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.

November 3, 2022

  • Unread Messages indicator for Courses and Organizations: An unread messages indicator now appears on the Messages tab of Ultra Base Navigation when there is an unread message in a Course or Organization. The notification icon includes the number of unread messages.
  • Ultra Courses:
    • Hotspot questions are now available in Ultra Courses.
    • Page Breaks in Tests and Assignments: Instructors can now add a page break in an assignment or test during creation. If question randomization is turned on, all page breaks will be ignored.
    • Auto-save enhancements for lost connections: When students take an exam and lose connectivity, Blackboard will now notify the students multiple times. When connectivity is first lost, a message will appear saying the connection was lost and the most recent changes were not saved. After 20 seconds, a second pop-up message appears letting the student know that changes were not saved and they cannot submit until the connection is restored. Once connectivity is restored, a third message will appear, showing the connection restored message and that all changes have been saved successfully.
    • Grade History Improvements: Instructors will now be able to select specific gradebook items when downloading the grade history, including deleted items and being able to select specific timeframes.
    • Gradebook view saved: When an instructor chooses a specific gradebook view (i.e., student list, grid view, etc.), the grade center will now save the last selected view and default to that when the instructor enters the gradebook the next time.
    • Enhanced Student Grades Overview: The Student Grade Overview now includes a “Last Access” listing, and options to view the student activity report and the accommodations for the student.
    • Richer Student Feedback options for manually created columns: Instructors can now type in feedback when grading columns that were manually created in the gradebook,
    • Gradebook Icon tooltips: Instructors will now see the explanation of the icon when hovering over the search submission receipt, upload or download gradebook, and setting icons in the top right corner of the gradebook. This also includes improved keyboard navigation of these icons.
    • Content Collection in Ultra Documents: Instructors can now link to the Content Collection when creating an Ultra Document.
    • Course Activity Report: Instructors can now run the “Course Activity” report from the Analytics tab in the course.
    • Preserve Course Image Setting: In the past, when upgrading a course, the course image was retained but turned off. With this update, course images are now visible by default.
    • A patch was added to the grading navigation when an instructor filters to “Needs Grading” on a graded Journal.
    • A patch was added to fix a known issue where selecting text from the bottom up would only select the first line or paragraph.
    • A patch was added to fix a known issue where students were unable to open calendar items.
  • Original Courses: 
    • Grade History Improvements: Instructors will now be able to select specific gradebook items when downloading the grade history, including deleted items and being able to select specific timeframes.

October 6, 2022

  • Improvements to the Blackboard App Settings: A new design of mobile setting categories has been added to the mobile app.
  • Base Navigation Grades Page: On the “Grades” page on the home screen of Blackboard, the tiles containing the course name have been scaled to a smaller text height and smaller white space around the course name. This will help make the page shorter and be easier for viewing.
  • Ultra Courses:
    • Improved access to student grades: An overview of a student’s performance is helpful to instructors when working in the gradebook. In the List View, when an instructor selects a student card, an overview of the student’s assessment performance displays.
    • Enhanced auto save in Content Editor for Tests and Assignments: Student responses entered in the content editor auto save two seconds after the student stops typing. The “last saved” time is displayed at the bottom of the assessment. If there is a connectivity issue, students will instead see a “Connection Lost” warning and will auto save once connection is restored.
    • Math formulas are now accessible with screen readers: Screen reader accessibility has been added to math formulas created via the Math editor or LaTeX equations.
    • Student Progress Report for course content: Instructors can see the progress for multiple content types, including whether or not the student has opened the content, started viewing the content, or marked it as complete.
    • A patch was added to the granular course copy feature that affects how content is managed and stored in the new course.
    • Course name in browser tab: Users will now see the name of the course listed in the browser tab when a course is open instead of “Courses”. This name will also include which page of the course is currently open, i.e., Content, Discussion, Gradebook, etc.
    • Preserving Forced Sequencing in Learning Modules: When a Learning Module is created in Original and upgraded to Ultra, the forced sequencing was not saved. It has now been updated to preserve these settings for the Learning Modules.
  • Original Courses:
    • Course Message recipient picker improvements: In the past, when a user was trying to send a course message in a course with 100+ enrollments, the recipient picker would not open. It has now been resolved.
    • A patch was added to the Global HTML filter options in Original courses, which will help prevent the use of HTML in courses which could lead to a vulnerability.

September 1, 2022

  • Inline Grading Updates: A new panel was added to the inline grading page. This panel will allow instructors and students to see a list of all annotations made on the submitted document. Users can click on one of the annotations to jump to that section of the document.
  • Ultra Courses:
    • Rubric Copying between courses: Instructors can now copy rubrics from one Ultra course to another as a separate option, without needing to copy the grade center.
    • Prevent Copying into the same course: Instructors can no longer copy all content from one course into the same course. Instructors can still use the copy feature to move content inside of a course, but you can no longer copy all content into course it is already in at one time.
    • Question Bank Sorting Controls: Instructors can now sort their question banks by the name, number of questions, or last edit date.
    • Reply to Discussion while Grading: Instructors can now respond to a student’s discussion board post on the same page while they are grading the post, without needing to leave the grading page.
    • Non-posted Grade History: Instructors can now view all changes made to a grade, even if the change was not posted to the student.
    • Points for Manually Added items: Instructors can now set the points for any new manually graded column, regardless of whether the grade is displayed as points, percentage, or letter. Previously, instructors were only able to add a maximum point value when grading by points.
    • Student Test Timer Notifications: There have been updates to the notifications that students receive when taking a timed test. If the test is under 10 minutes, there will be no notification. For tests less than an hour, there will be a notification when 10% of the time remains. For tests longer than an hour, there will be one notification when there is 50% of the time remaining, and a second when 10% of the time remains. For students who have accommodations, a notification will also appear when 10% of the additional time granted remains.
    • Student Feedback: Students can now view feedback for all assignments, even if an instructor has overridden the original grade. Previously, students were unable to see the feedback if the instructor had overridden the original grade but left the feedback.
    • Activity Stream Navigation: When viewing the Activity Stream, users will now see the text underlined when the mouse is hovering over that text line. This makes it clearer where the mouse is on the page and lets the user know where they are clicking.
  • Blackboard Accessibility Tool (Ally): 
    • Microsoft Immersive Reader: Ally now has an option for Microsoft Immersive Reader when choosing the alternative formats. The Microsoft Immersive Reader helps users improve their reading, comprehension, and grammar skills, by reading the text aloud and highlighting the words as they are being read.

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.

December 1, 2022
January 5, 2023
February 2, 2023

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