodle

In Moodle you can create a Multiple Choice question type. Multiple Choice question types can have a single answer or more than one answer. They can also support partial credit. We have updated our conversion logic so that partial credit weights convert. 

For administrators: This feature is available for all Original and Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Bulk Conversion for Moodle and Brightspace – 3900.91

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Administrators 
Related Topic: Convert Courses to Ultra

Bulk Conversion from Moodle and Brightspace is now available. Institutions moving from Moodle and Brightspace can share exports with our implementation team. Our implementation team will take the packages and bulk import and convert them. This service is part of our standard implementation for institutions transitioning to Blackboard.

Return to May 2024 – 3900.91 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.89.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.89.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 12 March 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 4 April 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details, please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.89.0 version included below on this page. Details can be found Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.89.0-rel.31+520e1f0 to Production servers on 18 April 2024.

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


April 2024 – 3900.89 Release

The April 2024 - 3900.89 release is robust with features in 10 areas:

  • Instructional design;
  • Competency based education;
  • Tests and assignments;
  • Communication and collaboration;
  • Flexible grading;
  • Gradebook;
  • Learner progression and personalized experience;
  • Integrations;
  • Learn core and security, and
  • Upgrade to Ultra

These improvements impact instructors, students, and administrators. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and Students:

Students:

Instructors and Administrators:

Administrators:


Instructional Design 

AI Design Assistant – Context picker for Learning Modules, Assignments, Discussions, and Journals – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors 
Related topics: Learning modules, Assignments, Discussions, and Journals 

Context selection is key for tailoring course content generated with the AI Design Assistant. The context picker also helps to ground generated content in an appropriate context.

File types supported by the context picker include PDF, Word, PowerPoint, text, RTF, and HTML.

 We are extending the context picker for test questions to other generation workflows: 

  • Learning modules 
  • Authentic assignments 
  • Authentic discussions 
  • Authentic journals

Image 1. Example of context picker for learning module generation; select Auto-Generate Modules from the plus icon's dropdown menu

Course Content page, with the dropdown from the plus icon open and Auto-Generate Modules highlighted

Image 2. Choose Select Course Items

Auto-Generate Learning Modules panel

Image 3. Select course items for context and then choose Select items

Select Items panel, showing a selected folder with all dependent items highlighted, with the Select Items button at the bottom right

Image 4. Select Generate to apply the context to the generation workflow

Auto-Generate Learning Modules panel with a "1" beside Select course items

Image 5. Select generated Learning Modules and add them to your course

3 generated learning modules on the Auto-Generate Learning Modules panel are selected

When Ultra documents are selected as context, file attachments on the Ultra document will also be included as context for all context pickers.

For administrators: You have to enable AI features to use the Context Picker for Learning Modules, Assignments, Discussions, and Journals. In Installed Tools, select Settings for AI Design Assistant and Unsplash. The default state is off. When this feature is on, the privilege will need to be assigned to course roles as necessary, such as Instructor. The privilege to assign is "Use AI features."

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Persistent navigation for Learning Modules – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Students 
Related topic: Learning Modules

To improve students' navigation in a learning module, we updated the navigation bar. Now the navigation bar is sticky and remains visible as students vertically scroll through content. Students no longer need to scroll back up to the top of content to access the navigation tools. 

Image 1. The navigation bar is always visible

Document within a learning module, showing arrows going to the left and right at the top

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Competency Based Education 

Student feedback remains visible to students regardless of release condition settings – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Students
Related topic: Content Release Conditions
 

Instructors may want to control access to course content using release conditions. This is helpful for providing custom learning paths through course content. The release conditions include an option to show or hide content to/from students before they meet release conditions. We've modified how these settings impact the students' view of feedback from instructors. Now instructors can set release conditions without any impact to feedback to students.  

In the past, when an instructor selected the option to hide content, students could view associated grades but not the feedback. We have corrected this to ensure that students can always review feedback.  

Image 1. Instructor view of release conditions settings with date/time release condition set in combination with Hide state in “When will content appear?”

Instructor view of release conditions settings with date/time release condition set in combination with Hide state in “When will content appear?”

Image 2. Student gradebook view with display of student’s feedback and grade regardless of the release condition setting in Image 1

tudent gradebook view with display of student’s feedback and grade regardless of the release condition setting in Image 1

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Tests & Assignments 

Default question points value changed from 10 to 1 – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS  
Ultra Experience  
Ultra Course View  
Impact: Instructors
Related topic: Create Tests

We recognize that manually adjusting the point value for questions can be time-consuming and error prone. Based on valuable client feedback, we are changing the default point value from 10 to 1. Moving forward, any newly created questions will have a default point value of 1. This change helps reduce the need for manual adjustments.  

Questions copied from another assessment retain the designated point value.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Rubric API Enhancements – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

Rubrics are fundamental tools for instructors, aiding in the fair and consistent evaluation of graded work. Now, administrators can leverage the enhanced API to perform the complete spectrum of CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations for rubrics.

Developers will gain access to the following endpoints:

  • POST /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics
  • PATCH or DELETE /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}

For administrators: The REST integration user must have the following entitlements:

  • For POST method: "Course/Organization Control Panel (Tools) > Rubrics > Create Rubric"
  • For PATCH method: "Course/Organization Control Panel (Tools) > Rubrics > Edit Rubric"
  • For DELETE method: "Course/Organization Control Panel (Tools) > Rubrics > Delete Rubric"

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Duplicate questions in Assessments, Forms, and Question Banks – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related topic: Edit Tests and Questions

This enhancement is a direct response to client feedback.

Sometimes an instructor may want to have a question repeated with the same answer options but a different question. Instructors can now select Duplicate to quickly copy an existing question within the same assessment (test, assignment, form) or in a question bank. This feature eliminates the need for manual duplication and simplifies the process of creating multiple questions with the same answer options.

Instructors may edit the question text and answer options. There are no changes to how an instructor edits the question.

Image 1. Duplicate menu option for a test question

Duplicate menu option for a test question

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Likert answer options expanded to include 4 and 6 – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS   
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View   
Impact: Instructors
Related topic: Likert Questions 

Instructors can now create Likert scale questions with 4 or 6 answer options. This allows for greater granularity in student responses. An even number of answer options also supports the creation of questions where students cannot select a neutral option. This enhancement is in response to valuable user feedback.

Image 1. Likert question with 4 and 6 answer options

Likert question with 4 and 6 answer options

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Auto-submitted indicator in attempt logs – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors 
Related Topic: Attempt Logs

Understanding the context of student submissions is helpful to instructors. Now the Attempt Log indicates whether a submission is manual or automatic. This indicator provides instructors with deeper insights into student behaviors. This addition also allows instructors to better track their student progress. 

Image 1. Attempt marked as "Auto submitted" in the log

Attempt log page with an auto-submission highlighted

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Communication & Collaboration

Anonymous posts for Discussions – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Students
Related topics: Create Discussions for Instructors, Discussions for Students 

Discussions play a pivotal role in nurturing peer-to-peer interaction and critical thinking. Students need to feel free to express their ideas and opinions without fear of judgement. To support this, we've added an option for instructors to allow anonymous posts in ungraded discussions. This feature provides flexibility for instructors. They can toggle anonymity on or off as the discussion progresses. Any existing anonymous posts keep their anonymity. 

Image 1. Setting to turn on anonymous posts

Discussions settings panel, with Allow anonymous responses and replies checked off

Image 2. A student making an anonymous post

Editor showing a student's response with an Anonymous icon beside the editor

Image 3. An anonymous post in a discussion

Discussion post showing that the poster is Anonymous

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Self-Enrollment Group Improvements – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related Topic: Create Groups

Self-enrollment groups provide an important part of student autonomy throughout the learning experience. To support more use cases for self-enrollment groups and based on client feedback, we are reducing the maximum members per group from 2 to 1. This will cover use cases such as sign-up sheets and booking 1:1 slots with students.

Image 1. Instructors can set maximum members per group to 1

Self-enroll group page, showing a minimum number of group members of 1

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Flexible Grading 

Usability improvements for flexible grading – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Students
Related topics: Grade Tests With Flexible Grading, Grade Assignments With Flexible Grading, Override Grades

Streamlining the grading process saves instructors time and reduces their workload. We have implemented several enhancements to Flexible Grading in response to instructor feedback. All the enhancements target improved usability and efficiency.  

We relocated the attempt selector to improve visibility and efficiency. It is now nearer to the attempt grade pill. This allows instructors to switch between a student's attempts during grading.  

Image 1. Instructors view displaying the relocated attempt selector next to the attempt grade pill

Instructors view displaying the relocated attempt selector next to the attempt grade pill

The grading interface now displays a single grade pill. This provides a more intuitive grading workflow. The single grade pill also prevents accidental grade overrides. 

Image 2. Instructors view displaying a single grade pill as well as the submission receipt for the displayed attempt

Instructors view displaying a single grade pill as well as the submission receipt for the displayed attempt

Overriding the final grade is now an explicit grading option. The three-dot menu next to the attempt grade pill now includes an Override Final Grade option. When selected, an Override label appears above the grade pill. Here the instructor can adjust the final grade for the submission. 

Image 3. Instructors view displaying the new override grade workflow

Instructors view displaying the new override grade workflow

Image 4. Instructors view displaying a graded submission where a grade override has been applied

nstructors view displaying a graded submission where a grade override has been applied

The submission receipt for the selected attempt now displays beneath the attempt selector.

For administrators: The Flexible Grading experience is a available behind a feature flag. The feature is on by default to ensure that the Flexible Grading interface is available to users by default. You can turn off the Flexible Grading interface by setting this feature to Off. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Add question feedback when grading by student – 3900.89

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

Instructors can now provide contextual feedback by student on all question types. Question level feedback promotes deeper understanding and personal growth among students. Question level feedback complements the existing capabilities of overall submission feedback and automated feedback for auto-graded questions.

Note: We are targeting the 3900.91 May release for per-question feedback when grading tests by questions.  

Image 1. Instructor view of adding per question feedback

nstructor view of adding per question feedback

Image 2. Instructor view of question with saved feedback  

Instructor view of question with saved feedback

Once students have submitted their tests and scores are posted, students can access the feedback. Students can access both overall feedback and question-specific feedback.

Image 3. Student view of feedback added to an essay question

Student view of feedback added to an essay question

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Gradebook 

Calculations changed from using BigDecimal to BigFraction – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS and Learn 9.1 
Ultra Experience and Original Experience 
Ultra Course View and Original Course View 
Impact: Instructors, Students

Instructors need a gradebook that supports diverse grading scenarios. We are changing the software library used to perform calculations in calculated columns and the overall course grade.

Example: A course contains 3 assignments worth 22 points each. The student scores 13/22 on the first assignment, 14/22 on the second assignment, and 15/22 on the third assignment. An instructor creates a calculated column to calculate the average of these assignments.  

Using the new software library, BigFraction, the average will calculate as 14/22.

With the former software library, BigDecimal, the average would incorrectly calculate to 13.99/22. The new software library ensures calculations compute as expected.

For administrators: This change applies to both Ultra and Original courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Overall Grade added to the Gradebook Download – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS   
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View   
Impact: Instructors 
Related topic: Work Offline with Grade Data

Some instructors download grades from the gradebook to analyze in other applications, such as Microsoft Excel.

Now, instructors can choose to include the Overall Grade for students in the downloaded gradebook. This additional data point helps provide a comprehensive view of student performance.

Image 1. Instructor view of Download Grades panel with ‘Select All Items’ option selected

Instructor view of Download Grades panel with ‘Select All Items’ option selected

Image 2. Instructor view of the downloaded grades file that contains the Overall Grade column

Instructor view of the downloaded grades file that contains the Overall Grade column

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Edit gradebook category for Partner Cloud content – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS   
Ultra Experience   
Ultra Course View   
Impact: Instructors 
Related topic: Grade Columns

Some instructors want to change the gradebook category for third-party content and tools (e.g., Cengage). Now instructors can edit the category information from the gradebook.

Image 1. Instructor view of the Edit menu option for a Partner Cloud generated gradebook item

Instructor view of the Edit menu option for a Partner Cloud generated gradebook item

Image 2. Instructor view of the Edit panel for a Partner Cloud generated gradebook item

Instructor view of the Edit panel for a Partner Cloud generated gradebook item

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed. 

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience 

Long names visibility and sorting controls for the Student Activity report for assessments on small devices and mobile app – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Original course view 
Impact: Instructors 
Related Topic: Student Activity Details for Assessments

Depending on the culture, personal name lengths vary. To continue demonstrating our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we adjusted long names in the Student Activity report for assessments. This change ensures that names are visible on a variety of devices. This helps instructors avoid confusion when viewing students with similar names. 

Also, instructors can now sort the student list by last name in small devices so they can organize the list easily. 

Image 1: Long names visibility and sorting control in the Student Activity report for an assessment on a small screen

Student Activity report for Assessments showing long names

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Integrations

Delete a deployment ID - 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Managing LTIs

Multiple deployments allow administrators to integrate to an LTI 1.3 third party tool that manages different credentials through the institutional hierarchy. Now administrators can delete these deployments and remove tenants that are no longer active.

Image 1. Delete link in deployment drop down menu

Manage Deployments screen with menu drop down showing options including Delete

For administrators: Deployment management is available for both the Ultra and Original Experience.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Rubric Evaluations API Enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

Rubrics provide educators with a structured approach for assessing student work. We continue to enhance the rubric evaluations APIs. Now we have endpoints to create and update rubric evaluations to gradable items associated with a rubric.  

Developers will gain access to the following endpoints:

  • POST …/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}/associations/{rubricAssociationId}/evaluations
  • PATCH …/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}/associations/{rubricAssociationId}/evaluations/{evaluationId}

Before using these options, consider the following tips for a smooth experience:

  • When using the PATCH method, include the cells intended for update. Confirm that at least one cell relates to the evaluationId provided in the URL.
  • Provide only one value per aspect in the rubric cells. Check that it matches the rubric definition.
  • Before creating or updating rubrics, verify that the gradebook grade allows for such changes. This step ensures accurate and reliable assessment data.

For administrators: The REST integration user must have the "Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > Full Control" entitlement.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Announcements API Enhancements: Creator Information  – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

Course announcements are vital for timely communication in courses. Some courses contain users in varying roles. Identifying announcement authors via REST API is challenging for users. We've enhanced the Announcement API by adding the "Creator" parameter. This reveals the user IDs of the authors of both Course and System Announcements.

With the new "Creator" parameter, developers can now identify the authors of announcements via API. Administrators can also filter announcements by the creator.

For administrators: The required entitlements for Announcements API remain unchanged.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Learn Core & Security

File Size limits now also apply to the Content Collection – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: File size upload limit

Administrators must manage storage used by courses. We have enhanced group file size limits to now also apply to the Content Collection. This change helps administrators ensure responsible usage of storage across the platform.

For administrators: We recommend that you review any extensions and limits previously set.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Moodle Conversion Improvement: Gradebook Categories – 3900.89 

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience and Original Experience 
Ultra Course View and Original Course View 
Impact: Instructors and Administrators 
Related Topic: Migrate from Moodle

Categories provide a way for instructors to group assessments together in the Gradebook. Instructors can use categories to adjust the weighting of items in the Gradebook. Now when importing a Moodle package (.mbz), categories are preserved. Instructors will have the option to align these categories to assessments. 

For administrators: This feature is available for all courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Individual date adjustments from Batch Edit – 3900.89

Blackboard Learn SaaS 
Ultra Experience 
Ultra Course View 
Impact: Instructors
Related Topic: Batch Edit

Updating availability and due dates after a course copy, import, or a conversion can take time. We're making it easier for instructors to make date adjustments for any item on the Batch Edit page. Instructors now have the option to change the due date and availability (Show On and Hide After) for any item. 

Image 1. Adding a due date for an assignment

The Batch Edit panel, showing an item's options expanded to show due dates

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to April 2024 – 3900.89 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.86.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.86.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 6 February 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 7 March 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details, please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.86.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.86.0-rel.49+1802b14 to Production servers to take place on 28 March 2024.

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

 


March 2024 – 3900.86 Release

The March 2024 - 3900.86 release is robust with features in 10 areas:

  • Instructional design;
  • Competency based education;
  • Tests and assignments;
  • Communication and collaboration;
  • Flexible grading;
  • Gradebook;
  • Learner progression and personalized experience;
  • Integrations;
  • Learn core and security, and;
  • Upgrade to Ultra

These improvements impact instructors, students, and administrators. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and Students:

Administrators:


Instructional Design

AI Design Assistant – Context picker for test question generation – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

The AI Design Assistant offers inspiration and efficiency when generating test questions. Instructors can now select course items to help define questions. This option improves the alignment of generated questions to course content.

The context picker does not draw context from items that are attached to an Ultra document. Only items that appear on the context picker’s menu are used by the context picker. In future releases, attached files will be included in the context picker.

Image 1. Auto-generate question option in assessment

Auto-generate question option in assessment

Image 2. ‘Select Course Items’

Select 'Course Items'

Image 3. Select course items and then, ‘Select items’

Select course items and then, ‘Select items’

Image 4. Select ‘Generate’ to apply the context to the generation workflow

Select ‘Generate’ to apply the context to the generation workflow

Image 5. Select questions generated and add them to your assessment

Select questions generated and add them to your assessment

For administrators: In Installed Tools, select Settings for AI Design Assistant and Unsplash. The default state is 'off.' When this feature is ‘on,’ you will need to assign the following privileges to course roles as necessary, i.e. Instructor: 'Search for images using Unsplash’ and ‘Use AI features’.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Competency Based Education

Goal alignment to Journals – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Institutions want to align goals to course content. Goal alignment ensures that the curriculum is designed to meet specific learning outcomes.

Instructors can now align goals to journals to ensure that the activity measures the desired learning outcomes. This helps to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of evaluation and feedback practices.

Instructors can also align goals to the following course items:

  • Assignments
  • Tests, including individual questions
  • Questions in banks
  • Discussions
  • Rubrics criterion
  • Files
  • Web links
  • Teaching tools with LTI connection
  • Documents

Image 1. Instructor view of the “Align with goal’ menu option used to align a journal to a goal

Instructor view of the “Align with goal’ menu option used to align a journal to a goal

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Tests & Assignments

No Due Date assessment option – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Due dates are an important aspect of the teaching and learning process. In some scenarios, such as self-paced learning, an instructor may not want to apply a due date. To make the option for not having a due date more evident, we've added a "No due date" option for Tests and Assignments.

Image 1. Test Settings panel showing the new “No due date” option

est Settings panel showing the new “No due date” option

We also updated the default due date and time to tomorrow’s date at 11:59 pm.

Image 2. Test Settings panel displaying the new default due date and time 

Test Settings panel displaying the new default due date and time

There may be cases when the “No due date” selection conflicts with the Assessment Results settings. When this occurs, the instructor is prompted to review the settings.

Image 3. A warning banner appears when the "No due date" selection conflicts with Assessment Results settings

A warning banner appears when the "No due date" selection conflicts with Assessment Results settings

Instructors can navigate to the Assessment Results section in the Settings via the link in the banner.

Image 4. Assessment results timing options when there is no due date

Assessment results timing options when there is no due date

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Communication & Collaboration

Announcement indicators and mark announcements as read/unread – 3900.86

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

Announcements are an important communications channel within a course. Over the past 12 months, course announcements usage has more than tripled! With such an increase in usage, it is important to help create awareness of new announcements and read/unread controls.

Now, there is a number indicator next to the announcement tab in the course. The indicator signals the number of unread announcements available.

Additionally, users can now mark announcements as read or unread. On the New Course Announcement pop-up, users have the option to mark the read state. Users can also mark announcements as read or unread from the Announcement page.

Image 1. Number of unread Announcements next to the Announcement tab

Number of unread Announcements next to the Announcement tab

Image 2. Announcements pop-up with the option to mark as read/unread

Announcements pop-up with the option to mark as read/unread

Image 3. Announcements page with the option to mark as read/unread

Announcements page with the option to mark as read/unread

Image 4. Matching announcement and messages indicators for consistency

Matching announcement and messages indicators for consistency

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Flexible Grading

Last used view state of flexible grading side panels preserved – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors want to configure the grading interface according to their preferences. In flexible grading, instructors can collapse or expand the left panel (student cards) and right panel (feedback and rubrics). To provide a better user experience, the last used state is now preserved in the browser. Now,  navigating between student attempts and across sessions provides a more efficient experience.

Image 1. Flexible grading view with both the left and right panels expanded

Flexible grading view with both the left and right panels expanded

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Gradebook

Gradebook item statistics – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Item statistics give insight to course members' overall performance on a graded content. Now, instructors can select a column in the gradebook to access summary statistics for any graded item. The statistics page displays key metrics such as:

  • Minimum and maximum value
  • Range
  • Average
  • Median
  • Standard deviation
  • Variance

The number of submissions requiring grading and the distribution of grades also displays.

Image 1. Access to item statistics from the grid view

Access to item statistics from the grid view

Image 2. Access to item statistics from the Gradable Items view

Access to item statistics from the Gradable Items view

Image 3. Item statistics page

Item statistics page

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Text grade schema converts to points – 3900.86

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

This particular upgrade won't be released to production. A new project is on the way to support all text column needs. When the time comes, we will be announcing this new initiative.

In the Original course view, instructors can create text schemas that are unsupported in the Ultra course view. When converting courses, text schemas convert to a points schema. After conversion to Ultra, instructors can create and apply an alternate schema if desired.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Send messages to students from the Student Activity report for assessments on small and medium devices and the mobile app – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors lead busy, on-the-go lives and access Learn from a variety of devices. Some instructors use small or medium devices or the mobile app. Now these instructors can send messages to students from the Student Activity report for assessments. The message option is in the ellipsis menu for each student.

Image 1. Send message option in the Student Activity report for an assessment on a small screen

Send message option in the Student Activity report for an assessment on a small screen

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Rubric Associations API Enhancements – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

Rubrics serve as a well-organized and transparent framework for assessing student work. Administrators can now manage associations for rubrics via API for the following:

  • tests
  • assignments (without questions)
  • graded discussions
  • individual questions (Original course view only)

Managing rubrics and their associations via API streamlines rubric alignment across many courses.

Administrators can now use the enhanced API to perform the full spectrum of CRUD operations: create, update and delete rubric associations.

Developers will gain access to the following endpoints:

  • POST: public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}/associations
  • PATCH: public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}/associations/{rubricAssociationId}
  • DELETE: public/v1/courses/{courseId}/rubrics/{rubricId}/associations/{rubricAssociationId}

For administrators: Refer to the API documentation for detailed information about entitlements to perform CRUD operations on Rubric Associations.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Learn Core & Security

Group File Size Limit  – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: File size upload limit

Administrators are tasked with the management of storage used by courses. To help, we have added a feature to equip administrators to set file upload limits by file extensions. For example, if an administrator wants to prevent users from uploading any Word documents, they can set the file upload extensions for .docx, .doc, .docm, .dotx, .dot, and other Word extensions. This way, users will not be able to upload any files with those extensions to the course that exceed the limit set by the administrator.

Administrators can specify a maximum file size that applies to files in general. They may also set maximum file sizes by groups defined by file extensions. There are no restrictions on the number of groups an administrator can define.

Example:

  • An institution has a policy of 512MB size limit for most files. The administrator sets that limit for the maximum file size.
  • The institution licenses a video platform and wants users to store large videos there. Because of this, the limit for video in Ultra courses will be 25MB.
  • The administrator creates a group for video and sets the limit.
  • The administrator defines the following file extensions, each separated by a comma. This will restrict all video files .webm, .mkv, .flv, .vob, .ogv, .ogg, .drc, .gif, .gifv, .mng, .avi, .MTS, .M2TS, .TS, .mov, .qt, .wmv, .yuv, .rm, .rmvb, .viv, .asf, .amv, .mp4, .m4p, .m4v, .mp2, .mpe, .mpv, .mpg, .mpeg, .m2v, .svi, .3gp, .3g2, .mxf, .roq, .nsv, .f4v, .f4p, .f4a, .f4b

Image 1. Manage files limits by maximum file size; add custom file groups

Manage files limits by maximum file size; add custom file groups

Image 2. A message informs the user of any files that do not comply with the limit set by the institution

A message informs the user of any files that do not comply with the limit set by the institution

For administrators: This feature applies to Ultra courses except for Content Collection direct uploads. To configure it, open the Administrator Panel -> System Configuration -> File size limits.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Upgrade to Ultra

Moodle Conversion Improvements – 3900.86

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors

These improvements will not be available immediately in the release to Test/Stage environments for the 3900.86 release. We will update this note and send an email notification to followers of this page when it becomes available.

We continue to make progress on improving the conversion of Moodle courses. With this update, we're adding support for converting the following Moodle Question Types:

  • Multiple Choice (Single Answer)
  • Multiple Choice (Multiple Answers)
  • True/False
  • Matching
  • Short Answer
  • Numerical
  • Essay
  • Calculated
  • Calculated Multichoice (Single Answer)
  • Calculated Multichoice (Multiple Answers)
  • Calculated Simple

For administrators: This feature will be available for all courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to March 2024 – 3900.86 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.84.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.84.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 9 January 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 February 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.84.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.84.0-rel.49+3c179b0 to Production servers to take place on 29 February 2024.

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

 


Tests & Assignments

Forms – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors need to collect information to place students in clinical experiences. Others need to survey their class to gauge student interests or opinions. Now, instructors can create a Form for these use cases.

The following items are supported in a Form:

  • essay question
  • Likert question
  • multiple choice question
  • true/false question
  • text
  • local file
  • file from cloud storage
  • page break

By default, a Form is not graded. Questions in a form don’t have correct or incorrect answers.

Image 1. An example ungraded Form used for clinical teaching placement

Example of ungraded Form used for clinical teaching placement

Some instructors may choose to grade a Form to encourage participation. When this is the case, instructors must manually enter a grade for each submission.

Instructors may view Form submissions by student or by question in the new grading view.

Image 2. Ungraded Form submissions by question

Example of ungraded Form submissions by question

Image 3. Graded Form submission by student

Graded Form submission by student

Instructors may download the Form results from the Gradebook and Submissions page as an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file.


Image 4. Download Form results from Gradable Items view

Download Form results from Gradable Items view


Image 5. Download Form results for Submissions page

Download Form results for Submissions page

In the Gradebook grid view, student submissions for an ungraded Form appear as “Submitted.” Graded Forms display the manually entered grade or appropriate grading status.

A Survey created in the Original course view converts/copies to a Form in the Ultra course view. Only questions and options are supported in a Form convert/copy. After conversion, an exception suggests that instructors review their questions.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Likert question type – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Likert questions help provide a quantitative measure of opinions and attitudes. The responses often range from strongly disagree  to strongly agree. This question type is now available in the Form assessment type.

Image 1. Set up a Likert question

Set up a Likert question

The scale range defaults to 3 options, with suggested labeling for options 1 and 3 as strongly disagree and strongly agree. Instructors may select a range of 3, 5, or 7 and label the poles as desired. Instructors may also choose to include a "not applicable" option.

Image 2. Example Likert question in an end of unit survey

Example Likert question in an end of unit survey

Note: A Likert question in a Survey created in the Original course view converts/copies to a Form in the Ultra course view. The scale range default is 3.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Rubrics performance level descriptions: Display choice persists – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Rubrics play a critical role in the grading process for many educators. Rubrics performance level descriptions are hidden by default. Instructors can choose to display the performance descriptions as needed for grading.

In the past, the performance level descriptions display option didn’t persist when navigating submissions. This caused frustration for instructors.

Now, the rubrics grading interface stores the most recently used display option. This means that instructors who rely on performance level descriptions when grading don’t have to turn them on each time they navigate to grade another submission. The performance level display option preference is stored on a per-user per-assessment basis.

Image 1. Rubric grading displaying performance level descriptions

Rubric grading displaying performance level descriptions

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Communication & Collaboration

Send reminders from the gradebook: Improved student count for instructors – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors like to send reminders to students who haven't yet made a submission for an assessment. The send reminder option in the gradebook saves instructors time in student support. We have refined the scenarios that determine the students who will receive the reminder. This will make the recipient list more accurate.

A student user will be counted and receive the reminder if they didn't submit and:

  • they are available in the course.
  • they have not received an automatic zero.
  • they don’t have a manual override score that was posted.

These changes help ensure that the number of students indicated in the send reminder confirmation is more accurate.

The Send Reminder option is now also available for LTI and 3rd party tools with assessments in the gradebook. With LTI Advantage integrations, the tool can inform Blackboard Learn when a student has submitted, even if they haven’t yet received a grade. If the tool doesn’t support this, it is possible that students will receive a reminder even if they’ve submitted their work. The tool provider can enhance their integration to improve this.

Image 1. Send Reminder confirmation

Send reminders confirmation

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Flexible Grading

Audio/Video Recording in feedback: Usability improvements – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Audio/video feedback is a more personalized and engaging means for providing feedback. It is beneficial for addressing complex concepts and sharing detailed explanations. To ensure easy and clear access to this tool, we have exposed the Audio/Video option on the feedback toolbar. When in use, the recording window appears on the right side of the screen so that the instructor can view the student submission. The instructor can scroll through a student's response while recording their feedback. The instructor can maximize the recording window for better visibility.

Image 1. Audio/Video recording on the main tool bar

Audio visual tool on main tool bar

Image 2. Audio/Video recording window in default state

AudioVideo tool recording window in default state

Image 3. Audio/Video recording window in maximized state

AudioVideo tool recording window when maximized

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Gradebook

Feedback on override and automatic zero grades for Tests and Assignments – 3900.84

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

Feedback is crucial for students as it supports and shapes their learning journey. Now, instructors can give feedback for overridden tests, assignment grades, and automatic zeros. This option appears in the Gradebook grid view, and the Submissions list after the override or automatic zero is entered.

Image 1. Feedback from the grid view

Feedback from grid view

Image 2. Feedback from the submission list 

Feedback from submission list

Image 3. Feedback panel

Feedback panel

Override feedback on group submissions will be supported in a future release.

Additionally, instructors can now upload feedback for students as part of the offline grading process. In the past, only uploaded grades were visible to students.

Students can view override feedback after grades are posted.

We also improved students' access to the feedback. Now, feedback for all attempts on a test or assignment is visible in a panel.

Image 4. Student view of feedback

Student view of feedback

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Missed due dates included in the Course Activity Report – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Punctuality and time management are key for student success. Instructors need an easy method for identifying students who may be at risk. Now, instructors can view the number of missed due dates for students in the Course Activity Report.

Instructors can customize the missed due date alert in the Alert Settings.

There is no default setting for missed due date alert. Be sure to customize the alert settings.

Image 1. Customize missed due date alert

Admin view of missed due date metric and alert setting

Students who trigger the missed due dates alert appear in the Course Activity report table and chart and in the downloaded report.

Image 2. Missed due dates in the Course Activity report view

Missed due dates in the Course Activity report view

Image 3. Students with missed due date alerts appear in the Course Activity chart view as a purple dot

Students with missed due date alerts appear in the Course Activity chart view as a purple dot

Students will not receive notifications based on course missed due date alert setting. If a student opts in to missed due date alerts, alerts are sent for each content item.

As before, activity stream notifications for instructors include a summary of students with alerts per course. Now, the summary includes missed due dates alerts. These alerts are triggered every day in case there are new students with alerts in a course. New courses need at least 2 weeks of activity to start triggering these notifications.

Image 4. Missed due date alerts appear in the instructor's activity stream

Customize missed due date alert

The missed due date alert applies when a student doesn’t submit before the due date in the following:

  • Assessments, including group and formative
  • Assessments with the “collect submissions offline” option selected - when an instructor creates an attempt and enters the submission date/time after the due date
  • Assessments with the “hide student names” option selected - alerts only after all student submissions are graded and student names are exposed
  • Discussions and journals marked for a grade
  • SCORM packages when the “Grade individual SCOs” option is selected in SCORM settings
  • Other 3rd party activities, such as LTI and Respondus

Special considerations:

  • Students with a due date accommodation never have their work marked late. A student with due date accommodation won't have any missed due date alerts.
  • Students with a due date exception will have a missed due date alert if the excepted due date passes and there is no submission.
  • Students with an exemption never have their work marked late. A student with an exemption won't have any missed due date alerts.
  • Hidden content with a due date or content with date/time and performance release conditions are included in missed due date alerts.
  • Content with a due date and release conditions for individual course members or groups will alert only those students/groups included in the condition who miss the due date.
  • New items added to the gradebook with a due date are not included in the missed due date alerts.

Image 5. Admin view of missed due date metric and alert setting

Missed due date alerts appear in the instructor's activity stream

To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > View Grades” privilege.

For administrators: A new configuration option is on the Ultra configuration page in the Administrator Panel. The default state is on. If the missed due date option is set to off, the Course Activity report still displays students' overall grade, hours in course, and days since last access.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Long student names visibility in the Course Activity Report – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Depending on the culture, personal name lengths vary. In demonstrating our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we have adjusted long names in the Course Activity Report. This change ensures that names are visible even on small devices. This helps instructors avoid confusion when viewing students with similar names.

Image 1. Students with long names in the Course Activity Report

Students with long names in the Course Activity report

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have the “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) -> View Grades” privilege.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Better control over "Student Alerts" notifications for instructors - 3900.84

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

Notifications of certain student-related alerts help instructors be more aware of students who may be at risk. To help, we've made it easy for instructors to control what student alerts they receive in their Activity Stream.

The “Student Alerts” options are:

  • Low overall grade
  • Missed due date alert
  • and Last access alert

Image 1. “Student Alerts” section in the Activity Stream’s notifications settings

Improvements to student alerts

Image 2. A student alert notification with a low overall grade, last access, and missed due date alerts

Notification settings for student alerts

Administrators can control these 3 notifications at the institutional level in the administrator panel.

Notifications are:

  • Student Last Access Alert  for Instructors
  • Student Low Overall Grade Alert  for Instructors
  • Students Missed Due Dates Alert  for Instructors

Image 3. “Notification Settings” menu in the administrator panel

Student alerts displayed in the activity stream

Key considerations:

  • These alerts are only available for courses.
  • Courses must have at least 10 students and no more than 2000 students. Courses with enrollments outside of that range won’t receive notifications.
  • Notifications for these alerts are sent nightly only when new alerts are met.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. 
To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > View Grades” privilege. These notifications are based on the values set in the Course Activity alert settings.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Integrations

Google Workspace: Add a second primary domain – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

We've finalized the addition of this feature and will release it to client production instances or client environments during the week of January 15 to 22.

Some institutions manage two primary Google Workspaces: one for instructors and one for students. Now, The Google integration for Blackboard Learn permits the addition of a second workspace. This allows students to access Google Files added to the course from their instructor. Students can log in with their Google Workspace accounts to access the content.

Enable “Connect another Google Workspace” to configure a second workspace. Be sure to enter a Client ID, API Key, and Client secret copied from Google Cloud. Also, make sure to configure the Consent Screen

As part of the configuration process, ensure that the Authorized redirect URIs, already mentioned in the Help documentation, are accurately entered in the newly created Consent Screen in the Additional/Secondary Workspace.

Image 1. Configure a Google Integration

Administrator Tools screen to configure Google integration

Ensure that student users have an Institutional Role set to Student.

Image 2. Institution Role options for a student user

 Institutional Role screen set to Student

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra and Original courses. Access  the Administrator Control Panel to configure.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Learn Core & Security

LDAP authentication requires encryption – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators

At Anthology, we’re continuously improving the security stance of our products. LDAP is an authentication method supported in Blackboard Learn. It's no longer possible to configure LDAP connections without encryption. The “No SSL” option can’t be selected for new LDAP configurations.

The “No SSL” setting was only appropriate for self-hosted clients operating in closed networks. With the ending of standard support for self-hosting, we’ve removed this option. Existing configurations using “No SSL” won’t be changed, but new configurations aren’t possible.

For administrators: We do not recommend using the “No SSL” option with LDAP. If you have an existing LDAP configuration using this setting, you should work with your IT team to transition to a secured integration. We also recommend you consider using the more modern federated authentication method SAML. This change is for all Learn environments. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Limit enrollment management actions based on data source key of enrollments – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Administrators

There are cases when instructors need to manage some course or organization enrollments.

Instructors may need to add co-instructors, assistants, or graders. However, institutional policy often mandates instructors should not alter records from a Student Information System (SIS).

Now, administrators can limit whether users can make changes to enrollment records based on how the enrollment was added. Enrollments added through the GUI belong to the SYSTEM data source. Enrollments added through integrations are assigned to other data sources based on configuration (non-SYSTEM).

The following Course/Organization Role privileges have been changed:

  • Change the availability of enrollments
  • Change a users’ roles in the course
  • Set an instructor as primary instructor
  • Remove (delete) users from the course

The 4 Course/Organization Role privileges have been split into 8 privileges—4 for enrollment records in SYSTEM and 4 for enrollment records not in SYSTEM. These are found in the privileges manager for each Course/Organization Role:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set Non-System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View

Administrators can configure each Course Role with the appropriate privileges for their policies. The privileges and restrictions are applicable to users in both Ultra and Original Course Views.

The Original Course View has a bulk remove action for enrollments. If the course user is restricted from removing any of the selected users, the action is stopped with a warning.

Image 1. Administrator sets the privileges for a Course Role 

Administrator sets the privileges for a Course Role

If the above entitlements related to System DSK Users are permitted and entitlements related to Non-System DSK Users are restricted, it will allow user to Remove, Edit Availability, Edit Roles and set Instructor as Primary for System DSK users only.

Image 2. Ultra example when Remove Non-System DSK Users’ entitlement is restricted 

Ultra example when Remove Non-System DSK Users’ entitlement is restricted

The remove member icon does not appear when a course user with no permissions tries to delete a Non-System DSK user.

Image 3. Ultra example when Remove System DSK Users’ entitlement is permitted

Ultra example when Remove System DSK Users’ entitlement is permitted

The remove member icon appears in the GUI when a course user with permissions tries to delete a System DSK user.

Image 4. Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete the selected users

Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete the selected users

Image 5. Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete some of the selected users

Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete some of the selected users

The upgrade process should retain consistent behavior with the prior release. For example, if a Course Role had the privilege to remove users from a course/organization, they should now have the equivalent privileges:

  • Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization

For administrators: We recommend that you review privileges configured for your Course Roles. You can adjust Course Role privileges to better conform to your institutional policies.

For administrators: A new Course Role privilege was added in this release, "Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User for all roles." This privilege does not need to be configured as it will support an upcoming enhancement and does not yet serve a purpose. More information will come in upcoming release notes.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Upgrade to Ultra

Import Moodle packages – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Administrators

Switching from Moodle to Blackboard Learn Ultra is now easier than ever. Instructors can now import Moodle packages into Ultra and Original view courses themselves. This change removes instructor reliance on an administrator.

Image 1. Import Course Content

Import Content panel open on a course displaying import options

Learn more on importing courses from Moodle for more directions. We also have a guide to help you understand the differences in terminology.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra and Original courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


January 2024 – 3900.82 Release

We're aware that updates to copy workflows for admins are causing issues and we're actively working on a resolution.

The January 2024 - 3900.82 is robust with features in 9 areas:

  • Instructional design;
  • Mastery learning / Competency based education;
  • Tests and assignments;
  • Flexible grading;
  • Gradebook;
  • Learner progression and personalized experience;
  • Integrations;
  • Mobile; and
  • Upgrade to Ultra

These improvements impact instructors, students, and administrators. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

All users:

Instructors and Administrators:

Administrators:


Instructional Design

AI Design Assistant - Authentic Assignment prompt generation – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

AI plagiarism is a growing concern among academics. Research indicates a variety of issues with a reliance on AI detection. Detection models cannot keep up with advancements in AI technologies. Our approach to combatting AI plagiarism is different. We empower instructors to lean into the effective practice of authentic assessment.

Learn more with our academic paper AI, Academic Integrity, and Authentic Assessment.

Now instructors can generate assignment prompts that encourage students to:

  • engage in higher-order thinking, 
  • apply their learned knowledge,
  • produce authentic submissions that are evidenced, and 
  • emulate real-world situations.

To ensure the instructor is in control, the generation process allows instructors to: 

  • enter an assignment description, 
  • select a desired cognitive process based on Bloom's Taxonomy, 
  • set the complexity, and 
  • generate an assignment title.

The instructor can review the generated prompts and select one to add to the assignment. After adding the prompt, the instructor can edit or further refine the prompt as appropriate.

Image 1. The auto-generate assignment option

A "New Assignment" panel is open with the "Auto-Generate Assignment" option visible on screen.

Image 2. Three generated prompts; each include a title, prompt, and cognitive level

The "Auto-Generate Assignment" panel is opened, with three generated prompts on screen: each include a title, prompt, and cognitive process.

Image 3. Instructors can add additional context through a description, select the desired cognitive level and complexity, and then generate prompts

The 'Auto-Generate Assignment' panel is open, displaying three generated prompts on the screen. On the left-side options, there is included content.


Image 4. Selected title and prompt added to an assignment

The "New Assignment" panel is open with the selected title and prompts added to the assignment.

For administrators: To use this feature, enable the AI Features option in Ultra Experience Management. Select Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel, then select Installed Tools. Locate AI Design Assistant and Unsplash and select Settings from the drop-down. The default state is off. Set Enable AI Design Assistant to on. Set Generate Assignments to on. You must also activate privileges. Assign the following privilege for the appropriate Course Roles (e.g., Instructor): Use AI features.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


AI Design Assistant - Generate Rubric Improvements – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience  
Ultra Course View  
Impact: Instructors 

The AI Design Assistant helps instructors create rubrics for assessments. We've streamlined a time-intensive task and created efficiency for instructors with rubric creation. Being careful to consider user feedback, we have made some improvements to rubric generation. The improvements improve column and row labels . We also improved the distribution of percentages/points for criteria. 

Generate rubric screen displays auto-generated content from AI design assistant

Image 1. Rubric generation outputs using the AI Design Assistant

For administrators: To use this feature, enable the AI Features option in Ultra Experience Management. Select Building Blocks from the Administrator panel, then select Installed Tools. Locate AI Design Assistant and Unsplash and select Settings from the menu. The default state of the AI Design Assistant is set to Off. Select Enable AI Design Assistant to turn the feature on. You must also set Generate Assignments to On. Assign the Use AI features privilege for the appropriate Course Roles (for example, Instructor). 

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Mastery Learning/Competency Based Education

Grade visible to students in Gradebook when item is hidden by release conditions – 3900.82

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

Release conditions provide options for custom learning paths through course content. When instructors set release conditions, content is unavailable until students meet those conditions. An option to 'Hide' selected content from students is available. This setting also hides the grade from the student view of the gradebook.

Now, instructors can set release conditions without concern of hiding grades. Regardless of the setting in "When will content appear?", students can see the grade. All other functionality of release conditions is unchanged.

Image 1. Release conditions settings with date/time release condition set in combination with Hide state in “When will content appear?”

Release conditions settings with date/time release condition set in combination with Hide state in “When will content appear?”

Image 2. Student gradebook view with display of student’s grade regardless of the release condition setting in Image 1

Student gradebook view with display of student’s grade regardless of the release condition setting in Image 1


For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.
 

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Tests & Assignments

Delegated Grading improvements – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors sometimes distribute the grading workload for an assessment to multiple graders. This is a popular practice in larger classes. Instructors can assign graders to groups of students with the new delegated grading option. Each grader only sees the submissions made by students in the group(s) assigned to them.

Now instructors can also use delegated grading in combination with anonymous submissions and tests.

Image 1: Instructor view of the assessment Settings panel for a test with the Delegated Grading and Anonymous grading options enabled

The assessment settings panel is open, with the delegated grading option visible on screen.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description
 


Flexible Grading

Improved attempt display in Flexible Grading – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Multiple-attempt assessments result in more submissions, which can increase the complexity of grading.

In the past, when an instructor selected a student in the list the most recent attempt displayed. Now, the attempt selected for display is based on the grading status and attempt aggregation model selected.

Attempt Aggregation ModelGrading Status and Attempt Displayed
Average of all attempts

If all attempts are graded, the most recently submitted attempt displays.

If ungraded attempts exist, the most recent, ungraded attempt displays.

First attempt with a grade

If all attempts are graded, the first submitted attempt displays.

If ungraded attempts exist, the oldest ungraded attempt displays.

Attempt with highest grade

If all attempts are graded, the attempt with the highest grade displays.

If ungraded attempts exist, the most recent, ungraded attempt displays.

Last attempt with a grade

If all attempts are graded, the most recently submitted attempt displays.

If ungraded attempts exist, the most recent ungraded attempt displays.

Attempt with lowest grade

If all attempts are graded, the attempt with lowest grade displays.

If ungraded attempts exist, the most recent ungraded attempt displays.


For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description
 


Sorting controls in Students view for assessments graded anonymously – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

We are adding sorting controls to assessments graded anonymously. Now instructors can apply these sorting options:

  • Submission date (oldest - newest) of latest attempt
  • Submission date (newest - oldest) of latest attempt

The grading interface stores the most recently used sorting option. If an instructor stops grading an assessment and resumes grading later, the last sorting option is applied.


Image 1: Sorting options on an anonymously graded assessment in flexible grading
 

The assessment grading panel is open, displaying sorting options for an anonymously graded assessment.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.


Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Gradebook

Enhanced Grid View – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors
 
To improve usability and maximize the screen real estate of the gradebook grid view, we have made several enhancements:

Improved row visibility and display more rows:

  • We reduced the size of the column icons and the spacing around them. 
  • We removed group names and highlighting on group assessments.
  • The course name moves up and hides when vertically scrolling.

Improved student identification:

  • When hovering over a truncated student name, the full name displays in a tooltip. 
  • Student IDs display beneath student names to aid in distinguishing between students with similar names.


Image 1. Improvements to gradebook grid view

Improvements to gradebook grid view

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Total & Weighted Calculations – 3900.82


Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and other users with permissions

Instructors need a gradebook that supports diverse grading scenarios. The gradebook supports the creation of calculated columns and an overall course grade. We are expanding gradebook functionality to also support total and weighted calculated columns. These types of calculations are helpful for specific events or periods, such as midterms or finals.

Total calculated columns can be point-based or weighted calculations. Like setting up the Overall Grade, instructors may link/unlink items in a category in the calculation. They may also choose to exclude categories from the calculation. For an included category, instructors may edit the calculation rule. The calculation rule allows instructors to drop scores or to include only the lowest or highest score in the category.

Instructors may wish to define a total calculated column for their own use. In this case, they can choose to hide from students. If desired, instructors can include a total calculated column in the overall grade calculation.

Image 1. Add a Total Calculation column from the Grid view

Add a Total Calculation column from the Grid view


Image 2. Add a Total Calculation column from Gradable Items view

Add a Total Calculation column from Gradable Items view


Image 3. Editing a Weighted Total Calculation Column

Editing a Weighted Total Calculation Column

Image 4. Define rules for the Weighted Total Calculation column

 

Define rules for the Weighted Total Calculation column

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.
 

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Category Information on the Gradable Items Page – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors
 

To provide greater efficiency and clarity in the gradable items view, we have added a Category column. This column, along with the grading item icon, helps instructors more readily identify to which category, if any, an item belongs. Instructors can sort this column ascending or descending alphabetically.

Image 1. Category column on the Gradable Items, sorted Z – A

Category column on the Gradable Items, sorted Z – A

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Attempt logs for enhanced assessment integrity – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Assessment integrity is a paramount concern for educational institutions. We empower instructors with valuable insights into students' progress for native assessments. The Attempt Logs prove to be an indispensable tool for validating issues students may encounter during an assessment. The logs also help instructors identify signs of academic dishonesty.

For tests, the logs provide the following:

  • Detailed information, including the date and time of the start and answers to each question
  • Question-specific details, such as question number, a preview of the question, and estimated time spent on each question
  • Submission receipt number, final grade, and attempt grade
  • Easy toggling between all in-progress and submitted attempts for comprehensive assessment tracking

Image 1. Test attempt log with multiple attempts made by the student

Test attempt log with multiple attempts made by the student

For Assignments, the logs offer:

  • Start and submission date and time
  • Submission receipt number
  • Seamless toggling between different attempts for a holistic view


Image 2. Assignment attempt log

Assignment attempt log

Instructors can access the Attempt Logs from two primary areas:

  • Context Menu on Submission Page - exclusive to individual assessments
  • Grades Tab under Student Overview Page - available for both group and individual assessments

Image 3. Access from the Submission tab

Access from the Submission tab

Image 4. Access from the Grades tab from the student overview

Access from the Grades tab from the student overview

For anonymous assessments, the report becomes active after grades are posted, and the anonymity is lifted. This ensures that the Attempt Logs report is a robust tool even in scenarios where student identities are initially concealed.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Integrations

Multiple LTI Deployments improvements – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Managing LTIs

Some administrators need to add multiple domains to a single LTI integration. We have expanded support of multiple domains for a single LTI integration. Now administrators can approve or exclude the deployment tool status. This provides greater flexibility for the creation and use of multiple domains. Administrators can also associate deployment IDs with different domains managed by a third party tool.

Image 1. Deployment Tools Status – select approved or excluded

Deployment Tools Status – select approved or excluded

When an administrator creates new deployments of an LTI tool, the default setting is “Approved.” Administrators can change the setting to “Excluded.” This prevents the use of that deployment. Manage Deployments now displays a status column to ensure clarity of the status of the deployment.

Image 2. Status column indicates if a deployment is approved or excluded

Status column indicates if a deployment is approved or excluded

Some institutions merge courses (create parent and child courses). If a parent course has an LTI deployment ID associated with it, the child course inherits that deployment ID.

We support multiple domains for LTI integrations that appear in Books & Tools  in an Ultra course and in the rich text editor.

For administrators: This feature is available for Ultra and Original environments.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Enhanced grading control via REST API

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

Each institution has its own evaluation methods. Some courses have specific grading criteria. To support varied grading and evaluation methods, we have enhanced the Gradebook API. 

Previously, the Gradebook API allowed users to update the overall grade formula. Now, the API aligns with the same formula validation rules enforced in the user interface. This ensures consistency and accuracy in the grading processes.

Users can still modify and validate of the formulas through the API using the endpoint:

PATCH /public/v2/courses/{courseId}/gradebook/columns.

This update reflects our commitment to providing a seamless and controlled grading experience.

For administrators: The required entitlements for Users API remain unchanged.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Converting Building Block content to LTI: Panopto Course Content – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Converting Building Block Content to LTI

The Panopto conversion is now available to users.

The Panopto integration makes it easy for users to create, share, and view videos. Users can embed these videos in Blackboard Learn courses.

Panopto provided a Building Block for customers using Original Course View. To ensure a smooth transition we have updated the conversion tool so that users can convert Panopto content from Building Block to LTI content.

This conversion supports the following Building Block content:

  • Course tools content  
  • Mashup links within the content editor

This tool only converts links created through the building block. Also, it validates the standalone links within the course to change the way those are processed. This will prevent standalone links from breaking after the building block deactivates.

Image 1. Converting Building Block Content to LTI

Converting Building Block Content to LTI

Administrators can select from a drop-down menu the building block for configuration:

  • Echo360
  • Kaltura
  • Panopto

Administrators can configure the required IDs and custom parameters for the conversion details. For Panopto, we have added the following custom parameters:

  • Instancename: The administrator must modify the instance name if it has been changed in the general configuration of the Panopto Building Block.
  • folderid: This is a Panopto identifier for the courses in the different folders; this custom parameter does not need to be modified.

Image 2. Migration settings for Panopto, Echo 360 and Kaltura, including Panopto custom parameters

Migration settings for Panopto, Echo 360 and Kaltura, including Panopto custom parameters

Building block mappings are displayed. Administrators can edit, delete, or turn off the building block for the conversion tool.

Image 3.  Building block mappings

Building block mappings

Once configurations are set, administrators can manage the placements. They have the option to choose the courses for which they want to initiate the content link conversion for a specific Building Block.

Image 4. Migrate courses with building block content

Migrate courses with building block content

Finally, at Migration Run Status, users can monitor the status of the conversion process for each course.

Image 5. Migration run status

Migration run status

For administrators: If a course contains content from Panopto, Kaltura and/or Echo360 building blocks, the conversion process must be performed once for each building block. 

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Multi-Factor Authentication for the default authentication method – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: All users
Related topics: Identification and Authorization, Quick start for Blackboard App 

Some institutions enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to fulfill security policies and best practices. To better support these institutions, we now offer a second authentication factor for the internal authentication method (where a user provides a username and password).

When the administrator enables MFA, users start the MFA registration process after providing a correct username and password. Users can use an authenticator app of their preference or the one suggested by their institution.

Image 1. Initial instructions described in the MFA registration process

Initial instructions described in the MFA registration process

Image 2. Request of temporary code to complete MFA registration

Request of temporary code to complete MFA registration

Image 3. Confirmation of successful MFA registration

Confirmation of successful MFA registration

Users are asked for a code generated by the authentication app on their trusted device(s) each time they log in.

If a user loses access to their trusted device, they can request a reset of their MFA (via normal institution-defined support channels). This allows the user to start the registration process of a new device.

For administrators: MFA is inactive by default. MFA is compatible with any kind of authenticator app.

For this release, MFA is only compatible with the Force to Web authentication method in the mobile App. If the institution has the native authentication method activated, the users won’t be asked to enter the TOTP code when logging in the mobile app. Compatibility with the native authentication method will be available in a future release.

To set MFA to active, go to the Administrator Tool Panel -> Integrations -> Authentication -> Default -> Edit -> Multifactor Authentication -> Active.

Image 4. Enable MFA feature from Administrator Tool Panel

Enable MFA feature from Administrator Tool Panel

To reset a user’s MFA, go to Administrator Tool Panel -> Users -> Search and select user -> Reset MFA.

Image 5. Reset MFA for a specific user

Reset MFA for a specific user

MFA is compatible with the Account Locking feature. To protect accounts from unauthorized access, we recommend enabling the Account Locking feature. To confirm the current configuration, go to the Administrator Tool Panel -> Account Lock Settings -> Enable Account -> Locking.

For audit and monitoring purposes, events related to MFA log in and reset can be found in Administrator Tool Panel -> Tools and Utilities -> Logs -> Authentication Logs.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Unused files management tool – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

File management is important to many institutions that want to be cognizant of their digital footprint. To help instructors understand the usage of files in their course, we've created the Unused Files tool. This tool helps instructors find and delete course files that are not in use. Instructors can locate the Unused Files tool in the three-dot menu on the Course Content page. 

Image 1. Unused Files tool

Unused Files tool

There are two views available: unused files (default view) or all files. The file name, upload date, and file size display along with an option to download a copy of the local file. Instructors can easily delete unused files. 

Image 2. List of unused files

List of unused files

Image 3. List of All files 

List of All files

Course roles will need “Course/Organization >Files Manage Files” privileges to access the Unused Files tool.

For administrators: A new configuration option is available from the Configure option in The Ultra Experience is here! module on the Administrator Panel. In the Available Features section, locate “Unused files management.” The default state is on.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Create Message privilege improvement – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators

We've made some improvements to the privilege for creating messages in courses and organizations. This change improves the experience for system administrators and other users who are not enrolled in the course.

Now administrators and other privileged users can

  • Access and use the message tab to communicate with course users

    Course users will not be able to send messages to the administrator or respond to the administrator's messages.

  • Make changes to the Course Tools - Messages and Messaging Options

For administrators: This improvement applies to all Ultra courses. Apply this privilege to appropriate roles as appropriate: “Course/Organization Control Panel (Customization) -> Create Message”.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Mobile

Help Center and About sections added to More menu – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: All users
Related topic: Blackboard Learn App Help

To elevate user accessibility and awareness, we've added two improved segments to the More menu: Help Center and About.

The About section is a comprehensive reservoir that empowers users with essential information to navigate their app experience.

This includes:

  • Accessibility details
  • Institution policies: Institutions can add their institutional privacy policy URL if this link has been configured in the "Data Use and Privacy Disclosure" Building Block settings.
  • A dedicated channel for mobile app feedback
  • Privacy policies
  • Release notes
  • Terms of use
  • App version information

Users can explore the Help Center for more information, providing a seamless and enriched user experience. The release notes provide users with information on enhancements, optimizations, and introduced features. This ensures users are well-acquainted with the app's evolving capabilities.

Image 1. New sections in the More menu: About and Help Center

New sections in the More menu: About and Help Center


Image 2. New About section in the More menu

New About section in the More menu

Image 3. Help Center for the Blackboard Learn App Help

Help Center for the Blackboard Learn App Help

 

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Batch Edit: Change to specific date and/or time – 3900.82

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

We heard that instructors want to change the date and time for selected items in their course. For example, the due date times are currently set to 8:00 PM and the instructor would like to change them to 11:59 PM. The change would give students more time to make their submissions. The problem with making that change is that it would be very tedious if you had to do one item at a time.

Using Batch Edit, instructors can override the existing date and/or time for selected items. Instructors can adjust the due date time for all assessments using this option. The same feature also works on show on and hide after dates and times.

Batch edit of dates/time only works with items that have pre-existing date and time values. Items without a date or time value will not have one applied.

Image 1. Change to a specific date and/or time option for Batch Edit

Change to specific date and/or time option for Batch Edit

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to January 2024 – 3900.82 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.82.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.82.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 12 December 2023 | Release to Production: Thursday, 4 January 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.82.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.82.0-rel.51+579fa4e to Production servers to take place on 25 January 2024.

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

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.80.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.80.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 7 November 2023 | Release to Production: Thursday, 7 December 2023
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.80.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.80.0-rel.28+80fe7a8 to Production servers to take place on 21 December 2023.

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


Instructional Design

Authentic Discussion and Journal prompts – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

AI plagiarism is a growing concern among academics. Research indicates a variety of issues with a reliance on AI detection. Detection models cannot keep up with advancements in AI technologies. Our approach to combatting AI plagiarism is different. We empower instructors and lean on the effective practice of authentic assessment.

Learn more by reading our white paper about AI, Academic Integrity, and Authentic Assessment.

Now, instructors can generate discussion and journal prompts that encourage students to

  • engage in higher-order thinking,
  • apply their knowledge,
  • justify or challenge their beliefs and ideas,
  • and emulate real-world situations.

To ensure the instructor is in control, the generation process allows instructors to

  • enter a discussion or journal description,
  • select a desired cognitive process based on Bloom's Taxonomy,
  • set the complexity,
  • and generate a discussion or journal title.

The instructor can review the generated prompts and select one to add to the discussion or journal. After adding the prompt, the instructor can edit or further refine the prompt as appropriate.

Image 1. The auto-generate discussion option

The auto-generate discussion option

Image 2. Three generated prompts; each includes a title, prompt, and cognitive process

Three generated prompts; each includes a title, prompt, and cognitive process

Image 3. Instructors can describe the discussion, select the desired cognitive process and complexity, and then generate prompts

Instructors can describe the discussion, select the desired cognitive process and complexity, and then generate prompts

Image 4. Selected title and prompt added to a discussion

Selected title and prompt added to a discussion

For administrators: To use this feature, enable the AI Features option in Ultra Experience Management. Select Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel, then select Installed Tools. Locate AI Design Assistant and Unsplash and select Settings from the drop-down. The default state is off. Set Enable AI Design Assistant to on. Set Generate Discussions and Generate Journals to on. You must also activate privileges. Assign the following privilege for the appropriate Course Roles (e.g., Instructor): Use AI features.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Removal of First Time User Experience pop-ups – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: All users

In the past, we provided in-context information pop-ups to support users when they used the system for the first time. These pop-ups, called First Time User Experiences (FTUEs), can be helpful to some users. At the same time, FTUEs can be distracting or unnecessary. Users who would like supportive information can locate that on our help pages. Some institutions want to provide their own support information across Ultra and choose to use tools such as Anthology Adopt.

Based on client feedback, we are removing the FTUEs across Learn Ultra. This improves the users' experience and supports a greater focus on the learning content. Approximately 60 FTUEs are being removed in this release. Examples of some of the FTUEs we removed are below.

Image 1. FTUE in an assessment that guides the instructor to name the assignment

FTUE in an assessment that guides the instructor to name the assignment

Image 2. FTUE in the gradebook, highlighting the student list view

FTUE in the gradebook, highlighting the student list view

Image 3. FTUE on the base navigation courses page, highlighting course search

FTUE on the base navigation courses page, highlighting course search

For administrators: This update is available for Base Navigation and Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Additional image insertion and generate options – 3900.80

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

Images enhance comprehension of and engagement with course content. Instructors and students want to use high-quality images in content and submissions. To help, we have added a new image button in the content editor in the following places:

  • Announcements
  • Assessment Questions
  • Student answers on questions (local file upload only)
  • Submission feedback (standard view)
  • Journal entries and comments

Image 1. Instructor view - image button on content editor for Announcements

Instructor view - image button on content editor for Announcements

We also added the option for instructors to generate images in journal prompts and assessment questions.

To learn more about working with images, please visit the “Work with Text" page.

For administrators: The "Stock images from Unsplash" and "Generate images" options only appear for instructors when each tool is on. Select Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel, then select Installed Tools. Locate "AI Design Assistant and Unsplash" and select Settings from the drop-down. The default state is off. You must also activate privileges. Assign the following privileges for the appropriate Course Roles (e.g., Instructor):

  • Search for images using Unsplash
  • Use AI features

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Tests & Assignments

Large Rubric Support – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Rubrics serve as a well-organized and transparent framework for assessing student work. We now support an unlimited number of rubric criteria and performance levels, up from 15 each. This change empowers instructors to craft rubrics that support diverse assessment scenarios. Unbound rubrics are valuable where a higher number of criteria are needed. Larger rubrics also prove invaluable for rubrics employed in accreditation processes.

Image 1. Large rubric support with the potential for the addition of more rows

Large rubric support with the potential for the addition of more rows

Image 2. Large rubric support with the potential for the addition of more columns

Large rubric support with the potential for the addition of more columns

 

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Group assessment due date exceptions – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may want to set different due dates for each group working on a group assessment.

In the past, there was no way to assign varying due dates for each group working on a group assessment. Now, instructors can assign a unique due date to each group using the exceptions workflow.

On the group assessment Submissions page, the instructor may add or edit exceptions for a group.

Image 1: Instructor view – add or edit exceptions option on the group assessment Submissions page

Instructor view – add or edit exceptions option on the group assessment Submissions page

The Exceptions panel displays relevant information such as the assignment name and selected group name. This helps ensure the accuracy of an exception. Instructors can select a due date for the group using the date and time picker.

Image 2: Instructor view - exceptions panel

Instructor view - exceptions panel

Image 3: Instructor view - group assessment Submissions page displays the exceptions indicator for Project Group 1

Instructor view - group assessment Submissions page displays the exceptions indicator for Project Group 1

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Goal alignment to questions in banks – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Institutions want to align goals to course content. Goal alignment ensures that the curriculum is designed to meet specific learning outcomes.

Instructors can currently align goals to the following course items:

  • Assignments
  • Tests, including individual questions
  • Discussions
  • Rubrics criterion
  • Files
  • Web links
  • Teaching tools with LTI connection
  • Documents

Now, instructors can also align goals to questions within a question bank. Question-level goal alignment ensures that assessment items measure the desired learning outcomes. This helps to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of evaluation and feedback practices.

Image 1: Instructor view of the “Align with goal’ menu option used to align a question to a goal

Instructor view of the “Align with goal’ menu option used to align a question to a goal

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Prevent students from earning full credit when selecting all answers choices on a multi-select question with partial credit – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Multi-select questions require students to select multiple correct answers from a list. This variation of a multiple choice question encourages critical thinking. Some instructors may award partial credit to students on these types of questions. Partial credit promotes a fairer and more accurate assessment of students' knowledge.

In the past, students received full credit when selecting all answer choices for a multi-select question with partial credit. This happened because there was no penalty or negative credit applied for wrong answer choices.

Now, when an instructor designs a multi-select question and allows partial and negative credit, the negative credit auto-distributes across wrong answer choices. An instructor can remove or edit the negative credit if desired.

Image 1: Partial and negative credit auto-distributed across correct and incorrect answer choices for a multi-select question

Partial and negative credit auto-distributed across correct and incorrect answer choices for a multi-select question

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Flexible Grading

Sorting controls on Students tab – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Grading large numbers of submissions without a way to organize them can be tedious. Now, instructors can apply various sorting options in flexible grading:

  • Submission date (oldest - newest) of latest attempt
  • Submission date (newest - oldest) of latest attempt
  • Last Name (A - Z)
  • Last Name (Z - A)
  • First Name (A - Z)
  • First Name (Z-A)
  • Student ID (ascending)
  • Student ID (descending)

The grading interface stores the most recently used sorting option. If an instructor stops grading an assessment and resumes grading later, the last sorting option is applied.

Also, if sorting the submissions by last name or grading status, the chosen sorting option carries over into the grading interface.

Image 1: Sorting options as shown from Students tab in flexible grading

Sorting options as show from Students tab in flexible grading

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Gradebook

Grid view sorting controls – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Sorting options in the gradebook provide a more efficient grading experience.

We extended the sorting options to all remaining columns in the gradebook grid view:

  • SCORM
  • Journal
  • Group Assessment
  • Group Discussion
  • LTI
  • Calculations
  • Attendance
  • Discussion

Instructors can sort records in ascending or descending order and remove any applied sorting. A purple highlight in the column header indicates sorting is applied.

Any sorting applied yields a temporary change to the sort order of all columns in the gradebook grid view.

Image 1: Sorting controls on all grid view columns headers

Sorting controls on all grid view columns headers

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Automatic zero gradebook improvement – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors can configure their gradebooks to assign automatic zeros to past due work. In the past, automatic zeros were assigned to past due work regardless of a student’s course enrollment status. For example, automatic zeros were applied to past due items for withdrawn students. This was problematic as, in some cases, it skewed course data.

Now automatic zeros are assigned to past due work only if the student has an enabled course enrollment. Automatic zeroes are no longer applied to past due items for withdrawn students. This helps to ensure that academic records are preserved as they are at the time of withdrawal.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Integrations

Gradebook API: Accessing grading dates – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators
Related topic: Learn APIs

In a previous release, we introduced a feature that allows users to retrieve date-related grading data. Now, we incorporate two more fields into the response of all gradebook APIs: first and last relevant dates.

"firstRelevantDate" determined as:

  • The first recorded date when an attempt is scored.
  • The most recent date in which a final score is overridden.

"lastRelevantDate" determined as:

  • The date of the most recent modification of a grade when an attempt is scored.
  • The most recent date in which a final score is overridden.

We also introduce the following query parameters:

  • firstRelevantDateCompare
  • lastRelevantDateCompare

These parameters allow users to filter and refine the results.

For administrators: The required entitlements for Gradebook API remain unchanged. First and Last relevant dates do not apply to calculated columns.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Enhanced user data retrieval with secondary IDs via REST API - 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

Related topic: Learn APIs

The option to retrieve user data is crucial for administrators and support roles. User data retrieval is important for a host of reasons. For example, it allows institutions to ensure access control, user support, and data security.

In the past, retrieving user data depended on a single ID. Now, we are expanding the capabilities of the users' REST APIs to support secondary IDs. This will provide more flexibility and control when accessing user information.

Users can now use a secondary ID:

  • Contact Email: Users can now use the "contact.email" secondary ID to retrieve user data. This enhancement allows users to access their information by their institution/personal email address.
  • Student IDs: The "studentId" secondary ID is now supported in the GET /users public endpoint. You can use this feature to access user data using their student ID.
  • "Name" as New Attribute: Users can now retrieve user data based on attributes such as the user name. For this, we have the new query parameter "?name=". This will allow filtering by full names (first names, last names, middle names, or usernames).

These changes provide a significant improvement in the way users can manage user data via REST APIs.

For administrators: The required entitlements for User API remain unchanged.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


REST API for accessing assessment passwords - 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators

Related topic: Learn APIs

In Learn, assessments can be protected with access codes. Access codes help provide integrity and security for assessments.

To improve the integration with proctoring services, we extended the access code option via REST API.

Now, users can retrieve the access password configuration settings. The configuration setting is for both Ultra and Original courses. This information includes the following key fields:

  • Enabled: Flag that indicates whether the assessment is password-protected or not.
  • Password: This field contains the 6-digit passcode. The password is available in plain text, simplifying the integration process.

Furthermore, these fields will be accessible through the following Content endpoints:

  • GET /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/contents
  • GET /learn/api/public/v1/courses/{courseId}/contents/{contentId}

For administrators: The required entitlements for Users API remain unchanged.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Learn Core & Security

Building Block Management page displays support details – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators

Related topic: Manage Learn SaaS Building Blocks

Three years ago, we announced the end of support for third-party integrations using Building Blocks. Starting in January 2024, most third-party Building Blocks will no longer be supported. Some Building Blocks have been granted extensions for limited continued support.

To help administrators understand what third-party tools will no longer work in January, we've updated the Building Block management page. Now, each Building Block will have a support indicator. These appear under the header “Support Status” on the Building Block management page.

  • ONGOING: These Building Blocks are part of Blackboard Learn and are not third-party. Anthology continues to support these.
  • EXTENDED: These are third-party Building Blocks with approved extended support. Support will end sometime in the future. This includes Building Blocks with both announced and unknown support end dates, such as:
    • Exceptions, or currently no known end of support date.
    • Extended support to specific dates as published on Behind the Blackboard. We will provide updates to support statuses for these Building Blocks in future releases of Blackboard Learn.
  • ENDS JAN 2024: These third-party Building Blocks can no longer be used starting with the January 2024 release (3900.82).

Image 1. The Support Status column indicates if support is ongoing or when it will end

The Support Status column indicates if support is ongoing or when it will end

This functionality was not included in the Nov. 7 Test/Stage release. It will be included in the Nov. 14, 3900.80 SaaS Test/Stage release.

For administrators: This feature will be available for all Learn environments. There are no configurations needed. These changes won't impact tools integrated with other methods, such as LTI and REST. You can access the Building Block list in Administrator Panel > Building Blocks > Installed Tools.
If you believe the status of a third-party Building Block isn’t correct, please contact Anthology Product Support.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Mobile App

Enhancements to Grades – 3900.80

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

In response to user feedback, we've made improvements to the Grades page. The Grades page now offers more comprehensive information for students and instructors. We enhanced both the appearance and functionality.

For Instructors:

  • Upcoming Grading
    • Upon expansion, instructors find items that need grading.
  • Concise View
    • We've limited the display to only three items at a time.
    • A Show More link is available, leading to the gradebook for that course.
  • Efficient Navigation
    • Instructors can access grading tasks by selecting the respective item.
  • In the past, grade pills were black. Now grade pills display corresponding grade colors.

Image 1. Instructor view of Grades

Instructor view of Grades

For Students:

  • Upcoming Due Items
    • When expanding the section, students now find items that are due within a week.
  • Recently Graded
    • Expanded sections display items that have been recently graded.
  • Concise View
    • To avoid clutter, we've limited the display to only three items at a time.
    • A Show more link is available, leading to the gradebook for that course.
  • Quick Access
    • By selecting any item, users can navigate to the specific assessment or activity.
  • In the past, grade pills were black. Now grade pills display corresponding grade colors.

Image 2. Student view of Grades

Student view of Grades

For administrators: No additional settings are required for this feature.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Improved mobile experience for Course Content page – 3900.80

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: All users

The Course Content page had several issues on mobile devices. We have made the following improvements:

  • Anthology Ally icons no longer overlap with other elements on the page.
  • Items nested in learning modules and folders no longer occupy as much space.
  • Icons on the content page are smaller, providing more space for titles and descriptions.
  • Titles and descriptions are no longer truncated. The full title and description are always visible now.
  • The button to make an item visible to students or hidden from students no longer goes off the page.

Image 1. The course content page before improvements.

The course content page before improvements

Image 2. The course content page after improvements.

The course content page after improvements

For administrators: This update is available for Base Navigation and Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description


Canvas conversion improvements: Support for Multiple Grade Schemes – 3900.80

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

The Canvas Learning Management System allows instructors to create Grade Schemes. Grade schemes can use point or percentage ranges. Each point or percentage range has a name value.

Image 1. A Grade Scheme in Canvas

A Grade Scheme in Canvas

In the past, Grade Schemes in Canvas did not convert. We have updated the conversion so that Grade Schemes from Canvas are now preserved. Instructors no longer need to rebuild Grade Schemes when converting a course from Canvas.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Original and Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.

Return to December 2023 – 3900.80 Release description