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SP 8 Features

Service Pack 8 was a milestone for Blackboard Learn, introducing many client requested features. It included a new sleek interface design, and many enhancements to current features, functions, and tools.

You can read this feature list in its entirety, or click the Table of Contents icon ( File:en-us/Learn/Sandbox/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Administrator/070_Upgrade/000_Understanding_the_Changes_in_Release_9.1/010_Blackboard_Learn_Feature_Comparison_Across_Service_Packs/010_Service_Pack_8_Features/table_of_contents_icon.png ) in the upper-right and choose a topic that interests you.

Updated System Theme

Service Pack 8 brought a brand new interface design called the 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.

Term Support

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

Task-based navigation allows users to jump from course to course while retaining the context of the page or task they were on in the original course.

Negative and Weighted Marking

Negative and weighted marking is now available in assessments.

Assessment Regrade

Instructors can 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 allows instructors to drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct. After the question is updated, Blackboard Learn recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, notifies the instructor for all impacted submissions, and optionally notifies students.

Institutional Hierarchies

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 require a Community Engagement license.

Course Themes

Instructors can add a theme to their course by simply choosing from a list.

Activity Reporting

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 - 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 can see the aggregate activity in a course. Administrators can view all courses, and instructors are limited to just their courses. These reports show activity within the course for all enrolled users.
  • Student Activity 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 can view this report for students in their courses; administrators may view this for every course in which a student is enrolled.

Standards, Objectives, and Goals (SOG) Alignment

Institutions and organizations can demonstrate that their programs and curriculum are effective by aligning course content and activities with goals in Blackboard Learn. After administrators create or import 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.

Standards Reporting

Institutions can measure student performance against desired learning outcomes. There are two types of reports:

  • 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 can see how the student has performed against SOGs across ALL courses.
  • Standard Performance - 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 and students in their courses. Administrators can see this report for all SOGs and all students.

SIS Data Integration Framework

This is continuing development of the SIS Data Integration Framework feature introduced in Service Pack 6. This update enhances the Framework by adding the ability to import data via XML and Flat file.

Authentication Updates

Shibboleth and CAS are supported from within the product.