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Learn SaaS release 3900.39.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.39.0
Release to Test/Stage: Friday, 22 April 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 5 May 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.39.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.39.0-rel.27+6e72bbb off cycle release to Production servers on 13 May 2022.

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

 


May 2022 – 3900.39 Release

This release features a variety of improvements. Some improvements center on assessment and grading and better, more efficient workflows. Other features focus on refinement based on instructor, student, and administrator feedback.

The May 2022 - 3900.39 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Students:

Administrators:

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Test Question Filtering - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Test-taking anxiety is real. We want students' experiences taking tests to be as worry free as possible. To support students well, we are introducing

  • a question filter,
  • an unanswered question warning, and
  • a choice to hide the timer on timed tests.

The question filter supports common test taking strategies. For example, students may complete questions they know first and skip harder ones. The filter enables students to quickly return to skipped questions. Students may also use the filter to find essay questions.

Image 1. Question filter options

Test Question Filters

If a student submits a test with unanswered questions, a warning will alert the student. The alert shows the number of unanswered questions. The student may choose to submit the test or keep working. If the student chooses to keep working, the unanswered questions filter auto applies. The unanswered questions display automatically.

Image 2. Unanswered question warning.

Warning for students to let them know when a question in a test hasn't been answered before submission

In response to student feedback, students may now choose to hide the timer in timed tests. This may help to reduce pressure and anxiety during assessments. When students hide the timer, the timer icon stays visible. Students may view the remaining time as needed.

Image 3. Before we added the option to hide the timer.

Old timer appearance for questions with time limit

Image 4. Timer visible with choice to hide.

New timer with visibility control for students when answering tests with time limit

Image 5. Hidden timer with choice to unhide.

Hidden timer with visibility controls for students, when answering tests with time limit

Watch a video about test question filtering and timer

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: test question filtering and timer options shows how to filter test questions and set visibility to the timer.

Test question filtering for students video

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors prefer to use category weights to calculate the overall grade. Currently, instructors are unable to assign weight to any empty grade category. This restriction requires each category to have at least one assessment. This is not always practical, especially at the beginning of an academic term. Now instructors can configure a weighted overall grade that includes empty grade categories. This will give the instructor greater flexibility for configuring the calculation.

Image 1. Before Overall Grade Calculation Improvements

Weighted grade calculations before improvements on lock and self-balance categories

Image 2. After Overall Grade Calculation Improvements

Image 2. View after Overall Grade Calculation Improvements have been done

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


Watch a video about weighted overall grade calculation improvements

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements shows how to configure a weighted overall grade that includes empty grade categories.

Weighted Overall Grade Calculation Improvements video

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Support "undo" and “redo” capability in Bb Annotate - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with grading permissions

We've paused the release of the new undo/redo capability in Bb Annotate due to an issue causing loss of information on comments. The root cause of it has been identified, and we'll communicate a new target date for the deployment in the following days. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, as we understand this is a critical timing, and a critical tool for the grading process.

Many instructors today enjoy the efficiency and effectiveness of using Bb Annotate. Assignments with file submissions include the Bb Annotate feature. This release adds new functionality to include an "undo" and "redo" option. An instructor may undo a change and then if inclined, redo it.

Image 1. Before - Bb Annotate toolbar.

BBAnnotate: Before the new Undo and Redo functionalities on the top bar

Image 2. After - undo and redo buttons on the Bb Annotate toolbar

BBAnnotate: After the new Undo and Redo functionalities included on the top bar

"Undo" and "redo" will not apply to comments. All other annotations are included for this capability.

For administrators: This feature is not aligned to the deployment dates for 3900.39. This feature will be released on 19 May 2022. There are no configurations needed.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Session time-out warning for Ultra Course View - 3900.39

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

When a user is idle for over three hours the session ends. A user must login again to continue to use Learn. If a user saves a page or selects a button, the session refreshes and stays active for three more hours. There can be times a user is working but considered idle. This happens because the browser is not sending data to Learn. Some examples are when a user is:

  • authoring a Discussion Board post,
  • authoring an Assignment submission in the text editor in Learn, or
  • creating a Content Item.

With this release, users whose session is ending soon will receive a warning. This warning will appear at least six minutes before the session times out. If the user closes the warning before the session ends, the session will extend for three more hours. This is the primary scenario for this improvement. The goal is to help users who have been authoring for an exceptionally long time not to lose their work. A user away from the computer for an extended time will receive the warning. However the user will not be able to extend their session. When the user closes the warning, they will return to the login page.

Image 1. “Are you still there?” warning

With this release, for a user who was away from their computer for a long time it will be unclear when the warning appeared. Thus, the user will not know if the session renewed or not. We are considering future improvements for session timeout behavior. This release focuses on helping users who have been idle to the server but engaged in authoring content. The goal is to help these users not lose authored content.

For administrators:
* The user warning will appear at least six minutes before the session ends. Users may have more than six minutes to extend their session because the session cleanup process is a grouped background task.
* The most common setting for session duration is three hours. The most common timeframe for timeout warning is six minutes. Some institutions have configured other time durations. This feature will work with these other configurations, and always give users at least six minutes to extend their sessions.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Improvements to permissions - 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: All users - system and course roles with corresponding permissions

There are several areas where permission checks do not work as expected. This results in “You’re not on the list” errors. We are making improvements in several upcoming releases that address permission issues. These improvements will also remove the need for a quick enroll option. In this release, we have corrected the following permission issues:

  • Managing settings in Course Timeline for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors:
    There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. In the past, they could not favorite their courses in the Course Timeline. They also could not choose to hide and show courses. When they had permissions, they could not open courses and make them private. We have corrected these issues in the Course Timeline.
  • Access to notification settings for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors:
    There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. Users manage their email notification preferences in the Stream. Before users with these roles could not set their email notification preferences. We have corrected this.
  • Support users accessing Journals will not receive errors:
    There are support users such as administrators who access courses. In the past, these users who accessed a Journal saw error messages in Ultra courses. We have corrected this.
  • Improved Rubric access for graders:
    In the past, some Rubric grading workflows would cause errors for graders. We have corrected these.
  • Improved SCORM access for course builders:
    Course builders could receive errors editing SCORM settings. We have corrected this.
  • Support users without view enrollment permissions will not see Roster errors:
    There are support users who access courses. Sometimes these users do not have permission to view course enrollments. At times, these users would click on the Roster tool and see errors. Now the Roster tool will not appear for these users. They also will not see the Course Faculty section in the Course Outline.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Improvements to Granular Content Copy – 3900.39

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: System and Course Roles with permissions to copy content

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. In several upcoming releases we will be making a series of improvements. These improvements focus on copy and performance issues. They also build on recently released features:

  • copying content from Original Course View courses (March release)
  • copying content within the same course (April release)

In this release, we have corrected the following granular content copy issues:

  • No longer duplicate user-defined gradebook categories with Granular Content Copy action
    User-defined gradebook categories from the source course also copied into the destination course. This caused duplication and had a negative performance impact. We have corrected this.
  • No longer copy unrelated data to the copied item
    The gradebook included data unrelated to the copied content item. This could cause errors to display. We have corrected this.
  • Improved database logging and conversion exception messaging
    Database logging and the conversions exception report produced errors when copying content. These errors occurred when copying content within an Ultra course and from Original courses. We have corrected this.
  • Errors no longer shown in Copy Detail menu when copying content with custom font color in the title
    Original course content that included custom font-colors in the item title produced errors when copied. We have corrected this.
  • Improvements to Ultra Group Conversion and Batch Edit
    If a user deleted groups via the Batch Edit Delete option, groups associated with a content item were not removed. This resulted in orphaned but not visible groups. In Ultra course conversion, groups not in a group set or used in a content item were not removed. These groups remained in the course in a hidden state. Course conversion performance was negatively affected. We have corrected both issues.
  • Support for Ultra Preview Course
    In the past, instructors could not copy content into or from a course in Ultra preview. An Ultra preview course is a converted course in preview mode. We have corrected this issue.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


In-product Updates and User Engagement Surveys Improvements - 3900.39

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

We have a responsibility to help users understand new features and other changes. To support this effort, we introduced in-product updates and user engagement surveys. Product updates are brief mentions of what is new in the Ultra Course View. User engagement surveys are brief polls launched to small samples of users. These polls help us improve our product.

In the April release, these settings were "off" by default.

With the May release, these settings will be "on" by default.

For administrators: If you do not wish to allow in-product updates and/or user engagement surveys, you may opt out. Define the setting for your institution: Administrator Panel > Configure Ultra Experience.

Return to May 2022 – 3900.39 Release description


Learn SaaS release 3900.37.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.37.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 15 March 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 21 April 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.37.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.37.0-rel.37+c829417 off-cycle release to Production servers on 29 April 2022.

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

 


April 2022 – 3900.37 Release

Educators consider many areas as they design high-quality, engaging courses. This release features improvements for instructors and students around assessment. Other features focus on intuitive and time saving workflows and surfacing data insights.

The April 2022 - 3900.37 release includes several new features.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


One Question at a Time - 3900.37

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

Careful assessment design is important. Instructors desire flexibility in question presentation. For example, an instructor may select a one-question-at-a-time presentation so that students:

  • Focus on a single question at a time without feeling overwhelmed by all the questions
  • Enhanced browser performance for student access on older computers
  • Enhanced experience for students in remote areas with poor network connections
  • Have an improved user experience when test taking from a mobile device, where touch scrolling can lead to mistakes

Image 1. Instructor View - Test Settings - Without Display One Question at a Time

Instructor View - Test Settings - Without Display One Question at a Time

Image 2. Instructor View - Test Settings - With Display One Question at a Time

Instructor View - Test Settings - With Display One Question at a Time

Image 3. Student View - Test Question Presentation - Without Display One Question at a Time

Student View - Test Question Presentation - Without Display One Question at a Time

Image 4. Student View - Test Question Presentation - With Display One Question at a Time

Student View - Test Question Presentation - With Display One Question at a Time

Instructors may enable this setting, if desired, from the Test Settings panel. This option also appears in Assignment Settings when the assignment includes questions.

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


Watch a video about the display of one question at a time in assessments

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Display one question at a time shows how an instructor may select a one-question-at-a-time presentation for students and its potential benefits.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Granular Content Copy within the current Ultra Course - 3900.37

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

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. Instructors desire flexible approaches to support how they design and build courses. To better equip instructors, we have added a way to copy content within a single course. This new workflow supplies a way to duplicate content for quicker course building. Instructors can access the Copy Content menu to search for the current course. From there it is easy to navigate content and select content to copy or duplicate.

Supported content types include:

  • Folders
  • Documents
  • Tests, including group tests
  • Assignments, including group assignments
  • Links to websites
  • SCORM packages
  • Discussions and Journals
  • Learning Modules and individual items within a Learning Module

Image 1. Instructor view - Copy Content from an Ultra course within the Same Ultra Course

Instructor view - Copy Content from an Ultra course within the Same Ultra Course

Image 2. Instructor view - Copy items from within a Learning Module

Instructor view - Copy items from within a Learning Module

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


Watch a video about granular content copy enhancements

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Granular content copy enhancements shows how to copy content within a single course.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Student Feedback Display Controls - 3900.37

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

Supporting academic integrity and protecting assessment content is important. Instructors need controls and flexibility for sharing assessment results with students. This new choice allows the instructor to decide when assessment results become available.

If selected, the instructor defines when the student can view their assessment submission:

  • after submitting the assessment,
  • after the instructor posts the individual student's grade for the assessment,
  • after the assessment due date,
  • after the instructor posts all the grades for the assessment, or
  • on a specific date.

When not selected, students cannot view:

  • assessment content such as the title, videos or images, text sections,
  • the assessment questions,
  • answers,
  • automatic feedback, or
  • the additional content section at the end of the assessment.

Scenario examples:

  1. Scenario. An instructor is delivering a high-stakes exam. Students should not be able to return to the exam questions after they submit their answers.

    Image 1. The instructor should de-select "Allow students to view their submission."
    The instructor should de-select "Allow students to view their submission"
    Image 2. The student can view the due date, number of attempts remaining, number of submissions, and the grade.
    The student can view the due date, number of attempts remaining, number of submissions, and the grade
    Image 3. If the student clicks on the submitted attempt link or the grade, the student submission is hidden. But the student can view the overall assessment feedback.
    If the student clicks on the submitted attempt link or the grade, the student submission is hidden. But the student can view the overall assessment feedback
  2. Scenario. Students take an exam asynchronously. The instructor wants students to review the questions, answers, and automated feedback after all grades are posted.

    Image 4. The instructor should select the "After all grades are posted” option.
    The student view reflects the instructor's choice.
    The instructor should select the "After all grades are posted” option
    Image 5. Student view before all grades are posted.
    Student view before all grades are posted
    Image 6. Student view after all grades are posted.
    Student view after all grades are posted

For instructors and administrators: The default setting is that students can view the assessment results after submitting. Deselecting this option hides the student submission view. Other feedback options included in the side panel remain visible. This includes the overall assessment feedback, final grade, and originality report (if applicable).


Watch a video about student feedback display controls for instructors

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Student Feedback Display Controls shows how instructors can decide when assessment results become available for students.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Prevent Grades from Auto-Posting - 3900.37

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

The option to control if a grade auto-posts supports academic integrity. This new option gives control to the instructor to post grades at the right time. When selected, an assessment grade appears to the student as soon as the attempt is graded. To prevent students from viewing grades, the instructor may de-select this option. This new setting is in the assessment settings and assessment preview panels. The workflow to manually post grades is still the same.

Image 1. "Post assessment grades automatically" setting on the assessment settings panel

Post assessment grades automatically checkbox is shown on the test settings panel

Image 2. Automatic grade posting status indicator on the assessment preview panel

Automatic grade posting status indicator on the assessment preview panel and how to change the status of the grades posting setting

When this setting is de-selected, the instructor will need to manually post grades. Students will see ‘not graded’ in the grade pill until the instructor posts results.

When instructor selects the option to auto post, the post grades button will not appear.

“Post assessment grades automatically” is not selected by default for Assignments. The option is default on for new Tests. When an instructor adds an essay question to a Test, a banner displays when the question is saved. The banner asks the instructor if they want to post grades automatically or manually. The banner includes a link so that the instructor may change the grade posting setting.

Image 3. A new banner warns the instructor that a question that needs manual grading has been added to a test set to auto post grades.

Banner warning for instructors to review and choose grade posting settings when adding a manually graded type of question

The banner alerts the instructor that they have added a question that needs manual grading on a test set to auto post grades.

For instructors and administrators: Behavior for existing Tests and Assignments stays unchanged. Grades of Tests with essay questions or Assignments will not auto post. Tests with auto-graded questions will auto posted.


Watch a video about preventing grades from auto-posting

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Prevent grades from auto-posting shows how instructors can control to post grades at the right time.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Calculated Numeric Question Type - 3900.37

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

Robust and diverse questions better support assessment across various disciplines. The calculated numeric question type is important for math and other STEM courses.

This new question type supports the following:

  • Students may enter a number as an answer. The number can be an integer, decimal, or scientific notation. The largest value supported is 16 digits.
  • Instructors may combine text and mathematical formulas in the question.
  • Instructors may define an answer range. The range value can be an integer, decimal, or scientific notation. The largest value supported is 16 digits.
  • The answer field validates only numeric digits.

Image 1. Instructor view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Instructor view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Image 2. Student view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

Student view of the Calculated Numeric Question Type

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


Watch a video about the Calculated Numeric Question type

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Calculated Numeric Questions shows how to use this new question type within assessments and other student resources.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Download Assessment Results - 3900.37

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may need to download test results for external analysis and evaluation. External analysis is important for supporting course quality and assessment efforts. Furthermore, institutions often want compiled assessment data for accreditation and program review activities.

With this release, instructors may download assessment results in the Ultra course experience. Instructors may download assessment results from either the gradebook grid or list views.

Image 1. Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook grid view

Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook grid view

Image 2. Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook list view

Download Assessment Results option from Gradebook list view

When downloading results, the following options are available:

  • file type - Excel spreadsheet (.xls) or Comma Separated Value (.csv); the default is .xls
  • format results by student or by question and student; the default is by student
  • download all attempts or only attempts included in the grade calculation. The instructor defines which attempts to include in the grade calculation in the ‘Grade attempts’ settings. The default is to download only attempts used for calculation.

Image 3. Download Results peek panel

Download Assessment Results peek panel

The downloaded report includes the following information:

  • Student name
  • Username
  • Questions
  • Answers
  • Grading status
  • Any content the student may have included with their submission

Image 4. Sample for the result format “Download by student”

Sample for the result format “Download by student”

Image 5. Sample for the result format “Download by student and question”

Sample for the result format “Download by student and question”

The “Download All” option is now named “Download Submissions.”
 

For instructors and administrators: We improved the readability of the downloaded data by removing extraneous HTML tags. This is the same for reports downloaded in the Original Course View and Ultra Course View.

When using anonymous grading the downloaded results exclude student and score details until grades are posted for all students.


Watch a video about how to download assessment results

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Download assessment results shows how to download test and assessment results data.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Instructor Reporting for Submission Receipts - 3900.37

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

Learner support is a key part of exemplary course building and instruction. To better enable instructors to support students, we have expanded submission receipt functionality. For each attempt a student makes, the instructor can search for a receipt confirmation number. This helps instructors find student submissions when extra verification is needed. Using this receipt confirmation number, the instructor can find the following information:

  • assessment name
  • assessment grade
  • the number of attempts for an assessment the student who submitted the assessment
  • the size of any file included with the submission; this allows the instructor to insight into what a student has attached for marking
  • submission date and time stamp

This information appears on the peek panel for all submitted attempts.

Image 1. Submission date and time stamp, file size, and submission receipt number for all attempts.

Submission date and time stamp, file size, and submission receipt number for all attempts

The receipt number and size of any attached files appears at the top of the submission view.

Image 2. Submission receipt number, date and time stamp, and file size on the submission view.

Submission receipt number, date and time stamp, and file size on the submission view

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


Watch a video about submission receipt enhancements

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Submission receipt enhancements shows expanded submission receipt functionality for instructors and students.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Code Snippet - Content Editor Improvements - 3900.37

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

Supporting collaboration and assessment across diverse disciplines is important for students and instructors. This includes computing, logic, and math courses where participants discuss programming syntax. Now instructors and students can author and share computer code in the Content Editor using a new Code Snippet tool.

The Content Editor identifies eleven programming syntaxes:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Kotlin
  • R
  • PHP
  • Go
  • C
  • Swift
  • C#
  • HTML

Image 1. Code snippet is now featured as a choice from the Text option icon.

Code snippet is now featured as a choice from the Text option icon

The text style menu in the Content Editor has changed from text to an icon. This improves tool spacing for different screen sizes.

For instructors: This feature is included in the Content Editor in all Ultra courses. There are no configurations needed.


Watch a video about code snippets

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Code snippets shows how to author and share computer code in the Content Editor using the new Code Snippet tool.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Enhanced Blackboard Instructor App - 3900.37

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

Mobile devices are a significant part of our lives. From staying in touch with family and friends across the globe to mobile banking, we expect to do almost anything from our mobile phones. For instructors, the same expectations apply to teaching and learning. The Blackboard Instructor app provides instructors with a way to manage courses on a mobile device. We have made improvements to the app to better meet instructor expectations. These updates include improvements to managing course content, grading, and engaging students. The new app uses Responsive Web Design (RWD) for Ultra courses. RWD ensures consistency and reduces the differences between desktop and mobile experiences.

Instructors will now be able to complete the following tasks using the Blackboard Instructor app:

  • course building - including creating and uploading content
  • grading students work - including updating assessment settings
  • communication - including participation in discussions

The enhanced Blackboard Instructor app is the first in a series of planned improvements to our mobile solutions. Stay tuned for more as we move towards a single unified app experience.

Instructors can navigate the base navigation from within the app. The primary navigation controls display the following:

  • Stream
  • Courses
  • Grades
  • More including View Profile, Organizations, Institution, Tools, Messages, Settings, Feedback, Logout. (Calendar access is available from within an Ultra course)

For instructors and administrators: The enhanced Blackboard Instructor app will be available on April 11, 2022, from the iOS and Android app stores. If you have already downloaded the app then it will be automatically updated if you have this choice enabled on your device or will require a manual update if this choice is not selected.

Image 1. Main Blackboard Instructor App Navigation Menu

Main Blackboard Instructor App Navigation Menu

Image 2. Ultra Course view displaying in Responsive Web Design

Ultra Course view displaying in Responsive Web Design

Branded URLs in Scheduled Notification Emails - 3900.37

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

Some institutions use domain branding. Different authentication providers (IdPs) can have an association with a specific domain. When this is the case, notification emails reflect the domain in the URL for each individual user. This functionality supplies support for all authentication types for each individual user. When a user clicks into a notification email, they will authenticate to that domain.

Recently scheduled notifications sent daily had correct URLs in links. This release improves links for emails sent because of a user action (e.g., a user may share a portfolio or send an announcement).

For administrators: No action is necessary. This update is structural only.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Improvements to permissions – 3900.37

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

There are several areas where permission checks do not work as expected. This results in “You’re not on the list” errors. We are making improvements over several upcoming releases that address permission issues. These improvements will also remove the need for a quick enroll option. In this release, we have corrected the following issues:

Change course availability permissions for non-instructors

Non-instructor users with permissions to change course availability states may have experienced problems:

  • opening a course,
  • setting a course to complete, or
  • setting a course to private.

We have corrected this.


Student preview access for support roles

Some privileged support roles could not access the student preview mode. The permission is “Course/Organization > Student Preview > Access Preview Account.” We have corrected this.

Fixes to role permissions for accommodations

There are four permissions for course and system roles that relate to accommodations. These were not working as expected. We have corrected this. When granting an “edit” permission, administrators should select the associated “view” permission. This ensures the user can access the settings as expected.

  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > Edit User's Due Date accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > Edit User's Time Limit accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > View User's Due Date accommodation
  • Course Outline > Course Roster > Accommodations > View User's Time Limit accommodation

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Session timeout warning for Original Course View

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

When a user is idle for over three hours the session ends. A user must login again to continue to use Learn. If a user saves a page or selects a button, the session refreshes and stays active for three more hours. There can be times a user is working but considered idle.

This happens because the browser is not sending data to Learn. Some examples are when a user is:

  • authoring a Discussion Board post,
  • authoring an Assignment submission in the text editor in Learn, or
  • creating a Content Item.

With this release, users whose session is ending soon will receive a warning. This warning will appear at least six minutes before the session times out. If the user closes the warning before the session ends, the session will extend for three more hours. This is the primary scenario for this improvement. The goal is to help users who have been authoring for an exceptionally long time not to lose their work.

A user away from the computer for an extended time will receive the warning. Yet the user will not be able to extend their session. When the user closes the warning, they will return to the current page instead of returning to the login page. This allows the user to copy anything authored before it is lost. A user in this situation will redirect to the login page when they select any link or button on the page.

Image 1. Session Expiring Soon warning

Session expiring soon warning modal message

With this release, for a user who was away from their computer for a long time it will be unclear when the warning appeared. Thus, the user will not know if the session renewed or not. We are considering future improvements for session timeout behavior. This release focuses on helping users who have been idle to the server but engaged in authoring content. The goal is to help these users not lose authored content.

 

For administrators: The user warning will appear at least six minutes before the session ends. Users may have more than six minutes to extend their session because the session cleanup process is a grouped background task.

The most common setting for session duration is three hours. Some institutions have configured other durations. This feature will work with these other configurations, and always give users at least six minutes to extend their sessions.

We are planning to make similar improvements to the Ultra Course View.

Return to April 2022 – 3900.37 Release description


Learning Modules - Forced Sequence and Other Improvements - 3900.34.0

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

Learning modules are a helpful tool for arranging content. A learning module provides navigational elements for students. Enforced sequence guides students through the content in the order the instructor defines. We have made a series of improvements to the workflows related to learning modules. These improvements are more intuitive and provide time-saving efficiencies for instructors.

Updated behavior for learning modules:

When an instructor creates a learning module, all settings appear in a peek panel. From the peek panel an instructor can:

  • name the learning module,
  • set the visibility of the learning module for students,
  • add an optional description, and
  • apply forced sequence to the content in the module. Note this option is no longer available on the Release Conditions panel.

New behavior for learning modules:

An instructor can add more content to a learning module with forced sequence applied. This new behavior allows instructors to make modifications to the learning module. This change supports instructors as they guide students towards the desired learning outcomes. For example, results on a formative assessment may show that some concepts need reinforcement. The instructor can add content to the learning module and still control the sequence. If an instructor adds or changes content, a warning notifies the instructor: "Additions and changes in content can make students who already started the module follow a different order."

Figure 1. Before

Learning Modules Forced Sequence for instructors before upgrade

Figure 2. After

Learning Modules Forced Sequence for instructors after the upgrade

For Administrators: These improvements are on by default for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations required.


Watch a video about Learning Modules enhancements

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Learning Modules enhancements shows the latest changes applied to Learn Ultra Learning Modules including forced sequence.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Automatic grades release for 3rd party tools using LTI Advantage - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1 MH/SH
Original & Ultra Experience, Original & Ultra Course Views
Impact: Instructors and Students

We support the latest interoperability standards for adding 3rd-party apps into your courses. We use LTI Advantage from IMS Global. In the past, scores from integrated apps would not auto-post in Ultra Course View. This required instructors to act so students could see their grades.

The specification for LTI Advantage was ambiguous about how to handle grade visibility. We partnered with the IMS organization to update the standard. Now the LTI Advantage / LTI v1.3 tools can define whether grades should auto-post to students.

Updated behavior for tools

  • Ultra Course View: We now default to auto-post grades for LTI Advantage tools. Instructors will not have to remember to post grades. One exception exists when a tool indicates that grades should not post to students.
  • Original Course View: The behavior for LTI Advantage tools remains unchanged. Grades auto-release when the tool sends scores. One exception exists when the Grade Center column is not visible.

New capability for tools

We also now support the ability for an LTI Advantage tool to manage the release of grades. When appropriate, grades auto-post to students. TurnItIn, for example, plans to use this approach in an upcoming release.

  • Ultra Course View: If a tool sets that grades should not auto-post, scores sent to the Learn Gradebook only display to instructors. Instructors can choose to post grades for students, or the tool can auto-release grades later.
  • Original Course View: If a tool sets that grades should not auto-post, scores sent to the Learn Grade Center appear behind a “Needs Grading” status indicator. Students and instructors see that students have submitted work but not the result. When the tool releases grades, all students will see their scores.

The improvements in this release are specific to LTI Advantage/LTI 1.3 tools. Behavior for older LTI 1.1 tools remains unchanged. For older LTI 1.1 tools in Ultra Course View, new scores sent from tools are always auto posted.

For developers and tool providers: LTI Advantage has a new Line Item attribute - gradesReleased. You can specify it in a Deep Linking message or an Assignment and Grades service call. You only need to update your tool if you want to send scores to Learn but release them to students later. The default value for gradesReleased is true if you do not specify the attribute. When set to false, students will not see scores sent to the gradebook. When the attribute is true, students see current scores and future updates. If you use the gradesReleased=false attribute and want to maintain compatibility with Original Course View, you will need to manage the release of grades. Instructors do not have a post action in Original Course View to release grades. Instructors do have the post action in Ultra Course View.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Microsoft OneDrive - Document Linking - 3900.34.0

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

We have partnered with Microsoft to create a new LTI integration for OneDrive. Once enabled, this integration can be accessed within the Ultra Course View and the Original Course View. This new intuitive workflow allows instructors to add OneDrive files to:

  • the Course Content area
  • Learning Modules
  • Folders

Document linking for Microsoft OneDrive is important for many reasons.

  • Document linking provides a link to a document instead of duplicate copies of a file in courses. This helps reduce storage space used.
  • Linking allows instructors to edit a single document. All links to the file reflect the most current version of the document. This approach provides greater efficiency and saves the instructor time.
  • The OneDrive integration enables instructors to edit the file from an Ultra course and Original course. This is a time saver for instructors.
  • Instructors access and manage OneDrive storage from within Learn. This provides a centralized and at-your-fingertips location for access and management.
  • Students can access and manage their own OneDrive storage from within Learn. Students can submit content from OneDrive using the rich text editor in Learn. This option provides greater choice and flexibility for content sharing.

The instructor may need to sign into a Microsoft account to view and select files. After adding the OneDrive file, the instructor may rename the file link in the course. The instructor can control the student visibility/availability setting. The instructor can enter full screen to edit the content of the file. When selecting this option, a new browser tab opens, and the file will be editable.

Figure 1. Add a OneDrive file to the Course Content.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive using the plus sign menu in the Course Content page
 

Figure 2. Select the OneDrive file.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive selecting the file from the OneDrive used
 

Figure 3. To change the name of the file and set visibility, select the file.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive and see it in the Course page content list
 

Figure 4. After changing the title and visibility, the instructor can modify the contents of the file by selecting the "Full Screen" option.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive and visualizing it within a course
 

Figure 5. The instructor can make edits as desired.

Learn Ultra add file by open it from OneDrive edition options for instructors
 

The student has a read-only view of the file in the course.

Other existing LTI options in the course remain unchanged:

  • Content Market (Ultra)
  • Books and Tools (Ultra)
  • Rich text editor (Ultra and Original)
  • Build Content (Original)
  • Course Tools (Original)

For Administrators: Please register the LTI Tool Provider in the Administrator Panel.


Watch a video about OneDrive documents integration within Learn Ultra

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: OneDrive Integrations shows how to open a document from Microsoft OneDrive within any Learn course content.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Sticky Test Header - 3900.34.0

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

Test taking can be a stressful experience. We have designed a new test header to improve the student's testing experience. The new header provides students with key information to inform their test-taking strategy. The new header displays the following helpful information:

  • a progress bar,
  • the number of answered questions out of the total questions in the test or assignment,
  • and time remaining if the instructor has set a time limit.

The header is sticky, meaning that it is always visible as a student navigates the test. This header also appears in assignments that include questions.

Figure 1. Before

Learn Ultra StickyHeader functionality for assessments before upgrade

Figure 2. After

Learn Ultra StickyHeader functionality for assessments after upgrade

For Instructors and Administrators: This feature is on by default for all Ultra courses. There are no configurations required.


Watch a video about the new sticky test header

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Sticky Test Headers shows the new look and permanent position of test headers in Learn Ultra.

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Automatic cleanup of user-created archive and export packages - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1 MH/SH
Original and Ultra Experience, Original and Ultra Course Views
Impact: Users with permission to create course packages (Administrators; in some cases, instructors, course builders, and other privileged users)

Export and archive packages within a course will now have auto-delete settings. This automatic cleanup enables institutions to reduce storage space used. The auto-cleanup also allows administrators to control storage growth. This also saves time and reduces frustration for administrators.

In the past, all packages remained in the course until the deletion of the packages or the course. The retention of the course packages resulted in extensive storage usage.

Existing user-generated course packages will be set to expire in 90 days from the 3900.34 upgrade. This gives more time to copy packages to external storage if needed. In the course package list view, the expiry date for these packages will reflect a 90-day expiry. Packages are deleted on the expiry day.

Course packages created after the upgrade to 3900.34 will expire and auto-delete 30 days after the creation date.

We will notify users of this behavior in three ways:

  • When creating the package, the interface informs the user of this time constraint.
  • The notification that a package is ready to download informs the user of the time constraint.
  • In the course package list view for the course, the removal date displays for each package.

This improvement does not change the way administrators delete courses. These changes only apply to the export/archive packages stored within the course. There are no changes to the behavior of automatic archive creation or deletion.

For Administrators: Please leverage your own communication channels to reinforce this change to affected users.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Access automatic archive packages from within courses - 3900.34.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Original and Ultra Experience, Original and Ultra Course Views
Impact: Administrators, others to whom admins grant permissions

In SaaS, daily archives are auto created for active courses. Administrators can retrieve lost data from these archives. These archives are available for 30 days. Now privileged users can now access and download archive packages from the course. The daily archives often lessen the need for other users to create their own packages. This change in access reduces storage space used. The access change saves time and reduces frustration for privileged users and administrators.

For Administrators:

  • This permission is not on by default for instructors. Required permission: Course/Organization Control Panel (Packages and Utilities) > Archive Course/Organization, including user passwords
  • Automatic archive packages include highly sensitive personal information for users. If you use the default authentication type in Learn, the package includes an encrypted version of users' passwords. When this is the case, we recommend that you do not enable this feature for instructors.
  • The password values in the Learn database pose no security risk if you use an identity provider (IdP) for authentication (e.g., SAML/LDAP) without fallback to the default Learn authentication.
  • We recommend that you review policies about storing and handling sensitive personal data. These archives contain highly sensitive data. Please ensure it is appropriate to grant users privileges to access these archives.
  • There are no changes to the restore process with this enhancement. Only administrators can retrieve user data through a restore process. We always recommend restoring courses into a non-production environment. This helps to ensure no disruption to current courses/users in production.

 

Return to March 2022 – 3900.34 Release description


Other improvements - 3900.32.0

Force Completion changes to better support Multiple Attempt Tests

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Impact: Instructors, Students

In Original Course View, enabling Force Completion on a test or survey has new behaviors. The Force Completion option now requires a time limit and automatic submission. We made this change to enforce the submission of incomplete or abandoned attempts. This change is important so that instructors can access and grade these attempts. Instructors may also create a multiple attempt assessment with the Force Completion option. This change ensures that students can now start new attempts in this scenario.

 

Gender Field update: Other

Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Impact: All users

We have updated the gender field to include a new parameter for "other." This change is important as we strive to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in Learn. As part of this work, we have updated REST APIs and SIS Frameworks to map a value of "X" to "other." As a categorical field, gender is primarily important for institutional reporting. The gender field is an option for inclusion in two Learn reports:

  • Enterprise Surveys
  • Outcomes reports

Note for Administrators: We recommend that administrators do not enable the gender field. Instead, enable the pronouns option for personal expression in teaching and learning. Pronouns provide a more valuable option for self-expression when interacting with course members.

 

Text on Page update: Exceptions setting consistency

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors

In the Assessment view list, the descriptive text reads "Edit settings." In the Submission view, the descriptive text reads "Exceptions." We updated both texts, which now read "Add or edit exceptions." This change provides a more consistent experience and improves clarity. We also changed the title of the peek panel. The title was "Edit Submission Settings" but is now "User or Group Exceptions."

Exceptions Setting Consistency

Content Editor improvements for Original Course View

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

  • Pasting from Google Docs now gives an option to keep styling or simplify the HTML.
  • Users can move the spellchecker window so that it does not cover the text the user is checking for errors.
  • Missing icons for table row and column cut/copy/paste will now appear.

Return to February 2022 – 3900.32 Release description


Bb Annotations: Save preferences / Settings 

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Original Experience

For this improvement, we constantly work with our partners to align the product functionality with the pillars of efficiency and pedagogy, now we are pleased to present this update for Bb Annotate tool, available for both Original and Ultra Courses which is built around the common and really used workflow: the grading process.

Since the initial deployment of Bb Annotate, we have identified that saving preferences is a great need for instructors and grading roles, avoiding the need to reset common preferences when switching from submission to submission. For this release, we will be able to go through the inline grading process in the Course, saving common preferences for Annotation tools, and having the possibility to save custom Stamps to add to the submissions, these new functionalities are user-defined, which means that user preferences and custom stamps will persist through all courses.

With this release, we help our instructors and grader roles to improve their productivity, decreasing work time in a “do it once and then forget” way and encouraging the use of the application as a preferred tool for feedback.

Enhancement is going to be out in January, the exact date may differ from the release update and even be different across regions. This improvement will be released to client Production environments with the 3900.30.0 release.


Bb Annotations - Save preferences and settings: Delay for release to client Production environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Original Experience

As part of our commitment to release quality, and transparency to our users, we’re delaying the Bb Annotations: Save preferences and settings release previously scheduled in tandem with version 3900.28.0 on December 2, 2021. This will now be included in the 3900.30.0 release to client Production sites on January 6, 2022.


Learn SaaS release 3900.28.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

We're releasing an updated version of 3900.28.0 (full release number 3900.28.0-rel.8+671a810) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Experience, administrators who had access to all courses but weren't enrolled in a course weren't allowed to open or edit that course's banner. We fixed the issue and now, administrators can edit the course banner in any course, even if they aren't enrolled in it.
  • In the Ultra Experience, the Course Faculty list feature has changed based on client feedback:
    • When a system admin has set course messages to read-only, message links will no longer be displayed by instructor names for students.
    • Also, the Faculty list will only show the teaching roles of instructor, facilitator, and any custom role with “Treat Users with this Role like Instructor” set true. It'll now exclude other non-teaching roles such as course builder or grader.
  • In the Ultra Experience, the accommodations functionality was merged in release 3900.28.0, but the translation of its corresponding strings wasn't. We've fixed the issue and completed the string translation in the latest version.
  • In the Ultra Experience, the announcements page wasn't loading in specific cases where announcements contained tables. The logic replacing tables for the text ‘Table with contents’ in the announcement's preview was causing an error and affected the whole announcements panel. We've fixed the issue.

Learn SaaS release 3900.26.0: Update to client Production environments

We're releasing an updated version of 3900.26.0 (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.24+b3048ed) to client Production servers on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Experience, the Course Faculty list feature has changed based on client feedback:
    • When a system admin has set course messages to read-only, message links will no longer be displayed by instructor names for students.
    • Also, the Faculty list will only show the teaching roles of instructor, facilitator, and any custom role with “Treat Users with this Role like Instructor” set true. It'll now exclude other non-teaching roles such as course builder or grader.
  • In the Ultra Experience, administrators who had access to all courses but weren't enrolled in a course, couldn't open or edit that course's banner. We fixed the issue and now, administrators can edit the course banner in any course, even if they aren't enrolled in it.

Accommodations: Support more granular control - 3900.28.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We have frequently heard from our clients that instructors need greater granularity of control for specifying any extra time a student may need on timed assessments. The next phase for Accommodations includes the option for faculty to set the percentage of extra time for those students who need more time to complete a timed assessment.

When adding a time limit accommodation, faculty may specify any percentage of extra time that is needed to honor a time limit accommodation. This change provides greater flexibility to the instructor supporting both the students’ needs and the instructor’s assessment strategy.

More on accommodations

Accommodations granularity settings using time percentages successful example
Accommodations granularity settings showing an error example with an invalid value

Ultra course banner: Image description - 3900.28.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Visual components of courses are helpful for aesthetic and identification purposes. To ensure that all visual elements are accessible, we are building on recent improvements to the Ultra Course banner. In this release, we have added the option for instructors to include an image description when uploading a banner image in the course. Faculty may also add an image description to existing course banner images. We are also providing greater control for instructors to mark images as decorative whenever images are not primary content. Providing visually appealing courses that adhere to accessibility best practices and standards is truly key to engaging all students and ensuring an equitable learning experience.

Set the image description for course banner image

Both Original and Ultra courses include the option to add an image description to the course cards from the Courses page on the Ultra Base navigation.

 


Set visibility for group sets - 3900.28.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Adding to the current functionality of Group Sets, the next phase of our work on course groups provides faculty an option to change the visibility for custom or randomly created group sets. A new choice to hide course groups from the students’ view gives instructors the option to use groups to discretely organize students based on their performance, interests, adopted knowledge, and other criteria.

Instructors hide or show groupsets to students while they create them in the gradebook

Instructors may also change the visibility option preferred for each group set from the course groups page when creating a group set.

Group set visibility status can be seen under the groupset's name in the Gradebook

Instructors can see the visibility status of group sets when applying filters in the Gradebook grid view, setting up conditional release, and associating a group set to content such as an assessment or discussion.

To ensure that faculty maintain the appropriate interaction among students, the self-enrollment option will be automatically set as disabled when any course group’s visibility is set to “hidden from students”. And content association will always be possible when course group’s visibility is available to students.

For a few users, visibility settings of current hidden group sets in Ultra may not match the specifications explained above. If you note any inconsistencies in your Learn visibility configuration, please contact Client Support. We've got your back.


Microsoft Teams integration

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We are excited to announce continued improvements to the Microsoft Teams classes integration, which demonstrates our commitment to providing best-in-class tools and technologies for the Ultra Course View. This release includes the following capabilities:

  • When an Administrator disables the integration, only an Administrator can re-enablement the integration on a course-by-course basis. This option is only possible when the integration has been re-enabled by the Administrator on the Learn instance. 
  • When the course is marked as completed or the integrations are disabled, any Teams synched with the course will be put into archive status and the synch will be stopped. If the course is re-opened or re-enabled, the course changes will resynch with the archived Team and that Team will be reactivated.  

API updates - 3900.28.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Experience

We’ve made some noteworthy API updates:

  • Ultra Discussion APIs: Management of discussion topics/posts (Ultra only). We’ve made some noteworthy API updates, including the management (creating, updating, deleting and grading) of discussion posts in Ultra course.
  • Adaptive Release API Support: PATCHs, PUTs and DELETEs for Rule APIs and Rule Criteria APIs (Ultra and Original). We’ve made some noteworthy API updates, including: the ability to manage the release or visibility of a course content based on timing or student success criteria.

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


Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.28.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021
Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience, Original Experience

The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

  • Issues with Discussion board and Discussion analysis: Discussion analysis showed no information and the Discussion board visible/hidden menu was too small to use. These issues have been fixed and the UI now behaves as expected, and allows for better working space.

  • Student assessment answers show "None given" and "saved question 0 multiple times": The access log for assessments displayed confusing and inaccurate messages. The log now displays messages as expected.

  • Issues with special characters causing erratic behavior: The platform was having issues interpreting some characters,  causing special characters to appear in the subject of Original course messages in the global navigation updates, and the “What's New” Module. It also caused inadvertent posting of an announcement and emails sent to users to fail when an ampersand was in the course name. This behavior has been fixed and now works as expected.

  • Student preview does not work properly on Ultra courses: The 'Reset preview' text box was shown in white over white, which made the message invisible unless the user highlighted it. Also, selecting the 'Reset' button didn't reset the actual coursework for the student preview user. These issues have been fixed by changing the color of the text and correcting the behavior of the 'Reset' button.

  • Adding LTI option to the questions feedback: To give instructors more tools for providing feedback on student evaluations, the present development makes the LTIs available in the question feedback RTE. The following plugins were enabled in the automatic feedback editor: LTI content, YouTube inserts and Cloud files access.

  • Spacing issues on Ultra documents - Course restore: The line spacing between a heading and paragraphs was affecting legibility. After resolving the spacing issues for courses that are currently in the database, the issue remained for course documents that were restored in Ultra. The space issue was adjusted and corrected for courses that weren't in the database when the upgrader was executed.

You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.28.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


Learn SaaS releases 3900.26.0 and 3900.28.0: Update on release to client Production and Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.28.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2021

Ultra Experience, Original Experience

Due to a critical issue reported in discussion forums during the latest release, we’re performing an unscheduled update today, Monday 8 November, 2021, to the Blackboard Learn SaaS 3900.26.0 release (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.18+de6a634) to client Production environments in APAC and US Pacific, Mountain, and Central time zones. This update will only apply to production sites which have already been upgraded to 3900.26.0, and won't impact Europe or US Eastern time zones.

The issue addressed in this release is:

  • In the Ultra Course View, when grading discussion boards, the entire discussion thread wasn't appearing. We've fixed the issue.

As a result of the delay completing the full roll-out of 3900.26.0 to production environments, we will postpone the Blackboard Learn SaaS 3900.28.0 release to client Test/Stage servers, previously scheduled for Tuesday, November 9, 2021, to Tuesday, November 16, 2021. This new release date aligns with our usual pattern. 

The release schedule has been updated to reflect this latter change.


Learn SaaS release 3900.26.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.26.0 (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.13+180c3aa) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, the Ultra Extension Framework hover events weren't triggered for the new course menu. We've added the analytics hover event for Eesysoft on the new course menu links, and we've fixed the issue.
  • In the Ultra Course View, the Enable/Disable feature, and the Save and Submit buttons weren't behaving properly for assessments that have text questions only. The assessments were enabled in the presence of an answer, but couldn't be disabled when the answer was removed. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Ultra Experience, the feature flag progress tracking was removed without making available the toggle for administrators. When announced in the Community site some users requested to recover the feature flag toggle while the administrator flow is completed, and we listened. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Experiences, whenever a tab was loaded, individual records for all modules on the accessed page were logged. While on Ultra the impact was negligible, on the Original Experience this could account for between 25% to 75% of data, slowing down the execution of reports for more relevant details. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Experiences, some clients were still experiencing overlapping issues on Wiris math formulas after the latest fix we provided. The Stix font family wasn't used when the overlapping happened. We've fixed the issue for formulas created from this point onwards. Formulas created before this fix need to be modified again manually, using the Wiris editor.
  • In the Original Experience, in the Administrator Panel's Tools and Utilities section, there was a generic label with a broken link. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • In the Original Experience, when the Learn version was being upgraded on Windows servers, the script that completed the process generated an execution error. We've fixed the issue, and made sure the upgrading process now finishes successfully.
  • In the Original Experience, when admins copied a course with embedded LTI links within the Rich Text Editor to a new or existing course, those links broke. They were still pointing back to the old course where users of the new course didn't have permissions. We've definitely fixed the issue for both links and embedded LTI calls, but the LTI links in the Original editor created before this release won't copy correctly. They'll have to be recreated.

Learn SaaS release 3900.26.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.26.0 (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.2+6bc051d) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Please note that the build number remains the same as last week.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, students' usernames were not displayed after due date accommodation was enabled for groups, the roster or the discussions page. We've fixed the issue.

Learn SaaS release 3900.23.0: Update to client Production environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.23.0 (full release number 3900.23.0-rel.27+bf491df) to client Production servers on Thursday, October 21, 2021. Please note that the build number remains the same as last week.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, the entire discussions UI was freezing if a user had a lot of enrollments. We've fixed the issue.

Learn SaaS release 3900.26.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.26.0 (full release number 3900.26.0-rel.2+6bc051d) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Please note that the build number remains the same as last week.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, the entire discussions UI was freezing if a user had a lot of enrollments. We've fixed the issue.

Set and display pronouns in Ultra Course View - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

As part of planned diversity, equity, and inclusion improvements, this release gives institutions the option to allow users to express to others their personal pronouns. This fosters greater respect between students and with faculty engaging online by letting others know how best to refer to them in their group activities and discussions.

Included in this release:

  • Administrators can opt-in to allow use of the new pronoun field.
  • Administrators can set the pronoun values users will be able to select, allowing conformance with institutional standards, policy, and culture.
  • Administrators can allow users to request additional pronouns to be added to the approved list.
  • When allowed, users can select one or more pronoun values to display to others.
  • Users in Ultra Course View courses can see the pronouns populated by others in the class.
  • Data integration supports populating pronoun values for users through REST, flat file, XML, LIS, and IMS Enterprise methods.

A future release will allow for the display of pronouns in Original Course View courses. User self-selection of pronouns will require that Base Navigation is enabled. When using Original Experience (Base Navigation is not enabled), only data population through data integration will be supported.


Ultra: Course Overview M2 – Banner - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We have frequently heard from clients about a desire to include additional visuals into Ultra Course View, for both aesthetic and identification purposes. As a next phase in our work to improve overall navigation and an intuitive course experience, the course card image from base navigation can now be used as a course banner in Ultra courses.

When adding a new course image, instructors can opt to make it visible within the course and are able to easily crop the image to the preferred size and zoom in or out on the uploaded image to select the part they want to focus on. This change also makes it easier for instructors to add a course schedule and for students to identify course faculty members and class meeting days, times, and location.

Providing a visually appealing course, images consistent with Base Navigation, and easy-to-locate course details, is key to engagement and the overall student experience.

Ultra Course Overview image with new top banner included

 


Ultra Rich Text Editor Improvements: Tables. New options available when using tables - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We recently released the tables function in the Ultra rich text editor. In this release, we are pleased to share that additional formatting options are now available when using tables.

  • Text Style
  • Alignment options
  • List Attachment
  • Insert content

These options provide greater flexibility for faculty and students, especially in disciplines where the presentation and formatting of data is particularly important.

Table showing different text style, alignment options, list attachment, and content insertion within a it

Microsoft Teams integration - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Blackboard is excited to announce continued improvements to the recently released Microsoft Teams classes integration, solidifying our commitment to providing best-in-class tools and technologies for the Ultra Course View.

To ensure consistency of data processing and to reduce potential synchronization issues between Learn Ultra course view and an institutions Microsoft Tenant, at initial launch in August, Blackboard introduced a new Institutional email field within the Student Information System framework. This was specifically for cloud providers such as Microsoft who use email as their primary user identifier. This was made available for all SIS integration types.

This release includes the following capabilities:

  • The ability to allow courses to be Archived and Restored but keeping all institution emails intact. This is a continued change management improvement, and the first of several process improvements planned with this integration.
  • Support for large course sizes up to 10,000 enrollments, keeping inline with the maximum number of users that can be supported in a single Microsoft Team.
  • Greater system administration messaging within the integration setup flow, to detect Microsoft Tenants that don’t have the Teams Education profile added. This was an enhancement added as a result of our initial beta testing that took place earlier this year.

Progress Tracking M1.2: Permanent Tracking and Feature Flag Removal - 3900.26.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.26.0 | Release to Production 4 November 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

As part of our August release, we included our Beta version of progress tracking. From this release on, progress tracking in Ultra Course View (UCV) could be activated in new courses, where no previous activity had taken place. This feature was also the first functionality behind a feature flag. In other words, administrators had the ability to decide whether they want to enable progress tracking at their institution or hold it for a while. We are happy to share that we are removing the current limitations around this feature.

With this release, instructors will be able to enable progress tracking at any time during the term. Enabling this functionality will give students an easy way to keep track of what they have done inside each one of their courses. When enabling progress tracking later than the beginning of the term, participatory items will be retroactively marked as complete. For example, assessments submitted previously by students will be marked as complete. Non-participatory items, like Ultra documents, will still need to be manually marked by students.

This is the next step in our work on progress tracking, and we’re excited to move forward alongside our clients. Future releases will provide additional instructor capabilities, such as the ability to monitor progress made by their students inside their courses.


Learn SaaS release 3900.21.0: Update to client Production environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.21.0 (full release number 3900.21.0-rel.30+4b0740b) to client Production servers on Thursday, September 30, 2021.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn't access the feedback when selecting the feedback icon in tests that used Respondus LDB, getting a console error instead. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original Course View, LTI Contents of Original course in Ultra base navigation calendar were displaying permission errors when selected, preventing users from opening them. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Experiences, during the September 16 Production SaaS update, an issue with the  deployment configuration management tool prevented log folders and log files from being added and displayed in the Content Management /internal/logs  folder. We've fixed the issue.

Learn SaaS release 3900.23.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.23.0 (full release number 3900.23.0-rel.20+390fc02) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Updates in this release include internal enhancements and system optimization.


Learn SaaS release 3900.23.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.23.0 (full release number 3900.23.0-rel.19+2fb7fc2) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

Updates in this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn't access the feedback when selecting the feedback icon in tests that used Respondus LDB, getting a console error instead. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Experiences, some client Test/Stage instances experienced outages due to an incorrect query during notification cleanup. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • In the Original Course View, LTI Contents of Original course in Ultra base navigation calendar were displaying permission errors when selected, preventing users from opening them. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Course Views, instructors were required to login again to Learn, after they accessed an LTI tool and selected the Return to Learn button. We've fixed the issue.

Ultra: Submission Receipt - 3900.23.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Students need a way to ensure their work has been correctly submitted into the system. There are times where a student believes they have submitted their work when, in fact, it wasn't sent at all, or it wasn't sent successfully.

This new functionality provides students with a unique tracking number that confirms their academic submission. Students can copy and save this number as proof of their work, and evidence for academic disputes.

A modal window with the tracking information will appear to students after they submit their work. They can also receive an email with that information if they have a registered email, and download a similar text file to keep for their records.

Email submission receipts confirmation and tracking number for students

Rubric Criterion Increase - 3900.23.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Rubrics are grading tools that help instructors to assess student performance and give feedback in detail. Before, Ultra allowed a maximum of 10 columns and rows. To provide more flexibility for the grading processes, Blackboard now decided to increase the limit up to 15 columns and rows.

We are conscious of the different pedagogical approaches and practices. We support institutions and instructors who prefer to grade students with a greater level of granularity.

More on rubrics


Ultra: Rich Text Editor improvements: Add table - 3900.23.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

For deeper versatility in the Rich Text Editor, this 3rd milestone brings the Add Table functionality to our users. Tables are a common way for instructors and students to align and organize content in a customized manner, better suited to their own preferences.

Add table functionality within the text editor

For the time being, only a few options are not yet available when using tables:

  • Text Style
  • Alignment options
  • List
  • Undo
  • Attachments
  • Insert content

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.23.0: Release to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.23.0 | Release to Production 7 October 2021
Original Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re releasing a new Learn version 3900.23.0 (full release number 3900.23.0-rel.7+ad745cb) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The details on new features and updates will be published during the course of that day.


Learn SaaS release 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience, Original Experience

The regular release of 3900.21.0 (full release number 3900.21.0-rel.21+e2c25ca) to client Production servers on Thursday, September 2, 2021 will include some additional updates.

  • In the Ultra Course View, when a custom language pack was installed, the Ultra gradebook filter panel wouldn’t display. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • In the Ultra Course View, new menu icons were missing analytics-Id DOM tags, which caused some third-party integrations to break. We’ve fixed the issue.
  • During a Learn SaaS upgrade, a few clients experienced outages when a drop constraint command inadvertently locked a table that a certain building block relied on. We’ve fixed the issue.

Learn SaaS release 3900.21.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Original Experience, Original Course View, Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’re applying an updated version of 3900.21.0 (full release number 3900.21.0-rel.19+e6e7e83) to client Test/Stage servers on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

Updates on this release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, the automatic zero functionality wasn't working for some content items with release conditions that were partially visible within a course. It wasn't working for Ultra courses or Original to Ultra converted courses. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View, for course announcements and instructor feedback features, users couldn't use the A/V recording option for Collab in the Rich Text Editor. We've fixed the issue.
  • In the Original and Ultra Course Views, the Wiris math editor was sometimes displaying overlapped formula symbols, due to an improper font family type setting, making it difficult to read. We've fixed the issue and set a default font family, but please be aware that any formulas currently corrupted need to be manually edited.

Ultra: Assignment Attempts Screen Improvements - 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Evaluating student-submitted content is a continuous job critical to the learning process. We know it's important to instructors and graders to improve the content view and create a practical grading process. That's why we keep enhancing grading workflows.

To help instructors, teaching assistants, and graders have a better view of the content they're grading, we've widened the screen of the submission area. It also includes a collapsible and expandable panel where users can navigate through tabs such as rubrics, feedback, and originality report.

On top of that, instructors and students can navigate the submission view and the panel tabs with different scroll bars. Independent scroll bars allow instructors or graders to scroll up and down the submission content without affecting the side tab navigation or the header. Now, instructors can use rubrics in a more practical way and provide feedback focused on a specific part of the submission.

These improvements will enable users to better navigate through content in the submission view, grade it with rubrics if applicable, or give feedback based on content provided in order to enhance student knowledge.

More on grading an assignment with multiple attempts

At the top, an assignment is open with the collapsible and expandable panels highlighted. At the bottom, the assignment is open with the different scrollbars available in this view highlighted.

Partial Credit for Fill In the Blank Questions - 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Fill in the blank questions are a great assessment tool to test knowledge at different levels and contexts. In our September release, we're expanding the grading capabilities of this question type.

This improvement will support those instructors who wish to grade student attempts at a more granular level. It will also benefit students based on their associated effort on these complex questions, and provide them with a more accurate representation of their proficiency

Allow partial credit to fill in the blank questions

Allow Instructors to Show or Hide the "Additional Content" Section at the End of Assessments - 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

At the end of Ultra Assignments and Tests there is section called “Additional Content” where students can add text, images and files to complete their submissions or support their answers. This section was always included by default and could confuse students into thinking they needed to complete this extra requirement. Instructors would like to choose when this should be an option or not.

In this release, Blackboard has added a toggle to allow instructors to show or hide the “Additional Content” section. This gives greater control to instructors over what’s displayed to their students during assessments. If an assessment only has text or support visuals but doesn’t have questions, this section will be the space for the submission and will be activated always. If an assessment has questions, this section will hold additional content, for students to add supporting evidence, and the instructor can enable or disable it.

  • Instructor view:
  • Student view:

Email Styling Enhancements - 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Email notifications are reminders to help instructors and students keep track of important updates in their courses. In this release, we've made an email styling enhancement to the following email areas:

  • New announcement
  • New message
  • Assessment overdue soon
  • Assessment overdue
  • Daily digest

To provide better context, the course ID appears now above the course name. Message content will now follow the justification that the author selected. This makes messages easier to read and allows greater customization for the author. The footer now explains when notification settings can be managed. Finally, the new general style is cleaner and should align better to user expectations. We're excited because users will receive the valuable information contained in their emails in the best possible way.


Peer Review Assignments: Improved Handling for Disabled Students and Deleted Attempts - 3900.21.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.21.0 | Release to Production 2 September 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

We’ve improved the user experience of a peer review assignment when a student is removed from a course (disabled or unavailable), and when a student’s submission is deleted during the peer review process.

When an instructor deletes a student submission containing peer reviews, they'll receive a warning message, as they'll lose those reviews. The list of affected students will be visible.

When grading or viewing peer reviews, the submission from a disabled or unavailable student will still be available.

If a student started or completed a review on a student submission that is no longer available (because it belongs to a disabled or unavailable student), they'll see they no longer have access to it. The student can start a different review if they’d like or if asked by the instructor. An instructor can see when a student completed a review that’s no longer available, giving the opportunity to let the student know they don’t need to complete another review if that’s preferred.

Improved handling of students with disabilities's submissions and deleted attempts for Peer Review assignments

Microsoft Teams classes in Ultra - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Blackboard is excited to bring Microsoft Teams classes to the Ultra Course View to expand and support learner interaction and collaboration.

Research feedback, obtained from our global client base, set the base for Blackboard and Microsoft to foster collaboration and engagement, and to provide an integration breakthrough with Microsoft Teams classes. Users can now experience the power of Teams directly from within their Blackboard Learn Ultra course. This integration is the first in a series of upcoming integration capabilities with the Microsoft collaboration suite.

The integration will be available for Ultra courses only as part of the 3900.19.0 Learn SaaS release. The Microsoft Teams classes integration provides the following set of capabilities:

  • Learn administrator setup and Microsoft 365 global admin approval.
  • Enrollment synchronization between Ultra course enrollments and Microsoft Teams class participants.
  • Automatic Microsoft Team class creation and Team activation control (Instructor/Team Owner availability management).
  • Student and instructor course level launch of Microsoft Teams classes.
  • Support for institution email data mapping to minimize user account enrollment issues.
  • Support for Learn Preview User.
  • Ultra course enrollment size of up to 1800 students. As we continue to enhance the integration, we'll aim to reach higher enrollment numbers.

The integration allows a course instructor to synchronize course membership data from Learn Ultra to the Microsoft Active Directory and create a Team class for their course. Students enrolled in the course will automatically enroll in the Team class. The instructor will have to activate the Team to give students access to it. Students will be able to launch their Team class directly from their Ultra course.

As part of this integration, there is a new entitlement to achieve both configuration and synchronization. The new entitlement is Course/Organization Outline > Microsoft Teams > Configure. To provide this new entitlement to a custom role, all Ultra courses must have a full system-provided instructor role enrolled before this action takes place.

Important Information for Testing

Clients who want to test the Microsoft Teams classes integration in their Blackboard Test and/or Staging instance are highly recommended to follow these steps:

  1. Engage with their Microsoft Account team to request a Microsoft Test Tenant under their Institutional Licensing Agreement.
  2. Alternatively, clients can request a trial at https://aka.ms/edutrial. This trial lasts 6 months. If you need to extend the trial for a longer period of time, please contact your Microsoft account representative.
  3. Using a Microsoft Test Tenant with your Blackboard Test or Staging environments prevents introducing potential data duplication issues when you come to deploy the integration in your Blackboard Learn Production system.

Important Information for Data Synchronization

The Microsoft Teams classes integration relies on the institution email SIS field to map to the correct Microsoft Azure Active Directory’s User Principal Name (UPN). If there is no institution email provisioned, it will default to the user's existing email. It’s recommended that the institution email is properly set for every user to ensure correct data synchronization and avoid data conflict.

Learn more about the institution email


Ultra progress tracking (Alpha release) - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Course View

Please note that this feature will be released on Test/Stage and Production as a limited release in August, with a broader "Beta release" in September. It will be generally available starting with the October release.

Starting in August, Ultra Course View will allow students to mark and track their progress inside their courses. This new feature comes from direct client feedback and it aligns with how students and instructors think about pace and progress. Progress tracking will be initially released as an “Alpha stage” feature. This means that the feature will be limited to only new courses where no activity has taken place. Instructors will need to make a decision before their course has started whether they want to try progress tracking or not. Those who choose to turn the feature on will provide Blackboard with valuable input about how the feature functions so that we can improve it in future releases.

In addition to the feature itself, we're introducing feature flagging as part of the release of progress tracking. Progress tracking will be behind a feature toggle. This means that administrators can decide whether they want to give instructors the ability to turn this feature on at the institution level. The ability to decide when to allow access to the feature will be for a limited time only.

As noted earlier, progress tracking will be released as an “Alpha stage” feature. The feature will only be available to NEW COURSES once an administrator has turned the feature on. In other words, instructors will be able to turn progress tracking on for their students if there hasn’t been any activity inside the course. Student preview activity also counts as activity, so if anything has been done from student preview mode, instructors won’t be able to turn this feature on.

Once turned on, students can visually identify what tasks they have started, completed, or haven't interacted with. Students can also manually update their progress on specific items. This is a new level of personalization in Ultra, and it should help students see progression through their course.

Finally, while this is a starting point, it’s the beginning of the journey. This “Alpha stage” feature will be released to a set of institutions. In its initial phase, this Alpha release will only be available for English-speaking countries. We have a number of exciting enhancements that will expand the benefits of marking progress to not just students but also instructors. In later milestones we'll expand this capability to all institutions, and provide valuable insights and information on the student’s progress to higher roles.


Ultra: Navigation menu - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Course View

Ultra Course View is getting a new navigation menu! As part of our August release, the top menu will be changed to text based vs. the iconography we currently have. On top of that, we’ve made the top menu sticky. This means that it will remain visible to users even after they have scrolled down the page.

In addition to these changes, we’ve also removed Student Preview from the Details and Actions menu and placed it in the new header. This will allow instructors access to student preview whenever they are on any top navigation page (e.g. Calendar, Gradebook, etc.)

We're excited about this feature because it's an example of how we are evolving Ultra Course View to be more intuitive for the user. This is also the first step we're taking to improve Ultra Course View. Up next will be allowing instructors to add a banner image to their course homepage.


Ultra gradebook: Advanced filtering options - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Course View

Gradebook in Ultra Course View is getting advanced filtering options! As part of our August release, higher course roles will be able to filter their gradebook view by multiple variables like users, groups, items, and categories. Our new approach provides a more dynamic experience where multiple filters can be used on demand. The filters applied can also be bookmarked and accessed later.

This is how the Gradebook grid looks like when you apply your filters.

Besides seeing the filters in the gradebook, the user will be able to move back and forth among the students’ submissions that are included in the selected filters.

These are the available filters in your Gradebook. You can filter by Student, Group, Gradable items and other categories.

We are truly excited about this feature as it promotes an easier grading process for higher roles in the institutions. Gradebook filters will make segmenting the grading process of large courses easier.


Ultra calendar: Links - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

Given the rapid shift to online learning, virtual office hours or synchronous collaboration sessions have become quite common. Instructors want the ability to easily link sessions to calendar invitations so students can have the best opportunity to successfully find where they need to be.

With this release, Ultra now supports hyperlinks in the calendar location field. Instructors can link any virtual tool of their choice in the calendar event, and students can launch the virtual session from the calendar itself.


Ultra peer review: Submission linking and calendar links - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Course View

This release adds new functionalities to peer reviewed assignments in Ultra Course View.

Now, instructors can access the submissions reviewed by a student right from that student's grading panel. They can easily select a specific submission and grade a student’s review in context.

Students also have direct access to the submissions available for their review from either the Due Date or the Calendar views. This makes it easier for them to act when reviewing their pending tasks.


Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.19.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.19.0 | Release to Production 5 August 2021
Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

  • In the Ultra Course View, the Give full credit to everyone option wasn't working for tests using Random Question Pool. We've fixed the issue.

  • In the Ultra Course View, in a course discussion, certain student replies didn't appear when they were part of a thread started by an inactive student. We've fixed the issue.

  • In the Ultra Experience, some instructor announcements randomly lost their formatting. We've fixed the issue.

You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.19.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


Learn SaaS release 3900.17.0: Update to client Production environments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.17.0 | Release to Production 1 July 2021
Original Experience

We're applying an updated version of 3900.17.0 to client Production servers on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Due to an issue identified during today’s rollout, clients will receive different build numbers depending on the time their update was performed.

    Updates with full release number 3900.17.0-rel.37+505c78f include only:

    • In the Original Experience, the installer was leaving the SCORM B2 in a corrupted state after an upgrade failure. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Experience, the Rustici Engine required a provider update to fix a library defect and installation snags. We've fixed the issue.

    Updates with full release number 3900.17.0-rel.42+b2e6934 include the above fixes as well as:

    • In the Original Experience, we've implemented an enhancement to reduce the need for heavy load and to avoid system slow down for the loadAllAchievements process.
    • In the Original Experience, a table lock issue prevented upgrades, leading to some outages. We've fixed the issue.

    The next full rollout will include all fixes for everyone.

     


    Chatbot enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 and v3900.17.0 | Release to Test/Stage and Production 17 June 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View and Base Navigation

    On June 17, Blackboard Student Success updated Blackboard Chatbot. Chatbot is included in Blackboard Learn at no additional cost, so the Learn experience is also improved:

    • Search Blackboard Learn Help documentation for Instructors as well as Students.
    • In addition to asking the chatbot questions, users can now also navigate a category hierarchy to discover common topics.
    • Resulting help information is now previewed directly in the chat interaction. Users can click to open the full documentation from the Help site.
      • The default Help articles reference the Ultra Course View to better support users transitioning to our latest interface and may need more assistance. However, users can easily switch to the Original Course View versions of Help articles as needed.
    • Institutions can upgrade to the premium version of Blackboard Chatbot that now supports adding institutional-specific help resources and defining a unique, branded chatbot persona.

    Blackboard Chatbot currently supports English language North American SaaS environments using Base Navigation. The June 17 update applies to all production and test/stage environments.


    Course Role Mapping to LTI Context Roles

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.17.0 | Release to Production 1 July 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Experience and Original Course View

    Some third-party integrated tools function better when users’ course roles are more specific to the responsibilities they have in their courses. Before, all privileged course users were sent to LTI tools with the context role instructor. Administrators can now edit course roles and choose from a list of LTI Context Roles that may be more appropriate for each.

    Default and custom course roles, Original and Ultra courses, and older LTI 1.1 and newer LTI Advantage/1.3 tools are all supported.

    To prevent possible disruption for current users, the old default role behavior wasn't changed. Administrators may wish to review all course role configurations after this release, and choose LTI context roles. Any given LTI context role mapping is specific to a course role and will apply to all LTI tools.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.15.0: Update to client Test environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 | Release to Production 3 June 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3900.15.0 (full release number 3900.15.0-rel.14+031309f) to client Test servers on Tuesday, June 1, 2021

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Experience, an admin couldn't set a custom language pack as the default until the system had assigned it an Ultra locale first. This process could take hours, or even days, instead of some minutes. We've fixed the issue and now admins can enable system default.
    • In the Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View, when an automatic zero was set for assignments delivered late, an assignment that was never submitted was just marked as late, without the zero grade. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Bb Annotate enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    As part of the Q1 work on Bb Annotate we released the following fixes to known issues that were affecting our clients:

    • Some users couldn’t delete an annotation note after they reselected it unless they edited the note again. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • The selection of text in the document was not working properly, causing difficulty when highlighting or placing notes into documents. We've fixed the issue.
    • When placing a note or comment into the file there was an additional comment count added to it, which caused confusion and the feeling of an unseen reply. We've fixed the issue.

    The fixes were deployed for Singapore, Polymall, Korea, and Govcloud regions on March 3, 2021. Customers in Sydney, Europe, Canada, and US regions were updated on May 12, 2021.


    Support for Right to Left

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 | Release to Production 3 Jun 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    Blackboard is pleased to introduce full Right to Left language support in Learn Ultra and to bring this capability to our Arabic and Hebrew speaking markets.

    We've included in this release:

    • Full Right to Left flipped user interface across Ultra including base navigation, Ultra Course View and System Admin. 
    • Enhancements for the Ultra Rich Text Editor  that allow our users who write in Right to Left languages to adjust the text direction display.
    • System level Arabic and Hebrew language support and Ultra Course View  language enforcement.

    Feedback by criterion

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 | Release to Production 3 Jun 2021
    Ultra Course View, Blackboard App

    Rubrics are an essential tool when thinking about grading workflows. With this addition, rubrics inside Ultra courses are more useful to instructors. Segmented feedback provides more flexibility and detail to messages sent from instructors to students when grading an assignment. Students can have a better understanding of the why behind their grade, as per their instructor or grader prerogative.

    Feedback by criterion is available wherever rubrics appear, like discussions, anonymous assignments, single and multiple attempts assignments, among others.

    When using the parallel grading workflow, the option will be available to all graders, but the only feedback by criterion students will see, is the one given by the reconciler. The workflow remains around rubrics, and thus, feedback inside rubrics for the delegated workflow will remain the same.

    This new feature is a step forward in our commitment to keep improving the rubrics roadmap.


    A/V Recordings option in announcements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.15.0 | Release to Production 3 Jun 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    With this new option, instructors can now insert audio and video recordings in their course announcements.


    Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.13.0

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.13.0 | Release to Production 6 May 2021
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when an assignment was created with Anonymous Grading, some daily notifications and digest email received after submissions were made, contained the names of the students who have submitted them. We've fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, in tests, some calculated numeric questions were wrongly marked as correct when the student introduced a combination of numeric values and letters in an answer that should be numerical only. We've fixed the issue and added a further explanation on the Help pages regarding supported types of input for scientific notation, units and constants.

    • In the Original Course View, when recipients were selected for an enterprise survey response period, there was no way to identify or exclude child sections of merged courses, which caused some students to receive two copies of each survey. We've fixed the issue.

    You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.10.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


    Proctoring Services Framework

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.13.0 | Release to Production 6 May 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, we are pleased to announce the delivery of a proctoring framework to allow proctoring providers to integrate their solutions with Learn Ultra. To support high stakes secured proctored examinations has become an important component of online learning provision. With the rapid shift to blended and fully online learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many institutions have pivoted towards proctoring solutions to improve their capabilities to support online digital secured examinations. Thus, Blackboard has put together the necessary efforts and provide a mechanism to allow Proctoring solutions to be supported in the native Learn Ultra assessment flow.

    With this release, Blackboard has developed a framework to allow proctoring providers to integrate their solutions into the native test settings of the Ultra Course View. By working closely with a number of key proctoring providers and the IMS Global Organization, Blackboard's Proctoring Framework has been built with a core focus on standards and interoperability in mind.

    By leveraging and certifying against the very latest IMS LTI Proctoring standard and combining this open standards based approach with Blackboard’s own Premium APIs, we have been able to provide an extensible framework allowing partners and clients to build and deploy their integrations in Ultra. Alongside all Proctoring partners we are already working closely with, we expect to see many additional solutions and services within the assessment security realm aligning to this specification in the coming months.

    Blackboard is the first and currently only LMS provider to be certified against this latest Proctoring specification.

    The Proctoring Services Framework includes the following features to support instructor creation and student completion:

    • Configuration of proctoring provider: instructors can choose to configure a proctoring solution for a native Ultra test. Selecting the desired integration from the corresponding drop-down list will allow the proctoring integration to display their native settings inline.
    • New proctor secured detail and iconography: both instructors and students will see clear contextual detail and iconography in the assessment peak panel and also on the course outline indicating a test has been proctor secured.
    • Student launch: students who need to complete a proctor secured test in Ultra, will follow the same procedure for access as with a non-proctor secured test, but will include additional security settings as per the proctoring solution prior to assessment access.
    • Native Ultra assessment security: instructors can combine the flexibility of a proctor-secured test alongside the existing native Ultra access code functionality, supporting a more enhanced security flow for students taking an online test.
    • Native Ultra assessment setting support: instructors can continue to utilize the existing settings functionality with a proctor-secured assessment, including but not limited to class conversations, multiple attempts, grading categories, grading schema, automated feedback settings and additional tools depending on the selected question types used.

    Proctor-secured assessments do not support group assignments


    Dropping grades inside categories for overall grade calculation

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.13.0 | Release to Production 6 May 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View, we are pleased to announce the delivery of dropping grades inside categories for overall grade calculations, as we understand flexibility is key in a LMS when we talk about managing final grades calculations for students, and there are different ways in which instructors and institutions would like to set what is considered in the overall grade calculations.

    From this release on, instructors and other privileged roles will be able to decide if they want to add additional rules to how their overall grade is calculated when using calculation by categories. They'll be able to drop as many grades as they want (lowest/highest), as long as there are more items inside the category than dropped items, or to choose just the lowest or highest grade to be considered for that category. This feature serves a great variety of use cases, for instance, to help students at the end of the term or to remove outliers (highest/lowest) grades in order to get a better sense of students’ performance.

    When rules are in place, students can gain access to their overall grade calculation details and see if some additional rules have been set by their instructors, which gives them clarity on how their grades are calculated and why their calculations might defer from the ones displayed in their gradebook.


    Ultra messages: Unread message indication

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.13.0 | Release to Production 6 May 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We are pleased to announce the inclusion of Unread message indication for messages on the Base Navigation. This was a highly requested feature from our community, and we are excited to bring this capability to our clients. This solution will provide a clearly identifiable number count highlighting any new messages received for both Original and Ultra courses. When a user selects the Messages tool on the base navigation, the red number count will change to a red pill icon as to reduce distraction, but navigating away from this page will again show the unread message count. This capability will provide a greater level of transparency and engagement when new messages are sent and received for all users, and continues our commitment to enhancements for the Messages tool in Ultra.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.10.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 8 April 2021
    Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.10.0 (full release number 3900.10.0-rel.18+b85c058) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, we added a new guidance message to inform instructors about the new conditional release users & groups feature. The message was seen on documents by students as well, but it was only intended for users entitled to modify content availability. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when a student provided peer feedback that included an image, this attachment failed to download or wasn't even visible when the feedback was reviewed. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.10.0: Delay for Continuous Delivery update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re delaying the Blackboard Learn SaaS 3900.10.0 (full release number 3900.10.0-rel.18+b85c058) update to client Test/Staging servers, previously scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, 2021. We’ll update this note as soon as we’ve identified a new target date.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.10.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.10.0 (full release number 3900.10.0-rel.17+81ba8fd) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra and Original Course Views, all course content pages displayed an error if the Blackboard Store B2 was installed and set to be available or unavailable. We've fixed the issue and removed the Blackboard Store B2 (which reached its end of life in 2016) with this upgrade.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.10.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.10.0 (full release number 3900.10.0-rel.11+c24ca4f) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Experience, when questions were imported from an Original unit, some of them got randomly and unnecessarily duplicated in the Ultra Question Banks. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original and Ultra Experiences, the Change Hostname option within the Admin authentication SAML settings returned the user to the Admin Panel page instead of changing the host name. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Experience, when a Calculated Formula question was used in a test, if the answers used the exponential form (E-2, E-4, etc), with significant figures expressing the result, some right answers were marked as wrong, depending of the position of the decimal point. Also, the correct answer format field wasn't verified, students were able to answer a question with an incorrect format and the system would mark it as correct. We've fixed both issues.

    Assignment with Peer Review for Qualitative Peer Assessment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, we started to implement the developments we've projected to improve the Peer Review Assessments experience. This is a synthetized description of what we've prepared for this release.

    Peer assessment is a practice becoming more common because it encourages development of students’ critical thinking abilities, gives them practice in critique of others in a professional manner, and allows for measurement of students’ analysis and communication skills. With this release, qualitative peer review can be enabled for an Assignment in the Ultra Course View. It’s simple for instructors and students to use, and has the following features:

    • Set different due dates for the initial assignment submission and the completion of peer review: Instructors can set how many reviews are expected from each student. Peers are assigned randomly and automatically.
    • Late submitters and reviewers remain part of the task and can continue to participate: Instructors can clearly see who was late. This is a huge improvement over the implementation in Original Course View and superior to implementations found it other learning management systems where students who are late on anything can no longer participate.
    • Tracking: Instructors can track students’ progress toward completion.
    • Rubrics: Students can see the rubric that will optionally be used for the grade. Instructors can grade using a rubric.
    • Complete, single view: When grading, the instructor can see all this information in a single view: the student’s submission, feedback provided by the students’ peers, and the feedback the current student gave to their peers.
    • Anonymous mode for students: The identities of peers are hidden from students but viewable by instructors.
    • Censoring: Instructors can hide reviews deemed inappropriate or harmful.

    As this is a first release of the Peer Review option for Assignments, there are some relevant use cases that aren’t part of this development, but are planned as future improvements. Some of them include:

    • Quantitative peer reviews: While a peer can view a rubric for guidance on providing feedback, the rubric can’t be used by students to provide a score.
    • Non-anonymous mode for students: Names of peers are always hidden from students. If an instructor wants students to know who they evaluate, it is necessary to request students to add their names to their submissions. Hidden names from instructors are not supported in this release.
    • Groups: There is no direct group support yet. However, because the review period excludes non-submitters automatically, it’s possible to set up multiple assignments with Peer Review enabled and set Conditional Availability by group membership. This way, assigned peers will always be members within a student’s group. Group submissions aren’t supported in this release.
    • Multiple prompts with essay questions: In this release, only a single text prompt is supported for an Assignment with Peer Review. If there are multiple topics to which s student is to respond and receive feedback, those should all be outlined in a single prompt or broken up into several assignments.
    • Separate grades for students’ submissions and their reviews: In this release, there is a single grade and rubric for an assignment. If the instructor wishes to communicate different scores for those two parts of the process, those can be outlined in the feedback.

    Conditional availability by users or groups

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, we are pleased to announce the inclusion of a highly requested feature: conditional release by users and groups.

    From this version on, Instructors and other roles with elevated rights, will be able to grant differentiated access to content based on their ultimate goals. As a new option to the conditional availability rules, already present in Ultra courses (date/time and performance-based rules), faculty can now allow certain students to have access to specific content while selecting one or both existing rules mentioned above.

    This new feature will be an incredible addition to those who want to create remedial paths to certain students, give different content to undergraduate and postgraduate students in a course, among other use cases.


    Disable notifications for users with high enrollments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.10.0 | Release to Production 1 April 2021
    Ultra Experience, Original Experience

    In both Original and Ultra Course Views, we've improved the timeliness and performance of notifications for all users (including emails, push notifications, Stream, and MyBlackboard) by no longer generating these notifications for users with more than 500 enrollments.

    A user with this large volume of course enrollments will still have access to all course resources but won’t receive notifications regardless of their settings.

    Typically, users enrolled in so many courses are support staff or instructional designers. We recommend administrators to configure these users to be node administrators instead, with privileges to enroll and unenroll themselves from any course in the appropriate Institutional Hierarchy nodes, and with access to all the courses they may need without enroll them. Enrollment availability or enablement states are not considered for a user to count as to have over 500 enrollment records.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.8.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.8.0 | Release to Production 4 March 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Experience and Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.8.0 (full release number 3900.8.0-rel.32+30fa709) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when an instructor is grading with a rubric a student's submission with a very long description in its content, the instructor needed to scroll down in order to see the submission and scroll up to see the rubric. We made this flow more comfortable, so the instructor can now see the submission and the rubric at the same time.
    • In the Original Course View and the Original Experience, within the Content Editor, a user won't be able to use copy and paste functionalities to transfer images from other sources. The user can include images with the Add Content workflow, as it used to be before version 3900.0. We've made this change to address performance problems that arose with certain large or numerous images. We’ll review whether it's possible to reintroduce this capability in the future.
    • In the Original Course View, when an XSS filter is applied to sanitize the content for different fields present in the plugin modules section, the fields are sanitized for both trusted and untrusted users as well. This behavior only occurred when a course tool was created via importing a package with the Import Package & Utilities  functionality. We fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.8.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.8.0 | Release to Production 4 March 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.8.0 (full release number 3900.8.0-rel.28+7eb0c69) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, in Assignments, Assessments and Journals, when a student inserted a math formula image it was replaced with a broken image and ALT text and the instructor couldn't see it properly in order to grade the submission. We fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when copied from an Original course, incompatible discussion board availability settings were retained, blocking access to current students. We fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when feedback was about to be recorded for an Assignment using Chrome, a misleading error message appeared instead of the expected recording controls and prevented the user to continue. We fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, students were unable to view iframe content in the Notes area for Contacts, Tasks and Glossary posted by their instructor including YouTube and Kaltura uploaded content. We fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.8.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.8.0 | Release to Production 4 March 2021
    Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.8.0 (full release number 3900.8.0-rel.22+d9cd600) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when an instructor entered grades in each category of rubric for an assignment with rubrics, the page reloaded and the focus was taken away from the comments and/or grade fields. We fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.8.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.8.0 | Release to Production 4 March 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3900.8.0 (full release number 3900.8.0-rel.19+5f99a51) to client Test/Stage servers on Friday, February 12, 2021

    Updates in this version include:

    • Some Test/Stage environments encountered a deadlock during startup and couldn’t be upgraded. We’ve reverted the changes made while we gather the required diagnostic information to implement a permanent solution.
    • In the Ultra and Original Course Views, in Mobile, course messages had duplicated content in their push notifications and appeared encoded and unreadable to users. We’ve reverted the changes made while we verify a permanent solution.
    • In the Ultra Course View, in Mobile, course messages' push notifications were sent to sender users. We’ve fixed the issue (updated).
    • In the Original Course View, the Goal Performance Dashboard was failing on SaaS Servers for certain reports. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.6.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View

    The scheduled Production release of 3900.6.0 (full release number 3900.6.0-rel.24+5fa90d1) during off-hours on Thursday, February 11, 2021 includes one additional update.

    • In the Ultra Course View, when an instructor entered grades in each category of rubric for an assignment with rubrics, the page reloaded and the focus was taken away from the comments and/or grade fields. We fixed the issue.


    Highlight on bug fixes

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.8.0 | Release to Production 4 March 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when a user created a TurnItIn assignment using the LTI 1.3 integration and clicked to access the LTI content on the Activity Stream, the peak panel was displayed empty. We've fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, after a refractor process from SOAP to REST when grades were called from the Grade Centre, the REST public API was considerably slower. We managed to improve the response time and fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, where a calculated formula rounding was required, the number 5 was rounded down rather than rounded up for some values. We've fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, after a performance improvement for the Blog View response times was made in the 3900.0 release, the workflow for grading non-participants was affected. When an instructor wanted to find non-participant users to grade them with zero, students were not visible in the blog or journal. We've reversed the related improvement changes until we find a permanent solution.

    You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.8.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


    Annotate information message

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    In the Original and Ultra Course Views, formatting space differences may be visible between the original uploaded document and the one rendered online for .docx, .doc, .ppt, and .pptx files. We've added an on-screen information message to let users know about this. The message appears anywhere where Bb Annotate is enabled, including the Mobile View. Instructors and students are able to download the original file as usual.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.6.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.6.0 (full release number 3900.6.0-rel.15+bd9f50f) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, the originality report option was displayed while grading the assessment, when safe-assign was not enabled. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.6.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.6.0 (full release number 3900.6.0-rel.12+0cc66df) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when an instructor edited a group set's settings and deleted the end date for self enrollment, an error caused the system to close the self enrollment option for students. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, embedded LTI links returned from deep linking didn't send the custom parameters back. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.4.0: Addition to client Production release

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.4.0 (full release number 3900.4.0-rel.23+718491f) to client Production environments on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors were unable to access the rubrics for anonymous assessments. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.6.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.6.0 (full release number 3900.6.0-rel.12+0cc66df) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors were unable to access the rubrics for anonymous assessments. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when LTI 1.3 profiles were automatically enabled, a default course tool was created for use in LTI Advantage services that could appear without the administrator's approval. We've made a quick fix to avoid this appearance in the course tools area. In a future release, a profile change will drive this fix.
    • In the Original Course View, enterprise surveys with open questions followed by a page break displayed an error when a user tried to move to the next page, and the survey couldn’t be completed. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.4.0: Addition to client Production release

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.4.0 (full release number 3900.4.0-rel.23+718491f) to client Production on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Course View, a recent fix to the Grade Center scrolling behavior caused problems loading custom color palettes. We’ve reverted the Grade Center scrolling behavior until both issues are resolved.
    • For sites on Ultra base navigation, when a user opened the Student Activity page in an Original Course View course, the course disappeared and the user returned to the Ultra base navigation page. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when LTI 1.3 profiles were automatically enabled, a default course tool was created for use in LTI Advantage services that could appear without the administrator's approval. We've made a quick fix to avoid this appearance in the course tools area. In a future release, a profile change will drive this fix.

    Course archive quarantine

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’ve improved the performance of the course archives process when an archive fails due to specific, particular circumstances. 

    After three unsuccessful archive attempts, the course will be quarantined for evaluation. Administrators will receive an email notification that a course has been quarantined. Once the email notification is received, the administrator can check the quarantined courses list and reach out to Blackboard Support for further assistance, similar to the process for an export course issue. 

    • A notification will be sent to the administrator every time a new course enters quarantine.
    • The functionality is enabled by default. To disable it, the system administrator should contact Blackboard Support.

    Highlight on bug fixes

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

    • Adaptive Release and Test Exceptions: The text under Test Availability Exceptions and Review Status sections related to organizations and courses is now showing as expected.

    • The Group Assignment Submission page was confusing to students: Whenever the first student from a group clicked on the assignment, he/she arrived to a submission page with an option to submit the assignment. If this student navigated away from this page without selecting Cancel, then all group members that log in afterward would see a page with previous submission information (i.e. a "review submission history" page) that suggested there was an ungraded attempt already submitted. The student then had the option to continue.
      Now, the system still shows the Upload Assignment page since no attempt was ever actually submitted.

    You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.6.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


    New navigation tab in the Assessment View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.6.0 | Release to Production 4 February 2021
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors and students will find a new navigation tab at the right side of the screen when they navigate the Assessment View. This new navigation tab helps users to access all the options and features available for the current assessment from one single place. This tab will be visible to both students and instructors once a student sends the first submission.

    The options available from the new side tab are:

    • Originality Report: Users will be able to select their service provider, including SafeAssign.
    • Rubrics: Instructors will be able to grade the assessment with rubrics. Both students and instructors can check the grades that have been assigned by the instructor for each criterion. Instructors will also be able to more easily override and undo override actions.
    • Feedback: Instructors and peers will be able to provide general feedback about the assessment.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.4.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.4.0 (full release number 3900.4.0-rel.17+f210f75) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, the course groups tool wasn't visible if an institution had a large number of tools installed. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, the rich text editor didn't display an HTML preview after a media link was pasted. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.4.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.4.0 (full release number 3900.4.0-rel.14+d8ea606) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, the minimal rich text editor displayed some incorrect icons and tooltips and some unnecessary buttons. We've fixed the issues.
    • In the Original Course View, the content editor removed link tags and URLs with Javascript in image and anchor tags whether or not the user had the Add/Modify Trusted Content permission. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, when an alternate domain is enabled, allowing guest access to course files could deny signed-in users the ability to access the files. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • We've added a page to the Admin Panel to allow the ability to enable an alternate domain for serving content files, and specify the host name for the alternate domain. You’ll find the Alternate Domain for Serving Content page in the Security section of the Admin Panel.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.2.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.2.0 (full release number 3900.2.0-rel.34+4ad580a) to client Production environments on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, the Question Analysis report for tests presented incorrect results at some institutions. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some students didn’t have permission to access a group assignment. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, the Link to Wiki page option was missing from the new Content Editor experience. You can now find it under the Add content dialog. Learn more about linking to other wiki pages.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.4.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.4.0 (full release number 3900.4.0-rel.10+9fc85c4) to client Test/Staging environments on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • If HTML content written by instructors or administrators referenced hosted content served from an alternate domain, the iframe didn’t load properly. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, the Question Analysis report for tests presented incorrect results at some institutions. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some students didn’t have permission to access a group assignment. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, the Link to Wiki page option was missing from the new Content Editor experience. You can now find it under the Add content dialog. Learn more about linking to other wiki pages.

    Learn SaaS release 3900.2.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.2.0 (full release number 3900.2.0-rel.31+0a50fe3) to client Production environments on Thursday, December 10 and Friday, December 11, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • If HTML content written by instructors or administrators referenced hosted content served from an alternate domain, the iframe didn’t load properly. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, test questions linked from a question pool had a difficulty score of 0% regardless of how students answered. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Fixed issues

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, the Post Now button for Announcements didn't disable after its first selection while the work processed in courses with large numbers of students. This meant instructors could select the button, post the announcement, and email students multiple times. Now, the Post Now button will disable on first selection.

    • In the Original Course View, when a Grade Center column had a long title and required multi-line wrapping, the window size changed depending on whether the column with the long title was visible. This made it difficult to scroll, because the horizontal scroll bar changed position with the size of the window. Now, the window size remains consistent.

      If particularly long item names make the header larger than you’d like, shortened alternative names can be added just for displaying in the Grade Center. In the Grade Center, select a column and in the menu, choose Edit Column Information and set a shorter title for Grade Center Name.

    • In the Original Course View, when a user added an image in the content editor, the text after the image was forced to the next line. We've fixed the issue.

    You can view all maintenance items in Behind the Blackboard. Our Known Issue articles provide information for individual bug fixes, and may include bug descriptions and which Learn versions were affected. You can filter bug fixes by SaaS release for easier navigation. View the 3900.4.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.


    Rich text editor improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.4.0 | Release to Production 7 January 2021
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, users will have access to more formatting tools in the Ultra Course View's rich text editor. Users can format content in a variety of different ways, including font colors, font sizes, and font style. We've also redesigned the tool's base to provide a better experience with a secondary bar that will display additional options, especially on smaller screens. Students, instructors, and administrators will see these changes everywhere they encounter the rich text editor in the Ultra Course View.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.2.0: Addition to client Production release

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    The scheduled Production release of 3900.2.0 (full release number 3900.2.0-rel.27+70f5845) during off-hours on Thursday, December 3, 2020 includes two additional updates.

    • When an LTI gradable item with a deep link response was copied, the copy wasn't gradable. We fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, some students didn't see the feedback their instructor added to their journal. We've fixed the issue.


    Annotate comment enhancement

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    Now, instructors can create multiple comments in Bb Annotate without needing to select the comment tool for every comment they add.

    The comment tool will get de-selected if an instructor scrolls through the document, but once they fit the document to the screen, the comment tool will stay selected.


    Bb Annotate enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery | Blackboard Learn 9.1
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    Starting on Tuesday, November 24th, PDF files will be flattened for the BbAnnotate preview when uploaded for an assignment. On PDFs, text comment annotations made prior to submission will appear as yellow boxes in the document and will not be movable or collapsible. Drawings, pictures, shapes, and other annotations that are not comments will appear normally and also won't be movable after flattening.

    When the file is flattened, students can also see their drawable annotations made with iPad or Microsoft Surface pens on PDF preview before the professor grades it. Currently students cannot see annotations until after professor grades it, which can cause confusion about whether the file appears correctly.

    This enhancement is an additional security layer in BbAnnotate to prevent forgeable re-submissions of professor annotations. It also resolves an issue where iPad annotations (APStreams) weren’t appearing on annotated PDFs.

    This change only affects PDFs submitted in the future. Previously uploaded files (including files with iPad annotations) will render as they have been.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.0.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Ultra Experience, Original Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.0.0 (full release number 3900.0.0-rel.57+59c5f28) to client Production servers during off-hours on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When an instructor copied a journal from one Ultra course to another, all journals from the first course were copied to the second. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, some Collaborate sessions didn’t appear in the Join Session overflow menu. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, response feedback for the Grade Questions feature of the Grade Center was missing the new content editor, and text entered into the box there wouldn’t save. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Unannotated Box documents wouldn’t load in Bb Annotate. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • The download button for the Insight Report (Beta) for administrators wouldn’t respond or create a CSV. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When restoring a merged course from an archive, Learn only restored the parent course and not its child course(s). We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When a Redis connection failed, Learn didn't attempt to reconnect, so users had to manually retry their task. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.2.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Ultra Experience, Original Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.2.0 (full release number 3900.2.0-rel.11+071cf8e) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When an instructor copied a journal from one Ultra course to another, all journals from the first course were copied to the second. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, some Collaborate sessions didn’t appear in the Join Session overflow menu. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, response feedback for the Grade Questions feature of the Grade Center was missing the new content editor, and text entered into the box there wouldn’t save. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Unannotated Box documents wouldn’t load in Blackboard Annotate. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Ally wouldn’t work in Learn when alternative domains were enabled. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When a Redis connection failed, Learn didn't attempt to reconnect, so users had to manually retry their task. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Final automatic archive files created after a course was deleted didn’t include enrolled user data. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • After an upgrade, some institutions had to manually uninstall and reinstall their Authentication Provider SAML building block because of a Postgres installation problem. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.0.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View, Ultra Experience, Original Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.0.0 (full release number 3900.0.0-rel.46+e0d1a9b) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When an instructor copied a journal from one Ultra course to another, all journals from the first course were copied to the second. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Unannotated Box documents wouldn’t load in Bb Annotate. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • SAML logins intermittently failed on one app server at a time for a small number of institutions. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Custom HTML/CSS code blocks in Ultra course documents

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, instructors can create, edit, and delete custom HTML/CSS code blocks in Ultra course documents. Instructors can select Add HTML when creating a document to add their own HTML and CSS and fully customize the appearance of their Ultra course documents.

    We've added this capability without compromising the Ultra design aesthetics (i.e., content will be fully responsive and accessible). We’ve also added a new entitlement to support greater security and flexibility for institutions to allow granular permissions to specific roles.

    Students will see what the instructors created or edited, but they will not be able to create, edit, or delete any of the HTML/CSS blocks. 

    In an effort to support more enhanced security and to maintain the responsiveness of the Ultra Experience, we're leveraging an existing solution in Learn to support this capability. If you already have an alternate domain configured, your instructors will see the Add HTML option in Ultra Course View documents. If you don't have an alternate domain configured, we have you covered! We're in the process of automating an alternate domain for all clients, and should have that work completed later in the year. You can submit a support ticket to request access to this feature now.


    Student list view improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View

    This release includes additional improvements for student list view in the Ultra gradebook that we added based on feedback we’ve had from instructors. New functionalities include:

    • Administrators can configure whether students’ usernames are visible to instructors if they need to differentiate students. This capability is available for institutions that choose to hide usernames for privacy considerations and when instructors still need to be able to see them, particularly in courses with very large enrollment numbers. Administrators need to enable this permission for a role in Admin Panel > System Roles > Show username even when hidden from other users.
    • Instructors will receive additional search capabilities, column sorting options, and enhanced page controls for both large and small devices.


    Ultra feedback timing controls

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, Learn Ultra now allows instructors to further promote test fairness and discourage academic dishonesty. Instructors can enable more granular controls on when and what type of feedback is given to students when taking an assessment. Instructors can set up timed release to automated question feedback, correct answers, and question scores. They can also select when to show feedback: after submission, after due date, at a specific date, or after the assessment is graded. Students will see if and when feedback will be available for a specific assessment after they submit an attempt.


    Ultra journals enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.2.0 | Release to Production 3 December 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, we’ve added the highly-anticipated participation and submission views to Ultra journals. Importantly, participation view can now support over 1,000 students at once. Instructors can clearly see when students post new journals and comments, and can view a single submission. Instructors can also use Ultra’s grading tools, including feedback and rubrics, to create and post grades. To allow instructors more varied access, both participation and submission views link to the gradebook. By default, students will be allowed to delete and edit their journal entries and comments, but instructors can also now choose to disable this permission.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.0.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.0.0 (full release number 3900.0.0-rel.42+47a7c9a) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When D2L course content was imported into an Ultra course, document heading formatting was lost. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Some Ultra tests that use Respondus LockDown Browser added extra time permitted to the test time limit automatically, instead of presenting as two different time totals. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • If an Ultra test had a set time limit and then was set to require Respondus LockDown Browser, the time limit was removed. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When Ultra discussion boards were copied from a different course and Include only the forums, with no starter posts was selected, members of the destination course could only see the discussion name and couldn’t edit or reply to the discussion. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When an Original course was converted to Ultra Course View, unlinked journals were retained and slowed course content copying. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Original Course View, if the Content Collection Availability was set to “No,” administrators couldn’t browse the Content Collection to restore a course from automatic archives. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Institutions that use the Redis Cache Building Block couldn’t connect to the Redis service during high traffic periods. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Blackboard Chatbot for Learn

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    We’re excited to announce the first availability of Blackboard Chatbot in Learn. Blackboard Chatbot is a free tool offered in Blackboard Learn that will be automatically available to SaaS higher education clients in North America who have enabled the Ultra Base Navigation. It launches beginning on November 5, with the 3900.0.0 Learn SaaS production release. Some institutions may not see Chatbot in Learn until November 6.

    Seamlessly integrated into Ultra Base Navigation and Ultra courses, Blackboard Chatbot provides always-on support. It returns answers to students' commonly asked Learn questions and issues directly from Blackboard Help. For this initial release, Blackboard Chatbot is available only in English.

    To access Blackboard Chatbot, select the help icon in the bottom right. Then select Chat Support to open the Chatbot panel. Students can ask Blackboard Chatbot their questions or select from a pre-populated list. Chatbot uses machine learning to better serve your learners over time.

    Blackboard Chatbot will be on by default, but administrators can manage its availability.

    For more details about Blackboard Chatbot for Learn, visit the Community site


    Learn SaaS release 3900.0.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.0.0 (full release number 3900.0.0-rel.28+4af3c58) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • Based on user feedback, we’ve removed the blue background from course-related icons in the large icon update for Ultra Course View and base navigation.

    • In the Original Course View, some students could access private journal entries written by other students. Also, additional students couldn't post after the first student responded to the journal prompt. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • When Learn SaaS environments were updated, Original course and organization menus reverted to the default and customizations had to be reapplied. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3900.0.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3900.0.0 (full release number 3900.0.0-rel.18+41e3877) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View with the Spanish language pack, a grade calculation in the Ultra gradebook was incorrectly labeled as NaN. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Some Learn environments that use the Partner Cloud Building Block had problems with content sync. We've fixed the issue.


    Details & Actions items load together

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, items in the Details & Actions section of the Ultra Course View will now load in a single wave. This change will prevent students and instructors from selecting the wrong item as the page loads.


    Embed Office 365 documents

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, students and instructors can embed Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files as well as Microsoft Stream videos from SharePoint into the rich text editor in the Ultra Course View. This option is only available with enterprise versions of Office 365.


    Gradebook student list view improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View

    This release introduces several improvements and new functionality for student list view in the Ultra gradebook.

    • Instructors can send messages and add accommodations for a student within both the student list view and the grade details view
    • Instructors can set up activity stream alerts about student inactivity and grade thresholds for themselves and their students. If their course contains enough activity and grading data, they can also see a detailed visualization of class performance.

    Large icon updates

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

    In this release, you’ll see new large icons in the Ultra experience. We made these changes to our icons to improve accessibility and differentiation for all users.

    • Like the small icon update earlier this year, the new icons have a thicker stroke to improve accessibility.
    • The new icons are more distinctive to avoid confusion between similar icons and to better support quick scanning. 

    Show seconds in quiz timer

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, students will know how much time they have left down to the last second when they take a quiz in the Ultra Course View. The quiz timer will change from minutes to seconds when less than 1 minute remains.


    Show/hide overall grade column

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.0.0 | Release to Production 5 November 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, instructors can choose whether to show or hide overall grades to their students in the Ultra Course View.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.19.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3800.19.0 (full release number 3800.19.0-rel.42+e227a86) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • Emailed course announcements in both the Original and Ultra Course Views now include both the course name and the title of the announcement in the email subject.

    • The calculated grade snapshot information didn't update correctly in courses that use the Telemetry B2. We've fixed the issue.

    • Learn environments ran out of memory when archiving courses with large volumes of activity accumulator records. We've fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn’t navigate to the next course content item from a discussion board post if conditional availability was set. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, users who had system permission to create materials but were not enrolled in a course couldn’t add permanent files to a course. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.19.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3800.19.0 (full release number 3800.19.0-rel.35+878ad8e) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, some users couldn't join Collaborate sessions with their course links. We've fixed the issue.

    • Emailed course announcements in both the Original and Ultra Course Views now include both the course name and the title of the announcement in the email subject.

    • The calculated grade snapshot information didn't update correctly in courses that use the Telemetry B2. We've fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.19.0: Addition to client Production release

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Ultra Course View

    The scheduled Production release of 3800.19.0 (full release number 3800.19.0-rel.33+a603588) during off-hours on Thursday, October 1, 2020 includes an additional update.

    • In the Ultra Course View, some users couldn't join Collaborate sessions with their course links. We've fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.19.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    We’re applying an updated version of 3800.19.0 (full release number 3800.19.0-rel.32+99f4ccd) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • We’ve added unique login counts for the previous 30, 90, and 180 days to the Learn Insight Report.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some replies weren’t visible in discussions. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some users’ discussion response and reply counts didn’t appear correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some users’ profiles and activity in discussions appeared as though the users were unavailable. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, discussion forum links that were broken during a course copy couldn’t be removed from the new course. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • When an instructor reverted a course back to the Original Course View from Ultra Course Preview, a lost association with the course data source key caused problems with SIS integration. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some users at institutions that use SSO with the SAML Building Block had trouble logging in to their Learn environments. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.19.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3800.19.0 (full release number 3800.19.0-rel.24+879e1a1) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Course View, emailed announcements didn't include the announcement title in the subject line. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, students received an incorrect password error when a test used a password with certain character patterns. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View with Ally enabled, administrators couldn’t remove replaced files included in a course copy from the new course’s content collection. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn't view a course document after visiting an LTI link in a learning module that uses sequential availability. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn’t view a test submission when SafeAssign was enabled and Respondus LockDown browser was required. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Instructors couldn’t add LTI deep linked content to their courses if SameSite cookie support was enabled in their browser. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Instructors couldn’t access the users enrolled in their course through third-party applications that use the course membership REST API. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • At some institutions that use SIS integrations for notifications, a small number of user accounts were locked when notification traffic was heavy. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.17.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    We’re applying an updated version of 3800.17.0 (full release number 3800.17.0-rel.23+292bc5b) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn't view a course document after visiting an LTI link in a learning module that uses sequential availability. We've fixed the issue.
    • Instructors couldn’t access the users enrolled in their course through third-party applications that use the course membership REST API. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, students couldn’t view a test submission when SafeAssign was enabled and Respondus LockDown browser was required. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Expanded access to Ally in Ultra documents

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.19.0 | Release to Production 1 October 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Now, in the Ultra Course View, instructors and students can download Ally alternative formats for course documents in the expanded view. With Ally enabled at their institutions, instructors and students see the Ally icon in the top menu, next to the conversations icon. They can choose the alternative format that best suits their needs.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.15.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.15.0 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
    Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.15.0 (full release number 3800.15.0-rel.32+577dd66) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when partner content was used in a course, some content provider options didn't display in the Content Market. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, Vimeo videos wouldn't embed in course content. We've fixed the issue.
    • For some administrators, the Insight Report (Beta) displayed 0 for Auto-Archived Courses and Organizations and Days of logs available instead of the correct count. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.17.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.17.0 (full release number 3800.17.0-rel.14+16bd146) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, a variable name displayed instead of the Assessment security heading when users launched the LockDown Browser. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors couldn't close the Add Content menu for an empty folder with the X (close) icon on the Course Content page. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, when partner content was used in a course, some content provider options didn't display in the Content Market. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, Vimeo videos wouldn't embed in course content. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.17.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Original Experience, Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.17.0 (full release number 3800.17.0-rel.11+9b66d12) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, August 18, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Experience, forgotten password emails for custom, secondary brand domains incorrectly sent users to the main brand domain. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, content added with LTI tools wouldn't open with learning module navigation. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some users couldn’t log in to their Learn environment when a SAML SSO provider was created as inactive and then was set to active. We’ve fixed the issue. 

    Learn SaaS release 3800.15.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.15.0 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
    Original Experience, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.15.0 (full release number 3800.15.0-rel.28+ba39496) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Experience, forgotten password emails for custom, secondary brand domains incorrectly sent users to the main brand domain. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, content added with LTI tools wouldn't open with learning module navigation. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Protect assessments with access codes

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Features that support academic integrity and assessment security remain at the top of our priority list because of consistent feedback from Ultra early adopters and institutions evaluating a move to Ultra courses. Over the last several months, these concerns have been dramatically amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    So, we're happy to share that instructors can now add a system-generated access code for their assessments in the Ultra Course View. For the initial release, access codes can only be generated randomly and can't be customized. Instructors can also regenerate the access code when needed. Test facilitators can see the access code, but can't change it.

    Students need to enter the access code each time they start or continue an assessment. Instructors or test facilitators need to provide the access code, and students won't have a way to discover the access code on their own. Students don't need the access code to access their grades and feedback.

    More on the instructor workflow


    Automated test question feedback

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors rely on automated feedback in Original to provide focused feedback on individual test questions without needing to type feedback for each question on each submission. With this release, automated test question feedback is now available in Ultra courses. Instructors can enter feedback for correct and incorrect answers on auto-graded question types (such as True/False). Students will automatically receive the feedback when they submit the assessment.

    For this initial release, feedback will be available at the question level only. While conversion of automated feedback from Original courses is supported, any images, files, or weblinks in the Original course’s feedback will not convert. Future work will add feedback for individual answer choices and manual feedback for test questions.


    Send course announcement by email

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    To be sure Ultra course announcements reach as many students as possible, we've added the ability to send course announcements by email. Emails about Ultra announcements are always sent and aren't controlled by the global notification settings. Instructors also receive a copy as the email is sent to all course members. In the email, embedded content appears as links. Students can select the links to view the content.

    You can't send an email for an announcement that you schedule for a future date.

    We also reformatted the subject line for announcement emails in the Original Course View. Now, they’re consistent with the Ultra Course View.

    More on the instructor workflow


    Student list view in the gradebook

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.17.0 | Release to Production 3 September 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, we've added a new view option in the gradebook for Ultra courses. The new view, called student list view, improves gradebook performance in courses with very large enrollment numbers. In the student list view tab, instructors can see rows for each student in addition to a tab with rows for gradebook items.

    We listened to concerns that instructors have about the current gradebook and we incorporated these concerns into student list view. Items such as last access date, student, and user ID are included so instructors can easily get to the student record they want.

    The initial release allows instructors to view all the gradebook items for a single student and grade and give feedback on just those submissions. The next improvement for this feature will include additional filtering and sorting options, messaging, and accommodation options within the student list view.

    This view doesn't affect any current workflows that instructors use today. Student list view is an addition to the existing gradebook list view—the default view for Ultra courses.

    More on the instructor view


    Additional sources for embedded media in the text editor

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.15.0 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
    Ultra Course View

    This release expands our list of embedded media sources in the text editor. The Insert/Edit Video from Web option is now called Insert/Edit Media from Web. Users can add media from these sites:

    • VidGrid
    • Panopto™
    • FlipGrid
    • SlideShare
    • Prezi
    • VoiceThread
    • KhanAcademy
    • Kaltura
    • Soundcloud
    • Spotify®
    • Genial.ly
    • NearPod
    • Quizlet
    • EdPuzzle
    • YouTube™
    • Vimeo®

    Journal support for course copy and conversion

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.15.0 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, we've added support for Ultra journals in course copy and conversion. Now, Ultra journals are included in the list of content items to copy from one Ultra course to another. Users can also use the Administrator Panel or Copy Content to copy journals between courses. Journals can also be converted from an Original course to an Ultra course as part of the Ultra Course Preview and will be included in the course's export/archive ZIP file. Journal prompts and settings are included when an Original course is converted to the Ultra Course View. Comments and student entries aren’t included.

    The conversion workflow for journals will have additional improvements in the future.

    At this time, the Ultra journals grading view supports up to 50 users. Future development will expand this number.

    We recommend that you use Ultra journals as you build new courses, but our guidance is to limit teaching and grading usage until additional work is completed.


    Text editor added to course announcements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.15.0 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors rely on course announcements to deliver important, timely information to students. To make announcements easier to read and more visually appealing, many instructors enhance them by adding images, links, and text formatting. Now, instructors can use an enhanced text editor to add and display more types of content, links, embedded media, and file attachments in announcements in Ultra courses.

    View the instructor workflow

    In the next milestone, available in a future release, instructors will be able to send an email copy of a course announcement to recipients with an email address on record.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.13.0: Update to client Test/Stage environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.13.0 | Release to Production 2 July 2020
    Original Experience, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.13.0 (full release number 3800.13.0-rel.23+f2b803a) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Experience, some SIS integrations didn't process feed files. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Experience, administrators couldn’t see the result categories in an enterprise survey results report. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, certain assessment settings (like rubrics, delegated grading, and peer review) were disabled when an instructor added presentation-only content. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.11.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.11.0 (full release number 3800.11.0-rel.26+6de5309) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, June 11, 2020. 

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Course View, the Grade Center didn't load for users who use the Spanish language pack with a Chilean grading schema. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, recurring Collaborate Ultra sessions didn't appear under Join Session in the Details & Actions section after the first session. We've fixed the issue.

    Course discussions improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.13.0 | Release to Production 2 July 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, students currently can create their own discussion topics. This sometimes causes confusion in the student workflow when responding to discussions. With this release, instructors can decide if they want students to generate their own discussions or not. By default, students won't be able to create discussions. When students are allowed to create discussions, a label appears under discussion titles to show they were student-created.

    Note that the plus sign and the menu now appear in the upper-right corner of the Discussions page along with the new settings icon.

    More on the instructor view of discussions

    We also made several styling changes and usability improvements to the course discussions workflow, which include:

    • The Grader role can't modify a discussion by default, but an administrator can grant that permission if it's needed.
    • Students can delete the discussions they created if no one else has responded.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.11.0 (full release number 3800.11.0-rel.23+7619f1a) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. 

    Updates in this version include:

    • Files attached to discussion threads replaced existing discussion files when copied into existing courses. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, when an instructor created a test from a question set, they couldn't add more than one question. We've fixed the issue.
    • Some administrators saw large numbers of assignment submission exceptions in their logs. We’ve added log information to help determine the sources of those exceptions.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.11.0 (full release number 3800.11.0-rel.13+dc44ed6) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. 

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, students with special characters in their name couldn't launch a test in Respondus LockDown Browser. We've fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, instructors couldn't enter maximum points for a graded discussion thread. We've fixed the issue.
    • Some administrators still saw "New Box View" as their building block title after Bb Annotate was turned on. We've fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.9.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.9.0 | Release to Production 7 May 2020
    Original Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.9.0 (full release number 3800.9.0-rel.29+616af15) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, May 21, 2020. 

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, students with special characters in their name couldn't launch a test in Respondus LockDown Browser. We've fixed the issue.

    Discussions added to Copy Content

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, Copy Content now supports discussions. Instructors can create a discussion in one Ultra Course View course and copy it to other Ultra courses they teach.


    Journals in Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Journals are now available in the Ultra Course View. Instructors can create a journal assignment on the Course Content page, add them to learning modules, and use conditional release if they want. Journal assignments appear in the activity stream, and students and instructors can discuss the entry in comments. Instructors can make a journal assignment count for a grade and add a rubric so students know what they'll be graded on. The initial release includes a basic grading workflow, where instructors enter grades manually in the gradebook. Full grading functionality and support for course copy and conversion are expected later this year. Continued enhancements are also coming for the Participants panel.

    The Ultra journals grading view currently supports up to 50 students. Future improvements will expand this number.

    We recommend using Ultra journals as you build new courses, but our guidance is to limit teaching and grading usage until additional improvements are completed.

    Visit the instructor topic


    Score per Question in Ultra assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In the Original Course View, instructors use Score per Question feedback settings to control if students see the score they earned for each assessment question. With this release, in the Ultra Course View, instructors can deactivate the default and choose not to show Score per Question feedback in assessments.


    Students can embed media from integrated tools in Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.11.0 | Release to Production 4 June 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, students can add links and embed media from integrated tools using the Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) standard. When using the content editor in tools such as Discussion Boards and Assignments, students will now also be able to access a list of integrated LTI Tools, choose resources, and include them in their authored content. This will allow students to add media and resources from tools such as Kaltura, among many others. Administrators must configure which tool placements are appropriate for student use and access. Both LTI Advantage and the older LTI 1.1 are supported for this workflow in the Ultra Course View. The placement configuration screen for administrators has also been improved for clarity in this release.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.9.0: Update to release notes

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.9.0 | Release to Production 7 May 2020
    Ultra Course View

    We prematurely announced that version 3800.9.0 contained the ability for students to embed media from integrated tools in the Ultra Course View. We are still testing this feature, and it’s targeted for release in the near future. We apologize for the confusion.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.6.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.6.0 | Release to Production 2 April 2020
    Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.6.0 (full release number 3800.6.0-rel.16+f1c0e8e) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, some students' participation in gradable discussions didn't report correctly to the gradebook. We've fixed the issue.
    • Some fixes behind the scenes to keep your environments tidy.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.6.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.6.0 | Release to Production 2 April 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.6.0 (full release number 3800.6.0-rel.13+fa0f5ed) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, some students couldn’t see the group they were assigned to after they were randomly enrolled. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, if a course had a large number of enrolled students, instructors couldn't access the Grades and Participation view. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Original Course View, students couldn’t view completed assignment rubrics if their assignment was graded using delegated grading. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some instructors couldn’t create math equation assessment questions using the math editor. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Students who accessed Blackboard with Google Chrome couldn’t view a full PDF in their course. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some private APIs required permissions that didn’t work correctly with Java 11. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.4.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of the 3800.4.0 Ultra user interface (full release number 3800.4.0-rel.40+d78544e) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, if a course had a large number of enrolled students, instructors couldn't access the Grades and Participation view. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Auto-archive on course deletion

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.6.0 | Release to Production 2 April 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    With this release, a complete archive package will now be created automatically when a course is deleted. The archive package is stored in the course's autoArchive folder like other automatic archives, but the filename is different:Course_ID_Course_PKID_Course_Title_currentTime_in_milliseconds_bb_permanent.zip. Once a course is archived and deleted, course resources will be automatically purged and won't be in the recycle bin so that disk space isn’t used by a deleted course.

    Learn more on course deletion

    Learn more on automatic archives


    Course-level group self-enrollment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.6.0 | Release to Production 2 April 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Previously, self-enrollment groups were limited to assignments and discussions in the Ultra Course View. With this release, instructors can create self-enrollment course groups that can apply to any graded content within a course. When they create a new course group set, instructors will see Self-enrollment in the Group students menu.

    Instructors can add a description for the group set, specify the start and end times of an enrollment period, and set the maximum members per group. After the group set is created, a course announcement is automatically created to inform students of the enrollment period. When the enrollment period ends, students who haven't joined a group will be assigned to one automatically.

    Student view


    Rich text editor improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.6.0 | Release to Production 2 April 2020
    Ultra Course View

    We made some improvements to the rich text editor in the Ultra Course View:

    • We moved the file attachment function to the top level so it's easier to access.
    • We added a strikethrough font style option.
    • We updated our function groupings so they're easier to read on smaller screens.
    • We allowed the browser to control the background of highlighted text to improve accessibility.

     


    Learn SaaS release 3800.4.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.4.0 (full release number 3800.4.0-rel.20+6b6dbf5) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors were informed that their institution had made messages read-only for students in English instead of their selected language. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some administrators saw a both successful and a failed login for each sign-in attempt in their authentication logs. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some administrators encountered LDAP authentication problems because the TLS connection failed. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issues with file uploads and downloads in the Ultra Course View:
      • Some users saw the upload icon buffering even though they could upload and download files. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some students couldn’t download files they added to essay questions. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issue with grading in the Ultra Course View:
      • Some student submissions reordered randomly while an instructor was grading. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issues with file uploads and downloads in the Original Course View:
      • Some users couldn’t upload files with % in the filename. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some users couldn’t download files attached to submissions that use Box view. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3800.2.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.2.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.2.0 (full release number 3800.2.0-rel.24+29cd420) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Experience, the last login date wasn’t updating accurately for users with cloud profiles. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some users couldn’t see images they added to the text editor until their content was posted or submitted. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issues with file uploads and downloads in the Ultra Course View:
      • Some users saw the upload icon buffering even though they could upload and download files. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some users couldn’t download files they had previously uploaded if the filename contained a special character. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some students couldn’t download files they added to essay questions. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issues with grading in the Ultra Course View:
      • Some student submissions reordered randomly while an instructor was grading. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some instructors encountered a blank screen after entering a grade for a student assignment that had multiple attempts. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some instructors didn’t see entered grades in the gradebook until they refreshed the page. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Issues with file uploads and downloads in the Original Course View:
      • Some users couldn’t upload files with % in the filename. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • Some users couldn’t download files attached to submissions that use Box view. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Calculated Formula question type for Ultra assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Calculated Formula question types are now available in assessments using the Ultra Course View. Calculated Formula questions require students to make a calculation and respond with a numeric answer. This feature has been highly requested, especially by institutions whose STEM disciplines rely on Learn. Now, instructors can convert Calculated Formula questions from their Original courses or add new ones within the Ultra Course View.

    When creating a new assessment, select the plus sign to open the menu and then select Add Calculated Formula question. Begin by adding the question text and answer formula. In Ultra Course View only, instructors can choose whether to display the formula to students with the text. Instructors can then adjust the answer settings and verify the question.


    Course ID displays with Course Name

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

    In this release, a Course ID now appears with the Course Name in key areas when Ultra base navigation is enabled. Now, users can find their Course IDs on the Courses page of base navigation, in the Calendar, and when copying course content.


    Create Item panel options open by default

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    Now, when instructors create new content on the Course Content page, all options in the Create Item panel will open by default. In previous versions, only the Course Content Items options opened by default. Instructors often missed the arrow to expand these menus, leading them to believe that fewer content items were available than there actually were. Loading these menus by default also makes the content creation workflow faster.


    Improvements to Discussion conversion in Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    We're improving the conversion of Discussions from Original to Ultra courses. Previously, the Discussion conversion workflow has caused confusion and manual work to complete. With this release, a graded discussion in an Original course that allows members to create threads will convert to a Graded Ultra discussion and all of its seed child threads and replies will be removed. A graded discussion in an Original course that doesn't allow members to create threads will keep the current behavior. Group boards, forums, and threads won't be converted.


    Make Messages Read-only for Students

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    With this release, administrators can choose whether students are able to create and reply to messages in both Original and Ultra courses. Now Learn Course Messages can better adjust to institutions' different communication preferences and policies. To find this setting, go to Admin Panel > Tools and Utilities > Course Messages.

    When you select this option, students also can't forward messages.

    More on course messages options


    Miscellaneous updates

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    • We changed the way students are sorted in Ultra gradebook views for calculated columns and overall grade. Students now sort by last name throughout the gradebook.
    • We increased the length of the course name in tile view on the Courses page. Unless the course name is exceptionally long, users should see the full course name.
    • We increased the line spacing of discussion posts to make them easier to read.
    • We made some additional visual improvements to the Courses pages in Ultra base navigation, the Calendar, and the Copy Content workflow. Among the changes, we updated some text to a heavier weight as a result of the small icon update.
    • We updated some small icons in the text editor.

    Students won't get notifications for submissions collected offline

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, students won't see overdue notifications for Ultra Assessments that use the Collect Submissions Offline setting. Because Learn relies on instructors to create the submissions for offline assessments, students were sometimes notified an assessment was overdue even if they turned it in on time. Now, these notifications won't appear.


    Text editor word count

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, we added a word count to the text editor when instructors create Documents and students respond to Assessment essay questions in the Ultra Course View. This feature will help students meet minimum word count requirements their instructors may have communicated. Future enhancements will add the word count feature in other areas of Learn Ultra, including instructor grading workflows.


    Text update for adding YouTube videos

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, we clarified a menu option in the text editor. Previously, users could select Insert Web Content in the text editor to embed a YouTube video. User feedback indicated that many users didn't understand that they could embed YouTube videos. To make options clearer, we changed the menu option to Insert YouTube Video.


    Text update for Matching questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.4.0 | Release to Production 5 March 2020
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, we added text to the Matching question creation workflow. Now, Learn directs instructors to delete the default additional answer field before saving if it's not needed. User feedback indicated it wasn't intuitive to delete this additional option when creating matching questions.

    We also removed the student-facing text that suggested answers may be used more than once. Client feedback requested that the direction be left to instructors.


    Learn SaaS release 3800.2.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.2.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.2.0 (full release number 3800.2.0-rel.20+2226729) to some client Production servers during off-hours beginning Thursday, February 6, 2020. This update will be applied to clients in the following regions or time zones:

    • Americas Central
    • Americas Mountain
    • Americas Pacific
    • Asia and Oceania
    • Europe, Middle East, and Africa

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Original Course View, users couldn’t access pre-existing course glossaries. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some users couldn't view inline or download files attached to essay questions if the file names had certain special characters. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • In the Ultra Course View, some users couldn’t view inline or download files with New Box View. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Some assignments submitted through SafeAssign got stuck in In Progress status and the submission didn’t complete. We’ve fixed the issue.
    • Users accessing Learn with the Google Chrome 80 beta release had trouble with SAML login authentication. We’ve fixed the issue.

    Learn SaaS release 3700.16.0: Known issue

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Course View

    We're currently investigating a known issue in Learn SaaS v3700.16.0:

    • In the Ultra Course View, when you associate multiple group discussions with the same course group set, responses made in one of the group discussions appear in all of the associated group discussions. While we resolve this issue, you can create new group sets for each group discussion.

    We'll update this note with more details as they become available.

    More information on group discussions


    Learn SaaS release 3800.2.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.2.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3800.2.0 (full release number 3800.2.0-rel.14+94469ce) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, students could change their self-enrollment group after they had been assigned a grade for a Discussion. We've fixed the issue.


    Group self-enrollment enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.2.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Ultra Course View

    We’ve enhanced self-enrollment for students and instructors in the Ultra Course View. Now, students can change self-enrollment groups themselves within the instructor-specified enrollment period. Before, once a student joined a group, they couldn’t change groups themselves.

    On the left, the student's Group details section is open with the list of self-enrollment groups available to join. On the right, the list of self-enrollment groups shows 1) the message "Joined" in one group and 2) the option "Move to this group" in the groups available to join.

    We also replaced the Number of groups drop-down menu with a counter for instructors. The counter updates with the number of groups instructors create using the + option. Before, if an instructor picked a number of groups from the drop-down menu and then added or deleted a group, the Number of groups count didn't change. This enhancement streamlines the workflow and reduces confusion.

    Learn more about group assignments


    Learn SaaS release 3700.16.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.16.0 (full release number 3700.16.0-rel.56+7b9695c) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, January 9, 2020.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors couldn’t upload more than one file at a time to the course outline. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, instructors couldn’t upload a folder containing multiple files to the course outline. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, when instructors changed a Content Collection file link using the Assignment text editor, the file was deleted. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • In the Ultra Course View, when instructors dragged files added from their Institution’s Content Collection in and out of folders, the files moved to a read only folder in the course’s Content Collection. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Additional updates in the user interface

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.0.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

    • Links to Blackboard’s Privacy statement and Terms of Use now appear at the bottom of the global navigation bar in the Ultra Experience.
    • Previously, disabled students were included in the Participants list for a discussion in the Ultra Course View. This was confusing for instructors since these students don't display in assessment submission lists or in the gradebook. This update removes disabled students from the Participants list in discussions, so this view is now consistent with assessments and the gradebook.
    • With this release, Blackboard Learn will remember instructors’ preferences for the Show attempts that don't contribute to user's grade filter on the Needs Grading page in the Original Course View. By default, the checkbox is unselected and student attempts that don’t affect grades won’t show on the Needs Grading list. When an instructor changes the setting, Learn will remember the preference across that user’s sessions and courses.

    Ally updates in Ultra courses

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.0.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, we’ve expanded Ally support for accessible content in Ultra courses. Now, students and instructors can access Ally’s alternative formats and accessibility indication for content directly in the Ultra course outline.

    Ally’s accessibility indication is also now available in Ultra Assessments for content embedded in the rich text editor.


    Pearson's MyLab and Mastering (MLM) Partner Cloud integration

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3800.0.0 | Release to Production February 2020
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    After much anticipation, Pearson’s popular MyLab and Mastering (MLM) courseware can now be used in Blackboard Learn Ultra courses thanks to the new Pearson MyLab and Mastering Partner Cloud integration. Set-up and configuration of the integration is easily managed through the Learn Administrator Panel, and once made available, instructors can efficiently access and add Pearson MLM content into their Ultra courses through the familiar Content Market.

    Major features of the Pearson MLM Building Block are available with the new Partner Cloud integration, including single sign-on, deep content linking, and manual grade synchronization. Not using Ultra courses quite yet? This integration works with Blackboard Learn Original courses too. This is especially helpful for schools who may be piloting or fully using the Ultra experience with dual course mode enabled. By implementing the Pearson MLM Partner Cloud integration, administrators can rest assured that instructors can add Pearson MLM content regardless of which course view they choose.

    In addition, admins can choose to utilize our migration tool which migrates existing courses and content using the MLM Building Block to Partner Cloud. While migrating to Partner Cloud gives users more flexibility in terms of which course view they can use, the Pearson MLM Building Block will still be supported for institutions who decide to keep their current configuration.

    Visit Behind the Blackboard for more information on the Pearson MLM Partner Cloud integration and migration tool, including system requirements and admin guide.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.16.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Experience, Original Experience

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.16.0 (full release number 3700.16.0-rel.27+2787f87) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • The Content Editor didn't load correctly for some users. We've fixed the issue.

    • In the mobile apps, users couldn’t access offline content in courses converted from Original to Ultra Course View. We've fixed the issue.


    Course-level group sets

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Course View

    To further support effective teaching and learning, we’ve enhanced the functionality of the Groups workspace for the Ultra Course View. With this release, instructors can create course-level group sets and align them to discussions, tests, and assignments. Within an Ultra course, select Course Groups from the Details & Actions menu. Create a new group set and save. In the settings panel of a discussion, test, or assignment, select Assign to groups. Then select your group set from the Group students menu.


    Grade pill color

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In the Ultra Course View, the color of the grade pill visually communicates grades/marks to students and instructors. While effective in many instances, we’ve received feedback from some Ultra early adopters that grade color can have an adverse effect on student well-being. We first introduced the ability to turn off grade pill color in the Blackboard App, and with this release we’re bringing this functionality and flexibility to Learn.

    Course grades for an individual student

    Administrators can visit Course Settings > Grade Pill Colors in the Administrator Panel to disable grade pill colors.

    Learn more about disabling grade pill colors


    Text update for Multiple Answer questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.16.0 | Release to Production 5 December 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In previous versions, the prompt for Multiple Choice questions differed from that of Multiple Answer questions. This difference offered an unintentional clue to students when a question had more than one correct answer. Based on feedback from the community, including St. Mary's College, we've made the prompt consistent across Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer question types.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.11.0: Update to client Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.11.0 (full release number 3700.11.0-rel.17+dca4b12) to client Production servers during off-hours on Thursday, October 24, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When instructors reused a question pool in the Ultra Course View, answers to Multiple Choice questions didn't randomize correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.14.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.14.0 (full release number 3700.14.0-rel.3+e156b1f) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, October 22, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • When instructors reused a question pool in the Ultra Course View, answers to Multiple Choice questions didn't randomize correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • The X icon didn't display correctly in some Ultra Course View panels. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Ally updates

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In this release, we've improved the Ally experience in Ultra courses. Now students can download alternative formats of files and images attached to documents. Just select the download option next to a file and choose the format you want.

    Accessibility scores for instructors are also available with attachments in document and tests. The scores appear next to the files they are scoring. This makes it easier for instructors to see how their content scores and fix any issues. 

    Accessibility scores and alternative format icons are only available with attached files. They aren't available with files and images added in the content editor.


    Assessment Settings panel button update

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In a continued effort to make Learn Ultra as consistent as possible, we updated the previous Done button to match the rest of the system. We've found that instructors prefer the Save and Cancel options, so we updated the Assessment Settings to align with that preference.


    Batch Edit moved into overflow menu

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    When we first introduced Batch Edit, we wanted to make sure that users saw this new capability. We gave it a level of prominence that, over time, was too strong given the standard usage of the tool. We moved it into the overflow menu to better align with how it's used.

    More on Batch Edit in Ultra


    Description field for Ultra documents

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to be able to give an overview to students so they have a clear understanding of what's expected of them. While instructors generally had the ability to give this overview in the Ultra Course View, we didn't offer this ability when instructors created an Ultra document. With this enhancement, instructors can provide high-level details about what the Ultra documents contain. This reduces unnecessary clicks for students and improves their overall experiences. Instructors can open the Document Settings panel in an existing document to add a description. Students can see descriptions on the Course Content page.


    Empty learning modules removed

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As an education company, it's sometimes important to display a sense of preference in the system's pedagogical approach. While learning modules are a powerful tool, we understand that displaying one all the time can cause some unintended stress to instructors. Listening to our community is important, so we've removed the learning module when you first log in to an empty template as well as the empty module that appeared on the page.


    Error messages when deleting assessments with externally-referenced questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View

    To help instructors understand why they can't delete some items, we've added three detailed messages. Instructors can't delete question banks, folders, or assessments that contain questions used in question pools in other assessments.


    New icons

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.14.0 | Release to Production 7 November 2019
    Ultra Course View, Ultra Experience

    Iconography is incredibly important in Learn Ultra. The icon set we currently use was created when we first brought Ultra to the market. We've done a lot of research with our clients regarding what they liked and didn't like about the iconography in the system. Because of that feedback, we've made some adjustments to the icon set. Most notably, the new icons are darker and appear more prominently now.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.11.0 (full release number 3700.11.0-rel.13+1c185dd) to client Test/Staging servers during off-hours on Tuesday, October 1, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • In the Ultra Course View, correct and credited answers to matching questions displayed as Incorrect to some students. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.11.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying UI updates to 3700.11.0 (full release number 3700.11.0-rel.11+6b1d246) on client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • The question pools panel sometimes closed unexpectedly on launch in the Ultra Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Attendance and course copy, archive/restore, and export/import

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    As a first step in improving how attendance data is handled during course copies and exports, we’ve made these improvements:

    • Attendance data isn’t included in a course export or when you copy a course into a new or existing course. The attendance option is removed from the copy and export options.
    • Attendance data is included in an archive/restore and in an exact course copy.
    • Export/import creates an attendance column in the Ultra gradebook and the Original Grade Center that you can’t delete, but no attendance data is added.

    More about attendance and course copy


    Bulk download submissions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    When assignments require students to submit files in Learn, it's time-consuming for instructors to download each individual submission to grade it, especially in large courses. With this release, instructors can now download multiple student assignment submissions at once as a ZIP file from the Ultra gradebook.

    Instructors can download files from the Ultra gradebook or from the submissions list page with the Download all option. Instructors can then choose whether to download all or select specific submissions. Instructors receive an email and a course message when the ZIP file is ready to download to their computers.

    Courses with 5,000 or more students may see page load times of up to 30 seconds. We’ll address the limitation in the near future.

    More on bulk download in Learn Ultra


    Decimal point values for assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    To balance the total points possible in their courses, instructors need the flexibility to assign fractional possible points to test questions and assessments. With this update, instructors can now enter decimal values in the Points field for individual questions and in the Maximum points field for assessments that don't contain individually graded questions.

    When creating a question in an assessment, instructors can enter values with up to two numbers after the decimal in the Points field. For assessments with no individual questions, the Maximum points field will accept values with up to two numbers after the decimal.


    Delete copied course attendance data

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    When instructors prepare a course for an upcoming term, they commonly copy all content, including the gradebook, from the last term’s course. For courses that used the attendance tool, the copied attendance gradebook column was difficult to remove. With this release, instructors can delete attendance gradebook columns added during a course copy from the destination course’s gradebook.

    Instructors can delete copied attendance columns from the gradebook menu. The attendance column that is correctly associated with the course can be deleted if all students’ attendance records are removed first.

    In the Ultra Course View's gradebook list or grid view, open the menu for the extra attendance column from a course copy and select Delete.

    In the Original Course View's Grade Center, open the menu for the extra attendance column and select Delete Column.

     

    More on attendance 


    Regrade questions in question pools

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    This release allows instructors to regrade individual questions within a question pool in Ultra. Questions within pools can be regraded from a student’s submission using the same options available for questions not within a pool. Instructors can also regrade from the assessment panel after selecting View questions in a question pool. When regrading, a message informs the instructor if a question is used in other course assessments. Question updates made while regrading affect all instances of that question in the course.


    Select all and clear all questions for question pools

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.11.0 | Release to Production 3 October 2019
    Ultra Course View

    When adding questions to a question pool, instructors need to be able to select large groups of questions quickly and efficiently. As instructors create question pools for their Ultra assessments, the options to Select all and Clear all question choices now appear on the Add Question Pool page.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.9.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.9.0 (full release number 3700.9.0-rel.16+4fb2947) to client Test/Stage servers during off-hours on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • Users encountered an error message when saving changes to their default brand in the Ultra Experience. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Open Education pages returned errors site-wide. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Assessments took longer than usual to load in the Ultra Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • For users preparing to migrate to a SaaS deployment, the Move Legacy Content tool caused problems with Turnitin feedback. We’ve fixed the issue.


    Additional updates in the user interface

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2019
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    • In an Original course, if instructors delete a content folder in a content area that contains graded items with no attempts, the corresponding columns are also deleted from the Grade Center.
    • We've made these refinements to question pools in Ultra Course View:
      • A more accessible button structure
      • Clearer error and confirmation modal messages

    Collaborate Ultra in private mode

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Create Collaborate sessions in your course before making it live. Now instructors can pre-schedule Collaborate sessions in their Ultra courses any time. Even when the course isn't available to students.


    Filter students by grading status

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Grading student work is one of the most important, yet time consuming tasks in the management of a course. Often, an instructor knows which course and assignment needs to be graded, but it can be difficult to identify which students have made submissions. In order to help instructors locate submissions and begin grading more quickly, we have added a Needs Grading filter to the submissions list for individual assessments.

    On an item's Submissions page in the Ultra gradebook, instructors can use the new Filter menu to display only those submissions that need grading. At this time, instructors can filter by All statuses and Needs grading.

    The Filter menu doesn't appear for group and discussion items.


    Group self-enrollment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can create self-enrollment groups for students to join to complete group assignments and discussions. Instructors choose the number of groups, can set the maximum members per group, and may allow students to view other members of the groups before they choose a group.

    Instructors may set an enrollment period that students see on the Course Content page and with the group items. Instructors see Self-enroll on the Course Content page and with group assignments and discussions.

    More on the instructor workflow

    More on the student workflow


    Integrations with LTI Advantage

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.9.0 | Release to Production 5 September 2019
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    For both Original and Ultra courses, tools integrated with LTI Advantage that report submission and grading status show this information in the Original Grade Center or the Ultra gradebook. Upcoming due date or overdue notifications for students are dismissed if the tool indicates the student submitted the assignment.

    In Ultra Course View, tools integrated with LTI Advantage behave more like standard Learn assignments. Reported grades aren’t displayed to students until they are posted by the instructor.


    Create question pools

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.7.0 | Release to Production 12 August 2019
    Ultra Course View

    To help build assessments quickly and encourage academic integrity, instructors can now create question pools in the Ultra Course View. With question pools, students receive different sets of questions to answer. Instructors can add questions from all existing tests, assignments, and question banks in their courses.

    In the Ultra Course View, question pools replace the Original Course View's random blocks and question sets. Instructors can create as many question pools as they want and add, edit, and remove questions in the pools. Edits appear anywhere questions are used. 

    More on creating question pools


    Show answers option in Ultra assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.7.0 | Release to Production 12 August 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In Ultra assessments, instructors can decide if students see the answers to questions that were answered incorrectly. For example, instructors may want students to see which questions they missed on a multiple attempt assessment, but don’t want to show the correct answers. Instructors may also hide answers until all students complete their submissions.

    In the assessment settings panel, a new option appears: Show correct answers. The option isn’t selected by default, so correct answers are hidden from students. Instructors need to return to the assessment settings and select Show correct answers so students can review them with the assessment content.

    More on the Show correct answers option


    Office 365/G Suite integration for Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.3.0 | Release to Production 6 June 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Learning institutions all over the world are adopting Office 365 and G Suite. With the many benefits they offer, these cloud suites are a compelling solution for education. In this release, we’re pleased to introduce the Office 365 and G Suite integration with Blackboard Learn. Instructors and students can now add files from their institution cloud storage account directly into their courses. Before this release, they could only add files from their personal cloud accounts.

    Administrators need to allow and set up the integration with the institution's suite account. The service provider and domain name are needed to complete institution account configuration. After configuration, authenticated institution cloud accounts are associated with Blackboard Learn accounts. This means that users don't need to authenticate more than once. The institution accounts display in their course no matter what device or browser they use.

    Users must use a login ID that matches the domain configured for institution accounts to display.

    Under Integrations in the Administrator Panel, select Institution Cloud Storage to set up the integration.

    More on Institution Cloud Storage


    Parallel grading in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.3.0 | Release to Production 6 June 2019
    Ultra Course View

    For higher stakes assessments, a double marking process is sometimes used in which each student’s submission is evaluated by two graders and a final grader reviews those evaluations to make the final decision on a student’s grade. This approach intends to reduce bias and is often paired with student anonymity. When setting up an assignment in the Ultra Course View, instructors can enable parallel grading and select non-student course members to act as graders and reconcilers. Instructors can also hide student names to prevent unintended bias.

    The Assignment settings panel is open with the "2 graders per student" checkbox selected and the Evaluation options section pointed and highlighted.

    More on parallel grading in Learn Ultra


    Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to Ultra Production environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of the 3700.0.0 Ultra user interface (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.23+4c6d4de) to client Production servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 1:00 PM EST on May 13, 2019.

    Updates in this version relate only to the Ultra Course View and include:

    • Instructors weren't able to use rubrics on graded group discussions in the Ultra Course View. We've fixed the issue.
    • Students saw an error message when opening a rubric applied to a graded group assignment submission in the Ultra Course View. We've fixed the issue.

    After your environment is updated, users will need to refresh their browser or log out and log in again to see the updates.


    Learn SaaS release 3700.0.0: Update to client Test/Staging environments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    As part of our commitment to release quality, we’re applying an updated version of 3700.0.0 (full release number 3700.0.0-rel.14+b5a694ef) to client Test/Staging servers. Your instance may be updated starting at 1:00AM EST on April 30, 2019.

    Updates in this version include:

    • A bug was introduced related to discussions in the Ultra Course View. Discussion settings weren't retained when an Ultra course was duplicated. We've fixed the issue.

    Gradebook improvements: Filter based on merged courses

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Grading tasks and workflows vary widely from instructor to instructor. To support these specific workflows in Ultra, we’re building features to help ease the administrative burden of working in the grade book. In this release, instructors can filter their gradebook view based on child courses that have been merged. Instructors who manage merged courses can filter the gradebook view to show only students in a specific child course.

    Learn how to filter your view in the gradebook


    Individual feedback for group assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors often use group-based assessments as part of their curriculums. There are times when instructors want to provide specific feedback for individuals in a group, in addition to group feedback overall. In this release, we introduce the ability to provide feedback for an entire group as well as individual members.

    For group assessments, instructors can add individual feedback for each student within a group. Previously, each student in a group received the same feedback and only differentiated grades were supported. Now group members can see feedback for the group and their individual feedback if provided.

    More on how to give individual feedback on group assessments


    Preview course as a student

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    This feature was previously announced as part of 3600.0.0. We found an issue with this feature that would impact the user experience. After carefully reviewing the issue and to ensure release quality, we concluded that we should remove Student Preview from that release for quality concerns.

    This feature is now confirmed as part of 3700.0.0.

    Instructors want to be confident that their courses are well-designed and function as intended—before their students see them. Instructors can use student preview to review the course content. They can also validate the course behaviors, such as those that control course content availability or require a particular interaction from the students to be triggered. With student preview, instructors can experience their courses exactly as their students do. 

    Start student preview from the Details & Actions menu within your Ultra course. The preview creates user in your course that you can use to view everything as a student would.

    Get started with student preview in the Ultra Course View


    Question Banks in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3700.0.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2019
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, instructors can now directly import question banks, including question pools that have been exported from Original courses and packages of questions that have been purchased from a publisher. These questions are then available for use and reuse across the assessments in that course. Imported question banks display in the same area of the question reuse search and filter panel as pools that were converted from Original courses. As with any conversion from Original to Ultra, question types that are not yet supported are dropped during the processing of the imported file.

    Instructors can import question banks to use in their assessments. Access to question banks now appears on the Course Content page in the Details & Actions panel.

    Learn more about question banks


    Enhanced discussion analysis metrics

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
    Ultra Course View

    To better inform grading and provide additional insight in to the level of engagement in graded discussions, we've added three new metrics to the Discussion Analysis area of the Ultra Course View. Now, in addition to sentence complexity, critical thinking, and counts of responses and replies, graders can view statistics for the number of substantive posts, lexical classification (counts of content and functional words), and the percentage of word variation in a student’s posts for a given discussion. These market-leading analytics provide instructors a holistic overview of the level at which students are writing and may better inform differentiation in grading discussions.

    Find discussion analytics on the Grades & Participation page for a discussion. Select a student’s name to view their responses and replies. Discussion Analysis appears next to the student’s discussion activity to give you an overview of their engagement.

    What do the metrics mean?


    Grant students exceptions in specific assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
    Ultra Course View

    This feature is included in the 3500.11.0 release, but wasn't enabled in time for the push to client Test servers. It will be available when the release reaches client Production servers.

    There are times when unforeseen circumstances lead an instructor to grant a student extended access or additional attempts for a specific assessment. With the introduction of assessment exceptions, instructors are no longer forced to create copies of an assessment for individual students, create and remove accommodations, or use other cumbersome workarounds.

    Instructors can grant individual students additional time to access an assessment, even if it is hidden to other students. Additional attempts may also be configured, again for an individual student on an individual assessment. In the future, we hope to introduce due date exceptions so that students who are granted extended access will not be marked late for submissions made after the original due date.

    On the Submissions page, you can add an exception for an individual student. You can adjust the number of attempts or the assessment’s availability.

    More on per-assessment exceptions


    Kaltura integration in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
    Ultra Course View

    This feature was previously announced as part of 3500.5.0

    Instructors can now use Kaltura in the Ultra Course View. Specifically, instructors can use Kaltura in these ways when configured in Blackboard Learn:

    • Add a link to the Kaltura My Media (personal video storage repository) and the Kaltura Media Gallery (course shared media repository). An instructor can add these links to their Course Content page from within Books & Tools and Content Market
    • Embed video content directly from Kaltura into the editor using the Insert/Edit LTI Item option. This allows instructors to embed videos in documents, assessments, discussions, conversations, and messages.

    Administrators can leverage LTI tools and placements to create these access points for instructors.

    More on managing Kaltura


    Regrade questions in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.11.0 | Release to Production 7 March 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Without the ability to edit and regrade test questions after they have been delivered to students, instructors were forced to open each student’s submission and update scores one-by-one. With this release, test questions can be edited in one place. These edits, along with any score adjustments, are automatically performed for all submissions that contain the updated question.

    The top right-hand side menu lets you edit or regrade a question, or align question with your goals.

    In some cases, a question may be beyond repair and it is more appropriate to give all students full credit for the question, regardless of their answers. To support this scenario, full credit can be given to all students for a specific question. Instructors can trigger question regrading from the assessment canvas or from any student’s submission – the result is the same. When an instructor edits a question, the update appears in all submissions for that assessment and students’ grades adjust automatically based on the new correct answer or selection of the Give full credit for question option.

    To edit or regrade a question, go to the assessment. Point to the question's menu and select Edit/Regrade to modify the question.

    More on regrading questions


    Collaborate Attendance Integration with Blackboard Learn

    Continuous Delivery Collaborate February 2019 | Release to Production 6-7 February 2019
    Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2019
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2019
    New features, Original Course View, Ultra Course View, Building Block

    This will be available with the Collaborate February release scheduled 6-7 February 2019.

    Let Collaborate take attendance for you. In this Collaborate release, Blackboard Learn instructors can host a Collaborate session without tracking attendance manually.

    Based on criteria you can set, Collaborate tracks if a student is present, late, or absent from a session. Collaborate then sends that information directly to the Attendance page in your Blackboard Learn course.

    Attendance from the Collaborate session is counted in each student's average attendance in the course, which can also be used in calculating student grades.

    More on Collaborate attendance reporting in Blackboard Learn 9.1

    More on Collaborate attendance reporting in Blackboard Learn SaaS 

    Example of Collaborate session attendance in the attendance page

    Gradebook improvements: Search gradebook columns and categories

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    There are times when an instructor needs to check on the status for a single gradebook column or create a simple, filtered view of a specific gradebook category across all students. Building on the student search we built for the gradebook grid view in an earlier release, instructors can search using column and category criteria. These additional search options reduce the scrolling and visual scanning required to quickly verify or filter.

    Begin typing the title of a column or category in to the gradebook grid view search field. Search results include any columns, categories, or even students who match the search term or phrase. We've included a label within the search results to help distinguish among these three types of results.

    Search field in the Gradebook grid view.

    Proctoring service using Respondus Lockdown Browser

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Respondus LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments. The LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard Learn, which means that students are unable to copy, print, access other applications, or visit other websites during an online exam. It works seamlessly with Blackboard Learn and is built in to the assessment settings. When instructors configure an assessment to require the LockDown Browser, students will only be able to begin their attempts if they access the assessment with the LockDown Browser.

    Secure assessments are delivered using tools provided by Respondus. If this integration is available at your institution, you can access the Respondus Dashboard in the Settings area of both assignments and tests in the Ultra Course View. On the dashboard, choose to deliver the assessment using Respondus LockDown Browser alone, or include the Webcam.

    More on Respondus integration with Blackboard Learn SaaS

    Test setting panel open focused on the assessment security section showing Respondus

    SCORM advanced settings and reporting

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.9.0 | Release to Production 31 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Over the past year, Blackboard has been focusing development attention on incorporating SCORM functionality into the Ultra Course View. This release includes the advanced settings functionality as well as reporting analytics for instructors.

    Advanced settings options appear for instructors when they add a SCORM package to their course. After students submit SCORM attempts, instructors can view detailed reporting on time spent, average score, and attempts completed.

    This marks the final milestone for SCORM’s foundation. Our next focus will be on xAPI and partnering with a Learner Record Store to use the deeper reporting functionality of the xAPI format. 

    More on SCORM analytics


    Gradebook improvements: Search submission list and pagination

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    There are times when an instructor needs to find a specific submission or submission status for a specific student. To address this need, we’ve expanded gradebook search capabilities. Previously, we added the ability to search for students in the grade book grid view. This release brings that capability to the submission list view.

    An instructor can go to the submission list and quickly locate a particular student to check the status of submissions or access the submission itself. Additionally, we’ve added pagination to the submission list. The default view is for 25 students, but instructors may also set the page to display 50 or 100 users. This setting is sticky, so a selection of 50 or 100 is retained when instructors leave the submission list and return later.

    More on searching the submission list


    Learning modules supported in conversion from Original to Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    In an earlier release, we brought the learning modules capability to the Ultra Course View. Starting with this release, learning modules are preserved in course copy, export, import, and restore operations.

    When converting a learning module from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View, the force sequence requirement is unchecked by default. Additionally, the file and folder structure may be flattened because the Course Content page only supports nested content two folders deep.

    Student activity in a learning module is removed when converting to Ultra. However, instructors and administrators can choose to keep student progress in learning modules when exporting and copying an Ultra course.

    More on the Ultra Course Preview

    More on adding a SCORM package in Ultra
     


    New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2019
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    We've updated the design of the SafeAssign Originality Report in Blackboard Learn SaaS environments. The new Originality Report uses Blackboard's Ultra design philosophy and includes some new information about a submission's overall risk for being copied from another source. This new report interface is also more responsive for mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design; we will be seeking VPAT compliance for this new design soon!

    This release also allows the SafeAssign team to be more iterative and provide updates to the new report design on a more regular basis and without requiring an update to the LMS platform. We'll still be communicating changes on the SafeAssign help pages, so make sure to follow those pages as well for new information!

    Users can switch back to the old Originality Report design for a little while longer to help ease the transition. Blackboard Learn 9.1 users should expect to receive the new Originality Report design with the Q2 2019 release next year.

    More on how to read the new Originality Report


    Question analysis and report download

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.7.0 | Release to Production 3 January 2019
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors who make use of Item Analysis in Original courses recognize the benefit this report provides, specifically for reviewing the quality of assessment questions and improving assessments from one term to the next. However, many instructors are either unaware that this report is available or are not familiar with the term “item analysis” and don’t open the report. 

    In the Ultra Course View, we’ve updated the title to Question Analysis as a way to raise awareness of this powerful report and encourage its use. We’ve also made the help content more accessible and added helpful explanatory text to help instructors understand the statistics within the report. 

    Question analysis provides statistics on overall performance, assessment quality, and individual questions. This data helps you recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance. Question analysis is for assessments with questions. You can also download the report with raw question data to analyze it or keep it for future uses.
     
    Instructors can use question analysis in these ways:

    • Improve questions for future assessment administrations or to adjust credit on current attempts
    • Discuss assessment results with your class
    • Provide a basis for remedial work
    • Improve classroom instruction

    Explore question analysis in the Ultra Course View


    Batch edit due dates in course content

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Building on the previous feature to batch edit visibility of course content, we’ve added the ability to adjust due dates in bulk.

    Instructors often teach the same courses and curriculum each semester or year. When these courses use the same material, it can be challenging to update due dates for each item to reflect the new course calendar. In the Original Course View, this was achieved with Date Management. In this release, we bring that ability to Ultra.

    With Batch Edit, you can update selected course content using a new course start date. Enter the new course start date and the existing start date. The tool calculates the difference between the two dates and uses the number of days to shift dates in all selected course content at once. You don’t have to spend time opening course content and determining new dates. Alternatively, you can shift all due dates backward or forward based on a chosen number of days.

    Content without due dates isn't affected by batch editing dates.

    Learn more about batch editing dates in the Ultra Course View


    Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for gradebook control

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2019
    Ultra Course View, Original Course View

    As part of an earlier release, we added entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that allow them to view course content but not modify it. In this release, we expand on those entitlements with respect to gradebook access and control.

    Grading within a course is multi-faceted. Assigning a grade is only one piece of the process, which can also include grade maintenance, data download and upload, and release of grades. Institution administrators can grant some or all of these permissions to trusted facilitators to help ease the grading responsibility in larger courses.

    Explore use cases for the facilitator role and privileges


    Course Groups

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors often need to organize students into groups. Previously, instructors created groups of students only in the context of assessments and discussions. This ability is useful and important, but it didn’t account for many other reasons why an instructor would want to create groups independent of assessments.

    In this release, instructors can create groups and group sets at the course level, outside of assessments. Group sets help identify students who are paired together based on specific attributes or purposes.

    In a future release, instructors will have the ability to apply course groups to graded content.

    More on creating course groups in Ultra


    Learning modules and forced content sequence 

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.5.0 | Release to Production 6 December 2018
    Ultra Course View

    This feature was initially expected to be part of 3500.5.0 and is now confirmed as part of 3500.5.0. In an earlier update, we incorrectly stated the feature had been delayed to a later release. We apologize for the confusion.

    Learning modules are a valuable way to organize and present content in the Original Course View. Modules let content creators require students to access learning materials in a specified order, walking learners through a guided path. In this release, we bring the power of learning modules to the Ultra Course View.

    Use learning modules to organize content for an immersive learning experience. Students can work on content in sequence without needing to close and open content items. Instructors can also enforce a content sequence so students access and complete content in the sequence specified.

    Learning modules are available in new courses only. Courses created in a Learn environment prior to this release won’t have access to learning modules.

    More on creating learning modules in Ultra


    Additional search criteria in Reuse Questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    On the Reuse Questions page, instructors can filter questions by more criteria. In addition to assessments and question banks that come over from the Original Course View, you can also filter by question types and Original Course View tags, such as categories. You can also search for keywords to find questions. The active filter area changes automatically as you select or clear criteria.

    More on how to reuse questions in Ultra assessments


    Advanced settings in SCORM

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    SCORM is a content standard that is used by some institutions, instructors, and instructional designers to author and present online learning materials and assessments to students.

    In this release, we’ve added a number of enhancements to SCORM in the Ultra Course View:

    • Instructors can assign a grade category to SCORM packages.
    • Instructors can upload SCORM packages from the Content Collection.
    • SCORM due dates appear on the calendar and in the activity stream.
    • SCORM packages are supported in Ultra Course Preview and conversion from the Original Course View.

    More on SCORM in the Ultra Course View


    Ally integration available for the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Starting with this release, Blackboard Ally integrates with the Ultra Course View. Ally provides detailed accessibility reports for content uploaded to Blackboard Learn. The integration is available to institutions who license Ally. 

    In the Ultra Course View, instructors have access to Ally’s accessibility scores and feedback, including tutorials on how to make common file types more accessible to learners of all abilities. Students can view and download course content in alternative accessible formats. 

    In a future release, we’ll show the file’s accessibility score on the Course Content page so instructors can quickly prioritize items to edit. 

    Get started with Blackboard Ally


    Batch edit visibility of course content

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors often reuse courses and content from one term to the next without major changes. At the start of a new term, instructors need a way to make these changes en masse. In this release, we introduce a new Batch Edit option on the Course Content page. Here, an instructor can select multiple pieces of content and edit visibility for each selected piece at the same time.

    Along with this feature, instructors and course builders will notice that the Books & Tools link has moved to the Details & Actions menu. In a future release, instructors will also have the ability to adjust dates in course content using Batch Edit.

    Learn how to use Batch Edit in a course


    Create percentage-based grading rubrics

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors give very specific rubric scores with feedback when grading student submissions. A simple rubric with wide gaps between levels of achievement are insufficient for providing the granularity these institutions require. For example, two students may both meet the criteria for Sufficient for a given rubric row, but one student barely met the criteria while another almost did enough to be marked with the next highest level of achievement. With a normal rubric, these students would receive the same score. Instructors working under these requirements need to be able to mark both students as Sufficient, but provide more granular scoring within the range of scores associated with this rubric row.

    In this release, we’ve expanded rubric criteria to include more granular levels of achievement, measured with percentages.

    How to create rubrics with percentage ranges

    This is how a percentage-based rubric details look like.

    Upload gradebook data in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.3.0 | Release to Production 1 November 2018
    Ultra Course View

    In an earlier release, we introduced the ability for instructors to download gradebook data in the Ultra Course View. The counterpart to downloading grades is the ability to upload them, which is useful for instructors who prefer to work in an application like Excel and load student grade data into the LMS. In this release, instructors have the option to upload course gradebook data in Ultra.

    Upload gradebook panel

    Offline grading is a valuable and important enhancement. Instructors may prefer, or even require, that they are able to download the files students have submitted for an assessment. Limited WiFi access on a train, for example, shouldn’t impact the instructor’s ability to grade student submissions. In this scenario, the instructor can download the gradebook, enter the grades for the assessment, and then upload the grade data at a later time.

    Learn how to upload grade data


    Search the Ultra gradebook

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3500.0.0 | Release to Production 4 October 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Today’s courses, both online and mixed mode, can have large enrollments and volumes of course work. Instructors and other course facilitators may find it difficult to browse a gradebook in this type of course. In this release, we’ve introduced a search function in the Ultra gradebook to help users locate specific students when the list may be too long to browse.

    To search for a student, open the Ultra gradebook in grid view. You can type the student’s name or student ID. Matching names appear below the search box. Select a student to filter your gradebook view and see their attempts and grades. In the future, we’ll continue development on this feature to include the ability to search for gradebook columns and categories.

    Learn how to search for students in the Ultra gradebook


    Anonymous grading

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors need a way to ensure the anonymity of students (hiding personally identifying information) to avoid bias when grading. Some regions mandate anonymity for high-stakes assessment.

    To support this, we developed an enforceable means to anonymize student information to instructors and other reviewers. After grading is complete, the information can be revealed. Student identities remain hidden until all grades are posted, at which point names are revealed.

    The Gradebook page is open and the anonymous grading process is displayed. The step-by-step shows how the instructor can access the rubric, open student files, annotate inline, and assign a grade and feedback.

    Learn more about anonymous grading in Ultra


    Download annotated PDFs

    Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    This feature was also available for Self- and Managed-Hosting environments as a Cumulative Update for Blackboard Learn 9.1.

    Users were accustomed to downloading annotated files when Crocodoc handled inline file rendering. With the switch to New Box View, this capability wasn’t available and highly requested. Blackboard listened and developed the ability to download annotated files using the New Box View.

    In this release, both instructors and students can download certain file types (DOC, DOCX, PDF) with annotations as an annotated PDF. Students can download the annotated file after their submission has been graded.

    Visit Inline Grading and New Box View Update on the Blackboard Community for more information and a video demonstration

    Check out the October 2018 Inline Grading and New Box View Update for an update about comment summaries in annotated PDFs

    Learn more about downloading annotated PDFs in New Box View


    Unsubmitted work counts as zero

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors may want to set up the gradebook so that unsubmitted, past-due work is automatically marked as zero. For larger courses, it can be burdensome and time-consuming to grade these missing submissions as zeros manually.

    This release includes a global gradebook setting to allow instructors to assign automatic zeros to missing work past the due date. Instructors can save the time it takes to go through the gradebook to manually enter zeros for this work. Students can still submit work after an automatic zero is assigned and instructors can grade as normal.

    The Automatic Zero option is enabled by default in all new Ultra courses.

    Learn more about automatic zeros for unsubmitted work in Ultra


    Conversation improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Conversations on course content items have been improved in the following ways:

    • The Conversations panel has been increased to full-width.
    • Students can now respond and reply to each other in conversations the same as they do in discussions.
    • We’ve added activity indicators for new conversation posts.
    • A student or instructor can see all conversation participants.
    • A student or instructor can search all conversation participants.

    More on conversations regarding Ultra course content


    Download gradebook

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors sometimes find the gradebook insufficient for doing statistical analysis or other ad hoc computational work with student grades. These instructors prefer to download the raw student and grade data and manipulate it in an application like Microsoft Excel.

    In this release, instructors can download grade data within their Ultra courses. Instructors can select to download the entire gradebook or select columns, choose to export in a .CSV or .XLS format, and save it to the device or the Content Collection for future access. Uploading gradebook data is not yet available but in development for future release.

    More on how to download gradebook data in Ultra


    Group creation & grading improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors may require the ability to edit groups after they’ve released a group discussion, assignment, or test for students. Previously, instructors didn’t have the option to modify groups at all after students started drafting submissions. However, the ability to make small changes is sometimes necessary to provide minimal disruption for all course members.

    To help support instructors in these situations, we’ve added the following enhancements to group assessments:

    • New empty state page lets instructors create as few or as many groups as they’d like from the beginning.
    • Instructors can edit group names after students begin attempts.
    • New Unassign All option appears when creating groups.
    • Instructors can edit group membership if a given group hasn’t started working or existing attempts are removed.

    More on how instructors create an Ultra group assignment


    SCORM support in Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
    Ultra Course View

    SCORM is a content standard that is used by some institutions, instructors, and instructional designers to author and present online learning materials and assessments to students. In this release, we’re adding support for selecting, adding, presenting, and using SCORM content in Ultra courses.

    Instructors can import SCORM packages into an Ultra course and select grading options for the package as a whole or each content item individually.

    More on SCORM in Ultra


    Announcements in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors often want to post information for students in a certain course. Rather than sending a message that can easily be dismissed or left unread, instructors may prefer to post an announcement that every course member sees when opening the course. Instructors can draft, schedule, and post course announcements in the Ultra Course View in this release.

    Announcements are a high-profile way to communicate a message as it relates to the course environment. Instructors can communicate schedule changes, upcoming exams, or anything else the students should pay attention to. Students can access the announcement archive to double-check any of the information you’ve posted. You can also schedule announcements for the future.

    More on how instructors can create a course announcement in Ultra


    Matching questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors need flexibility in how they evaluate a student's mastery of a concept. Matching is a common question type instructors use in assessments where students are shown two sets of options and asked to associate options from the first set with the correct option in the second set. Matching questions are a popular question type in the Original Course View. In this release, we’ve brought the same capability to the Ultra Course View.

    Instructors have many options when creating a matching question in Ultra. There can be more answers than prompts to prevent students from answering by a process of elimination. Additionally, instructors can grade matching questions with partial credit, all or nothing, subtract points for incorrect answers, and even allow negative scoring to discourage guessing.

    More on matching questions in the Ultra Course View

    View of a student answering a matching question

    Reuse questions in an Ultra assessment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors invest a lot of time and effort crafting questions for assessments. A test or assignment may be created for a specific purpose, but the questions within may be repurposed for a unit test or a final exam. To support instructors who create assessments in this way, we’re introducing the ability to reuse questions in a course.

    In this release, instructors can reuse questions from any other assessment within an Ultra course. Select Reuse questions within an assignment or test to get started. Filter questions by assessment or view all available questions to copy. When browsing questions to reuse, instructors can quickly view what type of question it is, as well as the content.

    Selected questions are copied into the assessment, so any edits to the original question won’t carry over to other places it appears.

    More on how to reuse questions in Ultra


    Collect submissions offline and grade with rubrics 

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Sometimes an instructor wants to create a rubric to assess a student's performance in an offline or non-Ultra course context. For example, if a student is being assessed for a public speaking project, the instructor may want to convey instructions or the rubric preview to the student to prepare them for this offline assessment but won't expect to collect the submissions through the course. 

    In this release, we're introducing a new assessment setting to allow users to track offline submissions and use a rubric to grade. This feature helps bridge the gap for hybrid courses that meet in person and conduct course activities online. Instructors can keep track of all relevant coursework within Ultra and eliminate the need to transcribe grades from items or activities that took place physically. 

    The Assignment page is open with 1) the Assignment settings panel on screen and 2) the "Collect submissions offline" option clicked and highlighted.

    More on collecting submissions offline in Ultra


    Connect additional cloud storage services

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Using cloud storage in the Ultra Course View, instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where you store files. Your files are stored on secure, online servers where they're protected from accidents and viruses. If something happens to your computer or phone, you don't have to worry about file loss. You can access your files in the cloud any time you're connected to the internet, on any of your devices.

    In this release, we're expanding the cloud services you can connect to in your course. Add content directly from your OneDrive for Business, Dropbox, or Google Drive accounts to your Ultra course. In an earlier release, we included the ability to connect to Box and personal OneDrive accounts.

    We added the ability to add files from cloud storage for the Original Course View in Blackboard Learn SaaS release v3400.7.0.

    More on how instructors add content from cloud storage


    Speed up grading with Discussion Analysis

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors use graded discussions to encourage thoughtful and relevant conversation related to a given topic. The act of grading is already a time-consuming process that can be exaggerated in the context of discussions. A student's discussion participation grade can be based on many qualitative factors that aren't easy or quick to evaluate but deserve in-depth analysis.

    We're happy to announce a new feature in graded discussions to help assist instructors determine complexity and engagement for each student. The new Discussion Analysis feature displays key metrics such as critical thinking, sentence complexity, responses, replies, and average word count. The critical thinking metric is analyzed using a Blackboard-developed algorithm, while sentence complexity uses Flesch-Kincaid readability benchmarks.

    More on Discussion Analysis


    Insert recordings using the editor in assessment feedback

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors providing students with feedback, whether for in-person or distance education, is a critical aspect of the pedagogical process. It is also challenging to engage learners in non-face-to-face settings, thus increasing the importance of audio communication media. The ability to embed video/audio communication into a course provides a simple way for users to provide feedback.

    Instructors can record video and audio using the editor in assessment feedback. When paired with text-based feedback, video and audio messages can help provide students with useful, actionable, and more personal feedback regarding their submissions.

    This feature is controlled by a service that is independent of Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery releases. The feature became available on June 12th for Continuous Delivery environments in the United States (additional regional available will be added over time).


    Accommodations for timed assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Accommodations allow instructors to mark certain students exempt from high pressure aspects of a course, such as due dates. Accommodations can help students complete coursework and succeed where they might otherwise be at a disadvantage.

    In this release, we're introducing the ability to accommodate students for timed assessments. From the roster, an instructor can allow chosen students extra time on a timed test or assignment or exempt them from the time limit completely. A student with the Unlimited Time accommodation never sees the time limit for the assessment, reducing the pressure or anxiety that comes with coursework.

    More on accommodations


    Activity indicators for active Collaborate rooms

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Distance courses hold virtual meetings to foster communication and reinforce engagement among course members. Without a pre-established meeting time, a student or other course member may not know when others are engaged in the Collaborate session. With this release, we’ve made it easy to see when virtual meetings—for the entire course or among assessment groups—are taking place.

    When a course Collaborate room is in session, an indicator appears on the Course Content page to let others know the room is in use. The same icon appears in group assessments when the instructor has enabled conversations and another group member is in the room.

    This feature is a subtle but impactful enhancement around user presence in a course.

    More on joining a Collaborate session from Blackboard Learn


    Add web content in the editor

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Today, in the Original experience, content creators can add links and embedded content from a variety of external content sources from the Rich Text Editor. Instructors need to be able to discover any content from the spot where they’d like to place it. Instructors often use content from outside sources in courses rather than building all of their course materials from scratch.

    To support these instructors, we've introduced the ability to add web content directly in the editor. This ability was previously restricted to direct links to videos or images. In the first phase of the Insert Web Content feature, we've added the ability to browse and search YouTube for videos. Instructors don't have to leave their course to find a relevant video. We're adding more content providers in this menu over the forthcoming releases.

    More on how to add web content in the editor


    Cloud storage integration

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Blackboard is pleased to announce additional cloud storage integration providers available in the Ultra Course View. With this release, instructors and students have access to an aggregated cloud service that lets users connect to their preferred cloud storage accounts and place content directly into their course. In the Ultra Course View, instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where you store files.

    This integration is happening from a few different places in Ultra:

    • Within ‘add content’ workflows in the Course Content page,
    • In assessment creation and submission workflows, and
    • In the editor

    Your files are stored on secure, online servers where they're protected from accidents and viruses. If something happens to your computer or phone, you don't have to worry about file loss. You can access your files in the cloud any time you're connected to the internet, on any of your devices.

    This service is being introduced over multiple releases and won’t be available in all regions simultaneously.

    • In 3400.3.0, the first services available are Box and OneDrive (personal accounts only)
    • Remaining services, such as Google Drive, will be introduced in 3400.5.0
    • Regional availability begins with the United States
    • Additional regions will be added over time and may be independent of release cadence
    • Availability in the Original Experience and Original Course View is forthcoming

    Cloud storage integration is available in Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery environments, but isn't compatible with the generally available version of 9.1 Q2 2018 (build 3400.0) or SaaS Q2 2018 Flexible Deployment Option release. A Cumulative Update will be required to enable the feature in these environments.

    Get started with the cloud storage integration


    Discussion Forum Insights for group discussions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to understand the contribution, or lack of contribution, of students in a group discussion to encourage participation. To support this need, we’re pleased to share that discussion forum insights is now available for group discussions.

    With discussion forum insight for group discussions, instructors can determine how effective their discussion was in soliciting class participation and engagement, the top student contributors, as well as the overall class activity. Reports clearly show the number of participants, the percentage of students who have participated so far, the average number of comments per student, the average word count of student comments, and the average grade for the class if it's a graded discussion. Discussion insights also highlights the top five participants in the discussion and allows you to drill down into their comments and replies for more context.

    Instructors can view information for both the overall discussion and each assigned group. Insights include how many students have opened the discussion, how many students have posted, and the average number of posts for each group member.

    More on discussion analytics


    Randomize question answers (multiple choice/multiple answer)

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Sometimes instructors want to change the display order of question and answer options for individual students to support practice/drilling, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty. Unpredictable order of answers can help reduce the risk of students memorizing material from study guides without truly absorbing the information.

    In this release, instructors can now randomize the order of answers in multiple choice and multiple answer questions in the Ultra Course View. Combined with randomized questions, this new option puts more control in the instructor's hands to have assignments and tests appear differently for each student.

    More on how to randomize answers in Ultra assessments


    Rearrange gradebook with drag and drop

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors may not create graded course content in the exact sequence students will complete them. In a course where there is a weekly quiz, weekly discussion, and monthly written assignment, the order of these items in the gradebook may not match the order on the Course Content page. This can be frustrating for instructors and students. Further, students may be confused if they refer to the gradebook as a guide to what they should be working on next, or if they look for their grade on a specific item but can't find it because items appear to be "out of order" in the gradebook.

    This release includes the ability for instructors to rearrange gradebook entries in the Ultra Course View. Instructors can drag and drop items in the gradebook so the list appears in an order that makes sense to instructors and students alike. This improvement can save time, confusion, and frustration for users who prefer to browse course content from multiple entry points in a course.

    Drag and drop isn't yet available in the gradebook grid view.

    More on organizing grade data in the Ultra Course View


    Fill in the Blank questions now available in Ultra Course View assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to construct context-based questions where the student responds with text as part of a longer text prompt. The system can automatically assess the student response, matching the characters entered compared to the correct answer.

    Edit view of a fill in the blank question

    With this release, instructors can craft fill in the blank questions to assess student understanding in tests and assignments. Fill in the Blank questions are graded automatically. Answers are scored based on if student answers match the correct answers the instructor provides. Instructors choose the evaluation method for answers:

    • Exact match
    • Contains part of the correct answer
    • Matches a specified pattern

    More on Fill in the Blank questions in the Ultra Course View


    New editor available in multiple areas

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
    Ultra Course View

    We've enhanced the content editor to use more intuitive iconography and organization. Use the options in the menu to format text and paragraphs. You can also insert links and images using a simplified workflow.

    Starting with this release, the editor appears for instructors creating assessments questions and for students drafting freeform responses in assessments, including essays.

    More on the Ultra editor


    User interface changes in Ultra assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
    Ultra Course View

    We’ve upgraded the technology that powers assessments in the Ultra Course View. Instructors will notice that the Add Question button no longer opens a panel of options. Now, an instructor can add any type of content to the test or assignment, such as questions, text, and files, using one simple menu in the assessment body. We’ve applied these updates to your existing assessments as well, so you can enjoy this improved experience whether you are creating new assessments or working on existing content.

    More on creating assignments in Ultra


    Additional course activity indicators

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
    Ultra Course View, Learner Engagement

    When an instructor or student opens an assessment peek panel, an icon appears to notify them of any unread conversation messages. The icon also appears in assessments and documents, as well as on the Course Content page. The submissions list now also includes the activity icon when new conversation messages are unread.

    In an earlier release, the icon first appeared only on the Course Content page. Now, the icon appears at additional entry points so the user is notified of activity no matter how they open the content. This enhancement is in direct response to client feedback on Ultra's usability.


    Conditional release enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
    Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness

    In this release, you'll notice some changes to the visibility menu for course content items in Ultra. The Show/Hide On Date option has been moved to the Conditional Availability panel so instructors can create access rules based on Date/Time.

    Additionally, instructors and course builders can choose whether to make the content visible to students before access conditions have been met. For example, if an instructor wants students to know that an exam is part of the curriculum, but not yet available, the instructor can choose conditional availability rules and make the content visible to students before they're able to access it.


    Course view option support in SIS integration

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
    Ultra Experience

    After an institution has moved to the SaaS deployment and enabled the Ultra experience, administrators can manage their courses via bulk operations using Snapshot Flat Files as part of the SIS Integration framework. The new field header name is course_view. This release introduces the ability to specify course view (Original, Ultra, or Instructor Choice) during initial course creation, copying from a master template, and copying from term to term.

    More on the Snapshot Flat File data format in Learn SaaS


    Outcomes Assessment in the Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
    Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness, Education Insight

    Institutions use Outcomes Assessment to collect evidence of student work. Previously, the lack of Outcomes Assessment in the Ultra Course View may have prevented these institutions from enabling the Ultra experience. With this release, institutions can use Outcomes Assessment to collect evidence from assessments in both Original and Ultra courses. This release reduces the barrier to Ultra adoption for institutions that use Outcomes Assessment.

    Outcomes Assessment can be used in Ultra assessments that don't use individually graded questions.


    Rubrics now available in graded discussions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
    Ultra Course View, Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

    In many distance learning or online-heavy courses, discussions are the primary source of a class participation grade. Instructors often want to use a rubric when assessing student contributions in a graded discussion to standardize grading. Rubrics help consistently and transparently assess the learner based on well-defined criteria and levels of achievement that can be used as the basis for a numerical grade. Students can view the rubric as they craft their responses and see the scored rubric once their contributions have been graded.

    In Ultra courses, we currently have discussions and grading rubrics for assessments. With this release, we're combining the two and allowing instructors to assign existing rubrics or create new rubrics for graded discussions.


    Add Content Collections items to Ultra courses

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Institutions and instructors have invested time and effort to put content into the Content Collection content management system. With this release, there's now an easy way to browse, select, and add that content into an Ultra course. Previously, instructors could access items in the Content Collection in a separate Tools area of the Ultra experience, but the workflow to add the items to a course wasn't streamlined. We've added the option to add Content Collection files to the Course Content page using browse ability.

    More on adding Content Collection files to an Ultra course


    Allow students to work past assessment time limit

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors often need flexibility with how timed tests and assignments are delivered to students for a variety of circumstances. A student temporarily losing internet connection, needing to restart their computer, or a test simply being too long to complete within the given time are just a few possibilities. For these reasons and others, instructors need the option to allow students to continue working on a timed test or assignment after the set time expires.

    When an instructor enables this feature, the system indicates which questions were answered after time expired. This helps instructors identify how many questions they may need to remove or when a specific question may be too complex for students to answer within the time limit.

    More on how to create timed tests


    Communication improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Course View

    We've added the following improvements in course communication based on feedback from our clients.

    • Instructors can now send a message to groups of students from the Create Groups page in assignments, tests, and discussions.
    • When a student submits an attempt on behalf of their group, a message appears to confirm that no group member will be able to edit after submission.
    • We've added new icons and guidance moments for class conversations and group conversations on assessments, when enabled. Previously, a user selected which conversation to view from a drop-down menu.
    • Students and instructors can use a Refresh icon to load any new conversation or discussion posts since they've opened the page.
    • We've added the ability to contact users through their profile card in more places.

    Grade group discussions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Experience

    To support instructors who design assessments using groups, we've added the ability to assign grades for group discussions. Instructors may want to use discussion groups to help students feel more comfortable conversing in a course because fewer people are involved. Group discussions can also help students feel freer to speak their minds or encourage students with opposing viewpoints to respectfully make their points.

    Instructors can now assign grades to group members in a discussion. Assign grades to individual students to assess their contribution in the context of the group discussion.

    More on how to grade a group discussion


    Icons to indicate new activity

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Students and instructors want a high-level view of what's happened in their course since they last visited. Are there new discussion posts? Has someone posted a message in the assignment conversation? Rather than having to open each item to see this information, users can now identify items with new activity directly on the Course Content page.

    Course activity indicators are being introduced on multiple items in the next few releases. This enhancement is in direct response to client feedback on Ultra's usability.


    Save draft discussion posts

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
    Ultra Course View

    When formulating a discussion response, each student has a preferred way of collecting thoughts. Similarly, instructors may want to save their initial reactions and have the chance to revise a draft before saving it for all course members to read.

    In this release, we've added the ability to save a draft discussion post to support students and instructors who write drafts before they contribute to a discussion. The Save Draft option can be particularly useful for students participating in a graded discussion.

    More on how to save a draft response


    Add and view feedback in a peek panel

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Starting with this release, instructors can add feedback in a peek panel in assessments and graded discussions. Previously, the feedback editor appeared at the top of the page, which made it a challenge for instructors and graders to refer to parts of the submission that appeared further down on the page. Now, the feedback panel persists on the side of the screen, so the user can scroll through the assignment and add overall feedback. When the grade and feedback are posted, students can view the feedback in a peek panel as well.

    Instructors will also notice that the feedback area now uses the new editor.


    Add feedback to multiple attempts quickly

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    This release includes optimizations to the grading workflow to help save instructors time. To help instructors grade multiple attempts more quickly and provide specific feedback to students, we've added another access point on the Submissions panel. The Add Feedback icon appears next to each attempt listed in the Submissions panel, shortening the workflow when instructors add feedback.


    Analytics for Learn reports available in Ultra

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    If your institution has the A4L Building Block, instructors can access reports in the Analytics area of the Ultra Course View.

    This feature allows instructors to access A4L analytics reports in Ultra just as they did in Original courses. These reports allow users to see how their course is performing compared to other students or courses within their department. The A4L reporting engine is a separate tool with its own database. The reports that are generated pull from Blackboard Learn data as well as institutional sources.

    More on how instructors can access Analytics for Learn reports in the Ultra Course View

    A4L code will now be bundled into releases for SaaS Continuous Delivery deployments. Clients will be required to update the version information to match the Analytics for Learn Extraction Data Version within the settings page for the building block. Affected clients will be notified directly by Client Support.


    Conditional release of course content based on student performance

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors and instructional designers may want to release content to students incrementally, rather than all at once, to achieve a more tailored and personalized pedagogical experience. To support this, we have introduced functionality to Ultra courses to define rules that control the release of content to students based on performance.

    An instructor can set conditional availability for a content item or folder in the Ultra Course View and choose the minimum score a student must achieve on a graded item before being able to access the new item. Access rules can be based on graded items or gradebook columns. Additional types of access rules will be released in the future.

    More on how instructors release content based on rules


    Improved LTI user experience

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    Course tools designated as “student tools” are now located in the student Tools area to improve the user experience and align the location of LTI tools with Building Block tools. Instructors can show/hide the tool in the student Tools area and create links to the tool in Content Areas.


    LTI Names and Roles services

    Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    Integrated tools can retrieve course roster information to support assessment activities or provide better information about the class within the tool. This ability is formerly known as LTI Membership Service.

    More on Learning Tools Interoperability


    New content editor in discussions, conversations, documents, feedback, and assessment questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    We've enhanced the content editor to use more intuitive iconography and organization. Use the options in the menu to format text and paragraphs. You can also insert links and images using a simplified workflow. This new editor will be introduced to other areas of the application over the next few releases.


    Post all grades at once

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    This release includes optimizations to the grading workflow to help save instructors time. Instructors now have the option of posting all grades for an item at once rather than for individual students. Instructors can release a student's grade and feedback when they finish grading each attempt, but some prefer to grade multiple items in succession. To help facilitate this grading preference, we've added an option for instructors to post all of those grades at one time, rather than one-by-one.

    More on how instructors assign, edit, and post grades 


    Record attendance in Blackboard Learn

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    Institutions and instructors want to track attendance for various purposes, including at-risk detection, federal financial aid and accreditation compliance, and to support instructor pedagogical preference where being present is a component of a course grade.

    With this release, instructors can track attendance in both experiences. In Ultra courses, a gradebook column is added when the instructor begins taking attendance. The Attendance column provides the overall attendance score in the gradebook, where it can be included in the student’s overall grade.

    Based on your data region, some Blackboard Learn features may not be available. Attendance isn't supported on Internet Explorer 11.

    More on attendance for administrators

    More on how instructors can set up and record attendance

    Attendance meeting view

    Students enter group Collaborate rooms with presenter privileges

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
    Ultra Course View

    Within a group assignment or test, group members may want to communicate with each other about the questions, division of labor, or to review each others’ contributions. For institutions who use Collaborate, groups can use a standing Collaborate session to interact in real-time if the instructor has allowed conversations on the item. Now, when students enter the group Collaborate room, they each have presenter privileges to let them take advantage of more features, such as white boards and application sharing.

    More on presenting in a Collaborate session


    Copy content between Ultra courses

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Courses are designed by instructors or instructional designers to include various content (files, assessments, etc.) and there is often a need to easily find and re-use this content between their separate courses. In this release, instructors can now copy content between Ultra courses they teach.

    This capability lets an instructor copy content from one course to another in a granular way. Often times an instructor wants to reuse only parts of a previous course they have taught. Our new content copy functionality allows an instructor to dive into any courses they teach and pick and choose the content they want to bring into a new Ultra course.

    More on how to copy content from other Ultra courses


    Instructors can send messages with an email copy

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want the option to ensure message communications within Learn Ultra courses are also sent to users' email inboxes. Sending an email copy to a student increases the likelihood that students see, read, and act on important announcements and course messages.

    To send an email copy, the instructor simply checks a box on the New Message panel.


    SafeAssign now available in Ultra Course View

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to educate students about best practices in writing and teach the importance of academic citations. SafeAssign is a powerful, automated way to provide real-time originality results for both students and instructors. SafeAssign has long been an established tool available within the Learn Original Experience; with this release, we bring the capabilities of SafeAssign to Ultra courses, starting with Assignment and Test submissions.

    Instructors can enable SafeAssign in the settings area of both tests and assignments. As students submit their work, their text answers and any attachments are scanned for potential matches with academic sources and other online publications. An Originality Report is created to show the instructor how much of the student's submission may have been plagiarized material. Instructors can also let students view the Originality Report following their submissions.

    More on how instructors enable SafeAssign in Ultra assignments


    Additional UX refinements based on client feedback

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
    Ultra Course View

    We are continually refining the user experience based on feedback from clients using Ultra. The following changes are introduced with this release:

    • Instructors can edit student discussion posts – Instructors need the ability to edit student posts for a variety of reasons. Previously, this capability was available directly within the discussion interface, which created a scenario that could lead to inadvertent editing. In this release, the workflow for instructors to edit student posts has been moved to an overflow menu and is part of a deliberate workflow.
    • Group discussion visual treatment – Group discussions now include a visual indicator to help instructors understand and access group information for a discussion. The Course Content page now includes the groups icon and text indicating how many groups are associated with the item (for example: 2 groups).

    Embed Content Market files in the content editor

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
    Ultra Course View

    The Content Market allows instructors to add links to tools, materials, publishers, and open educational resources to their courses. Instructors and course designers authoring in the Content Editor can access the Content Market to add links to various tools and resources in the context of other materials. This will provide more pedagogical flexibility and a better student experience.

    Initially, we will work with existing partners and vendors to deliver text editor content discovery via the Content Market or configured LTI tools. Later, we will work with select media partners (e.g. Kaltura) to offer additional content sources. This capability complements existing LTI-based media partners already configured in the Content Market via the ability to add LTI placements within the course outline.

    More on how instructors add external content in the editor


    Timestamp revealed on hover

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want greater visibility into when students submit their assignment and test attempts. The submission time is even more important when students submit past the due date.

    With this release, instructors can point to a submission timestamp to view more information. Timestamps appear on students' submission pages. If an instructor allowed multiple attempts, they can point to the timestamp on a student's attempts panel to view the date and time of submission, if the submission is late, and when the instructor posted a grade.

    More on timestamps in assignments

    Submission time stamp appears when pointer is over the posted text of multiple attempts.

    Gradebook improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
    Ultra Course View

    We’ve improved the gradebook list to provide more information for students regarding graded items with multiple attempts. Now students can easily see whether they have opened the assessment, if they’ve started an attempt, and whether or not they’ve submitted attempts on time. The gradebook list also shows the number of attempts possible for a given item.

    More on how students view grades


    Quicker access for assessment details

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
    Ultra Course View

    During assignment or test creation, instructors often need quick access to details and settings, such as grading schemas, rubrics, or groups. Students may also need to view this information while they draft a submission. In this release, details and settings are linked so that instructors and students can click on the details and quickly see more about the item’s settings. These improvements are the result of client feedback during an Ultra pilot period.


    Discussion Forum Insights enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Several enhancements have been made to Discussions Forum Insights in the Ultra Course View. Panels have been rearranged to highlight important insights, and new calculations have been added, such as total number of participants who opened the discussion without replying. When an instructor sends a message to non-participating students within Learn, a message appears: Each recipient receives your message as a blind carbon copy to ensure privacy.

    More on viewing discussion statistics


    LTI improvements

    Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
    Original Course View, Ultra Course View

    In the Original Course View, LTI links now open in a lightbox within the course, rather than directing users to a new window or tab. Now, LTI links load within the same window from where they are launched, creating a consistent and contained workflow for students. When launching an LTI tool from an Ultra course, a new message appears to confirm success or failure:

    • Success!
      We launched your selected LTI tool.
    • Oops, something went wrong. 
      We couldn't launch your selected LTI tool.

    Require students to post first in discussions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to promote originality of thought in course discussions. Now, instructors can require students to post their own responses before seeing other students' posts. Instructors can choose this option when they create new discussions or edit existing discussions (as long as there are no student responses or replies). With the setting enabled, students only see the instructor's initial post. This allows them to reply with their own thoughts and ideas, unbiased by their peers' contributions. After the student submits their response, the rest of the responses and replies in the discussion are revealed to them.

    More on discussion settings

    The Post First option isn't available in group discussions at this time, but will be included in a future release.


    LTI links open within an Ultra course

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Previously, when a user clicked an LTI link in the course outline, the link opened in a new window with no connection back to the Ultra course. Additional windows can create a disorienting user experience, and can be problematic for institutions that rely heavily on LTI tools to provide content for courses. Now, LTI links load within the same window from where they are launched, creating a consistent and contained workflow for students.

    More on how to set up and configure LTI in Learn SaaS


    Assessment randomization

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
    Ultra Course View

    To support practice/drilling activities, as well as helping to avoid academic dishonesty, instructors have the option to change the order in which questions are displayed to individual students. This capability will permit this randomization of the order of questions within a test or assignment. In a future release, we will provide an option to randomize the order of question answers as well.

    More on how to randomize questions in a test


    Attachments in discussions, questions, feedback, and comments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Faculty and students want the ability to include images, files, and other content when creating assignments and interacting within discussions, questions, feedback, and conversations. Inserting multimedia allows students and faculty to engage in richer communication and expression within Ultra.

    Users can now upload files and images using the text editor in these areas of an Ultra course. A status indicator shows the upload's progress. Users can include a link to the uploaded content or show it inline alongside the text.

    More on attaching files in the Ultra Course View


    Discussion forum insights

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors want to understand the contribution—or sometimes lack of contribution!—of students in a discussion to encourage participation and help assess student contribution for a grade. The discussion forum insights provide a top-down window into the activity happening within a discussion. Information available includes word count, top participating students, top activity, and average grade (if a graded discussion).

    More on how to view discussion analytics


    Blackboard Learn SaaS: Q1 2017 Summary

    In the early months of 2017, Blackboard released multiple new features, enhancements, and maintenance items to customers on the Learn SaaS continuous delivery deployment.

    Here is a snapshot of that work, representing four Production environment releases in Q1 2017:

    • 13 new features released, including localized user interface, integration with Blackboard Ally, LTI improvements, enhancements to discussions and assessments in the Ultra Course View, and more
    • 7 long-term performance and scalability initiatives achieved
    • 600+ maintenance items fixed on the backend and frontend, including both Original and Ultra experiences and course views

    Thank you for helping us build this momentum. We’re eager to share more of these achievements as the year progresses. Refer to the full release notes to learn more about the details and cadence of Blackboard Learn SaaS releases.


    Discussion enhancements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
    Ultra Course View

    When a user opens a discussion, unread comments are highlighted for simpler navigation. An additional level of replies is also available to keep the discussion going.


    Grade category in assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.11.0 | Release to Production 3 March 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can now change the grade category for any graded item in the Ultra Course View. Instructors can create custom grade categories in the gradebook to classify coursework or calculate more specific grades.

    More on adding grade categories to the gradebook


    True/false questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.11.0 | Release to Production 3 March 2017
    Ultra Course View

    True or false question

    Instructors can add true/false questions to assessments in the Ultra Course View. The True/False question type is simple to set up in both tests and assignments. The questions are automatically scored in each student's submission.

    More on true or false questions


    Access to third-party tools

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.9.0 | Release to Production 3 February 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Third-party tools can now be configured to appear in the base navigation tools panel. This feature allows access to tools without having to be in a course. 


    Timed assessments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.9.0 | Release to Production 3 February 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can now add timers to assessments. Time limits trigger an automatic submission, but instructors can add accommodations for individual students.

    For students, the time limit is displayed when they open the test. The timer starts when the student begins an attempt, and the remaining time is shown as they work on their submissions.


    Unlimited attempts

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.9.0 | Release to Production 3 February 2017
    Ultra Course View

    This release includes an enhancement to the multiple attempts feature. Instructors can now choose Unlimited when they allow multiple attempts for a test or assignment. This new capability matches the functionality available in the Original Course View and opens up new pedagogical scenarios in Ultra by supporting drilling and mastery uses.

    More on multiple attempts in Ultra


    Embed links in content editor

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Users can add and edit HTML links anywhere within Ultra that allows rich text editing. This new ability allows content from other internet locations to be linked from a variety of locations in Ultra including assignment prompts, student responses, test questions, and course content.

    More on adding links in the content editor


    Goal alignment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can now align goals to the following materials in course:

    • Test Questions
    • Rubrics
    • Files
    • Web links
    • Teaching tools with LTI connection
    • Documents
    • Discussions

    Goals are retained during course conversion, copy, import, and export. Students can view goals aligned with test questions and discussions, but not rubrics, files, links, and documents.

    More on how to create goals in Blackboard Learn


    Gradebook improvements

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    The gradebook workflow has improved, including a simplified way to set up and configure the overall grade. Instructors can now set up a simplified overall grade, as well as manage grade book categories and notifications.


    Group tests

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, instructors can now assign group tests. After the group test is created, instructors can grade, comment, and delete submissions. By default, instructors assign a grade to each group as a whole, but can change a group member's individual grade. Instructors can also allow class conversations for a group test.

    Students in the group can start, save, and submit the attempt for a group test, view the posted grade and instructor's feedback, and discuss with group mates in the class conversation.

    More on group tests


    Multimedia in assessment questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    This is the continuation of a broader effort to bring file attachments to different locations within Ultra. Instructors can now upload and associate files with questions in assignments or tests. This capability allows instructors and other course creators the ability to create rich questions using uploaded multimedia. Multiple files may be uploaded and associated with a single question. When possible, uploaded files will be rendered within the browser, otherwise the file will be represented by an icon and can be downloaded for viewing.

    More on adding files to test questions


    Multiple attempts

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
    Ultra Course View

    When instructors create assessments, they now have the option to allow multiple student attempts. When multiple attempts are set up, students can submit an assessment the number of times the instructor has chosen. Instructors can grade attempts by average grade, first or last attempt, or by highest or lowest grade.

    More on how to allow multiple attempts


    Collaborate integration - Group conversations

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Now students can use Blackboard Collaborate to communicate with real-time video conferencing directly from their group assignment in an Ultra course.

    To be able to use this feature, you must make Collaborate Ultra available for the course, and instructors will need to enable class conversations in the group assignment.


    Freeform tests and student responses

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
    Ultra Course View

    With this release, instructors can now create tests without questions. Instructors can add text to which students can respond.

    An instructor can:

    • ask for attached files
    • while grading, view the student's freeform response at the bottom of the test but not assign a grade

    A student can:

    • enter free form text as the response to the test
    • attach files
    • see their freeform response with no grade specifically associated with it

    Collaborate Ultra integration

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.9.0 | Release to Production 8 August 2016

    Now you can show your virtual classroom and a "join class" link on Course Content page of your Ultra course. The Collaborate session opens in a new browser tab.

    Note: Collaborate will be disabled on mobile devices.

    • This integration incorporates REST APIs.
    • The instructor can enable or disable the Course Room (Collaborate link) from the Course Content page.
    • The instructor can access settings, recordings, sharing links, and reports from an overflow menu.

    Group conversations on assignments

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.9.0 | Release to Production 8 August 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Now you can start a group conversation as part of an assignment, either for small groups or the entire class.


    Group discussions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.9.0 | Release to Production 8 August 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can create group discussions. This feature behaves similarly to group assignments in the Ultra Course View.

    • You may group students in different ways: randomly, by moving students within groups using a contextual menu, or custom groups.
    • You can reuse groups from previous assignments.
    • You can't modify a group once the group has submitted replies. You can only delete a group if there is not any activity.

    More on group discussions


    Rubrics

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.9.0 | Release to Production 8 August 2016

    Blackboard's proud to announce that rubrics are a new feature in the Ultra Course View, as part of our GA release of the Ultra experience.

    Instructors can:

    • Create rubrics and associate them with an assignment in the Ultra Course View.
    • Evaluate the assignment using the rubric, and choose to override the grade if they desire.

    Students can:

    • View the rubric along with the assignment.
    • Student sees the submission after being graded.
    • See the criteria and performance levels indicated. Only the overall score is displayed.

    More on creating rubrics

    More on grading with rubrics


    Tests in Ultra Course View - Multiple choice

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.9.0 | Release to Production 8 August 2016
    Ultra Course View

    This milestone release of Ultra tests supports multiple choice questions in new Ultra tests, as well as conversion of multiple choice questions from tests in the Original Course View.

    Multiple choice questions are the latest milestone to be released for Ultra tests; short essay questions were released in v3000.4.0.

    • Instructors can add, remove, edit, and reorder multiple choice answers.
    • Questions and answers are available with all text editing functionality.
    • Instructors can include equations, media files, and other components that will display to students.
    • Multiple choice questions are automatically graded after submission. During creation, the instructor indicates the correct answer(s). If a test has only automatically graded questions, the grade will be posted following student submission.
    • Instructors cannot change the correct answer, point value, or add or remove answers after students have submitted. However, they may change the question text at any time.

    More on creating multiple choice questions


    Due date accommodations

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.7.0 | Release to Production 15 July 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Instructors can allow specific students to submit work without being marked late using due date exceptions.

    This feature allows for accommodations that remove all "late" designations from student submissions. Students who have these accommodations will not be marked late for any graded work, and will never see late notices.

    The exception applies to all graded work, including tests, assignments, and discussions. Instructors can easily see which students have accommodations on the roster, gradebook, submission screens, and content settings.

    More on due date accommodations


    Course description

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016
    Ultra Course View

    This feature allows the administrator to provide a high level summary of each course's goal, what students can expect to achieve, and even the pedagogical approach of the course. Through the Administrator Panel, administrators can add a simple text description for courses in the Ultra Course View.

    An icon will appear on hover in two places when a course description is available:

    1. The Courses page, accessed directly from the Ultra base navigation
    2. An individual course's Course Content page

    Users can select the icon and a peek panel will open, displaying the course description.

    More on course creation options


    Document conversion

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.6.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Document conversion allows instructors to import or copy content pages from the Original Course View into a document in the Ultra Course View. Text, attachments, multimedia, and links are all carried forward into the Ultra document. You may notice some loss of formatting, if you added any using the content editor.

    The converted document will appear on your course's Course Content page in the Ultra Course View.


    Document creation and editing

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Native content provides a rich, responsive experience for optimal viewing, and an engaging course for instructors and students. This release of Documents provides instructors and course designers with a native content creation tool within the Ultra Course View.

    Content creators have access to the full text editor, which includes the math editor, as well as file attachments. Additionally, they have the option to add media files that will display inline. Students will be able to view these images and play videos within the Document viewing screen without needing to download and open them separately.

    More on document creation in Ultra


    Goal alignment

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016
    Ultra Course View

    Now you can track students' progress-or monitor accreditation-using goals in the Ultra Course View. Instructors can align goals and standards with an assessment in the Assignment Settings panel, using the same process as the Original Course View.

    Students can view associated goals with assignments, group assignments, or tests. Once the course has completed, goals will become read-only.

    Goals associated with course content are retained through course conversion, copy, import, and restore processes.

    More on goal alignment in Ultra


    Reports on student activity - Tests

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

    The new Student Activity report displays details of when each student opened, started, and submitted a test in both Original and Ultra courses. The page also displays their grades on the test. And in Ultra Course View, instructors can send a message to an individual student from the Student Activity page. Instructors have the option to view the data visually using Chart View or in a traditional text layout in Grid View.

    In Original courses: Select the Content tab, then navigate to a test and select the arrow to the right of its name. Choose Student Activity.

    In Ultra courses: Access Student Activity data from the Course Content page. Hover over a test and select the bar chart icon labeled Student Activity.

    This is the first of many future releases of a dual-panel feature. The feature generally looks and functions the same whether you are working in an Original or Ultra course.

    More on student activity details


    Tests in Ultra Course View - Essay questions

    Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016
    Ultra Course View

    This initial release of Tests allows for the creation, viewing, submission, and grading of short essay questions. This milestone will serve as the foundation, and we'll continue adding more question types, delivery settings, and a richer authoring environment in future releases.

    More on Ultra tests



    Release notes for earlier versions

    Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.