Looking for the latest release information? Check out the Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes feed.

More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | How to enable the Ultra experience

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.

Cumulative Update 4 for FDO Q2 2018 (release 3400.0.4)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 4 for the Q2 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2018

New updates for Ally customers

Ally 1.19.3 | Release to Production 9 September 2018
Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.19.3) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018

We are developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3400.11.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Download annotated PDFs
  • Anonymous grading in Ultra Course View
  • Unsubmitted work counts as zero

Learner engagement

  • Download annotated PDFs
  • Improvements for course messages
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

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.

Learn more about anonymous grading in Ultra

Course View: Ultra

Content delivery improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Multimedia is essential in many mixed-mode and online courses, and poor performance can lead to a frustrating user experience. To help speed the delivery of online media, such as video, we’ve added configuration options for administrators to control content delivery through signed URLs. Signed URLs allow content to be delivered directly and securely from cloud storage, which provides faster transfers and requires fewer resources to run on the system. A signed URL is equivalent to the actual file after it’s delivered to the browser.

Find the settings on Administrator Panel > Content Management Settings > Cloud Signed URL Settings.

Learn more about content delivery improvements

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) User Report

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 Experience, Ultra Experience

One of the requirements of the European Union (EU) GDPR is to allow users to receive human-readable reports of personal information that has been collected about them. Clients receiving user requests may submit a case on Behind the Blackboard, including the user’s ID, to request the exported report package. The report is a ZIP file that contains CSV files with site- and course-level information about user activity, tool interactions, uploaded content, or submitted work within Blackboard Learn. Any grade data in the report are raw values and don’t include any calculations or weighting the instructor may have applied in the Grade Center. The report won’t contain information about other users in the system, content created by the institution or other users, or information from deleted courses.

Flexible Deployment Option customers: In Q4 2018 CU1 (3500.0.1), the GDPR User Report includes Activity Log and Attendance data.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Improvements for course messages

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Experience

We’ve updated the global and course messages pages for more intuitive and easy navigation. You’ll notice the following changes:

  • On the global Messages page in the base navigation, courses are grouped according to term, similar to the way they are grouped on the Courses page. Your current courses appear first when you open the Messages page. You can use the arrows to navigate through the groups.
  • The number of messages you've received in each course is displayed with a course card. Select the course card to jump to all of your messages.
  • In your course, you can select the number of messages that appear per page.
  • When you select a course message to view, you can use arrows to browse through messages in order.

Learn more about improvements to course messages

Experience: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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 3400.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • In the Original experience, administrators had no option in the user interface to remove images they had added to a default brand. This issue was fixed.
  • Some institutions who customized the default landing page in the Ultra experience noticed some inconsistent behavior for the destination when users logged in. This issue was fixed.
  • Some custom administrator roles were unable to access courses delivered in the Ultra Course View. This issue was fixed.
  • Attachments to course messages caused unnecessary file backups that could lead to system performance issues. This issue was fixed.
  • In the Ultra experience, default course view settings would sometimes reset on system restart or upgrade. This issue has been fixed.
  • Some instructors who used percentage-based rubrics to grade assignments noticed that mid-range values would revert on save. This issue was fixed.
  • For environments with automatic course archive enabled, some files older than 45 days weren’t included in course backup files. This issue was fixed.
  • We’ve updated the text shown to administrators who choose to use the Ultra experience on Test environments. The message now states more clearly that the environment will need to be completely rebuilt and all data will be lost to convert back to the Original experience.
  • We’ve updated the text shown to users when content controlled with conditional release is unavailable. When a student hovers on the content after access is over, the message now reads: You can't access this content after MM/DD/YYYY, 00:00AM. Previously, the message only stated when the content became available, not when access ended.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

Upload an image to the Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.11.0 | Release to Production 6 September 2018
Ultra Experience

On the Institution Page, administrators can upload a picture hosted in the Content Collection. Previously, images used for the institution logo or banner were added with a URL. Institutions who host the images with other institution content needed to take an additional step to locate the file path. Starting with the release, administrators can open and browse the Content Collection to use these images on the Institution Page.

Images can also be added to the Helpful Links module in this way. When the administrator adds an image from the Content Collection, the permissions for the image file update to include any user who’s able to view the module.

Learn more about uploading images to the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

Cumulative Update 3 for FDO Q2 2018 (release 3400.0.3)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 3 for the Q2 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q2 2018, Experience: Original

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018

We are developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3400.9.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • SCORM support in Ultra
  • Download gradebook
  • Custom locales in Ultra

Learner engagement

  • Group creation & grading enhancements
  • Course list optimization
  • Conversation improvements
  • Add LTI links to the Institution Page
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Add LTI links to the Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

In this release, we bring the LTI standard to the Institution Page. Schools can now surface LTI tools outside of the course context for all their users or a select subset of users based on institution role.

To add an LTI item to the Institution Page, create a Custom Content module. Select Insert/Edit LTI Item in the editor and browse for system tools available in the system. LTI tools appear in the editor with the provider’s icon, but you can change the display text.

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.17 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
New features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.17) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

New Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

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

Course View: Ultra

Course list optimization

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

In an earlier release, we improved the Courses page in the Ultra experience to better course terms and let institutions display courses in a way that aligns to the student journey. With this release, we will continue to refine the page as we allow for more user choice and improve the layout of the page overall. These changes include:

  • Addition of a quick drop down for quick past-term navigation
  • Original Course View label added to all Original courses
  • Original courses descriptions are now available from the expanded course card view
  • Term sub-listings are now displayed on the current courses page to let users scan quickly

More on how terms affect the Courses page in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Custom locales in Ultra

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience

Previously, Learn Ultra supported predetermined language packs without the ability to customize. This release introduces custom locale capabilities that will allow an institution to change specific words or phrases within their site and not have it break with each monthly update.

With multitudes of dialects comprising the world’s many languages, Blackboard understands how many varieties and nuances of languages exist. The adjustments you make to your locale end up making a huge difference in the lives of educators and learners and it is one less barrier to overcome when digesting the material being taught.

Ultra locales only contain strings in the Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View user interfaces. To edit strings that appear in the Original Experience or Original Course View, see Create and Edit Language Packs for the Original Experience

More on custom locales in Ultra

Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: 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

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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 3400.9.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.9.0 | Release to Production 2 August 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • We've updated text regarding external submissions in the Ultra Course View. The assessment setting now says Collect submissions offline, and students see a message that says Offline submission when accessing assessments of this type.
  • Instructors encountered an error in graded discussion boards converted from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View. The error appeared when the instructor tried to change the grade schema. This issue was fixed.
  • Recipients were unable to download message attachments that contained special characters in the file name. This issue was fixed.
  • Instructors may have encountered an error when attempting to delete submissions that contained attachments. This issue was fixed.
  • Course members may have experienced issues opening and viewing discussion boards where a deactivated user had once participated. This issue was fixed.
  • Messages in the Ultra Course View sometimes showed the incorrect sender and recipient names. This issue was fixed.
  • Administrators may have seen an error regarding permissions when attempting to download an attachment on a student submission. This issue was fixed.
  • Users who change their language setting can see system announcements that were posted before changing the setting.
  • In the Original Course View, some users had to refresh the page to see their reply to a discussion forum. This issue was fixed.
  • In the Original Course View, some users were unable to remove file attachments in draft discussion posts. This issue was fixed.
  • Instructors may have observed unexpected characters in the Due Date column of the Ultra gradebook when the assignment had no due date assigned. This issue was fixed.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018

We are developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3400.7.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Reuse questions
  • Matching questions

Learner engagement

  • Matching questions
  • Course announcements
Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Ultra

Cloud storage integration in the Original Course View

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Course View

Blackboard is pleased to announce cloud storage integration in the Original Course View. Instructors and students can access an aggregated cloud service that lets users connect to their preferred cloud storage accounts and place content directly into their course. Instructors and students can instantly connect to multiple web apps where they 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.

This feature was also made available with Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018 CU4.

Get started with the cloud storage integration

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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 3400.7.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.7.0 | Release to Production 5 July 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • In the Ultra Course View, the Add Content icon is now a darker shade and heavier weight to provide greater contrast with the surrounding elements in the user interface.
  • When setting up SMS notifications in Ultra, users now see a message reminding them that their cellular carrier may charge a fee for these messages.
  • The SafeAssign Originality Report is disabled for assessments set to collect external submissions.
  • An updated version of the Cengage Building Block (v1.101.20182347) is bundled with this release.
  • Some students may have had trouble accessing a group assignment if a group member was disabled from accessing the course. This issue has been resolved.
  • Lengthy videos displayed through the New Box View service were stopping before reaching the end of playback. The vendor has fixed this issue.

Localization updates

  • The German translation for Open to Students in the Ultra Course View has been improved.
  • The word “goals” was inconsistently translated in the Spanish language pack for the Ultra experience. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.16.5 | Release to Production 2 July 2018
Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.16.5) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

Educator Preview is now the new CourseSites!

Release to Production 27 June 2018

Educator Preview is now the new CourseSites. The learning environment will still serve as the premier place to test drive the Ultra experience, with the added bonus of having a course delivery option for you to teach live courses using either the Ultra Course View or the Original Course View. Check out the new CourseSites and visit the CourseSites Community for more information.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018

We are developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3400.5.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

  • Discussion Analysis
  • External submissions
  • Additional cloud storage providers

Learner engagement

  • Improvements to user privacy
  • Announcements on the Ultra login page
  • Insert recordings using the editor in assessment feedback
Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Announcements on the Ultra login page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Ultra Experience

Institutions sometimes want to communicate messages to users in a prominent place, possibly even before users log in to the system. Prior to this release, announcements could be placed on the login page only in the Original experience. Now, we bring the same functionality to Ultra.

Administrators can create and place announcements on the login page the same way for both experiences. Go to Admin Panel > Announcements > Create Announcement to get started. Set Show at Login to Yes to have your announcement appear to unauthenticated users.

More on announcements

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Configure static resources

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Starting with this release, you can specify a desired directory in the Content Collection. To access this setting, go to Admin Panel > System Configuration > Configure Static Resources. Blackboard Learn ships with this set to an internal default directory, but you can change that to any location of your choice. Files in the chosen location are served by the Learn application server as if they were located at the server root, allowing the server to serve static files such as robots.txt and favicon.ico. Before this improvement, this functionality required custom workarounds.

This feature is intended solely for files such as those listed; it is not intended for serving dynamic content or large files.

More on system configuration in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

Improvements to User Privacy in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018 CU1 (3400.0.1), Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is committed to protecting the privacy of all users. Due to changing regulations globally concerning use of data and privacy, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this release includes updates that impact user experience. Administrators should evaluate the impact this may have for their users.

  1. On the login page, we've added links to access the Blackboard privacy and data use statement, the Blackboard terms of use, and an optional privacy and data use statement from the institution have been added to the login page. In the Original experience, the links also appear in the login module and the settings area of My Blackboard. In the Blackboard and Blackboard Instructor mobile apps, the links are found in Settings and in the Terms of Use shown at login. This way, users can access important information about the use of their data and their privacy both before and after authentication.
  2. The Security Management: Cookie Disclosure Building Block, originally intended to address regulations in the European Privacy Data Directive, has been replaced by the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure Building Block. This Building Block is part of the core system and can't be disabled or removed.
  3. For institutions that don't have users who would fall under regulations requiring this acceptance, the terms acceptance interface can be disabled in the Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page. However, we recommend institutions keep the acceptance interface enabled because some users might access from another location with such regulations.
  4. The Security Management: Data Use and Privacy Disclosure settings page allows an administrator to define a web link to institutional statements about data use and privacy. An administrator could also store such a statement in the Content Collection as a public file and link to it.

More on the Security Management - Data Use and Privacy Disclosure Building Block

FDO Q2 2018, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, Learner Engagement, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

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).

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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 3400.5.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.5.0 | Release to Production 31 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Ultra Experience and Ultra Course View

  • We've updated the scoring options for multiple choice questions so they are shorter and easy to scan:
    • All or nothing: All correct answers must be selected to receive full credit
    • Partial credit: Give credit for correct answers with no penalty for incorrect answers
    • Subtract points for incorrect answers: Give credit for correct answers, but subtract points for incorrect answers. The question score can total less than 0.
  • When accessing the course catalog as a guest in Ultra, the user wasn't always able to return to the login page from within a course. This issue has been resolved.
  • The Maximum Score field in Ultra assessments now displays an error message when a user attempts to input a negative number
  • We fixed a bug that incorrectly displayed the number of students with accommodations in a discussion
  • When more than one instructor was enrolled in a course, these users were assigned to groups in group discussions in the Ultra Course View. This issue has been resolved.
  • Students may have seen an error message when attempting to view grades in a course where a graded discussion was available at a certain date and time. This issue has been resolved.
  • The Ultra course roster was including disabled enrollments in the overall count of course members. This issue has been resolved.
  • The link to chat with Support in Educator Preview was updated to a new destination

Original Experience and Original Course View

  • We've fixed an error that appeared when an instructor attempted to create an assignment using a Portfolio template in the Original Course View
  • The number of points possible for an assessment in the Original Course View was inconsistent when a rubric was applied. This issue has been resolved.
  • When students uploaded multiple attachments to Self and Peer Assessments, only the first attachment was displayed. This issue has been resolved.
  • On the Goal Performance page, the overall progress for a goal was incorrectly aggregating the performance on aligned course items. This issue has been resolved.

General

  • Some institution announcements may have disappeared after upgrading from Managed Hosting to SaaS. This issue has been resolved.
  • SafeAssign sporadically failed to generate Originality Reports for assignments. This issue has been resolved.
  • An error occurred when attempting to create a new system role in Blackboard Learn. This issue has been resolved.

Localization updates

  • Placeholder text in fill in the blank questions wasn't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
  • Fields in the attendance report for instructors weren't properly localized. This issue has been resolved.
  • Users who selected Swedish as their default language in Ultra saw untranslated strings when viewing events on the base calendar. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

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. 

More on collecting submissions offline in Ultra

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

New updates for Ally customers

Continuous Delivery Ally 1.16.2 | Release to Production 23 May 2018
New features, Updated features

The latest release of Ally (v. 1.16.2) contains bug fixes and other improvements that may apply to your product. Visit the Ally 1.16.2 release notes to learn more. Don't have Ally? Learn more about Ally.

New Features, Updated Features, Experience: Original, Integrations

Cumulative Update 1 for FDO Q2 2018 (release 3400.0.1)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 1 for the Q2 2018 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q2 2018, Experience: Original

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

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Ultra

Auto-archive courses

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is introducing a new feature that automatically archives active courses on Blackboard Learn SaaS client sites. Auto-archive is an automated process that archives any course that has had activity since the last time the process ran. Archives are stored in the Content Collection where administrators can view, restore, and download the archives as needed. Blackboard Learn keeps the latest archive of a course indefinitely, but deletes older archives after 30 days.

Using this tool, an administrator can restore an archive of an existing course if the owner has damaged the course. Administrators can also restore previous versions of a course (within 30 days) if the owner needs to compare the current version to an earlier version of the course.

This feature is being introduced to client sites incrementally, so you may not see it available on your system even though the 3400.3.0 release is available.

Learn more about archiving courses in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Course list optimization

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Experience

The Courses page in Ultra is a simple, quick way to access all of your courses, including those in the past or in the future. But is it really that simple if you're enrolled in a lot of courses?

In this release, we've enhanced the Courses page to work for instructors and students who are enrolled in a small or large number of courses. Improvements include:

  • A new search bar lets a user quickly find one key course without scrolling through all of their courses.
  • Course cards now occupy the full width of the list so you can easily read the full course name, instructors, and other key information.
  • The Courses page now include pagination for longer lists to improve load speeds and prevent information overload.
  • Users can now add courses to a Favorites list for quick access. Favorite courses appear at the top of the course list.
  • Courses in the Original Course View appear with a grey course card. Ultra course cards contain colors.

Explore the courses page from the instructor perspective

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Ultra, Education Insight

Institution Page – Role-based modules

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Institutions publish and share lots of information for different audiences. While all users may need access to the help desk, for example, the contact information for students and faculty may be different.

Modules on the Institution Page can now be displayed to selected user groups. By reducing the amount of information that doesn't affect a user, administrators can help maximize the available real estate on the Institution Page and help prevent confusion for all users.

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Learn Data Pipeline Upgrade

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard is upgrading the data management process for Blackboard Learn clients with Direct Data Access (DDA). This change applies to Blackboard Learn SaaS Advantage customer institutions using DDA. Blackboard is migrating SaaS reporting data to a new state-of-the-art Snowflake database. After the migration is complete, clients will have access to a new data microservice for Blackboard Learn. You can get the same data that supports Learn's built-in reporting using the new microservice.

This change is being introduced to client sites incrementally, so you may not see it available on your system even though the 3400.3.0 release is available. Full documentation, including credential requests, user interface access, and affected Building Blocks, will be available soon.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Maintenance Items

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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 3400.3.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • We've updated a message in the mobile view of the Ultra Course Preview to be more consistent with the experience on desktop. Both platforms now show the user the following message:
    If you like the preview, you can permanently convert your course and save any changes you've made during the Ultra Course Preview. If you switch back to Original Course View, changes made during preview are lost.
  • We've updated text for students beginning assessments without time limits in the Ultra Course View. When a student opens an assignment or a test without a time limit, the button says View assessment instead of Start attempt. This language more clearly communicates that the student is not compelled to submit the attempt after opening it if it isn't timed.
  • We've improved the user experience in the new editor. Previously, when a user wanted to remove a hyperlink from a piece of text, they would need to delete the text entirely. Now, a user can simply remove the hyperlink without affecting their content.
  • In both Ultra and Original courses, when instructors first access the attendance feature, they’re able to select Add Attendance and add an attendance column after attendance records are generated. In the Ultra Course View gradebook, instructors can delete attendance if no attendance records exist.
  • Administrator preview for a system notification in the Ultra experience previously cut off long pieces of text. The preview now wraps text and this issues has been resolved.
  • The SafeHTML filter now applies to additional files types in Blackboard Learn.
  • Course content wasn't appearing as expected when a course bound to a term was archived and restored in a system that did not have the equivalent term. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructions on how to set up shared locations and web folders in the Content Collection previously displayed natively in Blackboard Learn. In this release, these instructions now lead to help.blackboard.com so the content can be kept up to date.
  • Some users received a past due notification for assessments, even when they had already submitted ahead of the due date. This issue has been resolved.
  • In-product help links now appear for all users on the Institution Page.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018

NewBoxView is default service

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Starting with the 3400.3.0 release, New Box View will be the default service (instead of Crocodoc) for all new Blackboard Learn installations. If your institution decided not to transition to New Box View and is upgrading to a more recent version of Blackboard Learn, this change won't affect you unless you are starting with a fresh install for the new target instance.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

Ultra access to the Course Catalog

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Ultra Experience

Large institutions offer many courses as part of different curricula or degree programs. To help students learn more about the course options and expectations, administrators may want to allow visibility into the current or upcoming courses for those who aren’t yet enrolled. The Course Catalog has been available in the Original Experience. With this release, we bring Course Catalog access to Ultra.

Students and instructors can access the Course Catalog directly from the Courses page. The Catalog contains the same search and browse functions as it had in the Original Experience, allowing users to find courses by course name, ID, description, term, or instructor. If the administrator created categories within the catalog or uses terms to group courses, users can also browse the catalog with this information.

Administrators can make the Course Catalog in Ultra available for all logged in users and for guests by placing a link on the Login page.

Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Content lockdown

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.3.0 | Release to Production 4 May 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Many institutions use Subject Matter Experts to create content for a course. This content is used across all sections of a course and is facilitated by multiple faculty. To ensure that the content in each course section remains consistent, we’ve added new entitlements for course roles so administrators can grant additional permissions for users that will allow them to view the content but they will not be able to modify the content.

In the coming releases, we’ll introduce even more granular entitlements like these with the goal of ultimately providing a formal Facilitator role that you can enable and designate for chosen users. You’ll find the following permissions are now available:

  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Create Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Delete Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Adaptive Release > Edit Date-Based Criteria
  • Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > Change Due Date of Grade Center Items

More on course roles in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2018

The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q2 2018 (3400.0.0) 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 3300.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.

More on the FDO release schedule

More information on the FDO Q2 2018 on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q2 2018

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018

As we move into 2018, we are thinking about and developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3400.1.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list into groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

Learner engagement

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

Institution Page enhancements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Experience

This release includes customization features in the Institution Page. In the existing Helpful Links module, you can now:

  • Move the module image to the right side or remove the module image
  • Associate the module image with a hyperlink in the list

More on the Institution Page

Experience: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3400.1.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3400.1.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • Instructors can sort the roster by student last name in the Ultra Course View.
  • Attendance in the Original Experience now supports Internet Explorer 11.
  • File attachments in the Ultra editor were not displaying as expected due to copy/paste behavior. A message has been added to the editor prompting the user to reinsert any pasted attachments to ensure they display correctly for other course members.
  • Content items in the Original Course View were unexpectedly moving their position in a list after being edited. This issue has been resolved.
  • Some students who had been removed from an Original course were receiving notifications regarding group activity in the course. This issue has been resolved.
  • When upgrading Blackboard Learn, the Mobile Building Block’s environment setting was reset and caused issues for users searching for courses via mobile apps. This issue has been resolved.
  • After an upgrade, the scrollbar in the Grade Center appeared on the left side of the screen and obscured information. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

Outcomes roles based on Institutional Hierarchy

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

When the centralized Assessment team demonstrates the simplicity and time-saving power of Outcomes Assessment, other departments and programs across the institution often want to take advantage of the solution and move their Assessment practices to Outcomes. Historically, though, institutions have been hesitant to roll it out to individual departments because adding Outcomes roles for users outside of the central office would grant full access to the entire institution’s evidence collections, evaluations, and reports.

With this update, we have enhanced Outcomes to respect the access limitations you’ve put in place by configuring Institutional Hierarchy. You can now assign Outcomes roles to key stakeholders within each department and these users will only be able to create evidence collections, manage evaluations, and view reports for courses within their node of the Institutional Hierarchy.

More on Outcomes Assessment in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Education Insight, FDO Q4 2018, Q4 2018

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

Course View: Ultra

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.

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Improvements to course conversion process

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Ultra Experience

The Blackboard Learn course conversion experience can be intimidating for instructors, as many features don’t function in Ultra the same way they did in Original. This often causes unexpected course behavior or appearance and can be seen a barrier for Ultra adoption. While many of these changes are minor, there is a need for instructors to know and understand the implications before fully adopting the Ultra Course View.

With this release, we’ve improved the conversion experience so instructors have more insight into what’s changing. Exceptions are now categorized into groups based on priority and potential impact. Instructors can explore their courses and view the exceptions to better understand how students will experience the Ultra Course View.

More on the Ultra Course Preview

Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

LTI placement improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3400.1.0 | Release to Production 6 April 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

A number of enhancements have been made to LTI Tool Provider setup and placements:

  • Administrators can now access LTI Tool Providers directly from the Administrator Panel in the Integrations menu.
  • There are new naming and capabilities in the placement options for an LTI tool.
    • Under Type, the student tool has been renamed to Course tool, with availability options for students and non-students. Student Course tools appear in the Student Tools area and no longer require instructor action for students to use the tool. Non-student Course tools appear in the Control Panel for instructors and other course users with access to the Control Panel.
    • The Content Item Message tool type is now the Supports deep linking option within the Course content tool to reflect a name change by the IMS Global organization.
    • There is a new Administrator tool placement type, which lets administrators place LTI tools in the Tools and Utilities menu on the Administrator Panel.

More on LTI placements

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, FDO Q4 2018

Cumulative Update 2 for FDO Q4 2017 (release 3300.0.2)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2017 (v3300.0.0)
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 2 for the Q4 2017 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

More information available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018

As we move into 2018, we are thinking about and developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3300.11.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list in to groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Academic effectiveness

Learner engagement

Education insight

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

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.

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Branding and color configuration in the Learn 2016 Theme

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Course View

This release includes additional options for users who wish to configure the Learn 2016 theme in all courses. In the Blackboard Learn 2016 theme, Course Menu and Theme color customization is now available through the entire interface.

Instructors and course designers can configure the course colors in the course control panel when using the Learn 2016 Theme. The course menu area appears in these colors in both desktop and mobile experiences. Extended menu areas such as the Control Panel for instructors and My Groups menu for students remain in the gray and white color scheme.

These enhancements apply to courses using the Learn 2016 theme in an Original experience environment.

More on the Learn 2016 Theme

Course View: Original, FDO Q2 2018, Q2 2018

Clear multiple choice selection

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Course View

Students are now able to clear a selection from multiple-choice questions. This lets students avoid a penalty when they’ve made an initial selection and negative points are associated with answer choices.

More on submitting a test attempt in Blackboard Learn

Course View: Original, FDO Q2 2018, Q2 2018

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: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.11.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3300.11.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.11.0 | Release to Production 9 March 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • Instructors can now embed a YouTube or Vimeo video in grade feedback in the Ultra Course View.
  • Help text on the LTI Placements page in the Administrator Panel has been updated.
  • An updated version of the Cengage Building Block (v1.101.201704346) is bundled with this release.
  • A new message appears in the Copy Content panel in the Ultra Course View: You can’t copy content from other courses when you’re in the Ultra Course Preview.
  • When an instructor creates an availability condition for content in an Ultra course, the custom range previously referred to points when the schema was set to percentage. This issue has been resolved.
  • Text on the Ally integration page in the Original experience has been updated for readability.
  • We've made indexing improvements to help speed up the migration from Crocodoc to New Box View.
  • Previously, instructors using the Swedish language pack in the Original Course View were unable to edit text questions. This issue has been fixed.
  • In the Original Experience, date selectors broke when a user accessed Blackboard Learn using a browser set to Swedish, Danish, or Spanish. This issue has been fixed.
  • We’ve improved the LTI launch behavior when the tool is configured to launch automatically.
  • In the Ultra Experience, when a user saved content in the editor that included multiple breaks to create white space, the editor automatically removed some space. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

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.

Course View: Ultra, Education Insight

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.

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

A special note from Product Management

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018

As we move into 2018, we are thinking about and developing our teaching and learning products toward the greater good of a holistic, next generation digital learning environment through the lens of three critical, unifying product themes: academic effectiveness, learner engagement, and education insight. By focusing on these themes, we will unify the development of our products to empower excellence in teaching and learning, inspire genuine interest, attention, and interaction in the learning process, and enable continuous improvement through accurate and deep understanding of the teaching and learning process.

In the Learn SaaS 3300.8.0 release, we focused our development and design on academic effectiveness and learner engagement. You’ll see below that we’ve also aligned our feature list in to groups based on value and benefit to you and your users.

Institutional success

Engaging course design

Specialized assessment

Learner engagement

Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement, Education Insight

Configure default landing page on login

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Currently, users are brought to their Activity Stream after they log in to the Ultra experience. The Activity Stream contains some important information, but administrators may prefer that users see the Institution Page or the Courses page upon login. A different landing page can be useful for the beginning of the semester or any other occasion where the Activity Stream may not be the institution's top focus.

To support this administrator preference, we've added the ability to change the page a user is brought to when logging into Blackboard Learn Ultra. You can find the Default Landing Page settings on the Administrator Panel in the The Ultra experience is here! section.

More on changing the Ultra landing page

Experience: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Maintenance items for 3300.8.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3300.8.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

  • This release contains a security fix to the login page that could interrupt the way third party SSO solutions pass user credentials from a client portal to Blackboard. A one-time nonce value has been added to the login form. This nonce must be passed back to the server with any POST to the login page. Third-party solutions which rely on posting usernames and passwords directly to /webapps/login/ will fail. This is by design. Clients using supported SSO methods including SAML and CAS aren't affected. Clients experiencing difficulty with custom SSO solutions should file a support ticket on Behind the Blackboard.
  • An updated version of the Blackboard Partner Cloud Building Block (1.7.2017021408) is bundled with this release.
  • When a student received a 0 score for a graded item, it appeared as negative on the My Grades page in the Original Course View. This issue has been resolved.
  • In both experiences, users who requested a new password weren't obligated to enter a new password when navigating to Learn using the recovery link emailed to them. This issue has been resolved.
  • When exporting a course from the Ultra experience, some course IDs weren't appearing in Firefox. This issue has been resolved.
  • After upgrading to the 3300.0.0 release, the Default Course View option was reset to Original Course View. This issue has been fixed.
  • We’ve improved the LTI launch behavior when the tool is configured to launch automatically.
  • The following Crocodoc to New Box View issues have been addressed:
    • Inline comments were appearing as HTML. 
    • Students replying to instructor comments received an error message regarding session expiration. The vendor has addressed this issue.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2018

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

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Users can receive notifications via SMS text message

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Ultra users are notified of various events and activities in courses from the Activity Stream. However, users must log in to see this information, and they may want to be made aware of these notifications when not logged into Learn. To support this, we have added capabilities to send notifications through SMS text messages.

You and your users can choose which notifications to receive and how often from the Activity Stream and Profile. Along with the Activity Stream and email notifications, SMS notifications is part of Blackboard’s solution for providing notification modality to all users based on their preferences.

More on how to enable SMS notifications in Blackboard Learn SaaS

Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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.
Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement, Academic Effectiveness

Configure course list for availability exceptions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.8.0 | Release to Production 2 February 2018
Ultra Experience

Students may need extended time to access a course due to illness or late registration. This feature allows administrators to open a course for a single student instead of the entire class as an exception to the normal course structure. The course that is re-opened to the student will appear in the course list for the term the course was held, such as Summer 2017.

More on customizing course availability

Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness, Learner Engagement

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.

Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

Additional attempts in Anonymous Grading

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2018
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View

Instructors can now grant an additional attempt for scenarios when the student needs one and the prior attempt can't be cleared because it is in an anonymous state.

More on Anonymous Grading

Course View: Original, FDO Q2 2018, Q2 2018

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.

Course View: Ultra, Education Insight

Grade calculations

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Course View

A previous release improved consistency of grade rounding and presentation across pages including Grade Center, gradebook download, and My Grades. This is further improved by updating those pages along with APIs (Building Blocks and REST) to all use Java BigDecimal for calculations, increasing consistency in edge cases where different Java methods may have rounded or calculated differently.

Course View: Original, FDO Q2 2018

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.

Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

Institution Page

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

An institution’s staff members, such as administrators, often want to use Blackboard Learn to communicate with instructors and students and to make resources easily accessible and available to the learning community. The Institution Page supports the administrator’s ability to make information available to many users.

In conjunction with Targeted Notifications, the introduction of the Institution Page is a key component in bringing the Tabs and Modules functionality currently available in the Original experience to Ultra. The Institution Page provides users static information that they may find useful, such as help desk links, library resources, advisor info, and any other bit of text/hyperlinking that they need to be aware of. Over time additional modules will be added as well as the ability to convey 3rd party tools/content. 

More on how to get started with the Institution Page

The Institution Page is on in the base navigation by default. To hide the Institution Page from users other than administrators, hide all modules from users. Administrators always have access to the Institution Page in the base navigation.

Availability

The Institution Page feature is being introduced to Blackboard Learn Ultra gradually based on the client’s data region. Currently, Institution Pages are available in North America. We’ll introduce the feature in additional regions according to the tentative schedule below:

  • North America: Currently available
  • Europe and Sydney: Currently available
  • Singapore: Targeted for Q1 2018
  • GovCloud: TBD
Experience: Ultra, Learner Engagement

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

Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018, Q2 2018

Maintenance items for 3300.6.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3300.6.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • In some environments, when attempting a test or assignment with math equation images, students were unable to view the image. This error was due to the image not being stored in the appropriate permanent storage location and has been resolved.
  • When changing course availability in the Ultra experience, the padlock icon was difficult to visually distinguish as open or closed. The padlock icon has been updated to more clearly show the open or closed state.
  • Some error messages have been updated to provide more context for users. For example, empty title or message fields in Targeted Notifications say Please type a title or Please type a message respectively, instead of simply Required.
  • In the Original Course View, users who connected to and browsed content from McGraw-Hill and returned to Blackboard Learn were unable to exit the course. This issue has been fixed with the improvements made to LTI launch return behavior.
  • When viewing an Ultra graded discussion on a mobile device, students who viewed the settings saw a blank page. This issue has been fixed.
  • Group assessment grades in the Ultra Course View were not consistently saving when instructors graded and posted from the Submissions view. This issue has been fixed.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

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.

Course View: Ultra

New text editor in targeted notifications

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

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.

More on targeted notifications in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Password reset improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Requests using Blackboard Learn's native password reset feature now expire after 15 minutes, improving security of the reset link.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

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

Course View: Ultra, Course View: Original, Education Insight, Learner Engagement, FDO Q2 2018

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

Course View: Ultra, Learner Engagement

Support for large monitors

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

To improve the user experience on larger screens, the Ultra interface now spans the entire browser window. Previously, the Ultra interface was restricted to a maximum width to ensure consistent appearance and behavior. Now, users can increase the amount of screen real estate the Ultra experience occupies, if they prefer.

Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Embed videos in the new content editor

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.6.0 | Release to Production 12 January 2018
Ultra Experience

The Ultra experience includes a new content editor, which is being introduced to certain areas of the application with each new release. Starting with this release, you can use the Insert Video option to insert an embedded video directly into the updated content editor. Simply paste the video source, add alternative text, and save – the editor automatically embeds the video so it appears alongside the other content you include. Students can watch the video within the same window, without having to navigate to the video's host site.

Experience: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

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 

Course View: Ultra, Academic Effectiveness

Re-release of 3300.2 (Continuous Delivery hotfix)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 22 December 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

To ensure quality, we've worked to resolve a number of issues identified in Blackboard Learn SaaS 3300.2.0 continuous delivery release.

More information is available on Behind the Blackboard

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Cumulative Update 1 for FDO Q4 2017 (release 3300.0.1)

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option Q4 2017 (v3300.0.0)
Original Experience

Cumulative Update (CU) 1 for the Q4 2017 Flexible Deployment Option (FDO) release of Blackboard Learn SaaS is available.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.2.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3300.2.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q2 2018

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

  • Users may have encountered an error when editing more than one setting for their Activity Stream at a time. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructors sometimes encountered a permissions error when accessing attachments on student submissions. This issue has been resolved.
  • A calendar event error message was improperly translated in the Korean language pack. The message has been properly translated for users viewing Learn Ultra in Korean.
  • Users viewing Blackboard on IE11 would be prompted to log in to MS Office when opening an Office 2016 file. This issue has been resolved.
Experience: Ultra

New content editor in Messages

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

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.

Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Users can receive notifications via email

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.2.0 | Release to Production 10 November 2017
Ultra Experience

Ultra users are notified of various events and activities in courses from the Activity Stream. However, users must log in to see this information, and they may want to be made aware of these notifications when not logged into Learn. To support this, we have added capabilities to send notifications through email.

You and your users can choose which notifications to receive and how often from the Activity Stream and Profile.

More on how to set up email notifications

More on how notifications map between the Original and Ultra experiences

Experience: Ultra

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.

More on the FDO release schedule

More information on the FDO Q4 2017 on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q4 2017

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).
Course View: Ultra

Chemistry notation support

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

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 View: Original, Q4 2017, FDO Q4 2017

Course availability status and update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, Q4 2017, FDO Q4 2017

Crocodoc to New Box View update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

More on the Crocodoc transition to New Box View

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Email tool recipient permissions

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, Q4 2017, FDO Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3300.0.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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 3300.0.0 maintenance issues on Behind the Blackboard.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Manage connected third-party applications using Three-Legged OAuth 2.0

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0| Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

More on Three-legged OAuth and Blackboard Learn

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Migrate message storage

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

More on how to migrate Blackboard Learn message storage

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • New column sub-heading for total points: For each column in the grid view of the gradebook, you can view the total points for each item or calculation and easily see the grade each student earned.
  • Instructors no longer see intermittent permissions errors when attempting to view attachments on student submissions
  • An updated version of the Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block (3.5.0) is bundled with this release.
  • The SAML Building Block now supports SNI
  • An issue with editing content items has been resolved
  • An issue with embedded media files not playing in assessment questions has been fixed
  • Email settings are preserved when copying materials into an existing course
  • Students whose course access has been disabled no longer appear in group membership lists
  • Timed assessments sometimes automatically submitted student work prior to the time limit. This issue has been resolved.
  • Instructors using the Brazilian Portuguese language pack no longer have trouble overriding grades using decimals (,)
  • The Rubric type dropdown list appears in courses when the Learn 2016 theme is enabled for the environment
  • In the Original Course View, due date settings and rubric associations are retained when an entire forum is copied
  • Usernames are required when creating new accounts via the LIS 2.0 SIS Framework
  • When creating a content item in the Original Course View, images attached using the content editor would break if the filename contained the word 'portfolio.' This issue has been fixed.
  • In the Original Course View, unavailable graded forums with due dates no longer appear in the To Do module
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

SCORM engine update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Experience

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.

Experience: Original, Q4 2017, FDO Q4 2017

SMTP authentication and encryption for email

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

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.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Q4 2017, FDO Q4 2017

Support for IMS Global's LTI Content-Item Message Standard: Add teaching tools via LTI from provider's site

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3300.0.0 | Release to Production 13 October 2017
Ultra Course View, Original Course View

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.

More on LTI Content-Item message at the IMS Global website

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Collaborate Ultra Building Block update

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Original Course View, Building Blocks

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.

More on course groups for instructors

 

Building Block, Updated Features, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.12.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.12.0 | Release to Production 19 September 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • When uploading a file through the content editor, the error message has been replaced to provide better guidance.
  • Course visibility confirmation messages have been updated to explain how availability is tied to academic terms. Instructors and course builders have different options for course availability when the course is associated with an academic term:
    • When a course is associated with an active term, it can be completed but not made private.
    • When a course is associated with a past or future term, it can’t be made available.
  • After a course is converted from the Original Course View to the Ultra Course View, users can download and open content attachments missing file extensions/MIME types without needing to choose the appropriate program.
  • Gradebook grid view has been refactored to improve performance and reduce bugs.
  • An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block (v1.7.2017021367) is bundled with this release.
  • The Sharp Building Block (v. 1.1.51) has been unbundled from this release.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Add a custom institution logo

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience

Institutions often want to promote their brand through their online properties, including their teaching and learning platform. In this release, administrators can add an institution logo to the Learn Ultra login page as well as the base navigation in the Ultra experience.

More on institution branding in the Ultra experience

Experience: Ultra

Grade display standardization

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Original Course View

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).

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3200.10.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • 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?
  • 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.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Original Course View messages appear in base navigation

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.10.0 | Release to Production 24 August 2017
Ultra Experience

With the Ultra experience enabled at the system level, an institution can decide whether to use the Ultra or Original Course Views for their courses. Institutions can also use a dual course view approach, with some courses using Ultra and others using Original.

In this release, messages in Original courses now appear in the Messages section of the Ultra base navigation, allowing students and instructors to read, delete, or reply to their messages across all courses, regardless of which course view those courses use.

More on how students use messages

More on how instructors use messages

Experience: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

Additional ARIA landmarks in the Original Course View

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
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.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

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.
Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.8.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

More efficient Grade Center cleanup

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

More responsive Blogs and Journals tools

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.8.0 | Release to Production 28 July 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

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.

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Maintenance items for 3200.6.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • 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
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Mobile device navigation improvements for the Original experience

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
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.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Performance improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience

A number of performance enhancements have been made throughout the Ultra experience to increase page loads times and overall speed. Ultra has also been tuned to retain better performance over longer periods of use. Noticeable performance gains can be enjoyed in the following areas:

  • Login page
  • Administrator Console loading within the Ultra base navigation
  • Text editing
  • Discussions loading
  • Assessments loading
  • Course list

Additional areas will be addressed in upcoming releases.

Experience: Ultra

Blackboard Open Content available in Content Market

Blackboard Learn 9.1 October 2014 and later
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.6.0 | Release to Production 23 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Building Blocks

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.

More on the latest Open Content release

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, Building Block, Q2 2016, Q2 2017, Q4 2015, Q4 2016, October 2014, FDO Q4 2017

Accessibility update to the first-time user experience

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original 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.

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Accessibility update to the login screen

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

The login screen for Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience has been updated to improve accessibility. Instead of the username and password labels disappearing when a user inputs text in these fields, the labels now jump above the field and persist. Most institutions don’t need to do anything to see this change, but those with custom login pages should update their page with a line of JavaScript to enable animations:

<bbNG:jsFile href=“/ui-ultra/js/login-page.js” />

Experience: Ultra

Ally: Support for files attached with Content Editor

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

New Blackboard app download module

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Experience

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 links to the Apple, Android, and Windows app download locations.

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.

More on the Blackboard app module

Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

Course copy improvements

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Discussion Board "Replies to Me"

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Original Course View

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.

Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017, Q4 2017

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

Course View: Ultra

Guest access to the Course Catalog

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Course View

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.

Experience: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017

LTI 2.0 Technical Preview

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017, Experience: Original, Q4 2017

Maintenance items for 3200.4.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

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.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, FDO Q4 2017

Miscellaneous updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

  • 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
Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Profile redesign

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

Students and instructors need a way to access and update their information quickly and easily. In this release, we've redesigned the profile in the Ultra experience to do that. Now users can edit their personal information, contact information, and system settings in one place. The new design reduces the number of clicks and screens a user had to navigate to edit their profile.

More on the Ultra profile

Experience: Ultra

Time zone visibility

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.4.0 | Release to Production 2 June 2017
Ultra Experience

Institutions that deliver education across the globe need clear visibility of times and time zones within Ultra from the perspective of each instructor and student. This enhancement brings transparency to displayed times, showing the time zone information relative to the user viewing that time within critical areas such as assessments and student submissions.

Time zone behavior in Ultra remains unchanged, recording all times in UTC time and then normalizing that time relative to the end user’s time zone.

Experience: Ultra

Email configuration settings

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Updated Features

Administrators can edit email configuration settings in the user interface, rather than editing the settings in the bb-config.properties file. This method allows you to edit email configuration settings without having to restart your Blackboard Learn environment. The configuration settings are now located under System Configuration > Email Configuration. The Local Support Contact, which was previously under System Admin > Help, is now located under Email Configuration as well. 

More on managing email settings in Learn SaaS

More on managing email settings in Learn 9.1

Q2 2017, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2017, Experience: Ultra

Flexible Deployment Option Q2 2017

The Blackboard Learn SaaS Q2 2017 (3200.0.0) release for Flexible Deployment Option customers is 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 3100.0.0. Use the category filter to narrow down the list of features in this latest release.

More on the FDO release schedule

More information on the FDO Q2 2017 on Behind the Blackboard

FDO Q2 2017

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.

Course View: Ultra, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Course View: Original, FDO Q4 2017

Blackboard Ally: A solution for better accessibility

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Experience

Ally is an additional, optional service for improving the accessibility of content and can now be integrated into Blackboard Learn. In this release, Ally improves accessibility within Blackboard Learn in the following ways.

  • Ally presents instructors and content authors with an accessibility score and coaches users in ways to improve the accessibility of materials.
  • Ally creates and presents students with automatically-generated alternative versions of uploaded files and creating accessible HTML, digital braille, and audio format files.
  • Ally allows administrators to see accessibility scores of materials across courses and track changes over time to plan, measure, and improve accessibility.

More on Blackboard Ally

Experience: Original, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

Blackboard Store Building Block

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Building Blocks, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

The Blackboard Store Building Block has been removed from this release.

Building Block, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

Building block installation validation

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Experience

When installing a building block, the system checks the manifest for properly escaped characters in XML. Improperly formatted XML caused issues with some building blocks in some environments.

Experience: Original, Building Block, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

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.

Course View: Ultra

Learn 2016 Theme improvements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Course View

In courses using the Learn 2016 theme, the discussion board is responsive for hand-held devices if the contents of the posts themselves are responsive. Discussion participants can read, respond, and use other discussion features such as post rating from mobile devices.

Pages with tables, the course menu, and My Blackboard pages are better optimized for hand-held devices. Menus can be accessed on touch devices.

More on the Learn 2016 Theme

Course View: Original, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

Locale selection

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Ultra Experience

Administrators now have the ability to choose the default system and course language for the Blackboard Learn SaaS user interface. Additional locales are available for languages other than English. When enabled by the administrator, users can choose their default locale from their Profile. Instructors can not set course languages.

Right-to-left languages, such as Arabic, are not yet available in Blackboard Learn SaaS. Custom language packs are not supported at this time.

Experience: Ultra

Outcomes Assessment: Sampling by demographic

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Experience

When collecting and sampling student submissions for a secondary program evaluation process, administrators can sample student work by student demographic information in addition to sampling by courses and terms. Sampling can be done by the education level field or institution roles. You can use boolean operators such as AND/OR when sampling institution roles. For example, you could sample graduating senior in a specific program for evaluation purposes.

Experience: Original, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

SAML authentication provider enhancements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Ultra Experience, Original Experience

To help troubleshoot SAML authentication issues, administrators now have the ability to regenerate certificates and change the responseSkew value in the user interface. SAML encryption certificates can periodically expire and should be regenerated regularly to maintain security. The responseSkew value may need to be edited if your Learn server is in a different time zone than the Identity Provider's server. The time difference can cause SAML assertions to expire before users are properly authenticated.

More on SAML authentication

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2017, Q2 2017

SIS integration enhancements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Command line Snapshot tools have been removed. Flat, snapshot-formatted files can still be processed through the SIS Integration Framework. New REST web services have been added to retrieve job status and record processing errors. These allow administrators to implement real-time monitoring and issue resolution processes if desired.

To learn more about transitioning from Snapshot to the SIS Integration Framework, join us for a webinar on 24 May 2017.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

Submission receipts via email

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3200.0.0 | Release to Production 31 March 2017
Original Course View

Starting with this release, students receive email confirmations for submitted coursework. The email receipt is another method for students to keep track of their submissions, in addition to the My Grades page.

More on accessing submission receipts from the My Grades page

Course View: Original, Q2 2017, FDO Q2 2017

Q2 2016 CU4 for Flexible Deployment Option clients

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option v3000.1.4 | Release to Production 13 March 2017
Original Experience

Blackboard Learn SaaS customers on the Flexible Deployment Option (3000.0.0 release) will receive this cumulative update for Blackboard Learn 9.1, which contains fixes and enhancements for the Original experience and Original Course View. The full release notes can be found on Behind the Blackboard – Article #43340.

Experience: Original

Hotfix for Flexible Deployment Option clients

Blackboard Learn SaaS Flexible Deployment Option v3100.0.2 | Release to Production 10 March 2017
Original Course View

This release includes a set of bug fixes. Please see the Maintenance Items for issues resolved in 3100.0.2.

Course View: Original

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

Course View: Ultra

True/false questions

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.11.0 | Release to Production 3 March 2017
Ultra Course View

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

Course View: Ultra

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. 

Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Additional drag-and-drop locations

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
Original Course View, Original Experience

File drag and drop are now supported in the following areas.

  • Content Collection – file upload page replacing Java-dependent interface
  • Content Editor – embed attachment
  • Blank Page content type
  • Blog – Create Entry
  • Journal – Create Entry
  • Portfolio – add Artifact

If the browser allows, users can drag a folder of files and the files will upload individually.

Course View: Original, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2017, Q2 2017

Change password

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
Ultra Experience

In the Ultra experience, users can change their password from the Profile page. If the user changes their system password, it won’t affect any external accounts (such as Google) he or she uses to log in to Blackboard Learn.

More on how to change a password in Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience

Experience: 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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Responsive improvements for mobile devices

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
Original Course View, Original Experience

In this release, we've made a number of improvements for users on mobile devices.

  • Improved course menu collapse behavior
  • More responsive table handling in many interfaces including but not limited to:
    • Grade Center
    • Discussion forum list page
    • Admin interfaces
  • (Original Experience only) Responsive improvements for My Blackboard pages, including the ability to make a selection from the left panel and see content from the right panel. On mobile devices, the selected content will appear in an overlay that can be dismissed by selecting the close icon at the top.
Course View: Original, Experience: Original, FDO Q2 2017, Q2 2017

Student view for submission receipts

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q2 2017
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.6.0 | Release to Production 13 January 2017
Original Course View

Students can access their submission receipts at any time. The receipts can be found in My Grades or My Blackboard in the Submissions area. Like the instructor view, the receipts are always present even if an attempt or assignment has been deleted from the course.

Course View: Original, FDO Q2 2017, Q2 2017

Grades Journey

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 2 December 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q4 2016

This update improves handling for managing grade columns in or reading grade data from merged sections. Institutions using flat file or REST in addition to LIS integration types can now retrieve just the external grade column. And new column filtering and column mapping capabilities make it easier to integrate with various student information systems.

More on Grades Journey

Q4 2016, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

Content Collection search improvement

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

The Basic or Advanced Search feature in the Content Collection now requires a starting search directory for better performance. Admins can grant users a permission to still search across all directories. A new privilege has been added so administrators can permit or restrict users from searching top-level directories in Basic and Advanced Search.

More on how to search the Content Collection

Q4 2016, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Course activity reports

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

The Course Activity Overview report has been updated to improve the experience for larger enrollment courses. Instructors can filter the report and break down the calculations of student activity by course groups.

More on course reports

Q4 2016, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Drag and drop files

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, New Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.

Drag and drop is not yet available in every area of Blackboard Learn where users can attach files.

More on how instructors create content items

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

Dropbox Education integration

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, New Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

Users can attach files and submit assignments from their personal Dropbox accounts using this new cloud service integration.

More on how to install and enable Dropbox for Learn

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

Enterprise Surveys improvements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience

Changes to defaults and recipient count behavior help prevent admins from accidentally sending a survey to an overly-large recipient list.

Q4 2016, Experience: Original

Fewer Needs Grading items

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won't calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon.

More on grading multiple attempts on the Needs Grading page

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

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
Course View: Ultra

Improved behavior for Self and Peer Assessments

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

Non-participants during the submission period are excluded from the evaluation process. Submitters with partial or complete submissions will be distributed to peers for evaluations. By pairing an assessment with Adaptive Release, it's possible to configure Self and Peer Assessments for individual groups.

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

New icon set

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

In this release, there is a new icon set for use in courses and organizations, and cancel/submit buttons will always pin to the bottom of the page regardless of device.

Q4 2016, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Quality improvements

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, Updated Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016 includes multiple new and enhanced features, improved workflows, and technology updates. Enhancements for this release generally fall into the following five categories:

  • Technology infrastructure improvement to improve performance and security
  • Improved experience for mobile users and updating the look-and-feel of the environment
  • Improvements to save time and effort including file drag-and-drop in key workflows
  • Assessment enhancements in the core teaching and learning tools
  • Reporting improvements

View the maintenance items

Q4 2016, Experience: Original

Reminders

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, New Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.

Instructors can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.

More on how to send reminders for missing coursework

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

REST APIs

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience

REST APIs are no longer restricted to technical preview. Administrators and developers can create integrations using REST APIs and secured with OAuth. Please note that we strongly encourage anyone making use of these APIs to thoroughly test their functionality. Please see the following articles on the Community site for further details:

Q4 2016, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Submission receipts

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016, New Features
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Course View

Administrators and instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.

A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.

Submission receipts was a popular enhancement request from recent voting on the Community site. You need to be a member of the Blackboard Community and have access to the Ideas space to view this link.

More on submission confirmations

Q4 2016, Course View: Original

Technical updates

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016
Original Experience

BIRT Engine update to v4.5.0

Experience: Original

Collaborate Building Block

Blackboard Learn 9.1 October 2014, Q4 2015, Building Blocks
Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3100.0.0 | Release to Production 18 November 2016

We have updated the Blackboard Collaborate Building Block to address a number of issues regarding large enrollments, recording pullback, course room behavior, and more.

More on the Collaborate update

Q4 2015, October 2014, Building Block

Reports on student activity - Assignments

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.10.0 | Release to Production 18 September 2016

With this release, we've augmented student activity reports in Original and Ultra courses. Now activity reports are available for assignments in addition to tests, which were supported beginning with the v3000.4.0 release.

The student activity report displays the details of when each student accessed, began, and made a submission to an assignment.

This is a dual-panel feature, which looks and functions the same in both Original or Ultra courses. However, the school's Learn instance must have the Ultra experience enabled in order to use Student Activity Reports.

  • See when students opened, began, and submitted their assignments.
  • View the data visually using Chart View or in a text layout using Grid View.
  • Easily access the data at the course level, using the same method for both assignment and test activity.
    • In Original courses: Select the Content tab, then navigate to an assignment 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.
Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

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.
Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Cengage Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.7.0 | Release to Production 15 July 2016

An updated version of the Cengage Learning MindLinks™ Building Block, v1.101.201602307, is preinstalled for all clients on SaaS Standard deployments. It is turned off by default.

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

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 View: Ultra

Bookshelf by VitalSource

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

The Building Block version 3.101.201602448 is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments and clients on the 9.1 Q2 2016 release. It is available by default.

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Cengage Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

The Building Block, v1.101.201602307, is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments. It is turned off by default.

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Collaborate Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.7.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

Now instructors and students can engage in a virtual classroom as if it were face-to-face with the Blackboard Collaborate Building Block for Learn with the SaaS deployment.

Blackboard Collaborate is a fully interactive web conferencing environment that instructors can use to meet and connect with one student or their entire class. Students and instructors can join an open Blackboard Collaborate session directly from a Virtual Classroom link on the Course Content page as a content item. By default, instructors will enter as moderators and students will enter as participants.

More on the Collaborate Ultra Building Block

Building Block

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

Course View: Ultra

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.

Course View: Ultra

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

Course View: 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

Course View: Ultra

Learn 2016 Theme for improved mobile experience

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

This release includes a new theme for the Original experience that provides a more modern look and feel. Most importantly, the Learn 2016 theme significantly increases the responsiveness of the interface for small devices.

The theme also incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language including color, fonts, and spacing, for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate Ultra, and the Bb Student app. Finally, the theme improves the responsiveness of Original courses in the Ultra experience.

The Learn 2016 theme replaces the Learn 2015 theme in the theme manager. We do not recommend using the 2015 theme with the Original experience, regardless of deployment type. The new Learn 2016 theme is intended for use with the Original experience.

Important notes:

  • Institutions retain the option to customize the login page in the Original experience.
  • The course menu navigation collapses automatically on small devices (less than 768 pixels wide). Users open the navigation menu to make a new selection; then the menu collapses again, in order to maximize screen space for content and tools.
  • Modules on tabs or a course module page will shrink to size on larger devices; on smaller devices, columns will collapse to a single column and the modules will stack.
  • Instructors cannot use course themes with the Learn 2016 theme, because they are not responsive.
  • The theme cannot present content responsively if the content itself isn't responsive. Content authored with the Content Editor must be authored responsively in order for it to conform to a mobile device. For example:
    • Images should be added and displayed at 100%, rather than as fixed pixel sizes.
    • Tables used to organize or present content should be avoided, since they typically have specified cell and table sizes that won't work with mobile devices.

More on the Learn 2016 theme

Experience: Original

McGraw-Hill Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

The Building Block, v2.3.2016020053, is preinstalled and turned on by default for all clients on SaaS Standard deployments.

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

Pearson MyLab & Mastering Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

The Building Block, v3.201.201602007, is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments.

Building Block, Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original

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

Course View: Original, Course View: Ultra

Targeted notifications

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

Administrators (and other users with the appropriate permissions) can create and send targeted notifications to convey information to users in systems with the Ultra experience enabled.

From the Activity Stream, the entitled user can create the notification, add a title and description, and see a preview. He can customize the delivery date and add an end date for the notification if desired. Finally, he can select one institutional role, or a combination of roles, to receive the notification.

More on targeted notifications

Experience: Ultra

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

Course View: Ultra

Wiley Plus Building Block

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.4.0 | Release to Production 24 June 2016

The Building Block, v2.001.201602531, is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments. It is inactive by default.

Experience: Ultra, Experience: Original, Building Block

Qwickly Building Block v3.2.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.3.0 | Release to Production 18 May 2016
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Building Blocks

An updated version of the Building Block, v3.2.0, is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments. It is turned off by default. For details, visit Qwickly's website.

Building Block, Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra

Grade Extract

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery K-12 customers
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Building Blocks

Maintenance note to K-12 clients utilizing the Gradebook Extract Building Block.

Due to a conflict between solutions included in the SaaS deployment, Gradebook Extract was updated to utilize a new data model. Unfortunately, this update will result in the disruption of previously scheduled extracts. All configuration pertaining to structure, columns, and files are maintained. Only the scheduler configuration will be lost.

To resume the scheduled extracts, the administrator must navigate to System Admin > Building Blocks > Installed Tools > Gradebook Extract > Settings > Schedule and Notification Configuration and resubmit the page after reviewing its contents. Any questions or concerns regarding this operation can be escalated to ICM through a Behind the Blackboard ticket.

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Building Block

Learn, Analytics for Learn, and Building Block compatibility

Building Blocks, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016

Users upgrading their Learn environment to Learn version Q2-2016 and above must use the new Analytics for Learn + Building Block combination to support integration: Analytics for Learn version 4.3 + and Building Block version 4.0 +. This requires an upgrade to the A4L warehouse, and must be scoped and scheduled in advance of the Learn upgrade to avoid interruption of service. Please contact your account representative if you have any questions about whether your A4L warehouse will be impacted by your Learn upgrade.

More on Analytics for Learn

Experience: Original, Experience: Ultra, Building Block

Release notes for earlier versions

Release notes for earlier versions are available in English only.