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 3900.84.0

Blackboard Learn SaaS Continuous Delivery v3900.84.0
Release to Test/Stage: Tuesday, 9 January 2024 | Release to Production: Thursday, 1 February 2024
Original Experience, Ultra Experience
Original Course View, Ultra Course View

For full feature details please review the corresponding notes for the Learn 3900.84.0 version included below on this page. Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard

Latest release: 3900.84.0-rel.48+67a17dc to Production servers to take place on 22 February 2024.

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

 


Tests & Assignments

Forms – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors need to collect information to place students in clinical experiences. Others need to survey their class to gauge student interests or opinions. Now, instructors can create a Form for these use cases.

The following items are supported in a Form:

  • essay question
  • Likert question
  • multiple choice question
  • true/false question
  • text
  • local file
  • file from cloud storage
  • page break

By default, a Form is not graded. Questions in a form don’t have correct or incorrect answers.

Image 1. An example ungraded Form used for clinical teaching placement

Example of ungraded Form used for clinical teaching placement

Some instructors may choose to grade a Form to encourage participation. When this is the case, instructors must manually enter a grade for each submission.

Instructors may view Form submissions by student or by question in the new grading view.

Image 2. Ungraded Form submissions by question

Example of ungraded Form submissions by question

Image 3. Graded Form submission by student

Graded Form submission by student

Instructors may download the Form results from the Gradebook and Submissions page as an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file.


Image 4. Download Form results from Gradable Items view

Download Form results from Gradable Items view


Image 5. Download Form results for Submissions page

Download Form results for Submissions page

In the Gradebook grid view, student submissions for an ungraded Form appear as “Submitted.” Graded Forms display the manually entered grade or appropriate grading status.

A Survey created in the Original course view converts/copies to a Form in the Ultra course view. Only questions and options are supported in a Form convert/copy. After conversion, an exception suggests that instructors review their questions.

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

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Likert question type – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Likert questions help provide a quantitative measure of opinions and attitudes. The responses often range from strongly disagree  to strongly agree. This question type is now available in the Form assessment type.

Image 1. Set up a Likert question

Set up a Likert question

The scale range defaults to 3 options, with suggested labeling for options 1 and 3 as strongly disagree and strongly agree. Instructors may select a range of 3, 5, or 7 and label the poles as desired. Instructors may also choose to include a "not applicable" option.

Image 2. Example Likert question in an end of unit survey

Example Likert question in an end of unit survey

Note: A Likert question in a Survey created in the Original course view converts/copies to a Form in the Ultra course view. The scale range default is 3.

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

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Rubrics performance level descriptions: Display choice persists – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Rubrics play a critical role in the grading process for many educators. Rubrics performance level descriptions are hidden by default. Instructors can choose to display the performance descriptions as needed for grading.

In the past, the performance level descriptions display option didn’t persist when navigating submissions. This caused frustration for instructors.

Now, the rubrics grading interface stores the most recently used display option. This means that instructors who rely on performance level descriptions when grading don’t have to turn them on each time they navigate to grade another submission. The performance level display option preference is stored on a per-user per-assessment basis.

Image 1. Rubric grading displaying performance level descriptions

Rubric grading displaying performance level descriptions

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

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Communication & Collaboration

Send reminders from the gradebook: Improved student count for instructors – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors like to send reminders to students who haven't yet made a submission for an assessment. The send reminder option in the gradebook saves instructors time in student support. We have refined the scenarios that determine the students who will receive the reminder. This will make the recipient list more accurate.

A student user will be counted and receive the reminder if they didn't submit and:

  • they are available in the course.
  • they have not received an automatic zero.
  • they don’t have a manual override score that was posted.

These changes help ensure that the number of students indicated in the send reminder confirmation is more accurate.

The Send Reminder option is now also available for LTI and 3rd party tools with assessments in the gradebook. With LTI Advantage integrations, the tool can inform Blackboard Learn when a student has submitted, even if they haven’t yet received a grade. If the tool doesn’t support this, it is possible that students will receive a reminder even if they’ve submitted their work. The tool provider can enhance their integration to improve this.

Image 1. Send Reminder confirmation

Send reminders confirmation

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

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Flexible Grading

Audio/Video Recording in feedback: Usability improvements – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Audio/video feedback is a more personalized and engaging means for providing feedback. It is beneficial for addressing complex concepts and sharing detailed explanations. To ensure easy and clear access to this tool, we have exposed the Audio/Video option on the feedback toolbar. When in use, the recording window appears on the right side of the screen so that the instructor can view the student submission. The instructor can scroll through a student's response while recording their feedback. The instructor can maximize the recording window for better visibility.

Image 1. Audio/Video recording on the main tool bar

Audio visual tool on main tool bar

Image 2. Audio/Video recording window in default state

AudioVideo tool recording window in default state

Image 3. Audio/Video recording window in maximized state

AudioVideo tool recording window when maximized

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

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Gradebook

Feedback on override and automatic zero grades for Tests and Assignments – 3900.84

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

Feedback is crucial for students as it supports and shapes their learning journey. Now, instructors can give feedback for overridden tests, assignment grades, and automatic zeros. This option appears in the Gradebook grid view, and the Submissions list after the override or automatic zero is entered.

Image 1. Feedback from the grid view

Feedback from grid view

Image 2. Feedback from the submission list 

Feedback from submission list

Image 3. Feedback panel

Feedback panel

Override feedback on group submissions will be supported in a future release.

Additionally, instructors can now upload feedback for students as part of the offline grading process. In the past, only uploaded grades were visible to students.

Students can view override feedback after grades are posted.

We also improved students' access to the feedback. Now, feedback for all attempts on a test or assignment is visible in a panel.

Image 4. Student view of feedback

Student view of feedback

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

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Learner Progression & Personalized Experience

Missed due dates included in the Course Activity Report – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Punctuality and time management are key for student success. Instructors need an easy method for identifying students who may be at risk. Now, instructors can view the number of missed due dates for students in the Course Activity Report.

Instructors can customize the missed due date alert in the Alert Settings.

There is no default setting for missed due date alert. Be sure to customize the alert settings.

Image 1. Customize missed due date alert

Admin view of missed due date metric and alert setting

Students who trigger the missed due dates alert appear in the Course Activity report table and chart and in the downloaded report.

Image 2. Missed due dates in the Course Activity report view

Missed due dates in the Course Activity report view

Image 3. Students with missed due date alerts appear in the Course Activity chart view as a purple dot

Students with missed due date alerts appear in the Course Activity chart view as a purple dot

Students will not receive notifications based on course missed due date alert setting. If a student opts in to missed due date alerts, alerts are sent for each content item.

As before, activity stream notifications for instructors include a summary of students with alerts per course. Now, the summary includes missed due dates alerts. These alerts are triggered every day in case there are new students with alerts in a course. New courses need at least 2 weeks of activity to start triggering these notifications.

Image 4. Missed due date alerts appear in the instructor's activity stream

Customize missed due date alert

The missed due date alert applies when a student doesn’t submit before the due date in the following:

  • Assessments, including group and formative
  • Assessments with the “collect submissions offline” option selected - when an instructor creates an attempt and enters the submission date/time after the due date
  • Assessments with the “hide student names” option selected - alerts only after all student submissions are graded and student names are exposed
  • Discussions and journals marked for a grade
  • SCORM packages when the “Grade individual SCOs” option is selected in SCORM settings
  • Other 3rd party activities, such as LTI and Respondus

Special considerations:

  • Students with a due date accommodation never have their work marked late. A student with due date accommodation won't have any missed due date alerts.
  • Students with a due date exception will have a missed due date alert if the excepted due date passes and there is no submission.
  • Students with an exemption never have their work marked late. A student with an exemption won't have any missed due date alerts.
  • Hidden content with a due date or content with date/time and performance release conditions are included in missed due date alerts.
  • Content with a due date and release conditions for individual course members or groups will alert only those students/groups included in the condition who miss the due date.
  • New items added to the gradebook with a due date are not included in the missed due date alerts.

Image 5. Admin view of missed due date metric and alert setting

Missed due date alerts appear in the instructor's activity stream

To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > View Grades” privilege.

For administrators: A new configuration option is on the Ultra configuration page in the Administrator Panel. The default state is on. If the missed due date option is set to off, the Course Activity report still displays students' overall grade, hours in course, and days since last access.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Long student names visibility in the Course Activity Report – 3900.84

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Depending on the culture, personal name lengths vary. In demonstrating our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we have adjusted long names in the Course Activity Report. This change ensures that names are visible even on small devices. This helps instructors avoid confusion when viewing students with similar names.

Image 1. Students with long names in the Course Activity Report

Students with long names in the Course Activity report

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

To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have the “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) -> View Grades” privilege.

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Better control over "Student Alerts" notifications for instructors - 3900.84

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

Notifications of certain student-related alerts help instructors be more aware of students who may be at risk. To help, we've made it easy for instructors to control what student alerts they receive in their Activity Stream.

The “Student Alerts” options are:

  • Low overall grade
  • Missed due date alert
  • and Last access alert

Image 1. “Student Alerts” section in the Activity Stream’s notifications settings

Improvements to student alerts

Image 2. A student alert notification with a low overall grade, last access, and missed due date alerts

Notification settings for student alerts

Administrators can control these 3 notifications at the institutional level in the administrator panel.

Notifications are:

  • Student Last Access Alert  for Instructors
  • Student Low Overall Grade Alert  for Instructors
  • Students Missed Due Dates Alert  for Instructors

Image 3. “Notification Settings” menu in the administrator panel

Student alerts displayed in the activity stream

Key considerations:

  • These alerts are only available for courses.
  • Courses must have at least 10 students and no more than 2000 students. Courses with enrollments outside of that range won’t receive notifications.
  • Notifications for these alerts are sent nightly only when new alerts are met.

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra courses. 
To view the Course Activity and Student Activity Details reports, the user’s role needs to have “Course/Organization Control Panel (Grade Center) > View Grades” privilege. These notifications are based on the values set in the Course Activity alert settings.

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Integrations

Google Workspace: Add a second primary domain – 3900.84

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

We've finalized the addition of this feature and will release it to client production instances or client environments during the week of January 15 to 22.

Some institutions manage two primary Google Workspaces: one for instructors and one for students. Now, The Google integration for Blackboard Learn permits the addition of a second workspace. This allows students to access Google Files added to the course from their instructor. Students can log in with their Google Workspace accounts to access the content.

Enable “Connect another Google Workspace” to configure a second workspace. Be sure to enter a Client ID, API Key, and Client secret copied from Google Cloud. Also, make sure to configure the Consent Screen

As part of the configuration process, ensure that the Authorized redirect URIs, already mentioned in the Help documentation, are accurately entered in the newly created Consent Screen in the Additional/Secondary Workspace.

Image 1. Configure a Google Integration

Administrator Tools screen to configure Google integration

Ensure that student users have an Institutional Role set to Student.

Image 2. Institution Role options for a student user

 Institutional Role screen set to Student

For administrators: This feature is available for all Ultra and Original courses. Access  the Administrator Control Panel to configure.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Converting Building Block content to LTI: ShareStream course content - 3900.84

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

ShareSteam is an integrated partner solution for managing and streaming video. In the past, it integrated with Original courses using Building Blocks. Its newer integration uses the Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) standard. With support ending for Building Blocks, administrators may wish to assist instructors with updating links that were created in the past.

We’ve enhanced the link conversion tool to assist administrators with transitioning from the ShareStream Building Block to LTI. The link conversion tool supports these types of ShareStream video links:

  • Content embedded with the Content Editor
  • Mashup links
  • Course tool content

Image 1. The administrator accesses the tool to convert Building Block content to LTI 

Converting Building Block content to LTI highlighted

Image 2. The administrator selects the ShareStream Building Block and maps Building Block tools to LTI placements

On Migration Service Settings screen, ShareStream is selected as the Building Block is selected as

Administrators should select the ShareStream Building Block and the correct ShareStream LTI integration. Administrators must configure the ShareStream LTI integration before converting links. Custom parameters can be added if ShareStream informs you that this is required.

There are multiple ShareStream tools. These should be mapped to the correct LTI placements created by the administrator.

Image 3. Building block mappings can be viewed and edited

Building block mappings after ShareStream Building Block is selected fro migration settings

Next, an administrator will choose courses to be scanned for ShareStream links. Select the ShareStream Building Block. Use the course search tool to select courses for link migration.

Image 4. The administrator selects the ShareStream Building Block and chooses courses to migrate

Course Migration Settings screem with ShareStream selected

Administrators can monitor the status of a conversion process. Choose ShareStream as the Building Block. Define the start and end dates to find the desired migration task. Select Search. The results will indicate the number of courses that were successfully converted and the number of courses with failures.

Image 5. Checking the status of a migration task

Course Migration Settings screem with ShareStream selected

For administrators: If a course contains content from ShareStream, Panopto, Kaltura, and/or Echo360 building blocks, the conversion process must be performed once for each Building Block.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Kaltura course content conversion - 3900.84

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

We improved the tool that migrates Kaltura Building Block links to LTI links. It now supports converting links created with older versions of the Kaltura integration. Content added to Learn Original courses with the older Kaltura V1 and V2 Building Blocks will now convert. Also, the content can be converted to LTI 1.1 for all Kaltura versions.

Administrators can rerun the migration tool on courses if older Building Block links are not converted with previous conversion tasks. 

For administrators: This improvement is part of the migration tool. The older Building Blocks embedded videos within tables and anchor tags. This content is now processed correctly. There is no need for additional steps or configurations.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Learn Core & Security

LDAP authentication requires encryption – 3900.84

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

At Anthology, we’re continuously improving the security stance of our products. LDAP is an authentication method supported in Blackboard Learn. It's no longer possible to configure LDAP connections without encryption. The “No SSL” option can’t be selected for new LDAP configurations.

The “No SSL” setting was only appropriate for self-hosted clients operating in closed networks. With the ending of standard support for self-hosting, we’ve removed this option. Existing configurations using “No SSL” won’t be changed, but new configurations aren’t possible.

For administrators: We do not recommend using the “No SSL” option with LDAP. If you have an existing LDAP configuration using this setting, you should work with your IT team to transition to a secured integration. We also recommend you consider using the more modern federated authentication method SAML. This change is for all Learn environments. There are no configurations needed.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Limit enrollment management actions based on data source key of enrollments – 3900.84

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

There are cases when instructors need to manage some course or organization enrollments.

Instructors may need to add co-instructors, assistants, or graders. However, institutional policy often mandates instructors should not alter records from a Student Information System (SIS).

Now, administrators can limit whether users can make changes to enrollment records based on how the enrollment was added. Enrollments added through the GUI belong to the SYSTEM data source. Enrollments added through integrations are assigned to other data sources based on configuration (non-SYSTEM).

The following Course/Organization Role privileges have been changed:

  • Change the availability of enrollments
  • Change a users’ roles in the course
  • Set an instructor as primary instructor
  • Remove (delete) users from the course

The 4 Course/Organization Role privileges have been split into 8 privileges—4 for enrollment records in SYSTEM and 4 for enrollment records not in SYSTEM. These are found in the privileges manager for each Course/Organization Role:

  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's Role in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Change Non-System DSK User's availability in Course/Organization
  • Course/Organization Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Set Non-System DSK instructor as primary in Ultra Course View

Administrators can configure each Course Role with the appropriate privileges for their policies. The privileges and restrictions are applicable to users in both Ultra and Original Course Views.

The Original Course View has a bulk remove action for enrollments. If the course user is restricted from removing any of the selected users, the action is stopped with a warning.

Image 1. Administrator sets the privileges for a Course Role 

Administrator sets the privileges for a Course Role

If the above entitlements related to System DSK Users are permitted and entitlements related to Non-System DSK Users are restricted, it will allow user to Remove, Edit Availability, Edit Roles and set Instructor as Primary for System DSK users only.

Image 2. Ultra example when Remove Non-System DSK Users’ entitlement is restricted 

Ultra example when Remove Non-System DSK Users’ entitlement is restricted

The remove member icon does not appear when a course user with no permissions tries to delete a Non-System DSK user.

Image 3. Ultra example when Remove System DSK Users’ entitlement is permitted

Ultra example when Remove System DSK Users’ entitlement is permitted

The remove member icon appears in the GUI when a course user with permissions tries to delete a System DSK user.

Image 4. Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete the selected users

Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete the selected users

Image 5. Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete some of the selected users

Course user in Original Course View is restricted from a bulk remove action because they aren’t allowed to delete some of the selected users

The upgrade process should retain consistent behavior with the prior release. For example, if a Course Role had the privilege to remove users from a course/organization, they should now have the equivalent privileges:

  • Remove System DSK Users from Course/Organization
  • Remove Non-System DSK Users from Course/Organization

For administrators: We recommend that you review privileges configured for your Course Roles. You can adjust Course Role privileges to better conform to your institutional policies.

For administrators: A new Course Role privilege was added in this release, "Course Control Panel (Users and Groups) > Users > Enroll User for all roles." This privilege does not need to be configured as it will support an upcoming enhancement and does not yet serve a purpose. More information will come in upcoming release notes.

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description


Upgrade to Ultra

Import Moodle packages – 3900.84

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

Switching from Moodle to Blackboard Learn Ultra is now easier than ever. Instructors can now import Moodle packages into Ultra and Original view courses themselves. This change removes instructor reliance on an administrator.

Image 1. Import Course Content

Import Content panel open on a course displaying import options

Learn more on importing courses from Moodle for more directions. We also have a guide to help you understand the differences in terminology.

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

Return to February 2024 – 3900.84 Release description



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

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