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Now that Blackboard has moved to the cloud, the system will receive updates and improvements year round. Check in here to stay informed about the monthly updates and improvements being made to Blackboard.

  • Click to Show/HideDecember 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    ULTRA View: Authentic Discussion and Journal prompts

    AI plagiarism is a growing concern among academics. Research indicates a variety of issues with a reliance on AI detection. Detection models cannot keep up with advancements in AI technologies. Our approach to combatting AI plagiarism is different. We empower instructors and lean on the effective practice of authentic assessment.

    Learn more by reading our white paper about AI, Academic Integrity, and Authentic Assessment.

    Now, instructors can generate discussion and journal prompts that encourage students to

    • engage in high-order thinking,
    • apply their knowledge,
    • justify or challenge their beliefs and ideas,
    • and emulate real-world situations.

    To ensure the instructor is in control, the generation process allows instructors to

    • enter a discussion or journal description,
    • select a desired cognitive process based on Bloom's Taxonomy,
    • set the complexity,
    • and generate a discussion or journal title.

    The instructor can review the generated prompts and select one to add to the discussion or journal. After adding the prompt, the instructor can edit or further refine the prompt as appropriate.

    ULTRA View: Removal of First Time User Experience pop-ups

    In the past, we provided in-context information pop-ups to support users when they used the system for the first time. These pop-ups, called First Time User Experiences (FTUEs), can be helpful to some users. At the same time, FTUEs can be distracting or unnecessary. Users who would like supportive information can locate that on our help pages. Some institutions want to provide their own support information across Ultra and choose to use tools such as Anthology Adopt.

    Based on client feedback, we are removing the FTUEs across Learn Ultra. This improves the users' experience and supports a greater focus on the learning content. Approximately 60 FTUEs are being removed in this release.

    ULTRA: Additional image insertion and generate options

    Images enhance comprehension of and engagement with course content. Instructors and students want to use high-quality images in content and submissions. To help, we have added a new image button in the content editor in the following places:

    • Announcements
    • Assessment Questions
    • Student answers on questions (local file upload only)
    • Submission feedback (standard view)
    • Journal entries and comments

    We also added the option for instructors to generate images in journal prompts and assessment questions.

    ULTRA View: Large Rubric Support

    Rubrics serve as a well-organized and transparent framework for assessing student work. We now support an unlimited number of rubric criteria and performance levels, up from 15 each. This change empowers instructors to craft rubrics that support diverse assessment scenarios. Unbound rubrics are valuable where a higher number of criteria are needed. Larger rubrics also prove invaluable for rubrics employed in accreditation processes.

    ULTRA View: Group assessment due date exceptions

    Instructors may want to set different due dates for each group working on a group assessment.

    In the past, there was no way to assign varying due dates for each group working on a group assessment. Now, instructors can assign a unique due date to each group using the exceptions workflow.

    On the group assessment Submissions page, the instructor may add or edit exceptions for a group.

    The Exceptions panel displays relevant information such as the assignment name and selected group name. This helps ensure the accuracy of an exception. Instructors can select a due date for the group using the date and time picker.

    ULTRA View: Goal alignment to questions in banks

    Institutions want to align goals to course content. Goal alignment ensures that the curriculum is designed to meet specific learning outcomes.

    Instructors can currently align goals to the following course items:

    • Assignments
    • Tests, including individual questions
    • Discussions
    • Rubrics criterion
    • Files
    • Web links
    • Teaching tools with LTI connection
    • Documents

    Now, instructors can also align goals to questions within a question bank. Question-level goal alignment ensures that assessment items measure the desired learning outcomes. This helps to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of evaluation and feedback practices.

    ULTRA View: Prevent students from earning full credit when selecting all answers choices on a multi-select question with partial credit

    Multi-select questions require students to select multiple correct answers from a list. This variation of a multiple choice question encourages critical thinking. Some instructors may award partial credit to students on these types of questions. Partial credit promotes a fairer and more accurate assessment of students' knowledge.

    In the past, students received full credit when selecting all answer choices for a multi-select question with partial credit. This happened because there was no penalty or negative credit applied for wrong answer choices.

    Now, when an instructor designs a multi-select question and allows partial and negative credit, the negative credit auto-distributes across wrong answer choices. An instructor can remove or edit the negative credit if desired.

    ULTRA View: Flexible Grading

    Grading large numbers of submissions without a way to organize them can be tedious. Now, instructors can apply various sorting options in flexible grading:

    • Submission date (oldest - newest) of latest attempt
    • Submission date (newest - oldest) of latest attempt
    • Last Name (A - Z)
    • Last Name (Z - A)
    • First Name (A - Z)
    • First Name (Z-A)
    • Student ID (ascending)
    • Student ID (descending)

    The grading interface stores the most recently used sorting option. If an instructor stops grading an assessment and resumes grading later, the last sorting option is applied.

    Also, if sorting the submissions by last name or grading status, the chosen sorting option carries over into the grading interface.

    ULTRA View: Grid view sorting controls

    Sorting options in the gradebook provide a more efficient grading experience.

    We extended the sorting options to all remaining columns in the gradebook grid view:

    • SCORM
    • Journal
    • Group Assessment
    • Group Discussion
    • LTI
    • Calculations
    • Attendance
    • Discussion

    Instructors can sort records in ascending or descending order and remove any applied sorting. A purple highlight in the column header indicates sorting is applied.

    ULTRA View: Automatic zero gradebook improvement

    Instructors can configure their gradebooks to assign automatic zeros to past due work. In the past, automatic zeros were assigned to past due work regardless of a student’s course enrollment status. For example, automatic zeros were applied to past due items for withdrawn students. This was problematic as, in some cases, it skewed course data.

    Now automatic zeros are assigned to past due work only if the student has an enabled course enrollment. Automatic zeroes are no longer applied to past due items for withdrawn students. This helps to ensure that academic records are preserved as they are at the time of withdrawal.

    Original and ULTRA: Enhancements to Grades – MOBILE APP

    In response to user feedback, we've made improvements to the Grades page. The Grades page now offers more comprehensive information for students and instructors. We enhanced both the appearance and functionality.

    For Instructors:

    • Upcoming Grading
      • Upon expansion, instructors find items that need grading.
    • Concise View
      • We've limited the display to only three items at a time.
      • A Show More link is available, leading to the gradebook for that course
    • Efficient Navigation
      • Instructors can access grading tasks by selecting the respective item.

    For Students:

    • Upcoming Due Items
      • When expanding the section, students now find items that are due within a week.
    • Recently Graded
      • Expanded sections display items that have been recently graded.
    • Concise View
      • To avoid clutter, we've limited the display to only three items at a time.
      • A Show More link is available, leading to the gradebook for that course
    • Quick Access
      • By selecting any item, users can navigate to the specific assessment or activity.
    • In the past, grade pills were black. Now grade pills display corresponding grade colors.

    ULTRA View: Mobile App: Improved mobile experience for Course Content page

    The Course Content page had several issues on mobile devices. We have made the following improvements:

    • Anthology Ally icons no longer overlap with other elements on the page.
    • Items nested in learning modules and folders no longer occupy as much space.
    • Icons on the content page are smaller, providing more space for titles and descriptions.
    • Titles and descriptions are no longer truncated. The full title and description are always visible now.
    • The button to make an item visible to students or hidden from students no longer goes off the page.
  • Click to Show/HideNovember 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    ULTRA View: Image insertion option for Ultra Documents, Journals, Discussions, Assessment attempts, and Course Messages

    Images play an important role in a student's education experience. Images help to enhance comprehension of and engagement with course content. To help instructors more easily identify high-quality images, we have added a new image button in the content editor in the following places:

    • Ultra Documents
    • Journal Prompts
    • Discussions
    • Course Messages

    When selected, the instructor has the following options:

    • Upload an image through selection or drag and drop
    • Select a royalty-free, high-quality image from Unsplash
    • Generate images using AI (initially, only for Ultra documents)

    Students can also access the new image button on the content editor in the following areas:

    • Discussion responses
    • Assessments and test question inputs
    • Course Messages

    Users can rename the image. It is important always to consider the accessibility of course content. The user should mark the image as decorative or provide suitable alternative text.

    ULTRA View: Matching question updates: partial credit auto-distribution and other updates

    Matching questions are useful for testing a student's skill in making accurate connections between related concepts. This question type also checks students' understanding in a structured format.

    To reward students who show partial understanding, some instructors wish to award partial and/or negative credit for matching questions.

    In the past, instructors selected a scoring option:

    • allow partial credit,
    • all or nothing,
    • subtract points for incorrect matches, but question score can't be negative
    • or allow negative question scores.

    These options were exclusive and, at times, created confusion for instructors. We removed these options.

    Now, partial and negative credit is turned on by default. We auto-distribute partial credit as a percentage across the matching pairs. The auto-distribution of credit saves instructors time. Instructors can edit the partial credit values if needed to grant some pairs more or less credit. Values for partial credit must sum to 100%.

    If desired, instructors may also specify a negative credit percentage to any pair. Negative credit is only assessed when applied and when a student mismatches a pair. If desired, instructors may choose to allow an overall negative score for the question.

    We also made a few other improvements to this question:

    • We re-worded the question construction guidance and moved it to an info bubble.
    • In the past, the "reuse an answer" and "delete pair" options were behind the three-dot menu. Now, these options appear on the right side of the answer for each pair.
    • Before reused answers appeared as "Reused answer from pair #" in the answer field. Now, the answer itself is displayed in the answer field. "Reused answer" appears beneath the answer for the pair.
    • We renamed "Additional answers" to "Distractors."

    ULTRA View: Late submission indicator in submission receipts

    Students lead busy lives and sometimes submit assessments late. Some instructors and institutions use penalties or deduct points for late submissions. Based on direct feedback from instructors, we added a new ‘late indicator’ to the submission receipt. This indicator is present only if a student submits the assessment late.

    Students can view the late submission indicator in:

    • the confirmation modal displayed upon a successful submission
    • the downloaded version of the submission receipt, and
    • the emailed submission confirmation.

    Ultra View: Tab navigation for Journals

    between the Journal and the Participation page. When an instructor sets up a journal for grading, the Participation is replaced by Grades & Participation. This update improves the usability of the journal. It also provides consistency of navigation with discussions and assessments.

    ULTRA View: Anonymous Grading in Flexible Grading view

    Instructors can reduce grading bias for high-stakes assessments by enabling anonymous grading. Many consider it an important grading approach.

    Anonymous grading is now available in the new Flexible Grading experience. Instructors can now complete the following tasks and actions:

    • Grade test and assignment submissions by student
    • Filter on grading status of choice
    • Navigate between students and multiple submission attempts
    • Keep track of grading progress
    • View both the attempt- and the final grade for each assessment
    • Provide meaningful feedback, with or without a rubric
    • Grade inline using Blackboard Annotate
    • Collapse side panels to view more of the student submission
    • Show an originality score if SafeAssign is used

    ULTRA View: Grading optimization for file-based Assignment submissions in Flexible Grading

    Some instructors design assignments that require students to attach one or more files.

    In the past, if a student attached multiple files to their assignment submission, the Bb Annotate inline grader displayed for each submitted file. This behavior introduced usability issues:

    • It was difficult for the instructor to know how many files the student had submitted easily.
    • Multiple stacked Bb Annotate instances, one for each attachment. This caused multiple scroll bars on the grading page, making navigation difficult.

    Now, when grading file-based submissions, a tabbed interface appears. The first tab displays the assessment instructions. After that, there is one tab for each submitted file. The first attached file displays by default.

    This new tab-based navigation has several benefits:

    • More of the student submission is visible to the grader without scrolling.
    • Navigating file-based submissions is more transparent and easy by removing multiple scroll bars.
    • The option to download the student-submitted file(s) is more apparent.
    • The number of files the student attached to their submission is clear.
    • Graders can switch between the assessment instructions and the submitted file(s).
    • Graders can easily navigate across the submitted files.

    ULTRA View: Edit/Regrade in Questions view

    Instructors may spot a mistake in a test question when grading a test submission. For example, instructors may have found a typo, chosen a wrong answer, or want to adjust points.

    In the past, the "Edit/Regrade Questions" option was only available when grading submissions by "Student." Now, instructors can also access the Edit/Regrade workflow when grading by question.

    ULTRA View: Sorting controls for Student Name, Overall Grade, Assessments, and Manual Columns in grid view

    Sorting options in the gradebook provide a more efficient grading experience.

    Now instructors can sort the following gradebook grid view columns

    • Student Name
    • Overall Grade
    • Tests and Assignments
    • Manual Columns

    Instructors can sort records in ascending or descending and remove any applied sorting. A purple highlight in the column header helps instructors identify where sorting is applied.

    ULTRA View: Gradebook grid view performance improvements

    Some instructors prefer to work in the gradebook grid view. To improve the user experience, we made several improvements to this view. These improvements address overall performance and reduce the load time.

    Performance tested scenarios:

    • 25K student enrollments and 400 gradable items:Load time reduced from 108 s (about 2 minutes) to 14s (87% performance improvement)
    • 2000 student enrollments and 400 gradable items: Load time reduced from 19s to 8s (57% performance improvement)
    • 40 students and 400 gradable items:Load time reduced from 8s to 6.8s (14.75% performance improvement)

    ULTRA View: Accessibility link before and after authentication

    Related topic: Accessibility Overview

    In the past, when clients turned on the Base Navigation, there was no link to the accessibility information. Now, all users can access the accessibility link for Blackboard Learn on the login page and anytime after logging in. The links direct users to our Help Center. On the Help site, users can find the following information about the accessibility statement, standard, and information needed to best navigate key features of Blackboard Learn Ultra:

    • Accessibilty statement
    • Accessibility standards in use
    • Navigating key features and tools using assistive technologies

    On the default login page, the Accessibility link appears below the login area. After logging in, the Accessibility link appears at the bottom of the Base Navigation menu.

    ULTRA View: Self-enrollment via URL

    Related topic: Enroll Users

    Self-enrollment empowers learners and provides them with control over their educational journey. Self-enrollment also streamlines administrative tasks for instructors and learning administrators.

    Now, users can self-enroll in Ultra courses through the course URL. Instructors can copy the course URL and share it with anyone they'd like to invite to enroll. Link recipients select the link, which takes them to the self-enrollment page. From there, students can join the course.

  • Click to Show/HideOctober 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    Updates and Bug Fixes – v. 3900.76

    ULTRA: SafeAssign Direct Submit

    Direct Submit allows instructors to submit items to SafeAssign outside of the assessment context. Now, instructors can use the Direct Submit option in Ultra courses. SafeAssign appears as an instructor tool in Books & Tools.

    Upon opening the Books & Tools section, SafeAssign is in the Instructor tools section. If it is missing, this means your administrator has not turned on SafeAssign for your institution.

    Using SafeAssign Direct Submit

    There are two document submission methods:

    • Upload File: Select this option to drag or upload files via a pop-up window. The standard SafeAssign document processing rules apply:
      • Maximum support file size is 10 MB
      • Supported file types: .zip, .doc, .docx, .docm, .ppt, .pptx, .odt, .txt, .pdf, .rtf, and .html.
    • Copy/Paste Text: Select this option to enter a title for the submission and paste the text.

    Submission Options

    As part of the submission process, instructors will have a few processing options:

    • Check for Plagiarism (on by default):
      • If on, SafeAssign processes the submission and generates an Originality Report.
      • If off, SafeAssign does not produce an Originality Report. The submission is processed.
      • Use case: The instructor uploads scripts or materials they suspect students might misuse. The instructor doesn't require a report for these specific materials and turns off the "Check for plagiarism" option. Submission is processed, but the Originality Report is not generated. The system will compare all future student submissions against these resources.
    • Add to Institutional Database (on by default): When on, submissions are added to the institutional database.

    Instructors cannot deactivate both 'Check for Plagiarism' and 'Add to Institutional Database' at once. If both options are turned off, it is not possible to proceed with file submission.

    • Share option (deselected by default):
      • All submissions are private by default. These submissions are only visible to the person who submitted the file across courses.
      • If selected, the submission is visible to other course instructors within the course where the file was submitted.

    Once a user submits the file, the submission panel closes, and a confirmation message appears. Users may see the information as it processes.

    Navigating the Direct Submit page

    Instructors can use the Search Item field to locate submissions quickly. Instructors can filter entries based on Privacy (All, Shared, Private) or Database (All, Added, Not Added). The pagination at the bottom lets instructors view more submissions across several pages.

    For each submission, instructors can view the following:

    • Item name
    • Processing status
    • Link to the Originality Report
    • Matching Score
    • Database status
    • Submission Date
    • Privacy status

    Instructors can organize the table entries by:

    • Item Name (alphabetical order)
    • Matching Score (from highest to lowest or vice versa)
    • Submission Date (from newest to oldest)

    ULTRA: Delegated grading distribution by group membership

    Instructors sometimes distribute the grading workload for an assessment to multiple graders. This is a popular practice in larger classes. Instructors can assign graders to groups of students with the new delegated grading option. Each grader will only see the submissions made by students in the group(s) assigned to them.

    Delegated Grading can be used with all available group types. This first release of Delegated Grading supports assignment submissions from individual students. Tests, group assessments, and anonymous submissions are not supported at this time.

    After selecting the Delegated Grading option, select the appropriate Group Set. Instructors can assign one or more graders to each group in the group set. If multiple graders are assigned to the same group, they will share the grading responsibility for the group members.

    Graders assigned to a group of students will only see submissions for those students on the assignment’s submission page. They can only post grades for their assigned group members. Any unassigned instructors enrolled in the course will see all student submissions on the assignment’s submission page. They also post grades for all students.

    If you would like to delegate randomly to course graders, first set up a randomized Group Set.

    Note: At least one Group Set complete with Groups must be present in the course before using the Delegated Grading option.

    ULTRA: Partial credit auto-distribution for correct answers for Multiple Choice questions

    Multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer are valuable assessment tools. Also known as multiple-answer or multiple-select questions, these questions assess comprehensive understanding. They also promote deeper learning and higher-order thinking skills.

    Some instructors wish to award partial credit for these question types. This practice awards students who have a partial understanding. It also fosters a positive learning experience.

    In the past, instructors had to enter a value for partial credit percentage for each option. Now, we auto-distribute partial credit across correct answer choices. This distribution provides efficiency and saves instructors’ time. If desired, instructors can edit the values if some correct answer options warrant more or less credit. Values for correct answers must sum to 100%.

    ULTRA: Deselect answer choice for Multiple Choice question

    In the past, a student could select an answer choice for a multiple-choice question, change their mind, and mark another answer choice. However, the student wasn't able to deselect an answer choice to return the question to an unanswered state. Now, students can deselect an answer choice. Deselecting a choice is helpful when a student doesn't want to guess. Deselecting a choice also allows the student to skip the question and return to it using the unanswered questions filter.

    ULTRA: Send Reminder from Gradebook list and grid views

    Part of effective teaching is student support. Instructors may want to send a reminder to students or groups who haven't yet made a submission for an assessment. To make this easy, we have added a "Send Reminder" option to items in the Gradebook.

    Note: Reminders is an option for all gradebook items, including LTI and third-party tools.

    Instructors may access the "Send Reminder" option in the grid view by selecting the gradebook column header.

    Reminders are sent as a blind carbon copy to non-submitting students or groups as a course message.

    When sending the reminder, the instructor will need to confirm their intent to send the reminder. The confirmation displays a count of the number of non-submitting students or groups who will receive the reminder.

    Original and ULTRA: Anonymous Comments in Bb Annotate

    In some grading scenarios, instructors prefer their students not to identify the individuals offering feedback on their submissions. To enhance anonymity, graders can now post Bb Annotate comments without disclosing their names. Instructors have the option to mark inline comments as anonymous when creating them or even after comments are added.

    ULTRA: Sorting options for manually added gradable items

    Sorting controls help instructors organize and find the information in the gradebook. Instructors can now use sorting controls on the grades page for manually created items. The sorting controls enable sorting in both ascending and descending order. Instructors can sort the following information:

    • Student name
    • Grade
    • Feedback
    • Post status

    The applied sorting order is temporary and resets when you leave the page.

    Note: Sorting controls can be applied to one column at a time. When you sort another column, items will order according to the selected column.

    ULTRA: Copying grading schemas from course to course

    Instructors can now copy individual grading schemas from Ultra and Original courses to other Ultra courses. Previously, you had to copy all schemas from the Original course. From the new Grading Schemas folder on the Copy Items panel, you can select which schemas to copy.

    Note: A course may contain up to 100 grading schemas. If the number of selected schemas plus that already in the course exceeds this limit, the system will copy as many schemas as possible up to a total of 100. An informative banner alerts the instructor of this situation so they can take appropriate action.

    ULTRA: Last Access course alert default set to 15 days

    User feedback is key. Users told us that the frequency of access to Ultra courses depends on several factors, such as workload or class meetings recurrence. Previously, the default value for the "Number of days a student is inactive" was 5. Now, the default is 15. The alert for overall grade percentage is blank by default and is unchanged.

    As before, instructors can adjust or remove course alerts.

    Note: The new default value of 15 applies to new courses and courses that did not have values set for course alerts. Course alerts values set in existing courses are maintained.

    ULTRA: Student activity report for Assessments enhancements for small devices and Mobile App

    Instructors lead busy, on-the-go lives and access Learn from a variety of devices. To provide a better experience on small devices, we have added more capabilities for the Student Activity report for assessments. Instructors can access this report from their mobile devices with greater flexibility.

    Now, in addition to a student’s name and grade, instructors can view student information on small screens:

    • Late submission indicator
    • Date opened
    • Date started
    • Attempts

    Instructors can download the report in CSV format from small devices.

    Note: The “Time to open" metric is no longer available in the Student Activity report. This metric was deprecated based on user feedback. The activity timeline chart is not available on small devices due to space restrictions. The messaging option from this report is planned for a future release.

    ULTRA: Edit Settings for Partner Cloud Content Items

    Partner Cloud tools provide flexibility in content and assessment creation. This release includes improvements to partner cloud settings in Learn Ultra. Instructors can now edit these settings from the Ultra Course page.

    The edit settings include:

    • Name/Title
    • Description
    • Visibility including Release Conditions
    • Option to Launch to the tool
    • Open in a New Window
    • Enable Class Conversation
    • Grade information if Partner Content is gradable
    • Goals & Standards

    If the Partner content is gradable, the due date and grade maximum are read-only. These are only configurable within the Partner Cloud tool.

    Original and ULTRA: Set allowed number of Concurrent sessions

    Institutions may want to restrict access to Learn from several devices at the same time. In the past, administrators could restrict users from accessing Learn on more than one device at the same time. Now, we have updated the number of concurrent sessions to include options for 2 or 3 concurrent sessions.

    When users surpass the limit at login, they receive a notification that they will be logged out from devices with the oldest sessions.

    Image 1. Concurrent session notice when a user surpasses the limit

    Concurrent Session Notice

    ULTRA: Mobile App: Messages tool availability settings respected in Mobile App

    With this release, the mobile app aligns to the course settings for Messages. If Messages are "off" for the course, the Messages option is not displayed in the mobile app. This applies to both courses and organizations. When Messages are "on", the messages options for students are enforced on the app.

    Original and ULTRA: Mobile App: Inactive session termination warning in Mobile App

    Terminating inactive sessions reduces the risk of unauthorized access to a user's account. When an administrator defines a timeout for inactive sessions, the auto-login option for the Mobile app does not renew the session. To improve the user experience, users are now alerted 6 minutes before the session expires. When the session expires, the user is logged out. If the app runs in the background, it counts as an inactive session.

  • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    Updates and Bug Fixes v. 3900.74

    Original and ULTRA: Mobile App – Grades landing page Improvement

    Grade information is one of the most important data points for instructors and students. The latest update to our mobile app brings an improvement to the grades landing page. With this update:

    • Students can now see their overall grade on the grades landing page.
    • Instructors can now see the overall course grade on the landing page.

    These changes aim to enhance the user experience and provide a more streamlined way to access grade information.

    ULTRA: Turn off/on Collaborate per course

    Related Topic:
    Course Management

    We are committed to providing you with the best tools for your courses. We know that different courses may have different needs. That's why we have introduced a new section in Course Settings called Virtual Classroom. This section includes an option for the instructor to turn on or off student access to Class Collaborate.

    If an instructor turns off Class Collaborate, it will not appear in the Detail & Actions area for anyone in the course. This new setting supports course customizations that align with preferences and institutional policy.

    ULTRA: Updated wording for course alerts in the Activity Stream

    Consistency is key. In the past, we used different wording for course alerts on the Activity Stream versus the Course Activity report. Now activity stream notifications use the same wording as the course activity report.

    Before, Activity Stream notifications used the following wording to count course alerts:

    • # Students are falling behind, # Falling, # Absent

    Now, the wording for Activity Stream notifications is consistent with the wording on the Course Activity report:

    • Student alerts: # with low overall grade, # with last access alert

    ULTRA: Improved progress tracking for graded LTI Content

    Related Topic:
    Progress Tracking for Students

    Accurate course progress tracking is key for both students and instructors. Some instructors include graded LTI content in their course. In the past, progress tracking for graded LTI content was only updated manually by the student. Now when a student submits their work, their progress status updates to "complete." This change ensures better reporting for instructors and accurate progress tracking for students.

    ULTRA: Reminder improvements for anonymous grading

    Students may sometimes complete an assessment but fail to submit it. Instructors can send email reminders to non-submitters. In the past, it was unclear if all students received the emailed reminder. Now a banner informs instructors of the number of students who received the email reminder. Information for any student who did not receive the email due to an invalid or missing email address is also included. The email will now also include the due date.

    ULTRA: Flexible Grading support for tablets and other improvements

    Flexible Grading is a new, efficient assessment grading experience introduced in the August 3900.71 release. We are happy to now support Flexible Grading for instructors using tablet devices. When grading using the Flexible Grading experience from a table, only one of the side panels will be open at any time. Accessing another panel will collapse the other.

    ULTRA: Copying Announcements

    Reusing content eliminates the need to create everything from scratch. This saves time and effort in the content development processes. To support reuse, instructors can now copy specific announcements or all announcements from another course. Instructors can copy Announcements from both Original and Ultra courses. When copied, each announcement will be set to draft.

    ULTRA: Batch Edit support for recursive actions

    Batch editing offers value by streamlining and expediting repetitive tasks. We have updated batch edit to now support recursion. Batch edit actions now apply to all items inside of Folders and Learning Modules.

    ULTRA and Original: Auto-captioning for video and audio feedback

    Ensuring accessible and inclusive experiences for our students is of paramount importance. We have taken a significant step forward by implementing automatic captioning for audio and video content used in assessment feedback and announcements. This feature enhances accessibility and fosters inclusivity. Auto-captioning also supports diverse language preferences, aligning with the user's chosen language in Learn.

    ULTRA: Learning Module image integration options

    Related Topic:
    Create Learning Modules

    Learning modules serve as a strategic tool for structuring and curating course content. Elevating both the visual allure of the learning modules and the ease of content discernment is important. To help, we plan to provide two more options for integrating images into learning modules.

    • Search stock images from Unsplash. With this option, instructors can enter keywords to search for and select high-quality, royalty-free images. When enabled, the AI Design Assistant suggests keywords.
    • Generate images with the AI Design Assistant. Image generation leverages insights from the learning module description and other contextual cues in the course. To further empower instructors, they can describe the ideal image and regenerate images.

    ULTRA: Course Banner images from Unsplash

    Related Topic:
    Course Banner

    The course banner image provides an important sense of identity for the course. We are expanding the image options for the course banner by introducing Stock Images from Unsplash. Instructors can enter keywords to search for high-quality, royalty-free images.

    ULTRA: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Design Assistant

    The potential uses of Artificial Intelligence are exciting. As we look to explore the benefits AI has to offer, we are prioritizing lawful, ethical, and responsible use. We have established our Trustworthy AI principles, where we commit to:

    • humans in control,
    • fairness,
    • privacy,
    • security and
    • safety to name a few.

    We recommend reviewing the documents linked below as you consider using AI within Learn Ultra. These documents are designed to support your implementation, training, and policy setting as it relates to AI usage.

    • Our Trustworthy AI Principles can be found in our Trust Center.
    • Further information on the AI Design Assistant can be found on our help pages.
    • (Link on the item above still to be created, Legal is working on the content)

    We chose to partner with Microsoft to provide this functionality for many reasons. A primary reason is that Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to the ethical use of AI. Please find helpful resources from Microsoft below:

    ULTRA: Test Question Generation

    Related Topic:
    AI Design Assistant

    Crafting test questions from the ground up demands a significant amount of time. The AI Design Assistant steps in to offer test question suggestions, helping instructors reclaim valuable time. This resource is beneficial for both formative and summative assessments.

    ULTRA: Question Bank generation from ULTRA Documents

    Related Topic:
    AI Design Assistant

    The Ultra Document is a valuable way to present content. It seamlessly blends text and media components, enriching content presentation. With the aid of the AI Design Assistant, instructors can build question banks to gauge comprehension of the text-based elements within an Ultra Document. This streamlined process saves significant time. It also stands as a robust aid in shaping both formative and summative assessments. – generate a question bank from the text of an ultra document.

    Instructors can select preferred question types or use the “Inspire me!" option. The instructor can specify the desired level of complexity and number of questions. After reviewing the questions, it’s a single click to publish the questions to the question bank.

    ULTRA: Rubric Generation

    Related Topic:
    AI Design Assistant

    Grading rubrics offer a structured framework to assess student work. They ensure both fairness and consistency in grading. Moreover, they furnish students with clear directives to meet desired learning outcomes. However, crafting rubrics can be a time-intensive task. The AI Design Assistant can take the helm in rubric creation, drawing cues from course context. While retaining human-centered authority, instructors can define the rubric. This includes specifying details like descriptions (learning objectives or topics), rubric type (percentage, points, or range), complexity, and dimensions. The rubric remains open to review and refine, guaranteeing the instructor's input at every step.

    Rubric generation is an option everywhere we support rubric creation.

    ULTRA: Course Structure Suggestions

    Related Topic:
    AI Design Assistant

    Creating a course from the ground up can often feel like a daunting and time-intensive task. Some educators might find themselves without access to the necessary instructional design resources, leaving them in search of extra support.

    Enter the AI Design Assistant—an innovative solution designed to tackle these very challenges. By harnessing the power of advanced AI, this assistant offers a helping hand in structuring your course. Drawing insights from the course's title, description, and contextual information, it effortlessly generates learning modules.

    What sets the AI Design Assistant apart is its commitment to putting instructors in the driver's seat. Empowering educators, it allows for the provision of supplementary context, such as descriptive text or keywords. Instructors have the flexibility to add a title prefix—think "topic" or "unit"—infusing a personalized touch. Visual elements can also be seamlessly integrated, amplifying the learning experience.

    In a testament to customization, instructors wield the ability to fine-tune the complexity of their content. Additionally, they can precisely dictate the quantity of learning modules to be generated, ensuring a tailored approach to their teaching journey.

  • Click to Show/HideAugust 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    Updates and Bug Fixes v. 3900.72

    ULTRA: Flexible Grading:

    Related topics:
    Flex Grading Assignments

    Flex Grading Tests

    Flexible Grading is a new, efficient assessment grading experience. The new experience:

    • provides intuitive and streamlined navigation,
    • eliminates artificial barriers,
    • saves time and effort when navigating from student to student or question to question.

    Flexible Grading capabilities:

    • Grade by question or student
    • Filter on grading status of choice
    • Navigate between students and multiple submission attempts
    • Keep track of your grading process
    • View both the attempt and the final grade for each assessment
    • Provide meaningful feedback with or without a rubric
    • Grade inline using Blackboard Annotate
    • Collapse side panels to view more of the student submission
    • Post all grades when ready

    Supported assessment grading configurations:

    • Individual student test and assignment submissions
    • Single and multiple attempts
    • Grading with rubrics
    • SafeAssign

    Other assessment configurations will continue to route through to the current grading experience. There is no loss of grading functionality for these configurations:

    • Anonymous submissions
    • Group submissions
    • 2 graders per student
    • Peer review
    • Flexible Grading will come to these assessment configurations in future releases.

    For More information on Flexible Grading : https://community.anthology.com/blogs/8/1242

    ULTRA: Gradebook New Default Cell Status

    Related Topics:
    Assign Grades

    Instructors have varying preferences of the gradebook view. Some prefer the gradebook grid view to get an overview of student performance or locate new submissions. In the past, the gradebook grid view displayed "Grade Now" in each cell even when no submission had been made. This was confusing.

    To remove confusion, the default state of a given cell in the gradebook grid view has changed from “Grade now" to “-" (a single dash). This change reduces the cognitive load on users working in the gradebook. This change also makes new submissions more obvious.

    There is no change in gradebook functionality. Instructors can still select a given cell and enter an override grade.

    ULTRA: Increased visibility of Gradebook Move Button

    Related topic:
    Navigate Grading

    Instructors may need to reorder items in their online gradebooks to align with the sequencing and structure of their course. Instructors can reorder items in their gradebook from the gradebook list view. In the past, this option was not obvious to instructors. Instructors had to hover over the option for it to become visible.

    Now, the option to move an item in the gradebook list view is always visible.

    To move an item in the gradebook, select the Move button for the item you want to move. Drag the item to the new location and release. The order you choose is also reflected in the gradebook grid view and in students' view of the gradebook.

    ULTRA: Bulk Download of Anonymous Submissions

    Related topics:
    Anonymous Grading

    Download Assignments

    Grade History

    Sometimes instructors and graders want to download students' assessment submissions for offline viewing. Downloading submissions for offline viewing provides flexibility and convenience. In the past, this option was not available for anonymously graded assessments.

    Now, the Download Submissions option is available for anonymously graded assessments. Download submissions from the item's menu in the gradebook grid view.

    ULTRA: Assessment Submission Receipt Improvements:

    Related topics:
    Submissions Receipts (students)

    Submissions Receipts (instructors)

    Assessments can be stressful for students. Some instructors require students to submit attachments as part of the assessment requirements. Students need reassurance that they have attached the correct file for the right assessment. Students also desire confirmation that their submission was successful.

    Based on direct feedback from students, we added the new information to the existing submission receipts:

    • Course name and ID
    • Assessment name
    • Submission size - only included for file-based assessments and tests with essay questions
    • Auto submit indicator - this indicator is present only if the assessment is automatically submitted by Learn as part of a timed assessment or the Prevent Late Submission assessment setting

    Students can view the additional submission receipt information in:

    • The confirmation modal displayed upon a successful submission
    • The text file students can download from the confirmation modal
    • The automatic email confirmation

    ULTRA: Rubrics: Editing Improvements

    A grading rubric provides a clear and transparent framework for evaluating student work. Rubrics ensure consistency and fairness in grading. Rubrics also provide a means for giving effective feedback.

    Instructors can edit any rubric not yet used for grading. In the past, selecting outside of an editable area would save edits and automatically exit out of edit mode. This made selecting text and editing rubrics difficult. Now, if users select text inside the rubric edit box and drag out of the edit box, the edit mode does not close.

    ULTRA and Original View: Removal of Welcome guidance for first-time login and attendance user experience pop-ups

    First-time user experience guidance provides users with instructions and tips. This guidance shows users how an application works so they can start using it right away. To provide a better user experience, we are updating some of the guidance in Learn Ultra. Some guidance that is no longer needed is being removed. We'll be making these updates over a series of releases.

    In this release, we are removing the Welcome guidance for first-time login. This is a series of three scrolled screens before a user reaches the base navigation. This guidance is no longer applicable. Its removal provides immediate access to the base navigation after users log in.

    ULTRA and Original View: Course Banner Improvements:

    Related topic:
    Course Banners

    The course banner image provides a sense of identity for the course. The image establishes a connection between the content and the course participants. To provide a better user experience, we have improved the image setting workflow

    ULTRA: Learning module Image

    Related topic:
    Create Learning Modules

    Learning Modules provide a way to organize and structure content. To enhance the visual aesthetics of a course and to aid in content identification, we now support the option to add images to Learning Modules.

    To add an image to a Learning Module, instructors can edit the module.

    ULTRA: Replace file in Course Content

    Related topics:
    Add Files, Images, Audio, and Video

    Edit and Manage Content

    Responsible use of storage space matters to institutions. Before, when an instructor replaced a file in the course, the system created a new file version. Now, the system replaces the file. The system no longer creates new versions, freeing up storage space.

    ULTRA: Students with alerts flags in the Course Activity Report

    Related topic:
    Course Activity Report

    Identifying students at risk is challenging. This challenge is compounded when teaching multiple courses and large numbers of students.

    Now, a flag appears for students with alerts in the Course Activity Report. Instructors can customize their course alerts based on the following:

    • Number of days a student is inactive in the course
    • A student’s overall grade in the course is below a specific percentage

    Instructors can filter alerts for:

    • All students
    • Students with alerts
    • Students without alerts

    Instructors can identify students with alerts in other views of the Course Activity Report.

    • In the chart, purple dots indicate students with at least one (1) alert. Instructors can select the dot to display student information. An alerts section explains the applicable alerts for the student.
    • In the CSV download, the Low overall grade and Last access alert columns indicate when a student has an alert.
    • As before, activity stream notifications summarize students with alerts per course. Instructors may select these notifications to open the Course Activity Report. When accessing the report via notifications, the filter “Students with alerts" is auto-applied.

    Key considerations:

    • Instructors define Alerts Settings at a course level so that each course can have its own alerts values
    • Five is the default value for the number of days a student is inactive alert; there is no default setting for overall grade alert
    • Course alerts can be added, edited, and deleted at any time

    ULTRA: Groups in the top navigation bar and Group Spaces

    Related topic:
    Group Spaces for Instructors

    Groups for Students

    Groups are essential for fostering collaboration, promoting active learning, and deepening understanding of course material. In the past, instructors could define groups and group sets. Instructors could also create group assessments. This release includes improvements aimed at helping all users make better use of groups.

    We've moved Groups from the Details & Actions menu to the top navigation bar. This improves the visibility and prominence of Groups.

    ULTRA: Unread Message Indicator

    Related topic:
    Messages for Instructors

    Messages for Students

    Messages are an important means for course communication. The Message tab on the Base Navigation now displays courses with unread messages first. We removed the terms feature from the Message tab because users often missed messages from other terms. This experience is more aligned with how other messaging applications work. Users can now clearly identify courses with unread messages.

    We have also increased the visibility of unread messages within Ultra Courses. The Messages tab now includes an unread message indicator. On the Messages tab, messages are displayed with the newest messages at the top. Unread messages are clearly marked.

    ULTRA: Group Messaging Improvements

    Related topic:
    Messages for Instructors

    Messages for Students

    Communication and collaboration between group members is key. An instructor can now send a message to any group or group set. Instructors can also select more than one group as recipients of a message. Students can select their groups as message recipients.

    Those in the message can view the groups or group sets that received the message. Recipients can view who sent the message.

    The Groups page now includes a message icon that provides an easy means for messaging a group. The message auto-populates the recipient with the selected group. Users can change the recipients as appropriate.

    ULTRA: Mobile App: Course status indicators

    Related topic:
    Courses and Organizations (Mobile)

    The Blackboard Learn mobile app provides easy access to course material whilst on the go. We have enhanced the course list with status indicators for each course. These indicators help users to identify the status of each course.

    Course status indicators include:

    • Private (the student cannot access the course)
    • Open
    • Complete

    Original and ULTRA: Messages Off Indicator

    Related topic:
    Course Messages (Mobile)

    Administrators can now turn off Messages for individual courses. When an administrator turns Messages off, the app displays 'Messages off' as appropriate.

    Original and ULTRA: Course Status and date improvements

    The Courses page is a popular entry point to courses for instructors and students. For both list and tile views of Courses, we've added course start dates or start now prompts. These indicators help users understand what's happening with each course.

    Now the course status appears both in the image on the course and as text beneath the course title. When a course is Private and has a start date defined in the future, the date also displays.

    ULTRA: Ultra Accessibility Checker

    Related topics:
    Ultra Accessibility Checker (Instructor)

    Accessible content ensures inclusivity and meaningful engagement for diverse learners. To help instructors create accessible content, instructors can now use the Ultra Accessibility Checker (Powered by Ally). The Ultra Accessibility Checker scans content in the content editor for Ultra Documents. This helps instructors identify and fix accessibility issues.

    The Score Gauge indicator is visible when instructors are active in the content editor of Ultra Documents. Instructors can select the Score Gauge to view the Instructor Feedback panel. This panel provides suggestions to fix accessibility issues at scale. Instructors can also view the content editor in a preview. The Score Gauge provides a live score and flags accessibility issues during content creation and editing.

    ULTRA: Manage Messages at the course Level

    Institutions often have policies about how students communicate with others in their courses. We strive for Learn to have the flexibility to support institutional policies and decisions. As such, Administrators can now configure instructor control of the visibility of the Messages tool at the course level. When permitted, instructors can configure the Messages tool in the Course Settings.

    Original and ULTRA: Active Session Termination

    Related topics:
    Session Management

    We have upgraded our security measures to enforce user re-authentication, enhancing data security. Users are now required to log in again during their session, regardless of activity. After a time specified by the administrator, the session expires, logging out the user. Before the session ends, users receive a warning and have the option to save their work.

    Original and ULTRA: Concurrent Session Control

    Related topics:
    Session Management

    We have updated our system to enhance security and meet IL4 certification requirements. Administrators can now restrict users from accessing Learn on more than one device at the same time. At login, users receive a notification that they will be logged out from any other devices.

    This feature can benefit institutions that would like to increase academic honesty during assessments by restricting the number of devices used by a single user.

  • Click to Show/HideJuly 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    Manage Messages at institutional level:

    Institutions often have policies about how students communicate with others in their courses. To support institutional policy, system administrators can now manage Messages tool visibility. When Base Navigation is enabled, this level of control is available for both the Ultra and Original experiences at the institution and node levels.

    Administrators can define Messages visibility for both courses and organizations. Messages are not displayed on the Ultra Base Navigation when it is hidden at institutional level. If an institution has different configurations at node level, Messages will display on the Ultra Base Navigation according to the Messages policy applied for each course. The Course Messages option does not display for courses where the Messages tool is off.

    Mobile App - Improvements to the Grades landing page:

    Mobile app users can now select the sorting criteria for their grades. Users can sort grades as follows:

    course order
    last activity (most recent grade posted)
    due date (latest or oldest first)
    These sort options allow users to customize the Grades landing page to suit their preferences.

    Ultra Courses: Improved flattening logic:

    Items can move when copied, imported, or converted into Ultra courses. We call this the flattening process. The process moves items with a depth greater than two to the lowest supported level in Ultra courses. For institutions that have opted in to a third level of depth, items with a depth greater than three move to the lowest supported level. We received feedback from instructors calling for improvements to this process.

    One issue was that items were not retained in their parent folder. As a result, a course could have many empty folders at the lowest supported level. The items that used to be in those folders would also be at the lowest supported level. This made it difficult for instructors to understand where items used to be. They had to spend a lot of time finding and moving items.

    The second issue was with Learning Modules. Learning Modules could become nested inside other Learning Modules or Folders. Nested Learning Modules are not supported in Ultra courses. These nested Learning Modules set the wrong expectation for new users. This also broke the user interface.

    With this update, we implemented new logic:

    • Learning Modules are always brought to the highest level on the Course Content page.
    • Folders are now brought to the highest level necessary to ensure that child items don't move.

    This change should help instructors organize their moved content.

    Ultra Courses: Self-enroll for Ultra Courses and Organizations:

    In the past, the course and organization catalogs only showed Original courses and Original organizations. We’ve updated both catalogs so they also display Ultra courses and Ultra organizations.

    As with Original courses and organizations, Ultra courses and organizations must be associated with the catalog in the administrator panel or through data integration processes. The self-enrollment setting for Ultra courses and organizations must be managed in the administrator panel or through data integration. At this time, instructors can’t enable self-enrollment in Ultra courses and Organizations.

    Ultra Courses: File deletion in the course also removes the file from the Content Collection:

    The Content Collection is a valuable tool for organizing files and to support content reuse. In the past, if an instructor deleted a file from an Ultra course, the file remained in the Content Collection. This was the case even if the file was not used in other courses. Removing this file required additional steps from the instructor and was often overlooked.

    Now, when a file is deleted from the course, it is also deleted from the Content Collection when it is not used in other courses or another place in the same course. This workflow simplifies file management and helps with responsible use of storage space.

    Ultra Courses: Resizing media

    Instructors often strive to include media in their course design to help create an engaging course. Students may desire to include media in their discussions or assessment responses. When inserting media, users expect an easy way to control the size of the included media. In the past, this wasn't easy to do. Users would have to size media before uploading it in the course.

    Now media items have handles in each corner. Users can resize the media by dragging a corner handle. Users can also resize media via keyboard navigation. Media types available for resizing include images, videos, and media inserted via URL.

    This enhancement provides users with a seamless and intuitive way to resize media.

    Ultra Courses: Progress Tracking and Start / Continue / Completed options for Learning Modules:

    Progress Tracking provides students with clear visibility of their progress throughout a course. In the past, students would need to expand the module to view progress for the contents of a Learning Module. To save time and provide greater clarity, a progress summary for Learning Modules is now displayed at the top level.

    Ultra Courses: Start, Continue, and View Assessment options and file submission update:

    To increase clarity for students before they begin an assessment, we have made changes to the user interface. In the past, when a student selected an assessment, the Details & Information panel included an option labeled View assessment. Now this option is labeled as Start attempt. Additionally, the button displays different states based on the student's progress:

    If the student is eligible to make a new attempt, the button displays Start attempt alongside the next attempt number.

    If the student has saved a draft, the button displays Continue attempt along with the current attempt number.

    Once the student has exhausted all possible attempts, the button displays View submissions. This indicates that students can review their completed submissions.

    These modifications aim to provide a more intuitive and informative experience for students. These changes ensure that students have a clear understanding of their progress and available options throughout the assessment process.

    Ultra Courses: Send reminders to non-submitters for anonymously graded assessments:

    During an assessment, instructors may need to communicate with students. To support this need, instructors can filter and select the students they would like to message from the Submissions page. Instructors can craft a message appropriate to the audience and circumstances.

    In the past, the instructors couldn't message students for assessments that are anonymously graded. This is because instructors do not know which students had submitted.

    Now we have introduced a Send Reminder option. This allows instructors to send reminders to students who have yet to make a submission for an anonymously graded assessment.

    With the "Send Reminder" button on the Submissions page for anonymously graded assessments, instructors have the chance to confirm their desire to send the reminder along with the number of students who will receive it.

    Ultra Courses: Delete Grade Schemas:

    In the past, instructors could only create and edit grade schemas. Now, instructors can also delete grade schemas that are not used in the course. The option to delete helps instructors maintain the grade schema list.

    A Delete button now appears on schemas that are not in use. Schemas that are in use will only display the option to copy.

    Ultra Courses: Complete/incomplete grade schema:

    The complete/incomplete grade schema is now available for the Ultra Course View. This grade schema helps to shift the focus from points earned to student effort and completion of tasks. It offers a more holistic approach to assessing student progress.

    Instructors can select the schema in the settings panel from the Grade using section. When a grade is assigned, a checkmark is displayed on that item for the student in the gradebook. An incomplete is displayed as a dash in a grey-colored pill.

    Ultra Courses: Exceptions panel updates:

    Exceptions are important for supporting students who experience unforeseen situations. Instructors can:

    • Grant additional attempts
    • Reschedule submission deadlines
    • Allow extended access

    We've updated the exceptions panel to display more information. The exceptions panel now features course, assessment, and student names. This improvement helps instructors to ensure the accuracy of the exception.

    Ultra Courses: Add exceptions for anonymously graded assessments:

    We have simplified the navigation for Assessments. Instructors now have convenient access to different sections using tabs:

    Granting additional attempts
    Rescheduling submission deadlines
    Allowing extended access
    Now instructors can grant student exemptions for anonymously graded assessments. Instructors can access the exceptions options for all assessments from the Student Overview page in the gradebook.

    Ultra Courses: Tab navigation for Assessments:

    We have simplified the navigation for Assessments. Instructors now have convenient access to different sections using tabs:

    • Content and Settings
    • Submissions
    • Student Activity
    • Question Analysis

    This improvement is designed to optimize instructor efficiency. It provides a more streamlined assessment management experience for instructors.

    Ultra Courses: Partial and negative credit improvements for the Multiple Choice / Multiple Select question type:

    Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer questions are graded automatically. Answers are scored based on the instructor selected scoring option.

    In the past, instructors could select from the following scoring options:

    All or nothing. A student must select all the correct answer choices to receive credit. If a student selects one or more incorrect answer choices, they earn no points.

    Allow partial credit. A student receives partial credit if they correctly answer part of the question.

    Subtract points for incorrect answers. A student will have points subtracted for incorrect answer choices. This option discourages guessing. The overall question score is not less than zero. With the partial credit and subtract points options, all answer choices were equally weighted. Instructors were unable to control how much partial and negative credit is awarded for each correct and incorrect answer.

    To provide instructors with more control we have made some changes. Now instructors can turn on partial and negative credit. This option allows instructors to:

    • Define a positive percentage value to award credit for a correct answer(s)
    • Enter a negative percentage value to subtract for an incorrect answer(s)
    • Allow a negative overall score for the question
  • Click to Show/HideJune 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    Ultra Courses: Add Exemptions for Anonymous Assessments:

    The use of anonymous grading helps to reduce grading bias. Many consider it an important grading approach. To further support instructors and improve their ability to manage student exemptions, we have introduced a way for instructors to set exemptions for anonymously graded assessments. Instructors can now access the exemptions option for an anonymous assessment from the Student Overview page. This will make it easier for instructors to manage exemptions and ensure a fair and accurate grading process for all students.

    Courses Term display logic improvements:

    In the past, when a course was not associated to a term and occurred in the past, Learn would sometimes create a term based on the duration of the course. In other cases, Learn would assign the course to a term based on institutional-defined criteria that matched the duration of a course. This assignment method often led to confusion for students and instructors. To remove confusion and provide accurate term and course alignment, we have implemented improvements to the course term display logic.

    Original Course View: Improved Assignment Submission page:

    Students submitting an Assignment in Original Course View have several possible actions. They can upload files, author a submission, and attach a note to their instructor. Previously, these actions could be confusing for students. The option to add comments always displayed. The option to author a submission required selecting a button that was easy to miss.

    We redesigned the Assignment submission page to be less confusing and easier for students to use.

    Students have three distinct actions they can take. Each section can be opened independently. Students can open more than one. The page will retain added content when a student closes a section.

    • Create Submission
    • Upload Files
    • Add Comments
    • All Assignment information has been grouped together:
      • Due date
      • Points possible
      • Grading rubric
      • Group membership and update statuses
      • SafeAssign disclosure

    Ultra Courses: Preserve "Open in New Window" behavior for Flickr Mashups as Web Links:

    In the May release, we added a new setting to Web Links on the Course Content page. Instructors can choose whether the web link opens in a new window or within the Ultra Course View. With this change, converted Flickr Mashups would not load unless users opened the Web Link in a new window. We have updated the conversion process so that when a Flickr Mashup is converted to a Web Link, the "Open in a new window" option is auto selected.

    Ultra Courses: Prevent renaming of items when moved during a copy, import, and/or conversion:

    Items copied, imported, or converted into the Ultra Course View sometimes move. Items move when they are nested more than the Ultra Course View allows. Items that move are placed at the lowest supported level in the Ultra Course View.

    When moved, the title of these items would change to reflect their original location path. While helpful, the change added extra work for users. As a result, users had to change the title of each moved item and remove the pathing. With this release, we will no longer change the title of items.

    Ultra Courses: Announcements in the top navigation bar:

    To provide a better user experience, we moved Announcements from the Details & Actions menu to the top navigation bar. This reduces the number of items within the Details & Actions menu. This change also improves visibility and prominence of Announcements.

    Users will be able to access announcements anywhere from within a course. All existing announcements functionality remains the same.

    Ultra Courses: Progress tracking management:

    Progress tracking provides students, instructors, and administrators with an efficient way to track and measure student progress. Now administrators can control progress tracking at the institution and node levels. This option is on the Administrator Panel | Tools & Utilities module | Tools option. An administrator may select from the following setting combinations:

    • On and unlocked in Ultra courses
    • On and locked in Ultra courses
    • Off and unlocked in Ultra organizations
    • Off and locked in Ultra organizations

    The lock option prevents instructors from changing the administrator-defined default within their courses. Administrators should lock the setting to ensure consistent use of progress tracking.

    Administrators can control the scope of the availability changes. This allows administrators to choose to apply changes to only new or new and existing Ultra courses/organizations.

    Note: With this release, progress tracking availability remains unchanged. With the August release, progress tracking will be turned on for all Ultra courses and organizations. Administrators can change this setting to meet the specific needs of their institution as needed.

    Ultra Courses: Journal Grades & Participation list filters:

    To help instructors manage journal entries and provide effective feedback to students, we have added new Student and Grading Status filters to the Grades & Participation view in Journals. These filters allow instructors to view student journal entries based on their status. This can help streamline the grading and feedback process. These filters are consistent with filters in other areas of Ultra. This consistency provides a unified and intuitive experience for instructors.

    Ultra Courses: Course Links improvements:

    To provide a better experience, we’ve made a series of improvements for Course Links:

    • Instructors have the option to add course links to folders and learning modules on the Course Content page. The option to add course links to folders and learning modules is hidden for nested content containers.
    • Instructors cannot move into another folder or learning module a course link to a folder or learning module. A warning message displays if an instructor tries to move a course link in this way.
    • Instructors cannot copy into another folder or learning module a course link to a folder or learning module. The option to copy course links to folders and LMs is hidden if an instructor selects the Copy Content option from the + menu while inside a folder or learning module.
    • To help users identify course links to folders and learning modules, we have made a new icon. This icon displays a link at the top left corner of the icon for a folder or learning module. In the past, the learning module did not have an icon. Learning modules now have an icon, which is the same one displayed for learning modules on the Create Item panel.
    • The context menu for a course link to a folder or a learning module now provides these options:
      • Edit Course Link
      • Edit Linked Folder or Learning Module
      • Delete Course Link

    Users can expand a course link to a folder or learning module as they would a folder or learning module. This allows the user to view the nested contents of the target folder or learning module. The contents displayed are read only. An instructor cannot modify the nested contents displayed for the course link. An instructor cannot move additional content into the folder or learning module course link. - More information on the release notes pages

    Ultra Courses: Support for anonymous grading of tests:

    Instructors can reduce grading bias for high-stakes assignments by enabling anonymous grading. Until now, this option was only available for assignments. Instructors can now also turn on anonymous grading on tests. This adds an additional layer of fairness and impartiality to the grading process.

    Ultra Courses: Upload questions from a file to tests and assignments:

    Besides course content, assessment questions are one of the most valuable teaching artifacts. Up until now, instructors could only create new questions in tests, assignments, or question banks. This process could be time-consuming and inefficient.

    Now instructors can author questions offline in a text file. Instructors can upload the file into a test for a more streamlined test building workflow. Each question file must be a tab-delimited TXT file. The file should not exceed 250 records to avoid time-out restrictions. For more details on formatting requirements, please review the related Help pages for Original and Ultra platforms.

    Instructors can easily edit and use the uploaded questions as they would a question created in a test. Uploading questions saves instructors valuable time and effort.

    Supported question types include:

    Multiple choice / multiple answer
    True / False
    Fill in the Blank
    Fill in Multiple Blanks
    Numeric response

    Calculating course grades can vary depending on instructor practice. To offer greater flexibility in gradebook calculations, instructors can now opt to use the 'Base calculation on points earned out of total graded points' option for any gradebook calculation, regardless of whether it contains operators with functions and variables. Previously, this option was only available for Average, Total, Minimum, and Maximum calculations.

  • Click to Show/HideMay 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    How am I doing Report - Currently Off

    The “How am I Doing" report allows students to see how they perform in comparison to the class.

    Certain institutions may prohibit the sharing of this information with students. To support institutions' preferences, administrators can now control the visibility of this report.

    Ultra Courses: Instructor’s Notes on Student Overview:

    Teaching many courses is challenging. Keeping track of student details can be even harder. To help, we've created a dedicated space for instructors to take notes about students in each course. These notes are private. Only instructors, administrators, and higher roles can access them.

    To access the notes, instructors may select the Notes tab on the Student Overview page. From there, an instructor can add notes and review any other notes for a student in that course. They can also review notes added by other instructors in the same course.

    The text editor for notes includes basic formatting options such as bold, italics, colors, styles, and font size.

    The most recent notes appear at the top of the list.

    Symbol font removed in Original Course View:

    Unicode is a standard encoding system that allows popular fonts to support characters across various languages. In the past, specialized mapped fonts were used, which replaced one character for another. However, both the author and viewer had to have the exact same font installed on their device, making communication difficult.

    In the Original Course View Content Editor, the Symbol font is an example of a mapped font for Greek. Some browsers and operating systems no longer support the Symbol font. This can result in students seeing Latin characters when authoring and instructors seeing Greek ones when reading. This has caused confusion for instructors trying to grade student work.

    To avoid this confusion, we removed the Symbol font from the Content Editor in Original Course View. Instead, users can choose other common fonts that support Greek characters. To type in Greek, add the Greek language and keyboard layout to your device's operation settings. This feature is supported in Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

    Existing content formatted to use the Symbol font will remain in that font if the browser supports it.

    Ultra Courses: Drag and drop desktop folders to upload to the Course Content page:

    Efficiency is key for instructors when creating course content. To assist with this, we've added a drag and drop support for uploading folders with files to the course content page. Instructors may drag and drop a folder from their computer to the course content page.

    If an instructor drags and drops more than 25 files at the same time, a warning message appears. This message does not restrict the upload, but it informs the user that it may take a few minutes to complete. During the upload process, the instructor can cancel at any time. If the upload is canceled, the files are deleted.

    Ultra Courses: Control where Web Links open:

    Opening links in a new window is generally considered best practice, especially for external websites. This avoids browser security features blocking content from loading. There may be situations when an instructor or course author prefers linked content to open in a panel in the Ultra course.

    When content is hosted on the Learn environment or on the institution’s website, the content is less likely to be blocked. In this example, opening content in a panel in the Ultra course is a better experience for students.

    We understand that instructors need to have control over this aspect of their course design. Now instructors may specify where linked content should open - in a panel in the Ultra course or a new window. This option gives instructors and authors greater flexibility in designing their course content. Opening content in a panel in the Ultra course can be particularly beneficial for content authored with tools like Articulate Storyline, Articulate Rise, Adobe Captivate, and Adobe Dreamweaver.

    Option to control where the web link opens; default is new window

    Ultra Courses: Hotspot question zoom in/out:

    When assessing a student's knowledge of visual content, the hotspot question type is a popular choice. To further enhance this question type, we have added two new features: Zoom In/Out and Full-Screen view. These controls enable instructors to define hotspots more precisely. These new controls are also accessible using convenient keyboard shortcuts.

    Ultra Courses: Remove category assignment requirement when editing LTI items via the gradebook:

    Instructors may need to adjust the due dates for third-party activities in their courses. In the past, when making such changes, instructors also had to assign these activities to a specific category within the gradebook.

    Now instructors can edit gradebook columns for LTI-based activities without assigning them to a category. This change streamlines the process without forcing category selection.

    Ultra Courses: Send Messages from the Submission page:

    During an assessment, instructors may need to communicate with students. For example, an instructor may wish to send reminders to non-submitters. Or an instructor may want to notify students about their grades. To support this need, now instructors can message students from the Submissions page.

    To get started, instructors can search or filter to find and select recipients. Then, select the "Send Message" button to open the messaging interface to craft the message.

    We understand that student confidentiality is important. Thus, when an instructor selects more than one student as a recipient of a message, the recipients will be on BCC. This ensures that students’ identity and contact information remain confidential.

    Ultra Courses: Rubrics improvements:

    Rubrics play a critical role in the grading process for many educators. We've made significant enhancements to the rubric-based grading experience.

    Performance level descriptions are now hidden by default. This change streamlines grading when instructors are familiar with the performance level requirements. Instructors can choose to display the performance descriptions if needed for grading.

    Sometimes instructors change their minds when grading. Now it’s possible to deselect a performance level if choosing another level of performance isn’t appropriate. Criterion feedback is also collapsible, allowing for a more streamlined view of the grading panel.

    Making Blackboard Learn inclusive and accessible is important to us, so we’ve improved keyboard navigation of rubrics. Navigate between rubric criteria with tab and use up/down arrows to select a performance level.

    Ultra Courses: Add Exemptions via the gradebook grid view:

    Instructors may need to excuse specific students from assessments or activities in a course. In the past, instructors could apply an exemption from the submissions page and student detail view. Now instructors can also access the option to exempt students from the gradebook grid view.

    When an instructor exempts an assessment or activity:

    The exempted item is not factored into the Overall Grade calculation.
    The exempted item is not marked late for students who do not submit.
    The students with an exemption will not receive an automatic zero.
    Students can still submit work for exempted items. Instructors can assess and provide feedback on these submissions for exempted items.

    Ultra Courses: Prevent backtracking in tests with page breaks:

    Effective assessment settings are essential for accommodating various instructional scenarios. For example, instructors can insert page breaks into an assessment to create sections. Now instructors may prevent backtracking in paged tests. This option ensures that students progress through the pages of an assessment in a predetermined sequence. This option will be helpful when upcoming questions provide hints or reveal answers to questions on previous pages.

    Instructors can activate this setting in assessments that contain questions.

    Ultra Courses: Question Banks - Reuse Questions option:

    Aside from course content, test questions are some of the most valuable resources in a course. Instructors invest significant time and effort creating and refining banks of test questions. Instructors use these banks to easily reuse questions across various assessments.

    Now instructors can copy questions between question banks. To copy a question, an instructor can select the new Reuse Questions option. Additionally, instructors can copy questions from existing assessments directly into their question banks. This process makes it easier to build and expand question libraries.

    Ultra Courses: Grading attempt selector improvements:

    Multiple attempt assessments can be a beneficial assessment option. Multiple attempts allow students to learn from their mistakes. It may also help students improve their understanding of the material.

    At the same time, managing multiple submissions introduces some complexity for instructors. To help, we have added an attempt selector on the grading page. By default, the grading page displays the most appropriate attempt based on the “grade attempts" setting.

  • Click to Show/HideApril 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    Course Activity Report accessibility improvements

    We commit to providing accessible and inclusive solutions for all users. Many users navigate Ultra using assistive technologies. To better support instructors using assistive technology, we have made several accessibility improvements to the Course

    Activity Report:
    The description of the Course Activity Report includes a “Learn more" link. Now the screen reader states this link, directing the instructor to the related Help documentation.
    Instructors can sort data on any column. Now screen readers indicate if column sorting is in ascending or descending order.

    Instructors can select many students to send messages. Now screen readers state the number of students selected.
    Screen readers now state when an instructor selects or deselects all students.
    In medium and small screens some options of the Course Activity Report combine in a single drop-down menu. Now screen readers state that the 3-dot menu contains more options.

    Bb Annotate: Enhanced comments

    It is important for instructors to provide rich and meaningful feedback for students. We have improved formatting and editing options for instructors.

    Instructors can now include richer formatting in comments. This includes font colors, bold, underline, and hyperlinks.
    Instructors can now edit already placed comments.

  • Click to Show/HideMarch 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    Unsupported Course Cartridge and ePack Features Removed – 3900.60

    In the past for Original Course View, there were two older methods for adding licensed publisher content. These are no longer supported:

    Course Cartridges, a server-based method to download licensed publisher content using one-time keys ePack licensed content importing when converting WebCT courses. While we have not supported these for years, users still see options to add Course Cartridges download keys. APIs for ePack conversion are still part of the course import process. In this release, we have removed these. Instructors and admins will no longer see options to enter a Course Cartridge download key.

    Manage Roster:

    Institutions often have policies about hiding students' personal information. Institutions can now manage Roster visibility. This level of control is for both Ultra and Original Course Views when Base Navigation is enabled.

    Administrators can define the Roster visibility at the institution and node levels for both courses and organizations. When permitted, instructors can define the Roster visibility setting at course/organization level.

    The Details & Actions menu in Ultra Course View will not display the Roster to students when it is hidden. Instructors can manage the Student Roster visibility in Original Courses when allowed by the administrator.

    Course Activity Report Table Enhancements

    The course activity page helps instructors understand students' performance. With this information, instructors can:

    Identify struggling or high performing students based on their grade, hours in course, or days of inactivity.
    Message students who have a low grade and/or have not accessed the course recently.
    Receive alerts when a student has not accessed their course in a while or if a student's grade has dropped.

    With this update, we have made the following improvements:

    New Table - Updated to be more consistent with other features. Those who use progress tracking will find the feel of the new table should be familiar. The new table makes it easier to select and message students.

    New Days of Inactivity Column - the number of days since a student last accessed your course. Instructors can use this information to identify students that might be falling behind.

    Access Student Overview - click or tap a student's name to see their grades, progress, and activity over the weeks. Instructors can use the Student Overview to get a full picture of a student's performance and engagement in a course.

    More Student Information. Accommodations, name pronunciation, and pronouns are now visible. Instructors can use this information when drafting messages to students.

    PDF version of the SafeAssign Originality Report

    The SafeAssign Originality Report is a valuable teaching and learning tool. Instructors use the report to ensure students express original thoughts and cite sources. Some instructors allow students to view the report. This is helpful for teaching students how to cite their work.

    In the past, users could download the report as PDF. However, users could not open the sources from the PDF.

    Now, users can open matched sources from the PDF. We also made some usability improvements to the PDF, such as text alignment and font adjustments. To better support peak usage, we made infrastructure improvements.

  • Click to Show/HideFebruary 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes


    Login As:

    Institutions want a way to maximize support to their end users. This needs to happen without sharing or exchanging login credentials. In the past, Blackboard Learn administrators might have used a community-created Building Block (B2)—LoginAs and Impersonate are two examples. These allowed an administrator to impersonate an end user for troubleshooting purposes. This category of third-party add-ons had the highest adoption volume in our global client base. The request to add this feature to Learn was ranked #1 in our Idea Exchange for more than 12 weeks in 2022.

    We prioritized client feedback and are happy to share that the ability for an admin to log in as a user is now available.

    Administrators can:

    Search and select a user to login as.
    Add in a reason for logging in as that user for institutional audit purposes.
    This is optional. Institutions may wish to determine a policy for the use of this feature.
    Start the session as that user.

    To login as a user:
    Search for a user in Administrator Panel > Users.
    Open the dropdown menu for the user.
    Select the “Login As" option.
    When done, logout.

  • Click to Show/HideJanuary 2023
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    Bug Fixes:

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

    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.

    Blackboard Learn Mobile App Expand and Collapse Course Faculty, Details & Actions, and Course Content sections – 3900.56

    In the past users on a mobile device had to scroll through the Course Faculty and Details & Actions sections to see course content. Now users can collapse these sections, making it easier and faster to access course content.

  • Click to Show/Hide2022
    Updates and Bug Fixes for 2022
    • Click to Show/HideDecember 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes:


      Password policies and logging when users change their passwords – 3900.54.0 - for system accounts and test student accounts

      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.

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

      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.

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

      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).

    • Click to Show/HideNovember 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in this release include:

      Unread Messages Indicator for Courses and Organizations:

      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.

    • Click to Show/HideOctober 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Base Navigation - Grades: Reduce height of course tiles for courses without grades

      In the Grades section of the base navigation, we have reduced the space used on course tiles for courses without grades.

      Reducing this space for courses without grades gives users with multiple courses a better browsing experience.

      Improvements to Blackboard App Settings

      Users expect to have access to their courses on mobile devices. The transition between mobile and desktop applications should be seamless and frustration free. To support effortless movement between the two, we added settings categories and mobile-specific categories. A new design of this section provides simplified toggles for configurating your preferences.

      This feature is available for all users of the Mobile App. Users with enabled automatic updates on their devices are not required to do any actions. Users with disable automatic updates on their devices must download the update.

      Global HTML Filter Requirement Change

      We conduct continuous reviews of Blackboard Learn to improve our security. Learn has an HTML filter in the Original Experience and Original Course View. This filter removes scripts that users add in the content editor. This helps prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities.

      In the past it was possible for an administrator to turn off this filter. Starting with this release, the filter will always be on. Administrators can still allow certain users to bypass the filter. They can grant users the privilege Add/Edit trusted content with scripts. As before, we recommend administrators restrict the number of users with this privilege.

      Course Messages recipient picker improvement for courses with more than 100 participants

      Course Messages is a useful tool for course communication.

      In the past, the recipient picker did not work as expected in courses with more than 100 participants. When a user clicked the “Add recipients" button, the Compose Message page collapsed and was unusable.

      Now users may add recipients as expected.

    • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      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

      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 show name values in the fields as they are set by the Student Information System:

      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

      Name Display Choice -

      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 changes - 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.

      Activity Stream navigation improvements -

      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.

      Microsoft Immersive Reader for Anthology Ally for LMS -

      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.

      Summary list of annotations for inline grading -

      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.

    • Click to Show/HideAugust 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      AUGUST 12, 2022 - Blackboard to go to Single Sign On (SSO)

      Single Sign on - - Video

      Single Sign on - - Step by step document[PDF]

      SSO Error - - Video

      Single Sign on Error - - Step by step document[PDF]

      - Bb Annotate undo/redo functionality: Roll out deployment Phased Roll-out - 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.

      - File Upload Indicator for Original Course View - 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

      - Unified Blackboard App - August 8, 2022
      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.

      - Microsoft Teams Meetings - 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:

      1. -Schedule new or reoccurring Teams Meetings
      2. -Invite specific users from the course or the entire course
      3. -Access recordings
      4. -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.

      - Microsoft OneDrive: Create a Collaborative Document

      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

      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[PDF]" to continue.

    • Click to Show/HideJuly 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Display Pronouns and Pronunciation - This release continues to deliver on planned diversity and inclusion improvements. Institutions can allow users to express their personal pronouns. This fosters greater respect among students and with faculty.

      Institutions can also enable name pronunciation. Users can add text guidance to describe the pronunciation of their names for other users. Users can record the pronunciation of their names. The recording tool counts down to when the recording begins. The recording may be up to 20 seconds long. For accessibility reasons, text guidance must be allowed if name recording is enabled. Recordings are compressed and included in storage use calculations.

      If a user has pronoun or pronunciation information, it is displayed on a profile card. Selecting any avatar icon in Original Course View displays the profile card. All avatars are selectable in user lists, course tools, and grading workflows.

      Known issue in Safari browsers: There is a known issue creating or playing pronunciation recordings in Safari. The issue is because of a mismatch of compression codecs that Safari supports.

    • Click to Show/HideJune 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes


      Changed behavior for pasting JavaScript in Original Course View Content Editor:

      • The Original Course View Content Editor allows users to paste JavaScript into their HTML. JavaScript can add rich capability to web content but can be malicious. The Content Editor removes JavaScript automatically for most users when saved. This way, scripts cannot harm other users. Only authorized users can keep JavaScript when they save.
      • In the past, the Content Editor would temporarily render pasted scripts in the edit view. A user copying a script from a bad actor could inadvertently run a script against themselves.
      • A user could still run malicious JavaScript against their own device, but not by using the Content Editor. For users authorized to save scripts, JavaScript will still render after they save.
    • Click to Show/HideMay 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes


      Image Title Attribute

      The Content Editor in Original courses allows users to add image attributes. Now it also supports adding the "title" attribute. This attribute adds text tips to images. We still recommend prioritizing alternative description. An alternative description makes content more accessible, while a title doesn't.

      Managing settings in Course Timeline for graders, course builders, and other non-instructors:

      • There are non-instructor course roles such as graders and builders. In the past, they could not favorite their courses in the Course Timeline. They also could not choose to hide and show courses. When they had permissions, they could not open courses and make them private. We have corrected these issues in the Course Timeline.

      Improved Rubric access for graders:

      • In the past, some Rubric grading workflows would cause errors for graders. We have corrected these.
    • Click to Show/HideApril 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes


      3rd Party LTI Tools can control release of grades.

      - If a tool sets that grades should not auto-post, scores sent to the Learn Grade Center appear behind a “Needs Grading" status indicator. Students and instructors see that students have submitted work but not the result. When the tool releases grades, all students will see their scores.

    • Click to Show/HideMarch 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes:

      - Date picker uses the default server time zone rather than the user’s time zone: The date/time selector for course duration on course management pages uses the default server time zone rather than the user’s time zone.

      - in the administrator panel

      - in course settings for the Original Course View when instructors have access to course properties

      - To provide greater clarity, we have added a time zone indicator to display the time zone that applies. For example, a Learn environment with a default time set to US Eastern Standard Time (EST) would display UTC –05:00.

      Integration behaviors remain unchanged:

      - course duration times set through REST APIs should use UTC

      - times set through SIS Framework should use server default time.

      Also, users can configure the availability dates with hours precision from the user interface. This configuration does not affect the integrations.

      Automatic cleanup of user-created archive and export packages - 3900.34.0

      Export and archive packages within a course will now have auto-delete settings. This automatic cleanup enables institutions to reduce storage space used. The auto-cleanup also allows administrators to control storage growth.

      This also saves time and reduces frustration for administrators.

      In the past, all packages remained in the course until the deletion of the packages or the course. The retention of the course packages resulted in extensive storage usage.

      Existing user-generated course packages will be set to expire in 90 days from the 3900.34 upgrade. This gives more time to copy packages to external storage if needed. In the course package list view, the expiry date for these packages will reflect a 90-day expiry. Packages are deleted on the expiry day.

      Course packages created after the upgrade to 3900.34 will expire and auto-delete 30 days after the creation date.

      We will notify users of this behavior in three ways:

      - When creating the package, the interface informs the user of this time constraint.

      - The notification that a package is ready to download informs the user of the time constraint.

      - In the course package list view for the course, the removal date displays for each package.

      This improvement does not change the way administrators delete courses. These changes only apply to the export/archive packages stored within the course. There are no changes to the behavior of automatic archive creation or deletion.

      More updates to come..

    • Click to Show/HideFebruary 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

      • - Future courses shown as "ended" to students: When a student tried to access a course that began on a future date, the student received this error:

        • "This course has ended. You can no longer access this course."
          This message is now updated to provide clearer information.
        • "You can't access this course right now. Your instructor will allow access when the course is ready."
      • - Students received error when trying to access group assessment:

        When a student tried to access a group assessment, the student received this error:

        • "Oops! Something went wrong. Please reload the page."
          We corrected this error. Students can now access the group assignment as expected.
      • - Incorrect submission date on assignment submission receipt:
        • The assignment submission receipt included the timestamp when the student started the attempt. The timestamp now shows the time/date the student submitted the attempt.
      • - Feedback was not saved if the instructor did not click save before updating and saving the grade:
        • Feedback was not saved if the instructor did not click save before updating and saving the grade. This problem occurred only in Ultra courses. We have corrected this error. Both the grade and feedback save as expected.


      Improvements for Content Editor:

      • - Pasting from Google Docs now gives an option to keep styling or simplify the HTML.
      • - Users can move the spellchecker window so that it does not cover the text the user is checking for errors.
      • - Missing icons for table row and column cut/copy/paste will now appear.

      Force Completion changes to better support Multiple Attempt Tests

      • - Enabling Force Completion on a test or survey has new behaviors. The Force Completion option now requires a time limit and automatic submission. We made this change to enforce the submission of incomplete or abandoned attempts. This change is important so that instructors can access and grade these attempts. Instructors may also create a multiple attempt assessment with the Force Completion option. This change ensures that students can now start new attempts in this scenario.


      • in Original Course View, For now, "if enabled", users can create audio recordings of their name pronunciation. Users may also add a pronunciation description. The pronunciation description appears to users who have privileges to edit others’ profiles. The information will not appear to students in courses.

      ** Known issue in Safari browser:

      • There is a known issue creating or playing pronunciation recordings in Safari. The issue is because of a mismatch of compression codecs that Safari supports. Safari users will receive warnings about the issue in the interface.
    • Click to Show/HideJanuary 2022
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes in this release:

      Activity Stream Notifications are not Being Updated After Modifying the Due Date Content From a Course Mode

      • - Article #75687

      Group Attempt Feedback Files Cannot be Downloaded From Individual Tab

      • - Article #75695

      Rubrics Panel does not open for Journals in Copied Courses

      • – No Article

      The Rubrics panel does not open on journals for a copied course. This problem has been corrected and the rubric panel opens for journals as expected within a course that was copied.

      New items:

      Ally File Transformer in Blackboard Assist (global availability)

      • - The Ally File Transformer helps students to personalize their learning experience. It can convert files into alternative formats that better fit their needs, devices, and learning preferences. Ally File Transformer, as a free part of Blackboard Assist, is available by default but can be turned off.
      • - Available at no cost with Blackboard Assist enabled. An Ally license is not required.

      It converts files to alternative, more accessible formats including HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio, BeeLine reader and to a PDF that’s undergone optical character recognition (OCR).

      • - For institutions licensing Ally, the Ally File Transformer allows students to convert their own files or files they've found via research or project work.
      • - The Ally File Transformer comes automatically with Blackboard Assist. There is an option to turn it off, if preferred, in the Administrator Panel > Partner Cloud Settings.
  • Click to Show/Hide2021
    Updates and Bug Fixes for 2021
    • Click to Show/HideDecember 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes:

      - Student assessment answers show "None given" and "saved question 0 multiple times":

      The access log for assessments displayed confusing and inaccurate messages. The log now displays messages as expected.

      - Issues with special characters causing erratic behavior:

      The platform was having issues interpreting some characters, causing special characters to appear in the subject of Original course messages in the global navigation updates, and the “What's New" Module. It also caused inadvertent posting of an announcement and emails sent to users to fail when an ampersand was in the course name. This behavior has been fixed and now works as expected.

      - In the Original Experience, when students tried to submit files in a group assessment, they got a UI red ribbon error reading “Failed to submit", but they could see the successfully submitted file after refreshing. We've fixed the issue.


      - BB Annotations: Save preferences / Settings

      For this improvement, we constantly work with our partners to align the product functionality with the pillars of efficiency and pedagogy, now we are pleased to present this update for Bb Annotate tool, available for both Original and Ultra Courses which is built around the common and really used workflow: the grading process.

      Since the initial deployment of Bb Annotate, we have identified that saving preferences is a great need for instructors and grading roles, avoiding the need to reset common preferences when switching from submission to submission. For this release, we will be able to go through the inline grading process in the Course, saving common preferences for Annotation tools, and having the possibility to save custom Stamps to add to the submissions, these new functionalities are user-defined, which means that user preferences and custom stamps will persist through all courses.

      With this release, we help our instructors and grader roles to improve their productivity, decreasing work time in a “do it once and then forget" way and encouraging the use of the application as a preferred tool for feedback.

      - File upload size limit (Original Course View) - 3900.28.0

      Setting limits on users’ uploads helps institutions contain storage utilization, maintain institutional policies, and encourage use of resources better suited to online use or limited bandwidth. This release includes the following capabilities:

      - Administrators can set a file size limit in megabytes for all files uploaded into courses. This restriction is applied to uploads in the Original Course View. This is configured in Administrator Panel > System Configuration.

      - Administrators can optionally configure recommended alternative storage locations that will appear in warning messages when the file limit is surpassed, directing users to more appropriate services the institution licenses, supports, or recommends.

      - In Original courses, users who attempt to upload files that are larger than the specified restriction will receive a warning, indicating the filenames of files that were rejected. When adding multiple files at once, each file is considered individually and accepted or rejected based on their individual sizes.

      - The file size limit isn’t applied when uploading course import or SCORM packages.

      - Blackboard mobile apps have an existing file size limit for both Original and Ultra courses that is set to 250MB. That is unchanged with this release.

    • Click to Show/HideNovember 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in this release include:

      In the Original and Ultra Experiences, whenever a tab was loaded, individual records for all modules on the accessed page were logged. While on Ultra the impact was negligible, on the Original Experience this could account for between 25% to 75% of data, slowing down the execution of reports for more relevant details. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original and Ultra Experiences, some clients were still experiencing overlapping issues on Wiris math formulas after the latest fix we provided. The Stix font family wasn't used when the overlapping happened. We've fixed the issue for formulas created from this point onwards. Formulas created before this fix need to be modified again manually, using the Wiris editor.

      Embedded LTI Link in Content Editor - In the Original Experience, when admins copied a course with embedded LTI links within the Rich Text Editor to a new or existing course, those links broke. They were still pointing back to the old course where users of the new course didn't have permissions. We've definitely fixed the issue for both links and embedded LTI calls, but the LTI links in the Original editor created before this release won't copy correctly. They'll have to be recreated.

      SafeHTML Policy - In the Original and Ultra experiences, In a multi node environment, when the administrator changed the Safe HTML policy, it wasn't reflected in the other nodes of the application. We've fixed the issue and now, the Safe HTML policy updated will be reflected in all nodes across the application immediately.

    • Click to Show/HideOctober 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in this release include:

      In the Original Experience, when admins copied a course with embedded LTI links within the Rich Text Editor to a new or existing course, those links broke. They were still pointing back to the old course where users of the new course didn't have permissions. We've fixed the issue, but the links within course copies made before this fix still need to be manually fixed.

      In the Original Course View, instructors were required to login again to Learn, after they accessed an LTI tool and selected the Return to Learn button. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Course View, LTI Contents of Original course in Ultra base navigation calendar were displaying permission errors when selected, preventing users from opening them. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      In the Original Course View, attendance activity in the gradebook was triggering many session spikes affecting the system's capacity. We've made improvements for better performance and fixed the issue.

      The Wiris math editor was sometimes displaying overlapped formula symbols, due to an improper font family type setting, making it difficult to read. We've fixed the issue and set a default font family.

    • Click to Show/HideAugust 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Original Content Editor:

      The Content Editor for Original Experience and Original Course View was last updated in November 2020 (3900.0.0). Since then, there have been inconsistencies in the way content is formatted when editing content and when viewing it.

      With this release, settings like font, size, color, and spacing are more consistent. When existing content is selected, the editor tool bar updates to display its current font, size, and header settings. This creates a better WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) experience.

      Original Course View Tests, Surveys, and Pools: Support for media and files in more places - 3900.19.0:

      In Original Course View Tests, Surveys, and Pools, there are limits for which test question options support file attachments and embedded media. In this release, we’ve expanded the places where files and media can be embedded, allowing instructors and content authors to create more interactive and visual questions. These question types and fields now support attached files and media using the Add Content button in the editor:

      • Calculated formula: Question text
      • Essay: Answer text
      • Matching: Question/Answer pairs
      • Multiple Answer: Answer options
      • Multiple Choice: Answer options
      • Ordering: Answer options
      • Short Answer: Answer text

      Bug Fixes:

      In the Original Experience, some SCORM attempts remained In Progress in the Grade Center, even after a successful completion of the corresponding SCORM quiz. We've worked with our partner to fix the issue and mitigate future problems.

      In the Original Experience, some Learn SafeAssign reports couldn't be rendered. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Content Editor, we’ve fixed issues with the height of the editor window and alignment of content in tables. Clients using custom theme packages may need to refresh their theme package from the default Learn 2016 Theme to get these fixes.

      In the Original Course View, a text in a table cell remained left aligned even though a different text alignment was specified using the TinyMCE. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Experience, Assist users could have been impacted by the integration not being visible in the base navigation UI. We've removed previous dependencies to allow displaying Assist through the base navigation, and fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideJuly 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes in this release:

      In the Original Experience, the Self and Peer Assessment process was presenting a performance issue, due to a data file processing that required improvement. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original and Ultra Course Views, alerts for New Discussion Posts didn't appear in the What's New module for courses, based on term availability. We’ve fixed the issue.

      In the Original Course View, some instructors and administrators couldn't save their HTML in the new Content Editor despite having the privilege to do so. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Experience, some SCORM attempts remained "In Progress" in the Grade Centre, even after a successful completion of the corresponding SCORM quiz. Rustici identified the potential problem causing the issue. We've made their recommended fixes to mitigate future problems.

      In the Original Experience, some Learn SafeAssign reports could not be rendered. Submissions could remain in a "report in progress" status for days. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideJune 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      In the Ultra Experience, when Ultra Stream Notifications were sent to a specific, targeted role, the system announcement was sent correctly to the specific users with that institution role, but the Admin Announcement UI indicated the notification was sent to everyone. causing confusion for admins. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Ultra and Original Experiences, there were software updates related to server performance causing customer email alerts: Administrators were receiving Failed to Phone Home emails for software updates on SaaS environments. They will no longer see those emails. Also, as part of this change, the Update Status column has been removed from the Installed Tools page for Building Blocks. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Experience, after a Learn user had disabled their profile image from view, other users were still able to see it as it remained publicly available. We've fixed the issue.

      Bug Fixes in this release:

      In the Original Experiences, an accessibility issue was present in threads within forums as the Thread Reply, Quote, Edit or Delete buttons were inoperative using the keyboard via the tab, space or enter keys. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Course View, the Last updated time/date stamp in the full grade center view has been removed to improve performance. The upper-right corner of the full Grade Center in an Original Course displayed a time/date stamp indicating the last change by any user. This display caused significant performance issues in courses with large enrollments or when many users graded concurrently, thus it has been removed. If reviewing when changes were made in the Grade Center, you still see this information, including the last update, under Reports > View Grade History.

    • Click to Show/HideMay 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Annotate information message

      In the Original and Ultra Course Views, formatting space differences may be visible between the original uploaded document and the one rendered online for .docx, .doc, .ppt, and .pptx files. We've added an on-screen information message to let users know about this. The message appears anywhere where Bb Annotate is enabled, including the Mobile View. Instructors and students are able to download the original file as usual.

      Bb Annotate Enhancements

      Some users couldn’t delete an annotation note after they reselected it unless they edited the note again. We’ve fixed the issue.

      The selection of text in the document was not working properly, causing difficulty when highlighting or placing notes into documents. We've fixed the issue.

      When placing a note or comment into the file there was an additional comment count added to it, which caused confusion and the feeling of an unseen reply. We've fixed the issue.

      Ultra messages: Unread message indication

      We are pleased to announce the inclusion of Unread message indication for messages on the Base Navigation. This was a highly requested feature from our community, and we are excited to bring this capability to our clients. This solution will provide a clearly identifiable number count highlighting any new messages received for both Original and Ultra courses. When a user selects the Messages tool on the base navigation, the red number count will change to a red pill icon as to reduce distraction, but navigating away from this page will again show the unread message count. This capability will provide a greater level of transparency and engagement when new messages are sent and received for all users, and continues our commitment to enhancements for the Messages tool in Ultra.

      Highlight on bug fixes - 3900.13.0

      In the Original Course View, in tests, some calculated numeric questions were wrongly marked as correct when the student introduced a combination of numeric values and letters in an answer that should be numerical only. We've fixed the issue and added a further explanation on the Help pages regarding supported types of input for scientific notation, units and constants.

      n the Original Course View, when recipients were selected for an enterprise survey response period, there was no way to identify or exclude child sections of merged courses, which caused some students to receive two copies of each survey. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original and Ultra Experiences, for LTI links with the proctoring changes added, the Deep Linking response wasn't handling properly array aud fields. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original and Ultra Experiences, Organizations, content items or files created with attachments could not be edited, and the user received an error message when attempting to modify them. We’ve fixed the issue.

      In the Original Experience, some courses with many milestone achievements with a display in the past, were causing performance issues when loading their content status. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideApril 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      LTI Content in Content Editor:

      In the Original Experience and Original Course View, the ability to support access to third-party content within the Content Editor by the use of LTI is an important milestone for institutions, partners, and tool creators who look to transition from Building Block mashups to the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard from IMS Global. Appropriate LTI course tools will appear for instructors, course builders, teaching assistants, and students in the Add Content menu as additional tools alongside Building Block mashup tools. Two methods are supported: either the tool can add a link in the editor, or if the tool designates that the resource should be embedded, it will be inserted into an iframe in the Content Editor and rendered automatically.

      Disable notifications for users with High number of Enrollments:

      We've improved the timeliness and performance of notifications for all users (including emails, push notifications, Stream, and MyBlackboard) by no longer generating these notifications for users with more than 500 enrollments.

      A user with this large volume of course enrollments will still have access to all course resources but won’t receive notifications regardless of their settings.

      Typically, users enrolled in so many courses are support staff or instructional designers. We recommend administrators to configure these users to be node administrators instead, with privileges to enroll and un-enroll themselves from any course in the appropriate Institutional Hierarchy nodes, and with access to all the courses they may need without enroll them. Enrollment availability or enable states are not considered for a user to count as to have over 500 enrollment records.

      Bug Fixes in this release:

      - A student could receive a past due notification for an on-time submission sporadically. We've put in place proactive measures to monitor this behavior in order to fix it in a future release.

      - Automatically disable notifications for users with > n enrollments (with a default value for n = 500) has been enabled. Now admins are able to automatically disable the generation of new notifications for users when the user has more than a certain configurable number of enrollments. Note that Institutions that create large enrollment volumes for support staff should use Institutional Hierarchy instead.

      - In the responsive Mobile View for the 2016 theme, Instructors, teaching assistants, course builders, graders and facilitators couldn't see the Instructor Gear icon which, in turn, contains the Student Preview and Edit Mode buttons. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideMarch 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Notices, Updates and Bug Fixes:

      Removal of ability to copy/paste Content Editor due to Performance Issues!

      Blackboard has removed the ability to copy/paste images directly into the content editor as of February 25, 2021 due to performance issues. From this point on the following message will appear when trying to copy/paste images locally into the content editor. "Local image paste has been disabled. Local images have been removed from pasted content."

      Please add images using the (+) as attachments. 20210302

      -- Annotate information message

      In the Original and Ultra Course Views, formatting space differences may be visible between the original uploaded document and the one rendered online for .docx, .doc, .ppt, and .pptx files. We've added an on-screen information message to let users know about this. The message appears anywhere where Bb Annotate is enabled, including the Mobile View. Instructors and students are able to download the original file as usual.

      -- Localize EMAIL and SMS notification messages to user's preferred language

      In both Ultra and Original Experiences, system notification emails were always sent in the SYSTEM DEFAULT language. Now, system notifications sent by email and SMS will be sent in the USER’s chosen language instead. This aligns Learn with our goal to provide individual choice wherever possible. Users continue to have control over their notification types and modalities in their notification settings.

      The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

      - After a refractor process from SOAP to REST when grades were called from the Grade Centre, the REST public API was considerably slower. We managed to improve the response time and fixed the issue.

      - Where a calculated formula rounding was required, the number 5 was rounded down rather than rounded up for some values. We've fixed the issue.

      - After a performance improvement for the Blog View response times was made in the 3900.0 release, the workflow for grading non-participants was affected. When an instructor wanted to find non-participant users to grade them with zero, students were not visible in the blog or journal. We've reversed the related improvement changes until we find a permanent solution.

    • Click to Show/HideFebruary 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Bug Fixes

      • Adaptive Release and Test Exceptions:
        • The text under Test Availability Exceptions and Review Status sections related to organizations and courses is now showing as expected.
      • The Group Assignment Submission page was confusing to students:
        • Whenever the first student from a group clicked on the assignment, he/she arrived to a submission page with an option to submit the assignment. If this student navigated away from this page without selecting Cancel, then all group members that log in afterward would see a page with previous submission information (i.e. a "review submission history" page) that suggested there was an ungraded attempt already submitted. The student then had the option to continue.
        • Now, the system still shows the Upload Assignment page since no attempt was ever actually submitted.
      • In the Original Course View, a recent fix to the Grade Center scrolling behavior caused problems loading custom color palettes.
        • We’ve reverted the Grade Center scrolling behavior until both issues are resolved.
      • For sites on Ultra base navigation, when a user opened the Student Activity page in an Original Course View course, the course disappeared and the user returned to the Ultra base navigation page. We’ve fixed the issue.
      • An Update to Collaborate Ultra is scheduled for February 11, 2021 resulting in a down time between 2:00am and 6:00am. More information to come when available.
    • Click to Show/HideJanuary 2021
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      The bug fixes in this Learn release include:

      * In the Original Course View, when a Grade Center column had a long title and required multi-line wrapping, the window size changed depending on whether the column with the long title was visible. This made it difficult to scroll, because the horizontal scroll bar changed position with the size of the window. Now, the window size remains consistent.

      If particularly long item names make the header larger than you’d like, shortened alternative names can be added just for displaying in the Grade Center. In the Grade Center, select a column and in the menu, choose Edit Column Information and set a shorter title for Grade Center Name.

      * In the Original Course View, when a user added an image in the content editor, the text after the image was forced to the next line. We've fixed the issue.

      * If HTML content written by instructors or administrators referenced hosted content served from an alternate domain, the iframe didn’t load properly. We’ve fixed the issue.

      * In the Original Course View, the Link to Wiki page option was missing from the new Content Editor experience. You can now find it under the Add content dialog. Learn more about linking to other wiki pages.

  • Click to Show/Hide2020
    Updates and Bug Fixes for 2020
    • Click to Show/HideDecember 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates and Bug Fixes:

      Bb Assist:

      Blackboard Assist is a virtual resource center for students that provides information about online and in-person student services. Students will have access to available institutional resources such as academic assistance, health and wellness services, housing and transportation information, and more.

      More on Assist for students - https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Getting_Started/Blackboard_Assist

      More on Assist for instructors - https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Blackboard_Assist

      More on Assist for administrators - https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Administrator/SaaS/Tools_Management/Blackboard_Assist

      Visit the Community site for more details and guides you can use to share information on Assist - https://community.blackboard.com/blogs/8/438

      Bb Annotate Enhancements:

      Starting on Tuesday, November 24th, PDF files will be flattened for the BbAnnotate preview when uploaded for an assignment. On PDFs, text comment annotations made prior to submission will appear as yellow boxes in the document and will not be movable or collapsible. Drawings, pictures, shapes, and other annotations that are not comments will appear normally and also won't be movable after flattening.

      When the file is flattened, students can also see their drawable annotations made with iPad or Microsoft Surface pens on PDF preview before the professor grades it. Currently students cannot see annotations until after professor grades it, which can cause confusion about whether the file appears correctly.

      This enhancement is an additional security layer in BbAnnotate to prevent forgeable re-submissions of professor annotations. It also resolves an issue where iPad annotations (APStreams) weren’t appearing on annotated PDFs.

      This change only affects PDFs submitted in the future. Previously uploaded files (including files with iPad annotations) will render as they have been.

      December Enhancement:

      Now, instructors can create multiple comments in Bb Annotate without needing to select the comment tool for every comment they add.

      The comment tool will get de-selected if an instructor scrolls through the document, but once they fit the document to the screen, the comment tool will stay selected.

      Bug Fixes:

      Question Pools:
      When an instructor exported a single question pool with a special character from the Original Course View, the pool wouldn’t import as a question bank to an Ultra course. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideNovember 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in this version include:

      Blog Performance:

      To improve performance for very large classes, we’ve removed the option to filter the blog participant list to display only non-participants in Original Course View.

      API updates, including:

      Institutions and partners can now provide students direct, deep links to specific Learn course content from their own portal or tool.

      Content Editor Updates:

      This release introduces big updates to the content editor in the Original Course View and the Original experience. We’ve made numerous simplifications and improvements, including:

      • A single menu to add content that automatically recognizes file types
      • Optimized experience for all devices and screen sizes
      • Better accessibility for both the editor and the content you create. Menus and icons have higher contrast, pop-ups are gone, and an accessibility checker lets you know about accessibility issues as you write
      • The ability to paste content from Word, Excel, and websites with basic formatting and easily remove extra HTML
      • The ability to paste a link in the editor and automatically embed videos and previews
      • The ability to display formatted computer code snippets
      • New Content Editor Documentation [PDF]
      • Detailed Comparison Chart [PDF]
      • Quick Start Guide [PDF]

      Blackboard Chatbot for Learn:

      We’re excited to announce the first availability of Blackboard Chatbot in Learn. Blackboard Chatbot is a free tool offered in Blackboard Learn that will be automatically available to SaaS clients in North America who have enabled the Ultra Base Navigation. It launches on November 5, with the 3900.0.0 Learn SaaS production release.

      Seamlessly integrated into Ultra Base Navigation and Original and Ultra courses, Blackboard Chatbot provides always-on support. It returns answers to students' commonly asked Learn questions and issues directly from Blackboard Help. For this initial release, Blackboard Chatbot is available only in English.

      To access Blackboard Chatbot, select the help icon in the bottom right. Then select Chat Support to open the Chatbot panel. Students can ask Blackboard Chatbot their questions or select from a pre-populated list. Chatbot uses machine learning to better serve your learners over time.

      Blackboard Chatbot will be on by default, but administrators can manage its availability.

      For more details about Blackboard Chatbot for Learn, visit the Community site - https://community.blackboard.com/blogs/8/484

    • Click to Show/HideOctober 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in this version include:

      Emailed course announcements in both the Original and Ultra Course Views now include both the course name and the title of the announcement in the email subject.

      The calculated grade snapshot information didn't update correctly in courses that use the Telemetry B2. We've fixed the issue.

      In the Original Course View, discussion forum links that were broken during a course copy couldn’t be removed from the new course. We’ve fixed the issue.

      Learn environments ran out of memory when archiving courses with large volumes of activity accumulator records. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes


      Enhancements to Course Archive and Restore

      This update makes the archive process more comprehensive. Now, archives gather data for users who may have dropped the course during the term, which provides a fuller picture of user activity in restored courses for records and reviews.

      When an archive is restored, course and enrollment records are returned to the enablement state at the time of the archive creation. User records that match with existing accounts will be linked during the restore process, but the existing user’s enablement state will not change. As before, if records are disabled and locked, an administrator will need to enable records in Learn to review them.

      Blackboard Collaborate Updates

      Recording Reminder

      Collaborate will now remind moderators to start recording the session before they begin. As soon as moderators join the session, Collaborate presents a recording reminder. The reminder is visible until the moderator starts the recording or closes the reminder.

      Coming Soon: Bulk invite attendees

      In this Collaborate release, session owners can save time and invite more than one attendee to a session at once. From the Invitations panel, select Import Attendees to upload a CSV file with attendee information. Collaborate sends invite emails to the attendees with all the information they need to join.

    • Click to Show/HideAugust 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates and Bug Fixes

      instructors couldn't access created tests. We've fixed the issue.

      Collaborate Ultra Updates

      Secure recording links

      Secure recordings will only be available for clients using Collaborate with Blackboard Learn and the Collaborate Scheduler in this first release.

      As part of our commitment to security and privacy, we want to give instructors more control over their recordings. Public access to recordings is now off by default for new sessions. Only session owners and students enrolled in the course can see the recording. Any links shared to the recording will no longer work when the recording is secure. When public access is off, the recording is secure.

      Instructors can choose to allow public access in the Recording Settings. When the Public access check box is selected, a shareable link to the recording is available. Anybody with the link can view the recording while public access is allowed. If the instructor clears the Public access check box later, the shareable link stops working.

      If you want the default changed to public access always on, submit a request on Behind the Blackboard. Instructors can choose to turn public access off in the recording settings.

      Only recordings made after the 20.13 release have public access turned off by default. All previous recordings have public access on by default. You can change the access for earlier recordings in the recording settings.

      Chat profanity filter

      We are excited to announce the new profanity filter for English and Spanish terms. Now, if someone uses inappropriate words in the chat those words are filtered out. The words are replaced with a series of stars.

      The chat profanity filter is off by default. Moderators can turn it on in Session Settings.

      Updates to Whiteboard Functionality are currently being tested and we will add them here when a release date has been determined.

    • Click to Show/HideJuly 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes


      Some grades entered as letters were incorrectly changed to the next highest letter grade. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideJune 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates And Bug Fixes

      • instructors couldn't enter maximum points for a graded discussion thread. We've fixed the issue.
      • when an instructor created a test from a question set, they couldn't add more than one question. We've fixed the issue.
      • the Grade Center didn't load for users who use the Spanish language pack with a Chilean grading schema. We've fixed the issue.
      • some grades entered as letters were incorrectly changed to the next highest letter grade. We’ve fixed the issue.

      Collaborate Ultra Updates

      Browser support updates

      As of July 1, 2020 Collaborate will no longer support these browser versions:

      • Native Microsoft Edge ®
      • Google ChromeTM 78 and earlier
      • Update your browser to the latest version.

      Session owners and admins can always download recordings

      Session owners, course instructors, and administrators can now always download recordings even if the option to download recordings is clear in the session settings. Use the Allow recording downloads check box to let everyone else download the recording.

      More on session recording settings

      Improved the create and edit session functionality

      We have improved the user experience for creating and editing sessions in the Collaborate Ultra Scheduler. This improvement also prevents unintended changes to a session from being accidentally saved. Administrators and session owners now need to save changes with the Save button.

      Share Camera Option

      The Share camera option gives you the ability to share more than one camera. Share your video and share another camera connected to your computer. Students can see you and anything else you want to show. You're only limited by the number of cameras and USB ports in your computer.

      Whiteboard Update

      In this release, we made minor improvements to the whiteboard. It's now easier to select and rotate items.

      Download Poll results

      Now moderators, instructors, and administrators can download a session's Poll report. This report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded.

    • Click to Show/HideMay 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates in the May Release:

      - View, the Overall Summary of User Activity report only listed the Guest user in the Access/Date graphic. We've fixed the issue.

      - course content that used adaptive release with groups created an unwanted membership criterion that blocked student access to the content. We've fixed the issue.

      Box View Being Replaced with Bb Annotate

      Bb Annotate is the new inline grading assignment tool that replaces Box View in both the Original Course and Ultra Course Views. Bb Annotate offers more robust features including the ability to use a stylus or apple pen, improved audio and video annotations, and can support additional file types.

      Additional features include a sidebar summary view, freehand drawing tools, various color selections, and much more. Instructors will also be able to use a bank of reusable comments to provide feedback to students.

      Learn more about how to get started with Bb Annotate.

      This update will take place on May 25, 2020.

      Update for Blackboard Ally!

      Blackboard App integration
      We’re excited to announce that the Blackboard Ally alternative formats can now be accessed directly from the Blackboard App. Many of the alternative formats provided by Ally such as the responsive HTML version, the Tagged PDF version, the ePub version and the Audio version are particularly relevant for use on mobile devices, and we were already seeing a large percentage of alternative formats accessed through mobile devices. With the addition of the alternative formats in the Blackboard App, we believe this will further increase use of the alternative formats in mobile contexts.

      This integration requires the latest version (version 5.3) of the Blackboard App on iOS and Android.

      More on Ally in the Blackboard App:


    • Click to Show/HideApril 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      April 2020 Updates:

      Adjust first day of the week in the calendar:

      Different global regions have different calendar conventions, including which day displays as the first day of the week. With this release, Blackboard calendars will display the most common convention for the first day of the week based on a user's selected language. Users will be able to see the change in the month and day views of both their overall and individual course calendars. The date picker display will also change in the Ultra Course View and for administrator notifications in the Ultra Experience.

      Users can change their language in the user profile. Administrators can customize the first day of the week for their language pack if they choose.

      Other Updates in this release:

      - Students couldn’t view completed assignment rubrics if their assignment was graded using delegated grading. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Some instructors couldn’t create math equation assessment questions using the math editor. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Students who accessed Blackboard with Google Chrome couldn’t view a full PDF in their course. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Some private APIs required permissions that didn’t work correctly with Java 11. We’ve fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideMarch 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      March 2020 Updates:

      Right to Left Language Support for Original Courses and Organizations:

      -In this release, we've added right-to-left language support in Courses and Organizations using the Original Course View with Ultra base navigation. This feature has been highly requested by users in the Middle East. Future enhancements will bring right-to-left language support to Ultra.

      Course ID Now appears on the tile with the Course Name:

      In this release, a Course ID now appears with the Course Name in key areas when Ultra base navigation is enabled. Now, users can find their Course IDs on the Courses page of base navigation, in the Calendar, and when copying course content.

      Other Updates in this release:

      - In the Original Experience, the last login date wasn’t updating accurately for users with cloud profiles. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Issues with file uploads and downloads in the Original Course View:

      -- Some users couldn’t upload files with % in the filename. We’ve fixed the issue.
      -- Some users couldn’t download files attached to submissions that use Box view. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Some instructors couldn't import content using the Cengage Mindlinks B2. We've fixed the issue.

      The Upgrade is going live on the evening of February 6, 2020.

    • Click to Show/HideFebruary 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      February Updates:

      Java 11 JDK Update: Blackboard is updating the version of JAVA that is used on the Blackboard environment from JAVA 8 to JAVA 11.

      Java are the libraries on which the Learn application runs and also the libraries that power Building Blocks, the add-on tools and features you may use in your environment. We’re implementing Java 11 to improve security and performance. Staying on recently updated libraries is crucial to staying ahead of those who may try to compromise your learning environment.

      This important update can impact custom and third-party add-on tools using the Building Blocks (B2) integration framework, and we strongly encourage all clients and partners who use Building Blocks to test them with Java 11.

      The Blackboard Support team has been working behind the scenes to test and update all building blocks and tools to ensure that no interruption of services and tools takes place after the upgrade.

      The Upgrade is going live on the evening of February 6, 2020.

    • Click to Show/HideJanuary 2020
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      No updates for January, 2020

  • Click to Show/Hide2019
    Updates and Bug Fixes for 2019
    • Click to Show/HideDecember 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      December Updates:

      Blackboard Ally: helps ensure that course materials are accessible for all students. Accessible content helps all students learn. Learning materials that are more usable and readable provide students with high-quality alternative formats of content that provide flexibility and work more effectively on mobile devices.

      Ally evaluates course content and provides suggestions to faculty of how to resolve accessibility issues.

      Students will also be able to download course materials in automatically generated alternative formats, such as HTML for improved reading on mobile devices, Electronic Braille for the visually impaired, or audio for learning on the go. Faculty will not have to do anything to make these alternative formats available.

      Ally provides alternative formats for these file types:
      PDF files
      Microsoft® Word files
      Microsoft® PowerPoint® files
      OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
      Uploaded HTML files

      These alternative formats can be generated automatically:

      OCR’d version (for scanned documents)
      Tagged PDF (currently for Word, PowerPoint and OpenOffice/LibreOffice files)
      Mobile-friendly HTML
      Electronic Braille

    • Click to Show/HideNovember 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates for November release:

      New Icons:

      Iconography is incredibly important in Learn Ultra. The icon set we currently use was created when we first brought Ultra to the market. We've done a lot of research with our clients regarding what they liked and didn't like about the iconography in the system. Because of that feedback, we've made some adjustments to the icon set. Most notably, the new icons are darker and appear more prominently now.

    • Click to Show/HideOctober 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates for the October release:

      - Delete copied course attendance data

      When instructors prepare a course for an upcoming term, they commonly copy all content, including the gradebook, from the last term’s course. For courses that used the attendance tool, the copied attendance gradebook column was difficult to remove. With this release, instructors can delete attendance gradebook columns added during a course copy from the destination course’s gradebook.

      In the Original Course View's Grade Center, open the menu for the extra attendance column and select Delete Column.

      - Attendance and course copy, archive/restore, and export/import

      As a first step in improving how attendance data is handled during course copies and exports, we’ve made these improvements:

      Attendance data isn’t included in a course export or when you copy a course into a new or existing course. The attendance option is removed from the copy and export options.

      Attendance data is included in an archive/restore and in an exact course copy.

      Export/import creates an attendance column in the Ultra gradebook and the Original Grade Center that you can’t delete, but no attendance data is added.

    • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      September Updates:

      - For both Original and Ultra courses, tools integrated with LTI Advantage that report submission and grading status show this information in the Original Grade Center or the Ultra gradebook. Upcoming due date or overdue notifications for students are dismissed if the tool indicates the student submitted the assignment.

      - if instructors delete a content folder in a content area that contains graded items with no attempts, the corresponding columns are also deleted from the Grade Center.

    • Click to Show/HideAugust 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      August Updates:

      - Some users received an error message when opening the Grade Center. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - What's New blog notifications didn't display correctly. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - Details on files uploaded to essay questions didn't display correctly. We've fixed the issue.

      - When students open an assessment, the Submit button is disabled until they add content or answer at least one question.

      - When a student or instructor uses Box View in an assignment, it opens by default and displays using more screen space.

    • Click to Show/HideJuly 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      July Updates:

      All improvements for Mobile users:

      - Students using the Blackboard App received errors when starting an assignment attempt in the Original Course View. We’ve fixed the issue.

      Other Updates:

      - Instructors received error messages when they created a folder or downloaded a file with special characters in the filename with SafeAssign. We’ve fixed the issue.

      - The Discussion Board post count displayed inaccurately. We've fixed the issue.

    • Click to Show/HideJune 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates and Bug Fixes:

      1. Grid/List view Options for both Courses and Organizations pages.
      2. Pagination added for Organizations page.
      3. Search options added for Organizations page.
      4. Filter options available for Organizations.
      5. Favorites "Stars" available for Organizations.
      6. In grid view photos are now a part of the course/organization tiles.

    • Click to Show/HideApril 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes
      1. Course Role for Facilitators -
      2. This course role contains a set of default privileges regarding course calendar, discussions, gradebook, announcements, materials, and groups. Course members can be granted this role to help maintain the pace of the course throughout the term or as needed.

      3. Improvements to how the Activity Stream shows external content -
      4. The Activity Stream is the go-to place for instructors and students to understand what’s happening in a course. We’ve improved reporting behavior so third-party content due dates appear in the Activity Stream in a more dynamic way.

        Previously, instructors and students could see an upcoming due date for this type of content. When the due date passed or the content status changed, the notification in the Activity Stream wouldn’t update. With this release, the Activity Stream more accurately reports on third-party content to keep everyone more up to date. Specifically, LTI and manual grade column notifications will update in the Activity Stream when:

        The item transitions from due to overdue
        The item’s due date is updated
        The item is deleted
        The item is graded
        The item’s visibility is changed

      5. Support for IMS Global’s Questions and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification -
      6. Instructors and instructional designers use various technologies to develop assessments and need to be able to move assessment items such as questions from one system to another easily. To ensure compatibility and easy re-use, IMS Global developed the Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standard so questions can be shared between learning management and assessment systems. In this release, instructors and course builders can add QTI packages to Blackboard Learn in the Original Course View.

        Additional details:

        Blackboard Learn handles QTI 2.1 packages as pools for import and export. If a QTI import package contains multiple assessment objects, multiple pools are created.

        Blackboard Learn supports the following question types for import/export in QTI 2.1 format: true/false, multiple choice, multiple answer, fill-in-the-blank, and essay.

        For embedded media, Blackboard Learn will import HTML5 and HTML Object tags. It will export HTML5.

        In scenarios where there is a mismatch in question configuration options, Blackboard Learn will prioritize fidelity of the question and answer text over settings. For example, some exam systems allow differing partial credit allocations to be set per possible answer response whereas Blackboard Learn maintains a list of correct answers. In this case, all answer options will be imported as correct so they can be reviewed for continued applicability in Blackboard Learn.

        Question metadata such as tags, categories, and alignments are not exported or imported at this time.

        Questions using the optional QTI response processing are skipped and not imported.

        Because different assessment tools have different features and varying media/HTML/equation handling capabilities, you should always review and test questions after transfer between solutions.

        Weblinks for QTI packages:

        Learn more about QTI at the IMS Global site - IMS Global

        More on how to use QTI packages in a course - Using QTI packages

      7. Additional Updates for this release -
      8. - Users who subscribe to email notifications will notice we’ve updated the message format. We’ve reduced Blackboard branding and optimized the format for better appearance on more devices and email clients.

        - We’ve updated the Global HTML filter to accept .txt files for student submissions

    • Click to Show/HideMarch 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates and Bug Fixes:

      1. Users may have received an error message when attempting to connect to OneDrive for Business through Blackboard Learn. The vendor has fixed the issue.
      2. SafeAssign Originality Reports weren’t loading for users after a system update to the 3500.7.0 release. We’ve fixed the issue.
      3. Unenrolled users can view announcements in unavailable courses.

    • Click to Show/HideJanuary/February 2019
      Updates and Bug Fixes

      Updates and Bug Fixes:

      1. To improve performance times and user experience, course messages no longer appear in the activity stream.
      2. In the Original Course View, we’ve updated the color key in the Course Coverage report to match the legend more accurately.
      3. When an instructor attached a file as feedback on a graded discussion, students encountered errors trying to download it. We’ve fixed the issue.
      4. When an unread discussion post appeared as a link in the What’s New module, users encountered errors when opening it. We’ve fixed the issue.
      5. Calculated questions using exponents in answers in the Original Course View were marked incorrect when students input an acceptable answer. We’ve fixed the issue.
      6. Instructors encountered an error when trying to use anonymous grading for attempts still in progress. We’ve fixed the issue.
      7. We’ve removed the ability for students to edit graded group discussion forum titles and descriptions.
      8. We’ve fixed a CSS error that caused text tagged with HTML to appear on separate lines.
      9. We’ve improved the course import feature to preserve the content package’s folder structure.

Last Updated: September 20, 2023

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