This page contains features and updates currently on Learn SaaS Test/Stage and Production environments. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features and updates in older versions.

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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.


Annotate comment enhancement

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


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.
  • 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 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.



Looking for older release notes?

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