What's New in Blackboard

Take a virtual tour of the new Blackboard version changes
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/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/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.

  • Click to Show/HideDecember 2018
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    December Bug Fixes:

    1. Students may have had trouble accessing the activity stream due to conflicting backend logic regarding grade columns and due dates. We’ve fixed the issue.
    2. Some devices displayed misaligned numbers for options in multiple choice, either/or, and true/false questions. We’ve fixed the issue.

    December Updates:

    Content lockdown: Expanded user privileges for gradebook control - Grading within a course is multi-faceted. Assigning a grade is only one piece of the process, which can also include grade maintenance, data download and upload, and release of grades. Institution administrators can grant some or all of these permissions to trusted facilitators to help ease the grading responsibility in larger courses.

  • Click to Show/HideNovember 2018
    Updates and Bug Fixes

    November Bug Fixes:

    1. A permissions issue in the Mobile Web Services building block caused tests to be inaccessible when first opened through the app. We fixed the issue.
    2. An updated version of the Partner Cloud Building Block is bundled with this release.
    3. An updated version of the Wiley Plus Building Block is bundled with this release.
    4. An updated version of the Cengage Mindlinks Learning Building Block is bundled with this release.
    5. An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block is bundled with this release. Grade syncing in the VitalSource Building Block is disabled by default in this release to prevent issues on the vendor's side.
    6. In the Original Course View, pattern matching questions with incorrectly formatted regular expressions in the answer were marked wrong. We fixed the issue.
    7. Instructors encountered errors when grading a group discussion with a rubric. We fixed the issue.
    8. We’ve fixed some issues in reports: All User Activity Inside Content Areas and Course Performance Report.

  • Click to Show/HideOctober 2018
    Delegated Grading

    Delegated grading lets an instructor share grading responsibilities by assigning course members to grade sets of submissions. Grading and feedback from more than one grader can promote reliability, improve consistency, and remove bias. The instructor can reconcile grades and settle on final scores after the graders have completed their assigned submissions. Reconciling grades means to check for accuracy when the instructor has shared the grading in a class with TAs or graders.

    Delegated Grading- Expanded Reconciling [PDF]

  • Click to Show/HideSeptember 2018
    Download Annotated PDF, Instructor, Student

    The Box Inline grading tool now has the capability to download student submissions with instructor annotations embedded within the documents. When annotations are present within the document being rendered by Box View Tool a new button will be present for all users to download the document with annotations. Here are the steps to download the annotated PDF.

    (Student) Download the annotated [PDF]

    (Instructor) Download the annotated [PDF]

Last Updated: June 5, 2019

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