Resource

July 2022 Release

Educator Insights Blackboard Learn SaaS Release 3900.44

July 2022 – 3900.44 Release

 

The July 2022 - 3900.44 release is robust with new features in four areas: assessment and grading; richer course and content design; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and integration, extension, and management.

These new features are available on production as of 7 July 2022. Full release notes including API updates and bug fixes https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Administrator/SaaS/Release_ Details can also be found on Behind the Blackboard.

Instructors:

Instructors and students:

Students:

Administrators:

All users:

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Assessments and Grading

Points overall grade calculation option - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Some instructors prefer to define the overall grade calculation based on points. Now the Overall Grade supports a points-based calculation. This new calculation gives instructors greater flexibility and supports varied evaluation practices.

The instructor may use the 'Set it up' option to configure the Overall Grade.

Image 1. Setting up the overall grade

Setting up the overall grade

The setup wizard guides the instructor to select points or weighted calculation. The wizard includes examples of each calculation type.

Image 2. Overall Grade calculation wizard

Overall Grade calculation wizard

Image 3. Overall Grade calculation wizard with examples

Overall Grade calculation wizard with examples

The interface displays all grade categories with the associated points values. The total points available in the course auto sum.

Instructors can:

  • Add calculation rules to assessments within a category.
  • This is existing functionality that supports the following:
    • dropping scores
    • using only the lowest or highest score in the total calculation of the category
  • Exclude a category from the overall grade calculation. This removes the category's points from the total points available in the course.
  • Expand categories to reveal the individual items within the category and point values.
  • Unlink an item from its category. This is useful if you want to exclude an item from a category calculation rule.
  • Exclude an item within a category from the overall grade calculation. This removes the item points from the total number of points available in the course

Image 4. Expand categories and unlink or exclude items within a category

Expand categories and unlink or exclude items within a category

Instructors who have already configured the Overall Grade will see a new tab. This tab supports switching between points and weighted calculations.

Image 5. Tabbing option to switch the Overall Grade calculation

Tabbing option to switch the Overall Grade calculation

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Points overall grade display option - 3900.44

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

The method of presenting the overall grade in a course is as important as the calculation. In the past, instructors could present the overall grade as a letter or percentage. Now, the instructor may choose to display the overall grade as points. This display option supports the new points-based calculation for the overall grade.

Image 1. Instructor Overall Grade settings, the overall grade display options, including points

Instructor Overall Grade settings, the overall grade display options, including points

With the points display option, instructors and students see the overall grade as a fraction. For example, 745/800.

Image 2. Instructor gradebook view, in the grid view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Instructor gradebook view, in the grid view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Image 3. Instructor gradebook view, in the student list view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Instructor gradebook view, in the student list view the Overall grade is displayed as points

Image 4. Student gradebook view, current grade displayed as points

Student gradebook view, current grade displayed as points

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Copy Question Banks - 3900.44

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

Instructors spend a great amount of time building and refining assessment questions. Reusing these questions across courses is of utmost importance. Now instructors can copy question banks from Original and Ultra courses. This saves time and provides greater efficiency.

From the Copy Content menu, instructors may select the Question Banks folder from the desired course. To copy all banks the instructor may select the checkbox for the Question Bank folder.

Image 1. Question Banks folder option from Copy Content menu

Question Banks folder option from Copy Content menu

To copy individual banks the instructor may select the Question Banks folder to open it. Select the checkbox for each bank to copy.

Image 2. List of all Question Banks

List of all Question Banks

Copied Question Banks appear in the Question Banks area. Select 'Manage banks' in the Details & Actions menu to review all question banks in the course.

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Display one question at a time – Prohibit backtracking - 3900.44

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

Robust assessment settings are key for supporting a range of instructional scenarios. Building on the one-question-at-a-time feature, instructors can now prevent backtracking. This option allows instructors to force a sequence through questions in an assessment. A sequence is important when upcoming questions provide hints or reveal answers to earlier questions.

Once the student answers the question and continues to the next, the student cannot go back. If a student skips a question, an alert informs the student that they cannot go back to the question.

Image 1. Student view of assessment with backtracking prohibited

Student view of assessment with backtracking prohibited

Image 2. Alert if a student tries to skip a question

Alert if a student tries to skip a question

Instructors can choose this setting in assessments with questions configured to display one question at a time.

Image 3. Assessment Settings panel with prohibit backtracking

Assessment Settings panel with prohibit backtracking

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Grade History Download - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

Instructors and administrators need a record of changes to grades in a course. These records are important for addressing quickly student questions and grade challenges. Now instructors can download the grade history from an Ultra course.

Instructors may save the history as a tab or comma separated file (.xls or .csv) to their device or the Content Collection.

Image 1. Download Grades with Grade History option

Download Grades with Grade History option

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Edit points a student earns on an assessment question - 3900.44

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

Instructors can now change the points a student earns on an assessment question. The points field supports negative and positive values with up to two decimal points.

Image 1. Instructors may select the question score pill to change the points earned.

Instructors may select the question score pill to change the points earned.

Image 2. When an assessment does not post grade automatically, a banner alerts the instructor that scores appear after posting.

When an assessment does not post grade automatically, a banner alerts the instructor that scores appear after posting.

Image 3. Overrides must be removed so that the assessment grade reflects changes the instructor makes to the points a student earns on a question.

Overrides must be removed so that the assessment grade reflects changes the instructor makes to the points a student earns on a question.

Students will receive a grade change notification if an assessment grade changes. We honor students' notification preferences. The grade on an assessment may change when:

  • an assessment posts grades automatically, but then the instructor changes the points earned on a question
  • the instructor removes an overridden grade so that changes to points earned reflect on the assessment grade

Image 4. Student notification of a posted grade in the Activity Stream

Student notification of a posted grade in the Activity Stream

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Test question filtering improvements - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Students

In an earlier release, we added a question filter to support students as they take a test. In this release we are making improvements to the filter options:

  • Enhance prominence of applied filters to increase awareness
  • Improved filter management experience for students who use assistive technology

When a student applies a filter, a corresponding filter chip appears below the test header. A student may quickly remove any applied filter from this area by selecting the X on the filter chip.

Image 1. Student view of a test with no filters applied

Student view of a test with no filters applied

When a student applies a filter, a filter button appears. If a student selects the filter button, the question filter options menu opens below.

Image 2. Essay questions filter applied

Essay questions filter applied

Image 3. Essay questions and unanswered questions filters applied

Essay questions and unanswered questions filters applied

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Recategorize graded discussions and journals - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

A best practice in course design is to use a variety of assessments. Recategorizing assessments is important to instructors who assign weight to categories in the overall grade calculation. An instructor may select a category that does not match the assessment tool used. For example, an instructor may wish to include an Assignment in the Test category. We support this option. In the past, recategorizing graded discussions and journals was not allowed.

There is now a 'Grade category' selector in the settings panel for graded discussions and journals. The category options include both default and custom categories.

In a future release, the icon for the assigned category will appear in the course content area, gradebook, and activity stream for both students and instructors.

Image 1. Discussion Settings panel

Discussion Settings panel

Image 2. Journal Settings panel

Journal Settings panel

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Multiple Choice Question type improvement - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS
Ultra Experience
Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors

The multiple choice question is one of the most popular question types used in an assessment. Instructors told us that some of the text within the user interface was confusing. We removed the text.

Image 1. Multiple choice question with text

​​​​Multiple choice question with text

Image 2. Multiple choice question with text removed

​​Multiple choice question with text removed

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Improvements to Group Feedback and Grade Overrides - 3900.44

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

Instructors often provide meaningful feedback to students. In the past, when a group assessment grade was overridden, the feedback for the student was hidden. We have corrected this. Now feedback shows as expected for any posted grade that has been overridden.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Richer Course and Content Design

Inline file rendering of files in Course Content, Folders, and Learning Modules – 3900.44

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

Content creation and presentation are key for designing engaging courses. Various files will now render inline in Course Content, folders, and learning modules. Instructors can set the behavior of these files for users:

  • view and download (default)
  • view only
  • download only

Image 1. Instructor view - Edit File Options

Instructor view - Edit File Options

Supported file types:

Adobe Acrobat Documents (PDF)Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX)Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX)

Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX. XLST, CVS, TSV)OpenOffice Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP)Standard text file (txt)

Non-supported file types will always be downloadable for users.

For the file types: .xlsx, .xls, .xlst, .csv, and .tsv, inline viewing is only supported for files up to 10 Mb in size. Files over 10 Mb are downloadable only.

Some image, video, and audio file types will now open in a large panel. Users can view or play back media in the browser:

Images:

JPEG, GIF, PNG

Audio:

m4a, MPEG, mp3, ogg

mp4, flac, wav 

Video:

mp4

Image 2. Several types of files in Course Content

Several types of files in Course Content

Image 3. Audio recording - inline display and playback

Audio recording - inline display and playback

Image 4. Document inline display

Document inline display

Image 5. Image inline display

Image inline display

Image 6. Presentation inline display

Presentation inline display

Image 7. Video inline display and playback

Video inline display and playback

For administrators:
- Inline rendering applies to new and existing files in the course. Existing files will be set to ‘view inline and download’ by default. Instructors can change the files to 'view only' or 'download only' if preferred.
- We convert supported content types to PDF on demand when a user accesses them. This conversion provides an improved user experience. We cache these files for 30 days. Files converted to PDF as part of this feature do not count towards your storage quota.
- Hyperlinks in files are disabled.
Inline file rendering is not yet available for non-Gov Cloud clients.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Conversion of Blank Pages to Ultra Documents - 3900.44

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

An exemplary course design practice focuses on content composition and structure. In the Original Course View, instructors often use Blank Pages for course content creation. In the Ultra Course View, the Ultra Document is a similar content creation tool.

In the past, Blank Pages did not convert in course conversion. Now Blank Pages are converted to Ultra Documents. This conversion will help ensure a smoother transition from Original to Ultra Course View.

For administators: When there is an attachment to the Blank Page with the “Display media file within the page” option, the attachment may duplicate after conversion to an Ultra Document. The instructor should remove the duplicate attachments.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Quality and accessibility improvements of math formulas - 3900.44

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

Instructors and students often use math formulas in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. In the past, formulas might render slowly or lose quality when zoomed. Now we will render math formulas as images in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format. This allows users to zoom in or enlarge formula images without losing quality. This change also improves accessibility for users with low vision.

Image 1. Before rendering images in SVG format

Before rendering images in SVG format

Image 2. After rendering images in SVG format

After rendering images in SVG format

Users can create math formulas using the text editor. Some content types include a description. The description appears on the Course Content page. Some notifications on the Activity Stream also display the description. When a description for a discussion or journal includes a math formula, we replace the formula image with '[Math formula].' When the user selects the content or notification, the math formulas will render as images.

Image 3. Example discussion description that includes a math formula.

Example discussion description that includes a math formula.

Image 4. Example discussion topic that has math formulas.

Example discussion topic that has math formulas.

For administrators: There are no configurations needed.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Updated Panel for Messages - 3900.44

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

In the past, Messages used a small panel for authoring and presenting a message. This made authoring and viewing messages on devices with larger screens difficult. Now users will author and view Messages on a large panel, supplying a better user experience.

Image 1. Before - Viewing Message on small panel

Before - Viewing Message on small panel

Image 2. After - Viewing Message on large panel

After - Viewing Message on large panel

We have also moved two options above the rich content editor:

  • Allow replies to this message
  • Send an email copy to recipients

Image 3. Before - Authoring Message on small panel

Before - Authoring Message on small panel

Image 4. After - Authoring Message on large panel

After - Authoring Message on large panel

Relocating these options improves the user experience for those who use assistive technologies.

Now users on mobile and larger devices will have a great user experience with Messages.

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Display Pronouns and Pronunciation in Original Course View - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Original Experience
Original Course View
Impact: All users

The November 3900.26 and February 3900.32 releases included these features for Ultra Course View. This release adds full support for Original Course View. It also adds limited capabilities for Original Experience without Base Navigation enabled.

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.

Image 1. Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission.

Pronouns and pronunciation for a student when the instructor views an assignment submission.

Image 2. Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion.

Pronouns and pronunciation in discussion.

Base Navigation is required for the following features:

  • Administrator can enable pronunciation recording
  • Administrator can configure pronoun options for user choice
  • Users can select their own pronouns
  • Users can create or play back pronunciation recordings

All deployments support the following, including Original Experience:

  • Display pronouns and pronunciations in Original Course View
  • Integrate pronoun and pronunciation guidance text from a user information system
  • Administrators can manually set user pronouns and pronunciation guidance text
  • Users can manually set pronunciation guidance text

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.

For administrators: Manage these features in Administrator Panel > Customize User Information. You may add pronouns and pronunciation guidance text through data integration. This includes RESTflat fileLIS, XML, and IMS methods.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Integration, Extension, and Management

LTI Item name change to Content Market – 3900.44

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

The rich text editor is a valuable tool used throughout the course. The insert content button gives users the option to add math, media, and other types of content. Users shared feedback about uncertainty of the "LTI item" option. To provide greater clarity, we have changed the name of the "LTI item" button to Content Market. For more information about the content market, please visit our Help site.

Image 1. Instructor view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

Instructor view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

Image 2. Student view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

Student view of Content Market option in the rich text editor in an assessment

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

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Institution Role Mapping to LTI Institution Roles - 3900.44

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

Some third-party integrated tools function better when users’ institution roles are more specific. This is especially true for tools accessed outside of courses. In the past, Learn did not send institution role information to LTI tools. Learn will now send to LTI tools users’ mapped primary institution role information. Secondary institution roles are not supported.

When administrators edit institution roles, they may select from a list LTI Institution Roles that their tools expect.

The mappings are supported for all deployment types. Mappings apply to both user experiences and course types. You can map the Learn default institution roles or any custom ones made by the institution. We support mapping for LTI 1.1 or 1.3/Advantage.

To prevent disruption for current users, the default role behavior remains unchanged. Administrators may edit each role configuration and choose the best LTI role for each. LTI institution role mapping applies to all LTI tools.

Return to July 2022 – 3900.44 Release description

Administrator launch for LTI course links - 3900.44

Blackboard Learn SaaS, Learn 9.1
Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Administrators, System Support Roles, Node Administrators

In the past, administrators would receive an error when selecting an LTI link in a course. To remediate the error, administrators would have to enroll in the course. Because only course members could launch LTI links, enrollment was a requirement.

Now administrators no longer need to enroll in the course.

The tool shows the user with an LTI system role of “Administrator” and an LTI context role of “Administrator.” The administrator or support user will not appear in tool requests for course membership. The tool shows them as an administrator, not an instructor. A tool must follow the LTI specification and be able to give a proper experience to an administrator user.

This change applies to the mobile application as well since LTI links are handed off to the responsive web browser.