SaaS Monthly Updates

Blackboard SaaS will be updated on the first Thursday of each month, unless otherwise stated. Check back here for new features and updates.

June 2, 2022

  • Ultra Courses:
    • Multiple Attempts for Group Projects: Instructors can now allow multiple attempts for group assignments. While grading, the instructor will see the group members, who submitted the attempt, and submission information.
    • Calculate Grade as Running Total: By default, the overall grade is set to be a running total. Instructors can now choose to turn off the running total option. When running total is on, the student will see the points they’ve earned out of the total points for the assignments that have been graded. When running total is off, the student will see the points they’ve earned out of the total points for the course.
    • Calculate Grade Updates: Instructors can now assign weights to both categories and individual items at the same time. Prior to this update, instructors were only able to choose categories or items, not both. Weights will auto-balance to ensure that the total weight is set to 100%. Instructors can also lock certain categories or items to ensure that the locked item/category will not change if the overall grade is auto-balanced.
    • Updates to Journals: Students can now make unlimited entries on a journal. The journal panel has improved navigation and allows each user to decide how many posts to see on one page. Instructors are now able to see the number of graded entries and total entries.
    • Inline Attachment Options for Documents: When creating a document in an Ultra course, an instructor can now choose whether the document is to be downloaded, viewed inline on Blackboard, or if a student can choose. This is only available for supported document types (Word/PPT/Excel/PDF). Unsupported file types will still need to be downloaded.
    • File Upload Changes: Files that are too large to be uploaded will now prompt a pop-up window. This will let the user know the file is too large to upload and the maximum file size.
    • A patch was added so users in a non-instructor role (TA’s, Graders, etc.) can now see the progress tracking for the course as an instructor instead of a student.
    • A patch was added to fix the error message when instructors attempted to change the due date of an assignment. Previously, the instructor would receive a message stating “Sorry!  Your name isn’t on the list.” when attempting to change a due date. This has been resolved.
  • Original Courses:
    • JavaScript can now be added to HTML content in the Content Editor.

May 5, 2022

  • All non-instructor roles (TA’s, Graders, Course Builders, FACET Reviewers) can now favorite courses where they have this role on the courses page. If their role has the ability to make a course available or unavailable, they will also be able to do that. Previously, this was not an option for these roles.
  • All non-instructor roles (TA’s, Graders, Course Builders, FACET Reviewers) can now change their notification settings for the courses they are enrolled in.
  • A patch was added to fix viewing issues for Grader roles when viewing rubrics.
  • A patch was added to fix automatic grading in tests. Previously, when a test had questions that could be automatically graded, they were not. This has been resolved.
  • Ultra Courses:
    • Student Test Updates and Filtering: Students can now filter their test questions based on question types or unanswered questions. If a student tries to submit a test with an unanswered question, the student will receive a pop-up notification. Students can now hide the timer during tests by clicking the eye icon to the right of the timer.
    • Improved weighted grade calculations in Overall Grade: Weights can now be added to empty grade categories when creating the overall grade calculations.
    • Prohibit Late Submissions: Instructors can now choose to prohibit late submissions on tests and assignments. This will prevent any student from submitting an in-progress attempt after the due date.
    • Prohibit New Attempts after Due Date: Instructors can now choose to not let students start an attempt after the due date has passed on tests or assignments. This is a separate option from “Prohibit Late Submissions”.
    • Annotate Updates: Blackboard Annotate now has an undo and a redo option.
    • Session Timeout Warnings: If a user is idle (has no new page clicks or refreshes) for over three hours, the session will end. This can occur when creating content, replying to discussion boards, or writing an assignment in Blackboard. When this happens, the content will not save. Now, approximately 10 minutes before the session will expire, the user will receive a pop-up warning asking if they are still there and working. The user will need to click Continue/Yes on the pop-up warning to keep the session active and save the content.
    • Granular Course Copy Updates: User-created columns and categories are no longer duplicated when the grade center is copied. Content from Original courses that had a specific font or color chosen will now copy properly.
    • A patch was added to fix an error message that was appearing when the instructor was changing the visibility of an assignment or test. Previously, the error message appeared and the date would not change. This has been fixed so the error message does not appear and the date is changed successfully.
    • A patch was added to fix group assignment submissions. Previously, if one group member had started, but not submitted, an attempt for a group assignment, no other group members could start an attempt and an error message would appear. This has been resolved.
  • Original Courses:
    • Manage Image Title Attribute in Content Editor: The content editor now allows users to add image title attributes in addition to alternative text for images.
    • A patch was added to fix course link copying. Previously, when copying a course link, the new course link would break and an error would be shown. This has been resolved.
    • A patch was added to fix linking to the Portfolios homepage within a course. Previously, if an instructor created a Tool Link to the Portfolios page on their course menu, the link would break. This has been resolved.

April 21, 2022

  • Ultra Courses:
    • An update was added to Tests to allow for the test to be shown “One Question at a Time”.
    • An update was added to Tests to allow for the Calculated Numeric Question Type.
    • An update was added for Course Copy to allow for a more granular copy process. Instructors can now copy individual items instead of folders or pages from class to class. Instructors can also copy an item from one area of the course to a different area within the same course.
    • An update was added to Student Feedback Display controls for instructors. Now instructors can choose when the grades are visible to the students, regardless of when the grades are published. It also allows instructors to choose to Prevent Auto-Posting Automatic Grades for Tests.
    • An update was added to the Gradebook to allow for instructors to Download Assessment Results to an external source, such as Excel.
    • An update was added to the Gradebook to allow for instructors to be able to search and view assignments based on the Submission Receipt number.
    • An update was added to the Textbox Editor to allow for code snippets to be visible to the users.
    • An update was added to the Gradebook to allow for easier access to the “Course Activity Related to Grades” report. This icon is now listed in the top right corner of the grades page.
  • Original Courses:
    • An update was added to provide users with a Session Timeout Warning for all users within Original courses. If a user is idle for over three hours, the session will end. Approximately 5-10 minutes before the session times out, the user will receive a pop up notification that will prompt them to extend the user for three additional hours.
  • Blackboard Instructor App:
    • An update was added to the Bb Instructor app to add for more abilities within the app. Instructors can now build their courses, grade student work, and communicate with their students directly from the app.

Previous Updates

Tentative Future Updates

Blackboard Inc. has released the following dates for updates to Blackboard. Please note that Towson University has no control over these dates and that they are subject to change.

May 5, 2022
June 2, 2022
July 7, 2022
August 4, 2022
September 1, 2022
October 6, 2022
November 3, 2022
December 1, 2022
January 5, 2023
February 2, 2023

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