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.

Filter the list of features to learn more.

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

Looking for Blackboard Learn 9.1 release notes?

Follow this page to get email updates when we publish new release notes

View the SaaS release schedule


Learn SaaS release 3900.52.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.52.0
Release to Test/Stage: Wednesday, 12 October 2022 | Release to Production: Thursday, 3 November 2022
Original Experience
Ultra Experience

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.52.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Latest release: 3900.52.0-rel.22+0f5d4f9 to Production servers to take place on 3 November 2022.

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

 


November 2022 – 3900.52 Release

The November 2022 - 3900.52 release is complete with features in five areas:

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

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

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

All users:

Administrators:

Return to top of the Release Notes page


Assessment & Grading

Hotspot Question – 3900.52.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors may want to assess a student’s knowledge of visual content. The hotspot question type is popular for this type of assessment. This question type is also good for reducing the potential of cueing or guessing.

Common examples across diverse disciplines include:

  • identifying as specific state or province on a map,
  • pinpointing a particular bone on a skeleton, and 
  • locating a discrete part of a cell.

Hotspot questions present an image without any answer options for students to choose. Students must mark a certain area of the image that is within the area the instructor defined as correct.

Image 1. Instructor view - Add Hotspot question type for assignments and tests

Add Hotspot question type for assignments and tests

Image 2. Instructor view - Add one or more hotspots to an image

Add one or more hotspots to an image

Image 3. Student view – students may add a pin to the image to mark their selection

Students may add a pin to the image to mark their selection

In the Original course view instructors can only create hotspot questions using a mouse. Now, in the Ultra course experience, instructors can create the hotspot question using a keyboard. Similarly, students may answer hotspot questions via the keyboard. Hotspot questions do not provide full support for assistive technologies. Hotspot questions are not an acceptable question type for instructors and students who use screen readers. 

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Page Breaks in Tests and Assignments – 3900.52

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

Assessment design is an important aspect of course design. Page breaks are helpful in assessments for a few reasons. Page breaks allow for easy creation of sections within an assessment. Page breaks also make it easy to group related questions.

Students can easily navigate from page to page. If the instructor activates ‘Display one question at a time’ or ‘Question randomization’ all pages will be merged.

Image 1. Page breaks are inserted through the same drop-down as any other assessment component

Page breaks are inserted through the same drop-down as any other assessment component

Image 2. Page breaks are shown to instructors as a black line in the test; select the individual break to remove it

Page breaks are shown to instructors as a black line in the test (you can remove individual breaks by selecting them)

Image 3. Instructors receive a warning message if a configuration they want to use turns page breaks off (e.g. activating randomization)

Instructors receive a warning message if a configuration they want to use turns page breaks off (such as activating randomization)

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Auto save enhancements for lost connections – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

Disruptions to internet connectivity can maximize test anxiety. To help, we are further improving how we inform students about connectivity issues. We designed assessments in Ultra to detect if a connection is lost. If this happens, we warn students.

Image 1. Connection lost warning

Connection lost warning

After 20 seconds, the warning disappears. If the connection is not restored, another warning informs the student that their most recent progress is not saved.

Image 2. Connection lost and progress not saved warning

Connection lost and progress not saved warning

When the connection is restored, the system alerts the student and confirms that progress is saved.

Image 3. Connection restored and progress saved alert

Connection restored and progress saved alert

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Grade History Improvements – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Grading records are important for instructors and academic leaders. The records are useful for addressing academic disputes or addressing students' questions. In an earlier release, we added Grade History to the Ultra Course View. In this release, we are including a new user interface where users will be able to:

  • Select which gradebook items to include in the download,
  • Include deleted items, and
  • Select timeframes to optimize the amount of information downloaded.

The download file report will include additional information:

  • Student username
  • Grade category
  • Submission receipt: The submission receipt number
  • Submission attempt: The number of the submitted attempt

These changes make it easier to access and search the log of changes to student grades.

Image 1. New options for Grade History

New user interface for Grade History in Grade Download options

The additional columns in the downloadable file will also be present for users of the Original Course View.

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Gradebook view saved – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors tend to have a preferred view between the Grid View and the Gradable Items list view. The Gradebook will now save the last selected view from the instructor, saving time and a click.

Image 1. Course Gradebook on Gradable Items list view as preferred view 

Course Gradebook on Gradable Items list view as preferred view 

Image 2. Course Gradebook on Grid view as preferred view

Course Gradebook on Grid view as preferred view

Image 3. Organization Gradebook on Gradable Items list view as preferred view 

Organization Gradebook on Gradable Items list view as preferred view 

Image 4. Organization Gradebook on Grid view as preferred view

Organization Gradebook on Grid view as preferred view

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Enhanced Student Grades Overview – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors often want to view the assessments and performance of an individual student. This is a common task, so it should be easy and accessible from the gradebook. In a previous release, we added this option to the grid view to provide consistency with the Gradable Items list view.

Now we have enhanced the Student Grades Overview by:

  • surfacing the last access, username, and accommodations;
  • adding the Student Activity report; and 
  • surfacing accommodations.

Image 1. Student Grades Overview with student information on the header

Student Grades Overview with student information on the header

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Richer Student feedback options for manually added columns – 3900.52

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

Student feedback is a crucially important part of instruction. To better support instructors we have expanded the content editor options for manually added columns. Now instructors can give robust feedback that includes formatted text, lists, links, attachments, and media.

Image 1. Content editor options for a manually created column

Content editor options for a manually created column

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Gradebook Icon tooltips – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Tooltips are helpful for providing guidance and information right when users need it. In the Gradebook we have added tool tips for the following icons:

  • Search by submission receipt number,
  • Upload gradebook,
  • Download gradebook, and
  • Settings.

To improve keyboard navigation, we also modified the focus order for these icons.

Image 1. Tool tip for Submission Receipt number

Tool tip for Submission Receipt number

Image 2. Tool tip for Upload Gradebook

Tool tip for Upload Gradebook

Image 3. Tool tip for Download Gradebook

Tool tip for Download Gradebook

Image 4. Tool tip for Settings

Tool tip for Settings

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Richer Course and Content Design:

Content Collection in Ultra Documents - 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Many faculty enjoy using the Content Collection so that they can easily reuse content across courses. In the past, instructors could only add content from the Content Collection on the Course Content page. Now instructors may include content from the Content Collection in Ultra Documents.

Image 1. “Browse Content Collection” option in Ultra documents

“Browse Content Collection” option in Ultra documents

Image 2. “Browse Content Collection” option in content editor for Ultra Documents

“Browse Content Collection” option in content editor for Ultra Documents

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Grading navigation improvements in Journals – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

When an instructor applies the "needs grading" filter on the Grades & Participation page for a Journal, student to student navigation may not work as expected. We have corrected the navigation. Now an instructor can navigate student journals student by student as expected.

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Data & Analytics

Course Activity Report under the Analytics tab – 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors identify struggling students based off their performance and engagement within a course. Sometimes the information was hard to find, or instructors had to look in many places.

Instructors now have easier access to the course activity page. The page is now located under the analytics tab in courses.

The course activity page allows instructors to:

  • Identify struggling students based on their grade and hours spent in the course. This data is a snapshot taken weekly that allows instructors to compare.
  • Act by messaging students who have a low grade and/or have not logged in recently.
  • Focus on a student to see how their engagement and performance has changed each week.
  • Receive alerts when a student has not accessed their course in a while or if their grade has dropped.
  • Notify students when their course activity or grade in the course is below average.

Image 1. Course activity report under the analytics tab – chart view

Course activity report under the analytics tab – chart view

Image 2. Course activity report under the analytics tab – table view

Course activity report under the analytics tab – table view

Image 3. Course activity report access via Grades Base Navigation

Course activity report access via Grades Base Navigation

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Integration, Extension, and Management:

Ultra Course Content and Original Content Areas display LTI tool icon – 3900.52

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

Inclusion of learning tools is important to some instructors. These tools help provide diverse and engaging course content. In the past, the icons for LTI tools were not meaningful for students and instructors. Now administrators can link LTI tools to appropriate icons. This provides users with greater confidence as they engage with LTI tools in the course.

Image 1. Administrators can add LTI tool icon of choice

Administrators can add LTI tool icon of choice

Image 2. Instructors may add LTI tools to their course

Instructors may add LTI tools to their course

Image 3. Student view of the LTI content

Student view of the LTI content

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. To add the icon, navigate to Administrator Tools | LTI Tool Providers | Placement Information.

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Unread Messages indicator for Courses and Organizations – 3900.52

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

In the past it was difficult for users to know which courses and organizations contained unread messages. Now there is an unread messages indicator for courses and organizations on the Messages tab in the Ultra Base Navigation. This indicator helps users know where to direct their attention.

Image 1. Unread messages indicator for Messages tab in the Ultra Base Navigation

Unread messages indicator for Messages tab in the Ultra Base Navigation

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Messages tab shows only to enrolled users – 3900.52

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

In the past, a user with a limited system role could access a course messaging tool but received an error. When attempting to close the error, the page froze. We have corrected this error. If a user is not enrolled in the course, the messages tab does not appear.

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


REST APIs to Utilize/Reference Content Collection Items - 3900.52

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

The Content Collection is a helpful file storage tool. Some users store files for courses. Users may also store files for sharing across the institution or with external users. In the 3900.41 release, we enabled REST APIs to read all files in all Content Collection. Now developers can use REST APIs to reference Content Collection files from other Public APIs and features. The following can be referenced:

  • File attachments in Original and Ultra Courses
  • BbML embedded files
  • User Avatars
  • Student Attempts
  • Course Content Files

An administrator must allow this access for a third-party app. This improvement is part of ongoing work to expand the capabilities of the Content Collection REST APIs.

For administrators: Access the Administrator panel -> System roles to assign the "Read-only access to the content system file system" permission to the API user.

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description


Course Upgrading:

Preserve Course Image setting– 3900.52

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

In the past, when upgrading a course, the course image was retained but turned off in the Ultra course. Instructors did not realize that the course image was turned off. With this update, course images are now visible by default.

Image 1. Course image in Ultra Course View

Course image in Ultra Course View

Image 2. Course Image setting is on

Course Image setting is on

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

Return to November 2022 – 3900.52 Release description



Looking for older release notes?

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

Return to top