Service Pack 8 was a milestone for Blackboard Learn, introducing many client requested features including a new sleek interface design. It also included many enhancements to current features, functions, and tools.
Updated System Theme
Service Pack 8 brought a brand new interface design (2012 theme).
Course Relationship Management
The Course Relationship Management capability allows System Administrators the ability to merge the rosters of courses into one master course. Merging the rosters allows Instructors teaching multiple sections of the same course to manage the content, course management, and communications tasks for all sections of the course from one central location. For Cross Listed courses, the merging of rosters allows the LMS to offer a single course that was represented by more than one course in the course catalog.
When courses are merged, the Instructor still has access to the original “donor” courses from which they can pull content or other course resources – those courses just are invisible to the students.
Terms can be created and courses added to them to make it easier to search and release all courses within a particular term.
Task-based navigation allows Instructors to jump from course to course while retaining the context of the page / task they were on in the original course.
Negative and Weighted Marking
Negative and weighted marking is now available in assessments.
Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid question directly and having all necessary updates flow automatically to the Grade Center. For any given question, Blackboard Learn now allows Instructors to drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct. After the question has been updated, Blackboard Learn recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, and provides notification to both the Instructor and optionally to the student for all impacted submissions.
This is continuing development of the new Institutional Hierarchy feature introduced in Service Pack 6. We expanded the delegated administration to include Tabs and Modules. In addition, System Administrators will be able to delegate administration of Tool and Building Block availability – this means institutions can make Building Blocks available to one part of the institution, while preventing access to the tool from other parts of the institution. This gives institutions more flexibility in how they deploy Building Blocks and license third-party tools.
Institutional Hierarchies requires the Community Engagement license.
Instructors can now add a theme to their course by simply choose from a pre-defined list.
The activity reports are available for both Administrators and Instructors. Administrator reports are available for all courses and users in the system and may span courses to report on all users’ activities. Instructor reports are limited to their individual courses and the students enrolled in those courses.
System Activity Report
This report is available to System Administrators only and provides information on the activity in any / all courses within the system. Logins, time spent by users in the course, and other high level statistics are available in this report. The Administrator may then “drill down” by clicking on any course.
Course Activity Report
Instructors and Administrators may see the aggregate activity in a course – with the Administrator able to view all courses, and the Instructor limited to just their courses. These reports show activity within the course for all enrolled users in that course.
Student Activity Report
This report shows a particular student’s activity within a course, including time spent per content item, number of times a content item was accessed, and when the student first accessed a content item. Instructors may view this report for students in their courses; Administrators may view this for every course in which a student is enrolled.
Standards, Objectives & Goals (SOG) Alignment
Institutions and organisations can demonstrate that their programs and curriculum are effective by aligning course content and activities with Goals in Blackboard Learn. After Administrators have created or imported
goals, Instructors can easily align any content item with a goal by clicking an item’s contextual menu and selecting Add Alignments. Alternatively, Instructors can browse or search for goals that are available in the system and choose which ones to align with the content item.
Institutions can now measure student performance against desired learning outcomes. The reports come in two flavors:
Student Performance Against Standards
This is a student-centric view measuring how a particular student has performed against the stated learning objectives. This is done by reporting the student’s performance against all graded items that were aligned to a SOG. At the course level, the Instructor can see how the student has performed against SOGs and content items within that course. Administrators may see how the student has performed against SOGs across ALL courses.
This is a standard-centric view that shows all student performance against a particular standard. This report shows all students’ performance against this standard by measuring performance against all graded items aligned to a SOG. Instructors can view this report for the SOGs / students in their course. Administrators may see this report for all SOGs and all students.
SIS Data Integration Framework
This is continuing development of the new SIS Data Integration Framework feature introduced in Service Pack 6. This update enhanced the Framework by adding the ability to import data via XML and Flat file.
Shibboleth and CAS are now supported from within the product.