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Social Learning Tools Release Notes: Feb 2013

Release Information

Launch Date: February 13, 2013

Requirements: Service Pack (SP) 10 and later

Supported Platforms

The new features will appear  on the following platforms that have Cloud Profiles or Social Profiles and Tools enabled:

  • Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 10 (Build: 9.1.100401.0)
  • Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 11 (Build: 9.1.110082.0)

Release Highlights

Lifelong Blackboard Profiles

To facilitate a more cohesive, consistent, and continuous learning network experience, we’re introducing modifications to allow users to map multiple Blackboard Learn accounts to a single Blackboard Profile in the cloud. This will allow supporting users who are enrolled or employed at multiple institutions simultaneously, and, more importantly, allow users to maintain their Profile and the relationships they’ve built around those Profiles across the life of their academic career.

  • When a user first sets up their initial Profile they are automatically prompted to provide a primary email.
  • The primary email address is used to identify the user across multiple Blackboard Learn instances. We recommend that end users use a personal email for this, as they may lose access to an institution-provided email.
  • The system notifies and sends the user a verification email containing a link that directs the user back to their profile, verifying their identity as the owner of that email address. Once verified, the user Profile is linked to that email address.
  • If a user creates a Profile from a different Blackboard Learn instance after creating the initial Profile, they are prompted to enter a primary email address. If the user enters the same email address as in the initial set up, the Social cloud service prompts the user to confirm if they want to use the previously created Profile. If the user confirms he wants to use his previous Profile, the system once again asks him to verify himself as the owner of that email address by clicking a link in an email sent to him. Upon clicking that link, the user is directed to the merge confirmation screen that explains what will take place upon linking this subsequent Blackboard Learn account to the Profile he created from his initial Blackboard Learn account. Once the user merges the Profiles they will only have a single Blackboard Profile in the cloud associated with both of his Blackboard Learn accounts.

    Merging Profiles cannot be reversed.

  • If a user has two existing Profiles already, they can merge those as well. The user needs to edit the Primary Email field of each existing Profile to use the same email address. This will initiate the merge process. Any existing activity & relationships (posts, comments, Space memberships, followers/following relationships will be merged into the "target" Profile. The Avatar, About Me, and Area of Study are only retained from the "target" profile.

    The "target" Profile is the one that isn't getting a new email address. So, for example:

    • If you have an existing profile with the email address, and, when setting up a new profile, you enter, then the new profile (which is empty) is merged into the existing profile.
    • If you have two existing profiles, one with as the primary email and another with, and you change the email on the first to also be, then the profile for “me2” is the target profile (because its primary email is not changing). The posts, comments, Space membership Follower/Following relationships from both will all be available in the merged profile, but the Avatar, About Me and Area of Study of the merged profile will be from the target profile.
  • Users are not required to merge Profiles. They can maintain independent Profiles by using a different Primary Email Address per Profile.

Edit Posts and Comments on Walls

  • Users can now edit posts or comments that were made to Profile Walls or Spaces. The user can hover over one of their own posts or comments and click Edit.
  • After the user has edited a post or comment, an “EDITED” label appears on the post/comment to make it clear (a) that the post has been edited from its original state and (b) when the most recent edit occurred.

Enhancements to Spaces

  • Spaces display on the user's Profile. Only a user's Spaces that are public or protected are displayed. Private Spaces are not discoverable and are not displayed on the user's Profile.
  • Managers of Spaces can see and rescind pending invitations. A manager of a Space can click the Invite button to see a list of pending invitations. The manager can click the X button on the invitation to rescind any invitations.

Twitter Integration Update

  • Twitter has made changes to the API that the Social cloud service accesses to enable users to connect their Twitter account to their Blackboard Profile. These changes by Twitter have forced us to re-architect our Twitter integration. There is no functional change that will be perceived by end users, however the re-architecting will require that end-users who have already mapped their Twitter account to their Blackboard Profile will need to go through that process again.

Important Notes

Connecting to the Cloud

Bidirectional communication to the Cloud Services is required. If you are running Blackboard from behind a firewall as a test server or for security reasons, you will need to open the firewall to use these features. To open bidirectional communication to Cloud Services, you must configure your firewall to allow responses from the following API hosts:,,, and Port 443.

Learn User Sync Background Task

Once the “Social Profiles and Tools” have been turned on, the Learn users must sync to the Cloud indicating that the users now have access to these additional Social Learning tools.  Therefore, if a Learn user has not logged out and logged back into the Learn instance, other users may not be able to immediately use Social features with that user, such as follow them or invite them to a Space. Once the background sync task has completed, even users that have not logged in will be able to be followed and invited.

Resolved Issues

  • Verification email sent to cloud users could be interpreted as a phishing scam: email subject and body text has been updated.  New subject line: "Complete your Blackboard profile".  New email text: 

Hi Lisa,

You are receiving this email because you created your Blackboard profile through Blackboard University. We need to verify the email address that you included in your profile.

  • Log in to your school's site that you use to access your Blackboard profile.

  • Visit this URL to verify your email: v

If you are not Lisa or didn't request verification, you can ignore this email.

  • Cloud Profiles email verification is not consistently sent: Cloud Profiles email server has been fixed and all queued emails have been sent.

  • Cancel and Post buttons overlap the text in a post, comment, and message.

Known Issues

  • Once a profile is merged, the user may need to change Learn tabs to use the My Profile link in the global navigation menu. Changing Learn tabs rebuilds the global navigation menu with the newly merged profile. This issue will be resolved in the next update of the Cloud Profiles building block.
  • Localization issues: Primary Email Address text appearing in US English on the Edit Profile page. Profile Merge confirmation dialog shows variables in the text.
  • Cloud Connector page does not always prompt administrator when a Learn instance has been cloned: in some cases, when a Learn instance has been cloned to a second instance, the Cloud Connector page does not prompt the administrator to resolve the cloud connection conflict. 
  • People tool "My Learning Network" shows error: for a small number of clients, the error "Profile could not be loaded. Try again later." appears on the "My Learning Network" filter of the People tool.
  • Cloud Management and Software Updates modules on System Admin tab are displaying Access Denied for administrators without the System Administrator role: this issue will be resolved in Learn 9.1 SP12. The following privileges will be required to see the modules:
    • Software Updates module: Administrator Panel (Building Blocks) > Building Blocks > Installed Tools
    • Cloud Management module: Modify Social Cloud Settings

To Learn More

To learn more about the Social Learning Tools Building Block, see Social Learning Tools Building Block.