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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Learn SaaS release 3900.56.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.56.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 6 December 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 5 January 2023
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.56.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.56.0-rel.4+81fed2f to Test/Stage servers to take place on 6 December 2022.

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

 


Learn SaaS release 3900.54.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.54.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 8 November 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 December 2022
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.54.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 33900.54.0-rel.19+238d3d6 to Production servers to take place on 8 December 2022.

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

 


January 2023 – 3900.56 Release

The January 2023 - 3900.56 release is complete with features in five areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • mobile app;
  • integration, extension, and management; and
  • course upgrading;

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

All users:

Other - Support roles:

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Original Course View: “Needs Grading” retains tasks when AWS auto-scales – 3900.56

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

Because Learn SaaS is in the cloud, the application scales on demand. When more users are on Learn, the cloud provides more resources. In the past in Original Course View, this cloud scaling could disrupt instructors grading student work. Instructors navigating to their next task in “needs grading” would see an error.

Now instructors can navigate to their next task even when the application scales. In some cases, instructors can’t return to completed tasks. If this happens, instructors receive clear instructions to return to the Grade Center where they can review these submissions.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed. 

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December 2022 – 3900.54 Release

The December 2022 - 3900.54 release is complete with features in seven areas:

  • assessment and grading;
  • richer course and content design;
  • data and analytics;
  • integration, extension, and management;
  • course upgrading;
  • security; and
  • usability.

These improvements primarily impact instructors and students. Some features do require administrative action.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

All users:

Administrators:

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Icon that indicates the release note is a new feature

Security change in release 3900.54 may be incompatible with some Building Blocks

 

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

Anthology constantly works to improve the security stance of Blackboard Learn and proactively reacts to vulnerabilities identified in third-party and open source libraries used in the application. Recently, security experts published a vulnerability for an open source library used in the Learn application. This vulnerability is now addressed in the 3900.54 release.

Depending on whether third-party providers also use this library and how they manage it in their Building Blocks, some Building Blocks and versions of Building Blocks may be incompatible with 3900.54. The impact is specific to third-party (add-on) Building Blocks only. This change doesn't affect Building Blocks that are part of the Learn core application, and doesn't affect integrations using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), REST APIs, or Ultra Extension Framework (UEF).

For administrators: We encourage administrators to test third-party (add-on) Building Blocks as soon as possible, to prepare for the 3900.54 release. If you provide a Building Block that’s affected, contact Anthology product support for remediation details.

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Integration, Extension, and Management

REST APIs to Read Rubrics and Goals – 3900.54.0

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

Rubrics are a valuable tool for instructor-to-student communication about performance expectations. Rubrics also help instructors with consistent and unbiased grading. Rubrics may also enable students to self-assess their performance on an assessment. Some rubrics may also be aligned to Goals. In a recent release, we included an option for REST API to read rubrics. Now we are happy to make available a new public Goals API.

This new API provides a suite of GET endpoints that allow users to read:

  • Goals
  • Goal Sets
  • Goal Set Types
  • Goal Categories

This allows developers to read matrices of criteria that enable measurements of student performance.

For administrators: The REST integration user must have the privilege “Administrator Panel (Tools and Utilities) > Goals.”

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Icon Display and Synchronization for Third-Party App Content (LTI) – 3900.54.0

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

Content from third-party apps are a significant portion of materials and activities in many courses. Generic icons for these materials made it difficult for users to understand their purpose. Now unique icons can be displayed for each third-party content type. These icons can be set by the tool provider or by the institution administrator. When an icon is not set, third-party contents show a generic icon.

The updated icons apply to contents that are selected or created in the third-party app. Adding a simple link to a tool that can be accessed in Books and Tools (Ultra) or Course Tools (Original) do not display the custom icon at this time.

Image 1. A third-party app icon in the Course Outline of Ultra Course View

A third-party app icon in the Course Outline of Ultra Course View

Image 2. A third-party app icon in a Content Area of Original Course View

A third-party app icon in a Content Area of Original Course View

For administrators: We recommend Administrators review LTI placement configurations after this release because icons will now display to users in more places. Icons set for the placement type Deep Linking Content Tools will display in the Course Outline and Content Areas. Other placement types will continue to display generic icons. Tool providers may also set the icons. An administrator can retrieve icons set by tool providers using the “Synchronize placements” action. When the provider sets icons, they will replace and override institutional icon choices because they are the owner of their branding.

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Security

Password policies and logging when users change their passwords – 3900.54.0

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

Most institutions use an identity provider (e.g. Azure Active Directory) to manage and authenticate users. Sometimes, some users are created in Learn. These users may be allowed to set their own passwords in Learn. Now, administrators can determine length and complexity requirements for these passwords. This can improve the security stance of Learn environments when the default authentication provider is used.

The administrator can set a password length requirement between 8 and 32 characters. The default is 12 characters. The administrator can individually set whether upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters are required.

The authentication logs now capture password change events. This only applies to Learn password changes, not to password changes in an identity provider. There are three event types:

  • A user changed their own password.
  • An administrator or other privileged user changed another user’s password. The event details will show who changed the password.
  • A user reset their password using the forgotten password feature in Learn.

Image 1. A user changes their password in Original Experience.

A user changes their password in Original Experience

Image 2. A user changes their password when Base Navigation is enabled.

A user changes their password when Base Navigation is enabled

For administrators: We recommend administrators review this configuration when users see the password reset option in Learn. The settings appear in the Administrator Panel on a new Password Settings page. Only a full System Administrator can access the configuration page. The default settings enforce the following policies: a minimum of one numeric and one special character, and the minimum length is set to 12. Administrators may also wish to review that system roles are configured correctly so users don’t see Learn’s password reset option when an identity provider is used (single sign-on). In this release, policies are enforced when a user is changing their own password. This includes when using the password reset tool. Password policies aren’t enforced when a support user changes the password of another user. Password policies aren’t enforced when using SIS Framework, Building Blocks, or REST APIs to change passwords.

Image 3. An administrator configures the password length and complexity policies.

An administrator configures the password length and complexity policies

Image 4. Authentication logs include Password Change events.

Authentication logs include Password Change events

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Looking for older release notes?

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

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