September 2021 Release

Educator Insights Blackboard Learn SaaS Release 3900.21.0

Evaluating student-submitted content is a continuous job critical to the learning process. We know it's important to instructors and graders to improve the content view and create a practical grading process. That's why we keep enhancing grading workflows. The assessment experience for Students now includes improvements to the handling of Peer Review Assignments for disabled students, the assignment attempts screen, partial credit for fill in the Blank Questions, and an additional content section for assessments. We know communication is key and this release also has updates to email communication in Learn Ultra.

This post is designed to provide an educator lens over relevant new features and updates provided by Release 3900.21.0 of Blackboard Learn SaaS. These new features are available on production as of 2 September 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.

Ultra: Assignment Attempts Screen Improvements

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students
To help instructors, teaching assistants, and graders have a better view of the content they're grading, we've widened the screen of the submission area. It also includes a collapsible and expandable panel where users can navigate through tabs such as rubrics, feedback, and originality report.

On top of that, instructors and students can navigate the submission view and the panel tabs with different scroll bars. Independent scroll bars allow instructors or graders to scroll up and down the submission content without affecting the side tab navigation or the header. Now, instructors can use rubrics in a more practical way and provide feedback focused on a specific part of the submission.

These improvements will enable users to better navigate through content in the submission view, grade it with rubrics if applicable, or give feedback based on content provided in order to enhance student knowledge.

Screenshot depicting the navigation improvements on the assignment submission view

Partial Credit for Fill In the Blank Questions

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students
Fill in the blank questions are a great assessment tool to test knowledge at different levels and contexts. We have expanded the grading capabilities of this question type. This improvement will support those instructors who wish to grade student attempts at a more granular level. It will also benefit students based on their associated effort on these complex questions, and provide them with a more accurate representation of their proficiency.

Screenshot depicting the Partial Credit for Fill In the Blank Questions improvements for Learn Ultra.

Allow Instructors to Show or Hide the "Additional Content" Section at the End of Assessments

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students
At the end of Ultra Assignments and Tests there is section called “Additional Content” where students can add text, images and files to complete their submissions or support their answers. This section was always included by default and could confuse students into thinking they needed to complete this extra requirement. Instructors would like to choose when this should be an option or not.

In this release, we have added a toggle to allow instructors to show or hide the “Additional Content” section. This gives greater control to instructors over what’s displayed to their students during assessments. If an assessment only has text or support visuals but doesn’t have questions, this section will be the space for the submission and will be activated always. If an assessment has questions, this section will hold additional content, for students to add supporting evidence, and the instructor can enable or disable it.

  • Instructor view

Screenshot of the instructor view of the show or hide additional content feature on Learn Ultra

  • Student view

Screenshot of the student view of the show or hide additional content feature on Learn Ultra

Email Styling Enhancements

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students
Email notifications are reminders to help instructors and students keep track of important updates in their courses. In this release, we've made an email styling enhancement to the following email areas:

  • New announcement
  • New message
  • Assessment overdue soon
  • Assessment overdue
  • Daily digest

To provide better context, the course ID appears now above the course name. Message content will now follow the justification that the author selected. This makes messages easier to read and allows greater customization for the author. The footer now explains when notification settings can be managed. Finally, the new general style is cleaner and should align better to user expectations. We're excited because users will receive the valuable information contained in their emails in the best possible way.

Screen capture of enhancements for email styling for Ultra Experience

Peer Review Assignments: Improved Handling for Disabled Students and Deleted Attempts

Ultra Experience, Ultra Course View
Impact: Instructors and Students
We’ve improved the user experience of a peer review assignment when a student is removed from a course (disabled or unavailable), and when a student’s submission is deleted during the peer review process.

When an instructor deletes a student submission containing peer reviews, they'll receive a warning message, as they'll lose those reviews. The list of affected students will be visible.

When grading or viewing peer reviews, the submission from a disabled or unavailable student will still be available.

If a student started or completed a review on a student submission that is no longer available (because it belongs to a disabled or unavailable student), they'll see they no longer have access to it. The student can start a different review if they’d like or if asked by the instructor. An instructor can see when a student completed a review that’s no longer available, giving the opportunity to let the student know they don’t need to complete another review if that’s preferred.

Screen capture for Improved Handling for Disabled Students and Deleted Attempts on Ultra Experience