Additional Release Information
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Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016 includes multiple new and enhanced features, improved workflows, and technology updates. Enhancements for this release generally fall into the following five categories:
- Technology infrastructure improvement to improve performance and security
- Improved experience for mobile users and updating the look-and-feel of the environment
- Improvements to save time and effort including file drag-and-drop in key workflows
- Assessment enhancements in the core teaching and learning tools
- Reporting improvements
REST APIs are no longer restricted to technical preview. Administrators and developers can create integrations using REST APIs and secured with OAuth. Please note that we strongly encourage anyone making use of these APIs to thoroughly test their functionality. Please see the following articles on the Community site for further details:
Learn 2016 Theme for improved mobile experience
This release includes a new theme that provides a more modern look and feel. Most importantly, the Bb Learn 2016 theme significantly increases the responsiveness of the interface for small devices. The theme also incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language including color, fonts, and spacing, for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate Ultra, and the Bb Student app. This theme was also previously made available in Q2 2016 CU1.
New icon set
In this release, there is a new icon set for use in courses and organizations, and cancel/submit buttons will always pin to the bottom of the page regardless of device.
Drag and drop files
When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.
If the browser allows, users can drag a folder of files and the files will upload individually.
Dropbox Education integration
Users can attach files and submit assignments from their personal Dropbox accounts using this new cloud service integration.
Administrators and instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.
A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.
Submission receipts was a popular enhancement request from recent voting on the Community site. You need to be a member of the Blackboard Community and have access to the Ideas space to view this link.
Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.
Instructors can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.
Fewer Needs Grading items
When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won't calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon.
Improved behavior for Self and Peer Assessments
Non-participants during the submission period are excluded from the evaluation process. Submitters with partial or complete submissions will be distributed to peers for evaluations. By pairing an assessment with Adaptive Release, it's possible to configure Self and Peer Assessments for individual groups.
Course activity reports
The Course Activity Overview report has been updated to improve the experience for larger enrollment courses. Instructors can filter the report and break down the calculations of student activity by course groups.
This update improves handling for managing grade columns in or reading grade data from merged sections. Institutions using flat file or REST in addition to LIS integration types can now retrieve just the external grade column. And new column filtering and column mapping capabilities make it easier to integrate with various student information systems.
Enterprise Surveys improvements
Changes to defaults and recipient count behavior help prevent admins from accidentally sending a survey to an overly-large recipient list.
Content Collection search improvement
The Basic or Advanced Search feature in the Content Collection now requires a starting search directory for better performance. Admins can grant users a permission to still search across all directories. A new privilege has been added so administrators can permit or restrict users from searching top-level directories in Basic and Advanced Search.
- BIRT Engine update to v4.5.0
- Only SQL Server 2014 is supported with this release. Microsoft is discontinuing support for SQL Server 2012 in Q2 2017
- Tomcat 8 update
The following modules are not included in the Q4 2016 installer:
- Google Search
If you are upgrading to the Q4 2016 release from an earlier version of Blackboard Learn, these modules will still be present. However, the modules will not be present for new installations that use the Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016 release.