Release Notes for Learn SaaS

This page contains features and updates currently on Learn SaaS Test/Stage and Production environments. Visit Archived SaaS Release Notes to see features and updates in older versions. Visit In-Product Updates to learn more about in-product updates.

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More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | Export the list of Known Issues | Access the latest API and database documentation | Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes archive | Learn Releases White Paper

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Learn SaaS release 3900.48.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.48.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 16 August 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 September 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.48.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.48.0-rel.1+62b6aa2 to Test/Stage servers to take place on 16 August 2022.

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

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.46.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.46.0
Release to Test/Stage: Wednesday, 20 July 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 4 August 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.46.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.46.0-rel.22+29d441b to Production servers to take place on 18 August 2022. Build version remains the same as the latest one because it is an Ultra UI only release.

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

 


September 2022 – 3900.48 Release

The September 2022 - 3900.48 release is complete with features in three areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion; and 
  • integration, extension, and management.

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students, but value is truly added for all users. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Rubric Copy between Courses – 3900.48

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

Instructors spend a great amount of time building and refining assessment rubrics. Rubrics provide instructors with a set of criteria to grade student assignments. Reusing these rubrics provides instructors with greater flexibility in how they design and build their courses. This saves time and reduces the need to recreate items within their Ultra courses.

From the Copy Content menu, instructors may select the Rubrics folder from the desired course. To copy all rubrics the instructor may select the checkbox for the Rubrics folder.

Image 1. Rubrics folder option from Copy Content menu

Rubrics folder option from Copy Content menu

To copy individual rubrics the instructor may select the Rubrics folder to open it. Select the checkbox for each rubric to copy.

Image 2. List of all Rubrics

List of all Rubrics

Copied Rubrics appear in the Gradebook Settings area. Select ‘Gradebook,’ select the gear icon in the top right-hand corner, and review all the rubrics in the ‘Course Rubrics’ section.

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Question Banks Sorting Controls – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often use question banks to organize their assessment questions. In the past, question banks were difficult to navigate. With this release, instructors can now use sorting controls. These controls supply improved navigation through the questions in the bank. Instructors can easily sort question banks based on the name, number of questions in a bank, or the last edited date.

Image 1. Sorting arrows added for name, number of questions, and last edited date

Question Banks sorting controls: Sorting arrows added for name, number of questions, and last edited date

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Discussion replies are available on the individual discussion grading page – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may want to respond to a student in a discussion while grading the student's participation. In the past, this was not possible. Grading discussions and taking part in discussions were on separate pages. Now an instructor can reply to posts from the individual student grading page. This provides greater efficiency in the grading process for instructors.

Image 1. Instructors may now reply to a student’s discussion post while grading a single student

Instructors may now reply to a student’s discussion post while grading a single student

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Grade History: Non-Posted Grades Included – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Grade records are important to instructors and academic leaders. These records are helpful for addressing student questions and grade challenges. In an earlier release, we added Grade History to the Ultra Course View. In this release, we are including a log of changes to non-posted grades.

There are no changes to how Instructors and other privileged users access and download Grade History.

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Summary list of annotations for inline grading – 3900.48

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

File submissions can be annotated inline when grading. Now a side panel will summarize all comments in a list. Selecting a comment will navigate the instructor or student to the location of that comment in the document. This change makes it easier to find all comments and feedback in a student’s submission.

This functionality will be released in September, independently from the 3900.48 release. Details will be shared later through an update on this note.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Set points for manually added gradable items  – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with the same gradebook privileges

Manually added gradable items collect additional scores and grades for students. Previously, instructors would need to set the item to display as points to edit the maximum points. Then they could change the display option to letter or percentage. Now instructors can always edit the maximum points value when using any display type.

Image 1: Instructor creates an manually graded item, selects the percentage grade option, and has the choice to edit the maximum points

Instructor creates an manually graded item, selects the percentage grade option, and can edit the maximum points

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Test Timer Notifications – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

When taking a timed assessment, it is important for students to be aware of the time that remains to complete it. However, a fixed display of the timer can also add stress. To support various student preferences, we are introducing notifications for timed assessments. These notifications are less invasive yet keep the student informed.

  • For assessments less than 10 minutes, there is no notification.
  • For assessments less than 1 hour but greater than 10 minutes, there will be a single reminder when 10% of the time remains. For example, for an assessment with a 10-minute time limit, the notification will appear when 1-minute remains.
  • For assessments longer than or equal to an hour, there will be an added notification when 50% of the time remains. For example, for an assessment with a one-hour time limit, the notification will appear when 30 minutes remain. A second notification will appear when 10% of the time remains.
  • If a student has a time limit accommodation, a notification will appear when 10% of the extra time remains. If the extra time allowed is less than 10 minutes, there will be no added notification.
  • If a student has an unlimited time accommodation, there will be no notifications for the time remaining.

All notifications for remaining time auto-dismiss after 20 seconds. If a student prefers, they can dismiss the notification.

Image 1: Example notification of time remaining

Example notification of time remaining

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

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Improved Access to Feedback – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Student access to feedback is critical. Students need consistent ways to access feedback regardless of how an instructor grades. In the past, there were times when students could not access feedback if an instructor had overridden a grade. Now students have access to feedback regardless of how an instructor grades.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design

Microsoft Immersive Reader for Anthology Ally for LMS – 3900.48

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

Many classrooms today, both physical and digital, include participants with diverse needs. To better support learning needs and preferences, alternative formats are key. Alternative formats let all participants access course content according to their preferences.

Anthology Ally for LMS now includes a new alternative format: Microsoft Immersive Reader. Microsoft Immersive Reader helps students improve their reading, comprehension, and grammar skills. All course participants are empowered by Anthology Ally with Microsoft Immersive Reader.

From the Ally Alternative Format menu, users may select the Immersive Reader option and select download.

Image 1: Select the Anthology Ally Icon

Course Content displayed. Select the Anthology Ally Icon to start

Image 2: Select Immersive Reader Alternative Format

Select Immersive Reader Alternative Format

Image 3: Immersive Reader View

Immersive Reader View

Your institution will need to license Anthology Ally for LMS to use this functionality.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Prevent copying an entire course into the same course – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and other users with course copy privileges

Course copy is an important feature for building out and updating courses. In an earlier release, we added a way to copy content within a single course. In this release, we made modifications to the course copy options to prevent inadvertent full course copying in the same course. Instructors may continue to copy or duplicate content within a course.

Images 1: Disabled checkbox to prevent copying an entire course into the same course

Disabled checkbox to prevent copying an entire course into the same course

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Activity Stream navigation improvements – 3900.48

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

The Activity Stream supplies updates about various actions taking place in a course. For example, it is simple for users to navigate straight to a new test in a course. To help make it clearer where a user is navigating, we have added an on-hover underline to the course name and the content item name.

Images 1 and 2: Activity Stream - course name and assignment name underline on hover

Activity stream: course name and assignment name underline on hover. No underline visible.
Activity stream: course name and assignment name underline on hover. Underline visible (hover state)

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management

Blackboard Home: Additional Site Health and Utilization Reports – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Original Experience
Impact: System administrators

Blackboard Home gives administrators insights into how their Learn site is being used. The previous release of Blackboard Home focused on storage usage metrics.

The September release has updates related to site health and utilization. It also helps administrators understand adoption of Ultra Course View.

As before, administrators can see metric changes over time. They can also use the time picker to look at specific timeframes. In this release, there are six new reports.

  • Unique users. See the count of active unique users over time.
  • Logins. See the count of user logins over time. Multiple logins by the same user are counted multiple times.
  • Requests Per Minute. See the average requests per minute served by the Learn application. This reflects the traffic volume (throughput) of the site. Request volume includes traffic from web browsers, mobile apps, and integrated systems.
  • Application Performance Index (Apdex). This is a measure of the timeliness of the user experience. It is impacted by both the application performance and users’ bandwidth. Apdex is on a scale from 0 to 1. A 0 is an unsatisfactory slow experience; 1 is very fast loading. The apdex measure is a standard managed by an open standards organization. It is meant to act as one indicator of a satisfactory user experience.
  • Uptime. This report helps administrators identify outages where users were impacted. An outage for this report is defined in the Service Level Agreement.
  • Ultra adoption. Administrators managing sites with instructor choice for Ultra course adoption need to track adoption and use trends. This report shows the share of active Original and Ultra courses.

Administrators can now switch between viewing different environments. This includes looking at test/stage environments separate from production. Each site will display its deployed version, URLs, deployment location, and information about direct database access (DDA) if enabled.

This functionality will be released in September independently from the 3900.48 release. Details will be shared later on this page.

For administrators: Blackboard Home is only available for Learn SaaS. There are no configurations needed if Blackboard Home was previously enabled. In some environments, it can be necessary to perform the following action to allow access. Go to Administrator Panel > LTI Tool Providers. Find “Blackboard Home” and edit it. Enable “Role in Course” to send role information to Blackboard Home and click submit. Only full system administrators can access Blackboard Home.

Image 1: Course count over time shows the share of courses that are Original, Ultra, Undecided, and in Ultra Preview.

ourse count over time shows the share of courses that are Original, Ultra, Undecided, and in Ultra Preview

Image 2: Site utilization visualizations include throughput and user count reports.

Site utilization visualizations include throughput and user count reports

Image 3: Site health reports including uptime and Application Performance Index (Apdex).

Site health reports including uptime and Application Performance Index (Apdex)

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Display Name Choice – 3900.48

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: All users, if enabled by administrator

As part of planned diversity, equity, and inclusion improvements, this feature gives institutions the option to allow users to express their preferred name. Name expression fosters greater respect among students and with faculty. Name expressions inform other course members about how best to refer to them.


Profile page settings

When administrators enable this feature, users may select their display name. The new options will appear for all users when editing their own profile in the Base Navigation area. A user editing their name will have options to display the first name, the additional name, or both names. A card preview shows how their name will appear.

  • First name: The first name field continues to display to users. This is the default for all users.
  • Additional name: A user chooses to display a different name to others. This is used when someone does not go by their legal given name.
  • Both names: A user chooses to display both the first name and additional name to other users. When selected, the additional name appears before the first name. This is used for nicknames or when a name has multiple forms.

Image 1: A user selecting to display additional name

A user selecting to display additional name

Image 2: A user selecting to display both first and additional names

A user selecting to display both first and additional names


Name display in Ultra Course View and Original Course View

Anywhere name information appears, the user’s choice is displayed to other users. This applies to areas throughout Learn:

  • Ultra Course View tools and pages
  • Original Course View tools and pages
  • Base Navigation and tools
  • Administrator experiences
  • Non-course tools such as Portfolios and Content Collection

Images 3 and 4: Examples from Ultra and Original Discussions

Examples from an Ultra Discussion showing a student's name
 
Examples from an Original Discussion showing a student's name

Images 5 and 6: Examples from Ultra and Original Groups

Example from an Ultra Group showing a student's name
 
Example from an Original Group showing a student's name

Sometimes administrators, faculty, and graders need to see actual name values. They may need to match up a user to an external system such as a Student Information System. The following locations display name fields without a user’s display name choice:

  • Ultra Course View: Instructors, assistants, and graders viewing the user details in the Course Roster
  • Original Course View: Instructors, assistants, and graders viewing the “Edit” page in the Control Panel user list
  • Administrator Panel: An administrator viewing the user “Edit” page in the user management panel
  • Gradebook exports and system and course reports

Image 7: An instructor viewing the student details in the Ultra Course Roster sees both the student’s display name choice and first name (defined in the Student Information System).

An instructor viewing the student details in the Ultra Course Roster sees both the student’s display name choice and first name (defined in the Student Information System).


Integration frameworks: REST, LTI, SIS Integration

  • Full name information sent for LTI will be the selected display name.
  • The SIS Framework remains unchanged. Field control configurations and field names are the same.
  • REST calls to First Name and Other Name fields remain unchanged.

For administrators: This feature is off by default. Enable in Admin Panel > Customize User Information. To use this feature, enable Base Navigation, and the “other name” field set to display. There are no other permissions configurations needed. Administrators still control whether users can edit data in the name fields. Admins still control whether data populates by external systems. The “Other Name” field name remains unchanged for integration purposes. This field displays to end users as “Additional Name.”

Image 8: Setting for allowing users to choose their displayed name

Setting for allowing users to choose their displayed name

Return to September 2022 – 3900.48 Release description


August 2022 – 3900.46 Release

The August 2022 - 3900.46 release is replete with features in three areas: assessment and grading; richer course and content design; and integration, extension, and management. These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

  • Enhanced auto save capability in the content editor in Tests & Assignments
    On the Submission page, instructors and students were unable to download files attached from Cloud Storage. Due to this issue, this feature has been removed from this release to be included in a future one.

All users:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessments and Grading

Advanced calculation for Overall Grade – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors have varying preferences about how they define the overall grade calculation. Now the Overall Grade supports an advanced calculation. This new calculation gives instructors greater flexibility and supports varied evaluation practices.

The instructor may use the 'Set it up' option to configure the Overall Grade.

Image 1. An instructor may select a points, weighted, or advanced calculation for the overall grade

An instructor may select a points, weighted, or advanced calculation for the overall grade

Image 2. An instructor may configure an advanced calculation for overall grade

An instructor may configure an advanced calculation for the overall grade

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Managing Question Banks - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, System and Course Roles with privileges to manage question banks

Outside of course content, test questions are one of the most valued artifacts in a course. Instructors often spend a great deal of time building and refining banks of test questions. These banks are important as they enable question reuse across various assessments. Up until now, instructors could only import existing banks into their Ultra courses. Instructors could use the questions in their assessments. But instructors could not create new question banks or manage questions in existing banks.

Image 1. Before - former Question Banks interface

Before - former Question Banks interface

With this enhancement, instructors will be able to:

  • Create new, empty question banks in their Ultra courses,
  • View and search for questions within a question bank, and
  • Add, edit, and delete all aspects of a question within new and existing question banks.

Image 2. After – new Question Banks interface

After – new Question Banks interface

This functionality is available both on the desktop and in the mobile app. Instructors may access these options from Manage Banks in the Details and Actions.

Image 3. Add New or Import question banks from a file

Add New or Import question banks from a file

Image 4. Question bank interface – add questions

Question bank interface – add questions

Image 5. Edit a question in a question bank

Edit a question in a question bank

Image 6. View questions in a question bank with filter criteria

View questions in a question bank with filter criteria

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Due date exceptions - 3900.46

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

In the past, instructors could cater to specific student's needs by:

  • allowing additional attempts
  • changing item visibility

Now instructors may accommodate special circumstances by also allowing due date exceptions. This exception has been added to the existing exceptions panel.

Image 1. Exceptions panel

Exceptions panel

Key considerations:

  • Due date exceptions support is for individual tests and assignments only.
  • If an assignment or test does not have a due date, an exception cannot be set.
  • If an instructor wishes to remove the due date on an assignment or test, the instructor must first remove all due date exceptions.

Image 2. Banner warning when instructor attempts to delete a due date on an assessment with due date exceptions

Banner warning when instructor attempts to delete a due date on an assessment with due date exceptions
  • To find students with the due date exception, instructors may access the submission list view page. Students with the clock icon next to their name have the due date exception.

Image 3. Submissions list view; clock icon for students with the due date exception.

Submissions list view: clock icon for students with the due date exception
  • Instructors may grant due date exceptions in combination with other exception types.
  • Automatic zeros respect due date exceptions. Automatic zeros are only applied if students with the due date exception do not submit on time.
  • The “prohibit late submission” and “prohibit new attempts” options respect due date exceptions. These settings only apply if students with the due date exception do not submit on time.
  • Students with a due date exception will see the excepted date in:
    • Ultra Base Navigation
      • Activity Stream
      • Calendar
      • Grades Page
      • Email, depending on a user’s notification settings
    • Ultra-Course
      • Assignment or Test Details & Information
      • Course Outline
      • Calendar
      • Grades

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Progress Tracking: Status and Filter updates for Submission View - 3900.46

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

Instructors need clear information about the status of student progress in a course. In the past, the submission view of tests, assessments, and discussions had a single "Status" column.

Image 1. Before - Assessment submission view

Before - Assessment submission view

Image 2. Before - Discussion submission view

Before - Discussion submission view

We have split this column into two:

  • Student Status
  • Grading Status

This change provides instructors with greater clarity while grading and supporting students.

We have also separated the current filter to allow compound filtering between the two columns. The default for filters is to show everything. The filter resets every time the instructor accesses the submission view.

Image 3. After - Assessment submission view
After - Assessment submission view

Image 4. After - Discussion submission view

After - Discussion submission view

There are slight differences in filtering options based on role. When selecting two graders per student, the filters change:

  • Graders do not have the "needs posting" filter
  • Reconcilers have the "needs to reconcile" option

These changes will not apply to anonymous grading, journals, or group assessments/tests.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design:

Microsoft OneDrive: Create a Collaborative Document - 3900.46

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

Collaborative documents provide students opportunities to engage with one another and course content. Instructors can now create a Microsoft OneDrive collaborative document in the Ultra and Original Course Views.

Supported file types:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

In the Ultra Course View, a new choice, Cloud Document, appears on the menu after selecting “Create” from the plus sign to add content.

Ultra Course View Flow

Image 1. Improved workflow for adding content from OneDrive

Learn Ultra add file by open it from the Cloud Content item in the Create Content panel, and then, chose Open from OneDrive

An instructor can choose Cloud Document from the “Create Item” panel and select “One Drive.” The following options are displayed:

  • 'Open from OneDrive' to create a document link
  • 'Start a new Collaboration' to create a collaborative document

Image 2. Start a new collaboration

In the Course Content page, select Add Content, then Cloud Document and then Start a new Colaboration

Instructors may need to sign into a Microsoft account to continue.

Instructors can select an existing document or create a new file for collaboration.

Image 3. Create a new collaboration

Start a new collaborative document with Microsoft OneDrive

All student members of the course will be able to access the file. The students may select Edit Document to begin collaborating on the file.

Image 4. Students select Edit Document to begin collaborating on the document

Students select Edit to begin collaborating on the document

Any existing file linked to OneDrive stays unchanged. These files will remain read only.

In the Original Course View, a link appears in the content add tools menu and/or the add content button (+) in the content editor. The system administrator can decide the specific name in the Original Course View.

Original Course View Flow

Image 5. Adding Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document in Learn Original

Adding Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document in Learn Original

An instructor can choose to create an item or edit an existing item and select the + symbol from the content editor. Select the "Microsoft Cloud Collaboration document" to continue.

Image 6. Start a new collaboration

Start a new collaboration

Instructors may need to sign into a Microsoft account to continue.

Instructors can select an existing document or create a new file for collaboration.

All student members of the course can access the file. 

Image 7. Students select "Edit Document" to begin collaborating on the document.

Students select "Edit Document" to begin collaborating on the document.

For administrators: Please register the LTI Tool Provider in the Administrator Panel. Only users in the same Microsoft tenant can collaborate on documents.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Delete Student Preview User – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often need to preview their course as a student. Student preview helps instructors understand students' experiences in all aspects of the course. In the past, when an instructor exited student preview there was no choice to remove the preview student and related data from the course. This was problematic as the preview user appeared in the course as a student to all course members. Now instructors have a choice when exiting student preview:

  • save the preview student and data
  • delete the preview student and data

Image 1. Save or delete the preview student and data

Save or delete the preview student and data

The delete option removes the preview user and data from these areas:

  • roster
  • gradebook
  • gradebook filter
  • messages
  • messages recipient
  • discussions
  • journals
  • conversations

The method for exiting Student Preview also changed. We removed the three-dot menu and X option to close the Student Preview panel. Now to exit Student Preview, an instructor will choose the exit icon.

Image 2. Before - three dot menu and X options to close the student preview panel

Before - three dot menu and X options to close the student preview panel

Image 3. After - exist student preview via the exit icon

After - exist student preview via the exit icon

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Improvements to LaTeX question support - 3900.46

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

Instructors and students often use math formulas in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. LaTeX is a descriptive markup language used to typeset technical or scientific documents. Now instructors and students can create LaTeX equations in the content editor.

LaTeX equations display as text in the content editor. When users save the text, the LaTeX equations render as images.

Image 1. LaTeX equation as text in the content editor

LaTeX equation as text in the content editor

Image 2. LaTeX equation rendered as image after it is saved

LaTeX equation rendered as image after it is saved

Users can edit the LaTeX equation in text format in the content editor. Also, users can edit the equation using the Math formula option.

Image 3. LaTeX equation edited as formula using math editor

LaTeX equation edited as formula using math editor

Key considerations:

  • Content editors that have math editor option render also Latex equations.
  • Essay questions and the "Additional Content" section in Assessments do not have a save option in the text editor. In these areas, LaTeX equations will render as images after submission. Students can verify that the formula will render by opening the equation using the Math editor option.
  • Formatting such as italics or bold must be in the LaTeX code. Users can add the code formats in text or when editing using the Math editor. If a user chooses the bold format in the content editor, the image will render without that format. Example:
    • Code without format: $$axˆ2+bx+c=0$$
    • Code with format: $$\style{font-size:72px}{axˆ2+bx+c=0}$$
  • LaTeX equations are not rendered when they are inside code snippets. This is because LaTeX equations are treated as part of the code format.
  • Upgrading from the Original to Ultra course experience: LaTeX equations convert and respect the size limit and options of the text editor in Ultra. If the text editor in Ultra does not support math formulas, the LaTeX equations will copy as plain text.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Import/Export Group Sets and Members – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

This functionality will become available in Test/Stage environments on Tuesday 26 July, 2022.

In the past, instructors did not have a way to bulk create group sets or add group members in Ultra courses. Creating group sets and adding students to groups one at a time was very inefficient. Now instructors can create group sets and add group members by importing a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file. This feature also supplies the ability to export group sets and members to a CSV file.

Image 1. Import Group Set

Import Group Set

Instructors can create a group set by importing a CSV file from the course group set page or the groups view page. When assigning an assessment to a group set, instructors can import a CSV file. This allows the instructor to assign an existing group set or create a new one while creating an assessment.

Image 2 and 3. Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided template.

In the template, all mandatory cells are marked with an asterisk (*). There are two templates included in the download:

The asterisk will appear in the production version of the release.

  • one template for creating group sets
    Upload file option. We recommend instructors use the provided templates
  • one for importing members into the groups
    Template for one for importing members into the groups

After importing a file, the instructor will receive a confirmation email. The email will say that the file imported successfully or had errors. We recommend instructors use the template supplied to avoid errors.

Instructors can export and download their Group Sets, Groups, and Group members as a CSV file.

Images 4 and 5. Import or Export Group Set & Groups

Import Group Set and Groups
Export Group Set & Groups

Image 6. Export Group Set

Export Group Set

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Messaging in Private Courses – 3900.46

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

Some instructors need to communicate with students before a course is open to students. When a course is set to private, students cannot access the course. This means that students cannot access the course inbox to review messages. Because of this, we disabled the ability for instructors to send messages since there was no way for students to access those messages.

Image 1. Before – Instructors did not have a way to send messages when a course was private

Before – Instructors did not have a way to send messages when a course was private

Now instructors can send messages from within the course. Students can access the messages from the email address associated with their Blackboard account. This change does not change the access to the course inbox when the course is private. This change allows students to receive messages from the instructor via email when the course is private.

Image 2. Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided templates

Upload file option; we recommend instructors use the provided templates

Image 3. After – When composing a new message in a private course, instructors are informed how students receive those messages

After – When composing a new message in a private course, instructors are informed how students receive those messages

When a course is private, instructors will see a banner in the course inbox or when drafting a message. The banner states that students cannot access the messages in the course when the course is private but will receive an email copy instead. Students will receive an email copy of any message sent. They will be able to access the message from within their course once the instructor opens the course.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Force Email Copy for all Messages – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Administrators and all users who can send messages

When drafting a message, users have had the option to choose “Send an email copy to recipients.” For policy reasons, some institutions may want this choice to always be on by default for all messages.

Image 1. Before – Users can choose to “Send an email copy to recipients” when composing a message

Before – Users can choose to “Send an email copy to recipients” when composing a message

With this update, administrators now have the choice to force an email copy to recipients for all messages sent.

Image 2. After – “Send an email copy to recipients” is now the default behavior for all messages; users are informed that recipients will receive an email copy

After – “Send an email copy to recipients” is now the default behavior for all messages. Users are informed that recipients will receive an email copy

Image 3. Before - Administrators did not have the choice to force email copies for all messages

Administrators did not have the choice to force email copies for all messages

Image 4. After - Administrators have the choice to force email copies for all messages

After - Administrators have the choice to force email copies for all messages

For administrators: Configure this setting from Tools & Utilities > Messages on the administrator panel.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Explicit declaration of Messages handling – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In the past, it was unclear how individual users received messages sent to more than one recipient. Some instructors expected that messages with multiple recipients would be sent as a group message. Others thought that messages with more than one recipient were private, like a blind carbon copy email.

Now when an instructor adds more than one recipient, the interface makes clear how the message is sent: group message or private message. This is a temporary solution. In a future release, instructors will be able to make this choice for themselves.

Image 1. Before – Users were not informed if the message was a group message or private message

Before – Users were not informed if the message was a group message or private message

Image 2. After– Users are informed when a message is a group message

After– Users are informed when a message is a group message

Image 3. After– Users are informed when each recipient receives their own private message

After– Users are informed when each recipient receives their own private message

All Roles:

  • With Multiple Recipients. The message is treated as a group message.
    • Base Navigation > Messages > + Symbol
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Messages > + Symbol
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Messages > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Roster > User Profile > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Message Icon next to Course Faculty

Instructor Roles:

  • With Multiple Recipients. The message is treated as a group message.
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Course Groups > Elipsis next to Group Set > Edit > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Assignment > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Test > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Discussion > Settings > Groups > Elipsis next to Group > Message group
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Student List View > Elipsis next to Student > Message Student
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Student List View > Student > Message
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Elipsis associated with a Discussion > View Analytics > Elipsis > Message Non-Participant
  • With Multiple Recipients. Each Recipient receives an individual message/copy from the sender:
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Elipsis associated with a Discussion > View Analytics > Elipsis > Message # Non-Participants
    • Base Navigation > Courses > Course > Gradebook > Settings > View Class Performance > Message Icon
    • Base Navigation > Grades > Pie Chart > Messages Icon

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Granular Content Copy – Copy Status in Course Tasks and Logs - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors, System and Course Roles with privileges to copy/export/import

Content reuse is an important aspect of building out and updating courses. In recent releases, we have made improvements in this area:

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

Instructors will now have access to the status of all the course tasks that they start. This includes:

  • Copy
  • Convert to Ultra
  • Archive
  • Export
  • Import
  • Restore

Image 1. Course Tasks and Logs Access Point

Course Tasks and Logs Access Point

Image 2. Course Tasks and Logs – Tasks tab

Course Tasks and Logs – Tasks tab

Image 3. Conversion Report - See Report

Conversion Report - See Report

Logs are available for all course tasks. Instructors will be able to view the conversion report, view/filter, and download logs. These logs will help instructors triage any issues that may arise.

Image 4. Course Tasks and Logs - Logs tab

Course Tasks and Logs - Logs tab

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Granular Content Copy – Retain links to assessment questions - 3900.46

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

Content copying is an important feature. Instructors rely on content copy for easy reuse. Content copy is also helpful for quickly updating or building a course. In the past, there were instances when an assessment would be copied but the contents would not. This would happen in these cases:

  • An assessment has a question set or random block that links to questions in another assessment
  • An assessment has a question set or random block that links to questions in an assessment pool

When this happened, the copied test rendered incomplete. In some cases, the assessment was non-functional. Now all the linked questions stay intact after the copy process. Assessments now copy as expected.

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

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management:

Microsoft Teams Meetings – 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Blackboard Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, Students, and any course role with privileges to engage and access Teams meetings

Microsoft Teams supports communication and collaboration for instructors and students. Now Microsoft Teams Meetings seamlessly integrates in Ultra courses. In the Original Experience and Original course view, users may access Teams Meetings from the Course Tools.

This integration includes easy access recordings and options to manage meeting settings. In addition, and for the Ultra course view only, we built Teams Meetings into the existing Teams classes integration and data sync process. This allows instructors to access the Ultra course roster while scheduling meetings.

With this integration, instructors will be able to:

  • Schedule new or reoccurring Teams Meetings
  • Invite specific users from the course or the entire course
  • Access recordings
  • When integrated with Teams Classes, support scheduling of Teams Meetings for dedicated Teams channels (Ultra course view only)
  • All scheduled Teams Meetings will populate in the Teams and Outlook calendar

This integration is available on both the desktop and mobile app. The integration supports access to Teams from within the Teams app. Users can also access Teams Meetings from the Original course view. Teams Meetings may be used as a replacement to the existing Microsoft Teams meeting scheduler.

Image 1. Before - Only Teams Classes enabled (Ultra Course View)

Before - Only Teams Classes enabled (Ultra Course View)

Image 2. After - Teams Classes and Teams Meetings enabled (Ultra Course View)

After - Teams Classes and Teams Meetings enabled (Ultra Course View)

Image 3. Manage Teams Meetings menu choice in Course Tools (Original Course View)

Manage Teams Meetings menu choice in Course Tools (Original Course View)

For administrators: Administrators will need to enable this feature for Ultra courses. Teams Classes must be enabled to use this feature. For Original courses, administrators will need to enable the feature using the administrator LTI setup. When enabled by the administrator, instructors may choose to disable the integration at the course level.

For Ultra and Original course views Teams meetings will be available for access on August 4, 2022.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Unified Blackboard App– 3900.46

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

In the past we had two separate mobile apps: the Blackboard App and the Blackboard Instructor App. The two apps caused confusion for many instructors. They did not realize that they needed to use a different app to manage their courses.

With this release, we are consolidating to a single app for both instructors and students. The user experience will change based on the user’s role within a course. Instructors can use the updated Blackboard app for both Original and Ultra courses.

Action needed: Support for the Blackboard Instructor iOS and Android apps ends in September 2022. Instructors, Assistants, and Graders should download the Blackboard app for iOS or Android.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. We encourage admins to notify instructors of the need to download a different app.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Congruent Mobile App and Desktop Experiences for Ultra Course View – 3900.46

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

The user experience in the Ultra Course View is now the same between the Blackboard mobile app and a web browser. In the past, users had to make a choice because the features were different between the app and a web browser.

This new Blackboard mobile app will be available August 8, 2022, from the iOS and Android app stores. Students using the current Blackboard app should simply update. Instructors, assistants, and graders should remove the Blackboard Instructor app. These users should download the Blackboard app.

The Blackboard app update does not change the experience for Original Course View.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


File Upload Indicator for Original Course View - 3900.46

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

Users sometimes upload large files or have slow upload speeds. In Original Course View, it may not be clear to users that anything is happening. Some pages in Original Course View will now display a file upload indicator after users submit. We added this upload animation to four course tools where large file uploads are most common. Other pages stay the same. The upload indicator will now appear on these pages:

  • Assignment Submission
  • Content Item
  • Discussion Board Thread or Reply
  • SCORM

Image 1. Before – no file upload indicator

Before – no file upload indicator

Image 2. After – new file upload indicator

After – new file upload indicator

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. As before, a user cannot upload a file if it is larger than the configured file size limit.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description


Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Bb Annotate undo/redo functionality: Roll out deployment - 3900.46.0

 

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1, Managed Hosting, Self-Hosted
Ultra Experience and Original Experience
Ultra Course View and Original Course View
Impact: Instructors, roles with grading permissions

We will do a phased roll-out deployment for the new undo/redo functionality of Bb Annotate. This new capability will allow instructors to easily edit their annotations. The schedule is:

Region/Date

  • ap-southeast-1-p: Aug 1, 2022
  • af-south-1: Aug 2, 2022
  • ap-southeast-1: Aug 3, 2022
  • us-gov-west-1: Aug 4, 2022
  • ap-northeast-2: Aug 5, 2022
  • us-east-1, eu-central-1, ap-southeast-2, and ca-central-1: Aug 11, 2022

The deployment will include some downtime, and we will avoid high traffic hours in each specific region.

The downtime will only be for Bb Annotate not the entire Learn environment.
It is expected to be around 1 hour long. During this time users will see a maintenance message inside the Bb Annotate framework.

Return to August 2022 – 3900.46 Release description



Looking for older release notes?

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

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