June 2021 Release

Educator Insights Blackboard Learn SaaS Release 3900.15.0

In this release for Ultra Course View, we are continuing to expand options for Assessment Feedback with feedback by criterionAudio/visual recordings bring a new level of personalisation to learning and can be included in Announcements as well as in feedback to students. We are continuing to build functionality for Peer Assessment with notifications for both Instructors and Students appearing in the Activity Stream and the ability for Instructors to Batch Edit peer review items. There are also improvements to Course Auto-Archive performance.

This post is designed to provide an educator lens over relevant new features and updates provided by Release 3900.15.0 of Blackboard Learn SaaS. These new features are available on production as of 3 June 2021. Full release notes including API updates and bug fixes

Administrators and Learning and Teaching Support Staff will find this information helpful as they work on change management with their end-users.


Feedback by criterion

Ultra Course View, Blackboard App
Impact: Instructors and Students

Rubrics are an essential tool when thinking about grading workflows. This new feature is a step forward in our commitment to keep improving the rubrics roadmap.

The Feedback by criterion feature in Ultra courses provides more flexibility and detail to messages sent from instructors to students when grading an assignment. This allows instructors to support students with a better understanding of the WHY behind their grade and how and where they can improve.

Feedback by criterion is available wherever rubrics appear, like discussions, anonymous assignments, single and multiple attempts assignments.

When using the parallel grading workflow, the option will be available to all graders, but the only feedback by criterion students will see, is the one given by the reconciler. The workflow remains around rubrics, and feedback inside rubrics for the delegated workflow will remain the same.

Feedback by criterion screenshot

A/V Recordings option in announcements

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students

With this new option, instructors can now insert audio and video recordings in their course announcements.

Audio video feedback screenshot

Peer Assessment: Peer Notifications

Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors and Students

This feature aims to expand previous releases of the Peer Assessment functionality:

  • Students and instructors can learn about relevant changes in submissions via the Activity Stream.
  • Instructors get notifications when new reviews arrive, and students get them when their reviews are graded.

Peer Assessment: Batch edit

Ultra Experience
Impact: Instructors

This feature aims to expand previous releases of the Peer Assessment functionality: 

  • Instructors can edit peer review items in batches.
  • They can adjust the due date of separate items at the same time by delaying or advancing the date in a given batch.

Batch editing screenshot

Course Auto-Archive performance and efficiency improvements

Ultra Experience, Original Experience
Impact: Administrators

This improvement fixes known issues causing archive-related instability and implements a safety net to stop archiving courses that repeatedly fail. It also improves the efficiency of auto-archives by adding more sources that the system can store as a reference instead of copying them as file data. It also ensures that auto-archives are enabled for all sites as part of each release.

Annotate information message

Ultra Course View, Original Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students

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.