New Features

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The University of Windsor will be performing an upgrade to our Blackboard Learning Management System on April 23, 2020, beginning at 6:00 am. The length of the disruption could range between 4-6 hours. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Below is a summary of the new features. Further, below the Updates for Instructors - April 2020, is the historical upgrade highlights to see the progression of changes to our Blackboard Learn system over time. For more detailed information about this new release, consult the Release notes.
Enhancements and features that will come with this upgrade include the following:

Updates for Instructors - April 2020

The following new features and enhancements are available for instructors in the April 2020 upgrade to Blackboard Learn.

Efficiency and Engagement

"Mobile instructor grade centre view"
Mobile Instructor Grade Centre view - click to expand
"SafeAssign Originality Report Sample"
SafeAssign Originality Report sample - click to enlarge
  • Open file upload warning for Edge browser users – If you or your students are Microsoft Edge browser users, you might have encountered problems attaching and submitting open Microsoft Office files. To compensate for this known Microsoft Edge issue, we have created a prompt in Learn reminding users to close files before uploading them.
  • Course availability controls now in more places – You’ll now have access to the course availability indicator and toggle control for courses from additional tools and management pages, like the Discussion Board page. Note this feature works when in the standard term, e.g. Jan 1 – April 30 for a Winter semester. If you wish to turn your course on before or after the standard term, you will still need to do so from Customization -> Properties -> Set Availability and Set Duration (with specific dates).
  • Calendar items and due date notifications for additional content types – You and your students will have a more comprehensive view of all class requirements and activities as the Calendar and To Do modules now include the due dates from additional content types: manual columns, SCORM, and integrated third-party solutions.
  • New Facilitator course role and more granular permissions –These more granular course role permissions enable roles to teach, engage, and grade, but not modify materials or settings. There is also a new default course role called Facilitator, and Facilitator-Read Only.
  • Content Collection updates – To improve the performance and usability of the Content Collection, files uploaded as part of a SCORM package are now shown in the Content Collection folder. When versioned files are imported/restored, the version number is indicated in the file name.

Assessment and Grading

Grade Centre

  • Grade Center improvements on desktop – UWindsor uses the Learn 2016 Theme, therefore, the cell padding in the Grade Center for desktop users has been decreased so that more Grade Center data will display.
  • Grade Center improvements on mobile devices – To increase your efficiency on mobile devices, the behaviour, display, and actions of the Grade Center’s mobile card view are now more consistent with the grid view.
  • Needs Grading filter selection is remembered Your “Show attempts that don’t contribute to user’s grade” filter preference on the Needs Grading page will now be remembered across all your sessions and courses.

SafeAssign - New Report Features

  • New SafeAssign Originality Report – Includes a report summary in the top panel of the report with views to the overall risk of improper citations and includes the percentage of matching or similar text. Also includes information in the report if the student uploaded more multiple attachments. Also, includes new information about the overall risk of a submission having been copied.

Tests, Surveys and Pools

  • Support for IMS Global’s Questions and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification – To simplify your online management of assessment, you are now able to add and export Learn question pools as QTI packages.

Historical Updates

May 2019 Update Instructors

Look & Feel

"left menu with edit chevrons"
Left menu with edit chevrons
  • Interface Updates – Instructors, when Edit Mode is ON, will notice new editing chevrons visible on the site's left Menu. Students, however, will not see the editing chevrons. Further, after the upgrade date of May 3, any new course shells created (occurs automatically after your course has been added to the SIS and you are listed as the instructor of record), will now contain Discussions and Virtual Classroom (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra) links added to the menu to make your access to these tools easier. To delete these tools from your menu, click on the newly visible chevron and select Delete. You can always add them back if you wish!
  • Courses tab organization - Course listings in the Courses module will now appear clustered by semester, beginning with the most recent on the top. This is visible within the My Courses module on the Home tab and the Course List on the Courses tab. You can always edit this arrangement by hovering and clicking the grey gear icon in the top right corner of the module. This should help instructors find the most current courses easier.

Efficiency & Engagement (Instructors)

"Access video feedback from Feedback to Learners text option"
Access video feedback from Feedback to Learners text option
  • Record feedback for students – Make your feedback more personalized and engaging by clicking on the microphone icon in the Content Editor to create an audio or video recording. Students will access it by clicking the recording icon which immediately launches the streamed content without the need of a browser plug-in. This feedback functionality is supported within Assignments, Tests, graded Discussions, graded Wikis, graded Blogs, graded Journals, and manual grade columns.
  • Improved mobile experience – To continuously improve the mobile experience, additional areas of Learn have been optimized for use on mobile devices. Most recently, Tests and the Learning Modules tool were optimized. In the Learning Modules tool, the table of contents will always be pinned to the bottom of the page and can be expanded or collapsed. In Tests, additional question types have been optimized for use on mobile devices.
  • Enhanced accessibility - To make it easier for those who use assistive technologies to navigate the structure of pages, skip links now work more consistently across Learn tool areas.

Assessment & Grading (Instructors and Graders)

  • Grading in the Blackboard Instructor app – To make grading on the go easier, you can now grade assignments using the Instructor app. You can review assignment submissions and attachments, provide comments and inline annotations, grade with rubrics, and publish grades to students.
  • Download annotated PDFs – A highly requested feature, you can now download your annotated files for a permanent record using New Box View. DOC, DOCX, or PDF files with annotations will download as an annotated PDF. Your students can download the annotated file after their submission has been graded. See a video on using the annotated inline grading.
  • Additional attempts in anonymous grading - You can grant additional Assignment attempts to students as needed, while still maintaining the full anonymity of the process.
  • Grade Centre enhancements – You will now be able to view full titles of Grade Centre columns making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled items. You can also view as many columns as the size of your browser window will allow, and enter Grade Centre full-screen mode to make the most of your desktop experience.
  • Improved grading with rubrics – You can now save feedback and the content will remain saved when changing the rubric view from in-line to full screen.
  • Clear multiple-choice selection – Students are now able to clear a selection from multiple-choice questions (leaving it blank) when negative points are associated with incorrect answer choices.

Supported Browsers

  • Check your browser to see if it is supported - Support for Internet Explorer has now ended. Older releases may still work using this browser. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Some newer features in Learn may not work, including Create Recording. Reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer will not be resolved by Product Support. We recommend using another browser.

Updates for Students - May 2019

Feedback, Mobile, Accessibility Features for Students

"Annotated PDF and Voice Recording feedback features"
Annotated PDF and Voice Recording feedback features

The following new features and enhancements are available for students in the May 2019 upgrade to Blackboard Learn.

  • Download instructor-annotated assignment submissions – Once your assignment submission has been annotated with feedback and graded, it can now be downloaded for your records. DOC, DOCX, or PDF files with annotations will download as an annotated PDF.
  • Clear multiple-choice selection – Students are now able to clear a selection from multiple-choice questions. This feature is beneficial when negative points are associated with incorrect answer choices.
  • Get personalized feedback – If your instructors elect to, they can now create an audio or video recording offering you personalized feedback. This feedback functionality is supported within Assignments, Tests, graded Discussions, graded Wikis, graded Blogs, graded Journals, and manual grade columns. You will access it by clicking the recording icon which immediately launches the streamed content.
  • Improved mobile experience – To continuously improve the mobile experience, Tests and the Learning Modules tool have been newly optimized for web browsers on mobile devices. In the Learning Modules tool, the table of contents will always be pinned to the bottom of the page and can be expanded or collapsed. In Tests, additional question types have been optimized for mobile use.
  • Enhanced accessibility - To make it easier for students who use assistive technologies to navigate the structure of pages, skip links now work more consistently across Learn tool areas.

Supported Browsers

  • Check your browser to see if it is supported - Support for Internet Explorer has now ended. Older releases may still work using this browser. Microsoft ended active development for Internet Explorer in January 2016. Some newer features in Learn may not work, including Create Recording. Reported issues isolated to Internet Explorer will not be resolved by Product Support. We recommend using another browser.

May 2018 Update

The May 1, 2018 release for the Original experience of Blackboard Learn contained many new features and enhancements that focus on:

Efficiency & Ease of Use

"Tool to enable or disable access to course site Course availability status "
  • Course availability status - You can now easily see the availability of the course to students and quickly change the availability from the main course view. (If you are opening your course prior to a semester beginning, you will still need to customize the opening date).
  • Discussion board “Replies to Me” functionality - provides a new count and filter option to identify unread replies to your own posts.
  • Drag and drop files – You can now drag and drop files from your desktop to more areas with a “hot spot” in the Attach Files area to upload them. Students can also drag and drop files to upload when they submit assignments.
  • Course activity report enhancement – To help simplify the management of large enrollment courses, this report can now be filtered to break down the calculations of user activity by course groups.

User Experience (Mobility & Accessibility)

  • Improved mobile experience – More areas of Learn are now optimized for use on mobile devices including most recently, system and course level navigation, blogs, and journals.
  • Collaborate sessions for groups – Enable real-time, face-to-face web conferencing among your students by adding Collaborate sessions to Group pages.

Additional accessibility enhancements - To improve accessibility, ARIA landmarks have been incorporated in the course menu and the content area to better define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.

Assessment & Grading

  • Bulk delete grade centre columns - the #1 requested feature voted by clients on the Community Site. You can now delete multiple gradebook columns at once making managing the gradebook even easier.
  • Improved grading with rubrics - You can now save feedback and the content will remain saved when changing the rubric's view from in-line to full screen.
  • Grade display standardization – To provide greater consistency, all gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades now support up to five decimal points, are not rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).
  • Submission receipts – Keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted, or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt gives students assurance about their work and can provide evidence for academic disputes.

Missing coursework reminders – You can now send email reminders directly from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework.

  • Grade Center improvements – When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, a new filter is available both in the Needs Grading workflow and the Grade Center to show or hide other non-counted attempts.

If you would like to have a consultation about how you can optimize some of the new (or existing) features in your course site, please email bbconsults@uwindsor.ca or sign up for a Name Your Topic! session at uwindsor.ca/bbworkshops.

August 2017 Update

Major Changes

  • Improvements to the infrastructure to improve performance and stability
  • New theme to provide an improved look and feel for the environment. For more information about the new theme, please visit Blackboard's article on the Learn 2016 theme.
  • Consistency between Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and the Blackboard app.
  • Support for Accessibility designed with WCAG 2.0 principles for structure, colour contrast and navigation
  • Improvements to the mobile apps including better look and feel, responsiveness for small devices
  • Time-saving features including drag-and-drop options when creating content
  • Core teaching and learning tool improvements
  • Dropbox integration through the Mashups tool and at key attachment upload locations
  • A highly requested feature that was present in our previous learning management system, Sakai was for students and instructors to receive a confirmation when an assignment is successfully submitted. Submission receipts accessible from the Grade Centre Reports menu for student submissions such as assignments, including date, time, attached file information
  • Instructors can send Reminders from a Grade Centre column for students missing work to help improve retention
  • Rubric tool export and import options function now

Minor Changes

  • New filter for the Needs Grading feature for items that don’t contribute to a user’s grade, such as multiple attempts on an assignment
  • Improvements to the Content Collection search capabilities
  • Default Language pack will be the US pack (due to better quality control options)
  • Improvements to the Self and Peer Assessments tool which can now exclude non-participants, and adds the ability to configure to individual groups using Adaptive Release
  • New course activity reports that include the ability to filter a report and break down student activity by course groups
  • Cancel & Submit buttons

We hope these new features and updates will make your Blackboard experience better. Please let us know if you experience any technical issues with the upgraded features by submitting a Service Request at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp.

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We are constantly trying to improve the information in this Wiki.
If you notice any errors or omissions with this material, please advise the LMS Team or submit a Service Request at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp.