Looking for the latest release information? Check out the Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes feed.
Browse the list of features or view the maintenance items.
You can also see our instructions to create and export a list of Known Issues in Behind the Blackboard.
Mobile Web Services
The Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block enables users to connect to their courses through Blackboard's mobile applications: Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor. The latest version of the Mobile Web Services Building Block is 94.9.12. Check these links for the best available version for your installation.
Cumulative Update 2 for FDO Q4 2017 (release 3300.0.2)
Cumulative Update (CU) 2 for the Q4 2017 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Cumulative Update 1 for FDO Q4 2017 (release 3300.0.1)
Cumulative Update (CU) 1 for the Q4 2017 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.
Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2017
The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q4 2017 (3300.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers will soon be available. Contact Blackboard Support to schedule your upgrade for the time and date that works best for you.
This release includes features released as part of continuous delivery releases since 3200.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.
Chemistry notation support
The math editor found in the Content Editor has been updated to a newer version of WIRIS. This version adds tools specific to chemistry including an embedded periodic table of elements.
Course availability status and update
Instructors and other privileged course members can see the availability state of the course and change the state from the main course view. All privileged users in a course see an open or closed padlock representing the availability state of the course to students. This is in the course edit management areas with tools such as Student Preview and the Edit Mode toggle.
Crocodoc to New Box View update
Instructors grading assignments can view documents in-line and annotate the document to provide feedback for students. In prior versions, this used a licensed technology called Crocodoc that will be discontinued on January 15, 2018. This release allows institutions to switch to a replacement service from Box entitled New Box View that offers similar capabilities. Prior documents with annotations will be automatically migrated without requiring action from administrators. Administrators only need to enable the New Box View service.
It is recommended administrators initiate the migration between periods of heavy assessment such as between terms; the migration to and adoption of New Box View doesn't have to occur at time of upgrade.
Email tool recipient permissions
Administrators can better define the extent to which users in courses can contact one another using the Email tool. Previously, instructors would choose which email recipient options were available in each course; for example, whether students could email each other. Administrators can now restrict the Email tool recipient options that will appear for use in courses.
Manage connected third-party applications using Three-Legged OAuth 2.0
Starting with this release, Blackboard Learn provides support for three-legged OAuth (3LO) 2.0 authorization. Developers can create applications using REST APIs that act on a user's behalf in a more secure way. When authorized using 3LO, applications can act on behalf of a user and therefore are restricted to the parts of Learn for which that user has permissions to access.
When users work in a third-party tool, the application may ask your permission to operate within Learn on your behalf. This process allows the application to submit assignments or tasks the user has completed to Blackboard Learn. Similar to syncing social media applications, the integration allows learning platforms to work together. Once a user allows access, they can manage the authorization from the Tools panel.
Previously, such applications could only work with Learn using generic credentials. Generic credentials had all permissions needed for the application, regardless of individual user's access levels. This method also didn't provide the ability to track individual user activities. Now, Learn supports either method: the use of generic credentials or user-specific credentials and permissions.
Migrate message storage
The Administrator Panel now includes the option to migrate messages in courses and organizations to the Learn database. Older course and organization message were stored via flat files on a shared storage volume. New courses and organizations always store messages in the database.
You can find the migration option in Administrator Panel > Tools and Utilities > Course Messages.
During migration, the system skips a course or organization if it doesn’t exist, is disabled, or already uses database storage. You can check your system logs to confirm message migration is complete.
SCORM engine update
The integrated SCORM player has been updated to a newer version that improves playback of responsive content and better supports SCORM packages in right-to-left languages such as Arabic.
SMTP authentication and encryption for email
SMTP authentication is now supported to improve the security of outbound email. Mail server configuration is now handled in the Email configuration page of the Admin panel. Settings take effect upon submission. An entry in the registry is created the first time this configuration page is used.
Support for IMS Global's LTI Content-Item Message Standard: Add teaching tools via LTI from provider's site
Content-Item message 1.0 is an LTI specification for exchanging content between LTI tools and Blackboard Learn. Many types of content can be shared, such as static links, embedded images or other media types and files, extending the LTI toolbox and streamlining the process of setting up an LTI tool link. Content-Item message enables external (LTI) tools to appear in the same way that internal tools do.
This enhancement provides another time savings for instructors and course builders: you can now add third-party content from a trusted provider's website directly, without having to navigate back to Learn. Additionally, instructors can add multiple pieces of content at once. Select and import the pieces of content to add to your Learn course, rather than adding each piece of content individually. These abilities depend on how the provider's content is configured.
Collaborate Ultra Building Block update
Add Collaborate Ultra to your group tools.
Instructors can add Collaborate Ultra sessions to Groups pages in the Original Course View of Blackboard Learn. If instructors allow, students can share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings. Institutions need a Collaborate license to use this in their courses.
Maintenance items for 3200.12.0
You can now view 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 3200.12.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
Grade display standardization
This change standardizes areas of Blackboard Learn where users access grades. Now, all gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades support up to five decimal points, aren't rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).
Maintenance items for 3200.10.0
You can now view 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 3200.10.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- Instructor feedback on manually created gradebook items now displays for students as expected.
- In the Original Course View, instructors are shown updated help text on the Email Settings page. The instructions now indicate that some settings may be restricted by the institution administrator.
- We’ve fixed LTI links in the Ultra Course View to launch properly in mobile browsers and Blackboard apps.
- We’ve fixed an issue with loading longer lists of content folders on the Course Content page in the Ultra Course View.
- We’ve fixed an issue in the administrator Grade Center reports. Previously, grade columns were not appearing for courses using the Original Course View.
- We’ve fixed an issue that created a new session for users who login to Learn using SAML or CAS authentication. This release resolves any conflicts arising from ceasing an existing session, including problems with assessments that used force completion.
- An updated version of the McGraw-Hill Connect and Create Building Block (v2.4.2017020074) is bundled with this release.
- Message text has been updated for course builders who remove a member from a course:
- Remove Member?
When you remove members from your course, all of their grades, activity logs, and data are deleted. Are you sure you want to remove this member?
- Remove Member?
- We’ve rewritten error messages on the calendar to be more useful. When a user types an invalid date or time, the error message describes the required format:
- Please type a date in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY.
- Please type a time in the following format: 00:00 AM.
Additional ARIA landmarks in the Original Course View
We’ve incorporated ARIA landmarks in the course menu and the content area to better define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.
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:
We launched your selected LTI tool.
- Oops, something went wrong.
We couldn't launch your selected LTI tool.
Maintenance items for 3200.8.0
You can now view 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 3200.8.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- Internet Explorer 11 is supported for the Ultra login page.
- Overdue notifications no longer appear in the activity stream for students who have submitted at least one attempt on time for a multiple-attempt assessment.
- Performance improvements have been made to address memory leaks. Performance began to suffer during longer sessions in which the user navigated to multiple areas of Ultra. This release addresses those issues.
- The text editor's save and cancel behavior has been improved.
- The instructor view of attachments on individual attempts in a multiple-attempt assessment has been fixed.
- Submission receipts have been localized into the user's chosen language.
- Inserting HTML into the text editor no longer locks the browser.
- Visibility settings are inherited when a whole course's content is copied into a new Ultra course.
- To help differentiate course members with identical names, the username has been added to the user card in the Ultra course roster and other areas such as Messages.
- Instructors can delete feedback on a graded item.
- When a course in the Ultra Course Preview is set as available to students from the Courses page, a new message appears: Finalizing conversion…
- An updated version of the Pearson MyLabs Mastering Building Block (v3.201.2017020601) is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the VitalSource Building Block (v3.101.201702475) is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021354) is bundled with this release.
- Text in Discussions in the Ultra Course View has been updated for consistency:
- Delete Response?
Are you sure you want to permanently delete this response from the discussion? Replies to this response remain unless you choose to delete them.
- Delete Reply?
Are you sure you want to permanently delete this reply to remove it from the discussion?
- Make an initial post to start a discussion.
- Delete Response?
- Text in conversations on course content items in the Ultra Course View has been updated:
- Delete Response?
You can delete this response to remove it from the conversation.
- Delete Response?
- A message that appears for students working on timed assessments has been updated:
- Timer is still active
The timer will continue to count down when you close your draft. Your work is automatically saved and submitted when time is up.
- Timer is still active
More efficient Grade Center cleanup
Instructors can now more easily clean up their grade books by deleting multiple columns at once. Selected manual and calculated columns are removed completely. Selected columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.
More responsive Blogs and Journals tools
Blogs and Journals have been better optimized for use on mobile devices. Posts and comments composed with responsive content will render on smaller devices. Options for filtering posts or navigating groups or users will appear below currently viewed posts.
Maintenance items for 3200.6.0
You can now view 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 3200.6.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- Blackboard Learn SaaS is officially certified in the LTI 2.0 standard.
- Course copy via SIS integration behavior has changed. To maintain server speed and prevent unnecessary database job queues, only two course copy jobs can run concurrently in the cluster.
- Improvements have been made to notifications regarding late or overdue activity in the Ultra experience. The activity stream exhibited confusing behavior regarding due dates in restored courses, or when due dates had been changed.
- For auto-graded assessments that have been submitted past the due date, instructors now can overwrite the grade in the grade pill where the grade is automatically calculated.
- SAML sign on failures now include a unique identifier, allowing administrators to trace what went wrong with a user's specific login attempt.
- Content visibility settings are preserved when exporting and importing courses using the Ultra Course View.
- An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021340) is bundled with this release.
- An updated version of the Qwickly Building Block (v.3.7.3) is bundled with this release.
- Text has been changed in assessments with multiple allowed attempts. When a user opens an assessment that is past due, a message now states: Past due. This attempt will be marked late. This helps to clarify that any additional attempts submitted after the due date will be marked late, but the attempts submitted prior to the due date satisfy the deadline.
- Text has changed in the Profile area of the Ultra experience. When a user selects their privacy settings,
- The options for students now include:
- Only instructors
- Anyone in my courses
- Administrators and anyone in my courses
- Instructors and Administrators see the following options:
- Administrators and other instructors
- Anyone in my courses
- Administrator and anyone in my courses
- The options for students now include:
Mobile device navigation improvements for the Original experience
This release includes navigation improvements for the system and course menus in the Original experience. When users access Blackboard Learn through their mobile devices, the navigation has been moved to a hamburger menu for persistent access from screen to screen. Tabs and subtabs also appear in navigation choices. My Blackboard has been incorporated into the system menu for easier access. Within a course, the menu opens and closes more easily with fixed location action rather than tab.
Blackboard Open Content available in Content Market
Blackboard Open Content is now available as a content partner in the Content Market for both Original and Ultra experiences in Blackboard Learn.
With this release, instructors using Blackboard Learn can launch directly from the Content Market into Blackboard Open Content to create, share, and discover rich educational content from a global network of instructors and leading OER providers.
Additionally, instructors can launch directly from the Content Market into the partner channel for CK-12 and Curriculum Pathways to discover and add content to their courses.
Accessibility update to the first-time user experience
When a user first logged in to Blackboard Learn with the Original experience, an overlay appeared on the screen to highlight key navigation elements. The overlay caused a frustrating user experience for those using assistive technologies and has been removed to improve overall accessibility.
Ally: Support for files attached with Content Editor
Ally, an optional solution for improving accessibility of course materials, now supports files attached in the Content Editor. Presently this support is limited to certain content types such as “Item.” Instructors see accessibility scores for these attachments, students can download more accessible alternative versions of those files, and administrators will be able to report on the collective accessibility of these additional files.
New Blackboard app download module
A new module called Download Blackboard's Student App Today has been added to help students discover and download the Blackboard app. The module includes Apple and Android download links.
While the module is available by default for users to add to personalized tabs, it is not added to any tabs automatically. Administrators can use standard tab and module configuration to present the module on appropriate student tabs or to restrict the module entirely.
Course copy improvements
Institutions often use courses as templates for future instruction. Previously, when a course contained an LTI link to a specific piece of content, such as a chapter within an eBook, the link would break in a copied course, causing frustration and confusion. This issue is resolved in this release.
There is now a solution that keeps track of your placement so your content is not lost. The source course ID and content ID is tracked during course copy (and possibly archive/export) and the parameters are passed along with the launch in the respective history parameters.
Discussion Board "Replies to Me"
Keeping up with large Discussion Board forums is easier by giving participants a count and filter to just look at new replies from others to posts made the participant.
Guest access to the Course Catalog
Some institutions would like to use their LMS to support self-enrollment in courses, with or without e-commerce, to allow students to browse and join courses on-the-fly. We’ve added a new API attribute that will allow direct guest access to preview Original courses in the Ultra experience.
LTI 2.0 Technical Preview
Partners, customers, and Blackboard can use the LTI 2.0 specification to create solution integrations that are accessible from various access points in both the Ultra and Original experiences. Specifically, the LTI 2.0 registration (tool proxy) services are supported along with the results service for returning scores to the gradebook. Other LTI services and specifications including Content Item messages and Gradebook services (formerly Rich Outcomes) are not supported at this time.
Maintenance items for 3200.4.0
You can now view 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 3200.4.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.
- SAML Building Block now supports the SHA-256 algorithm
- Improvements to fix visual bugs in Ultra language packs
- Comment icons have been updated for consistency
- Icons throughout the system have been replaced to use SVG files
- Ally Integration Reports no longer open in a pop up window
- Users can upload PDF files to Educator Preview environments
- Auto-save behavior has been removed from individual questions when creating an assessment in the Ultra Course View. Instructors are now prompted to manually save individual questions as they create assessments.
- Updated versions of the Mobile Web Services Building Block (v3200.4.0), McGraw-Hill Higher Education Building Block (v2.3.2017020076) and WileyPlus Building Block (v2.1.201604543) are bundled with this release
- The text dividing assessment and submission content has been changed for questionless tests as follows:
- Assessments without questions: Student content appears at the end of each submission
- Assessments with questions: If students add additional content, it appears at the end of each submission
- Assessment load times have improved to support a greater number of students and questions
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.
Release notes for earlier versions
Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.