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Release Notes for Analytics for Learn

Looking for more information about Analytics for Learn? Go to the Analytics for Learn overview page.

Analytics for Learn Data Integration Building Block

  • Version: v.4.3.2
  • Dependencies: Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 13 or later and other items
  • Release Date: March 2016

The Release Notes provide System Administrators with information about the changes from the previous version to this most recent version of Analytics for Learn. These release notes cover version 4.3.2.

Note that the product name change does not impact the functional capabilities of the offering. Support materials and other collateral will be updated to the new naming over the course of 2016, but the product itself is not impacted.

The current release focuses on bug fixes, rebranded sample Pyramid content, performance improvements to SSRS reporting, new look to sample SSRS reports, and a new Learn Attendance Exception Report. This release is recommended for all customers of Analytics for Learn.

The list below provides some highlights of changes that we believe will affect most usage scenarios. Always review the entire document and consider how the information listed below affects your specific usage patterns.

  • New Learn Attendance / Attendance Exception SSRS report – This new report answers a Title IV Federal reporting need. It helps to identify student attendance status based on Learn submission activity for an individual student or for a group of students across all enrolled courses. As course attendance criteria may vary for each institution, the report allows for the Learn activity type (test, assignment, blog post, discussion forum, and journal entry) to be selected individually. Built-in report flexibility grants the ability to run the attendance report in several ways: as an exception report to identify students with no activity and as an attendance summary to view both students with and without activity.
  • New Learning Experience (NLE) rebranded sample reports - SSRS and Pyramid reporting will now visually complement the new learning experience of the Blackboard suite of products. Sample SSRS and Pyramid reporting content is an optional upgrade feature. There is no requirement to convert existing custom reports (both SSRS and Pyramid) to the new theme as part of this upgrade.
  • SSRS centralized formatting/style functionality and hyperlink management - SSRS report developers will find it easier to manage shared hyperlinks and report style elements (fonts, colors, shapes, etc.) with the new data-driven functionality that centralizes control of these features across a single SSRS solution. This minimizes manual adjustments required to individual reports when customizations are added to the reporting. Data-driven custom styles streamline the process to create a custom look across multiple reports contained within one SSRS solution.
  • SSRS reporting performance improvements – Underlying queries were fine-tuned to improve the overall performance of each report contained within the sample report suite.


  • Analytics for Learn Version 4.3.1 – the upgrade will require version 4.3.1 of the A4L module to be installed and operational.
  • Learn 9.1 must have Service Pack 13 or higher installed.

New features and enhancements

  • Student At a Glance Drill Reports Redesign
  • A4L SSRS Reports Redesign
  • SQL data driven SSRS Reports custom styles
  • SQL data driven hyperlinks in SSRS Reports
  • Improvement of SSRS reports performance
  • R2T4 Learn Attendance SSRS Reporting
  • IsCourseOpenToStudentsIndicator parameter for Reports
  • Instruction Method parameter for Reports

Fixed bugs

  • Source.SISCourseGrade is missing rows for DT data without grade
  • Performance issue with CURSOR in Stage.HelperSourceActivityAccumulator
  • Poor performance of Advisor at a Glance
  • Add UserSourceKey to ViewFactCourseActivityTransform condition to sync with SourceCount
  • Stage.HelperFactSessionActivityStage use invalid user key to determine SessionRole
  • SISStudentKey is being truncated in Stage.ViewDimUserTransform
  • Remove expensive indexes on QTI_ASI_DATA & GRADEBOOK_LOG
  • More accuracy of SessionRoleKey calculation at Stage.HelperFactSessionActivityStage Test
  • Mobile Learn Course Use Drill report not displaying data
  • Improve performance Stage.HelperSISCourseGradeExtract
  • Stage.HelperDimGoalSource - code does not account for no records in CLP_SOG
  • Transform for FactForumSubmissions cause duplicates if more than one attachment for submission
  • Incorrect criterion in Stage.ValidateLearnDifferentialSettings
  • Non-Integrated Learn Course At a Glance is missing logic for Instruction Method at RSCourseItems stored procedure
  • Duplicate 'Finalize ETL' EventLog row when ETL fails with message 'Linked Server Inactive'
  • DimSISClassEnrollStatus - Data type differences between stage and final
  • SSRS Text Translation missing placeholder text
  • Differential extract misses rows due to creation date sequence issue
  • iBBLA 4.3+ - Cube Drill RS Reports missing from install folders
  • Arithmentic Overflow err when executing helper Stage.ETLHelperExtractGradeCenter
  • Truncate source tables only for Production extract
  • InstructorKey is not being updated on activity facts.
  • Activity measures are not being updated on activity facts
  • Update Student at a Glance reports to show students primary college
  • Integrated Learn Course at Glance SSRS report is not consistent in logic applied to Item Averages
  • Support For Learn Course Data Archivation
  • Incorrect attribute Key datatype on SSAS Drill dimensions
  • iBBLA - FactCourseSummary ItemsAddedCount and HasItems not calculated appropriately
  • Enhance Stage.HelperArchiveACTIVITYACCUMULATOR performance stability

Supported technologies

The following table describes the server and system prerequisites and optional components to be installed and configured prior to beginning the Blackboard Analytics installation process.

Server and software prerequisites

The following table describes the server and system prerequisites and optional components to be installed and configured prior to beginning the Blackboard Analytics installation process.

Supported Operating Systems
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 32-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 64-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 32-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 64-bit*
  • Microsoft Windows 2012 64-bit*

* with latest service pack

Supported SQL Server Version
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*+
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 BI Edition (32 or 64-bit)*
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition (32 or 64-bit)*

* with latest service pack applied to all installed SQL Server components
+ Standard Edition is not supported

Additional SQL Server Components and Install Options
  • Analysis Services*
  • Integration Services
  • Reporting Services (optional)
  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • Business Intelligence Development Studio
  • SQL Server Default Collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS
  • Server Authentication: SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode

* In SQL Server 2012, Analysis Services must run in Multidimensional mode

Application Server Requirements
  • IIS 7.x or later
  • IIS Options: ASP.NET, Basic Authentication, Windows Authentication
  • .NET Framework 4.0
For Institutions with Oracle-based ERP Source databases
  • Oracle Provider for OLE DB 32-bit*+
  • Oracle Provider for OLE DB 64-bit*+
  • Connectivity back to the Oracle database with an account having SELECT-only access

* Provider addressing architecture (32 or 64-bit) must match that of SQL Server
+ Provider can be downloaded from Oracle as part of Oracle Data Access Components Pack (ODAC)

Optional Reporting Tools for Included Sample Reports to be installed on Application Server
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Server*
  • BbAnalytics will install ProClarity Analytics Server 6.3 SP3+
  • Pyramid Analytics bioXL & bioPoint

* Standard Edition is not supported
+ Requires IIS Options: ASP, Server-side Includes

Configuration notes

  • Operating System and Memory
    • When choosing between the Standard and Enterprise Edition and the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the Windows operating system, be sure to understand the maximum amount of memory available under each configuration. The 64-bit version of the operating system is highly recommended, as is the 64-bit version of SQL Server.
  • Server Virtualization
    • While it is possible to run Blackboard Analytics Intelligence modules in a virtual server environment, special consideration must be taken to effectively allocate server resources within the virtual environment to minimize contention with other servers in the shared environment.
    • Many institutions host the reporting server in a virtual environment, with a virtual machine configuration typical of any web or application server.
    • Institutions larger than 10,000+ FTE intending to virtualize the database server should plan on isolating server resources as described below for optimal performance:
      • CPU – The ETL process is resource intensive and optimized to load as much data as possible in as little time as possible. All available CPU resources will be used to load as much in parallel as possible, so dedicating physical cores to the database server virtual machine is recommended. It is not uncommon for all available CPUs to run above 90-95% utilization during Analysis Services cube reprocessing, so adding the overhead of managing virtual cores will result in performance degradation.
      • Disk – During the ETL process, large amounts of data will be written, read and re-written to disk throughout the various ETL stages (e.g. source copy schema to staging schema to final reporting schema), so dedicated disk groups within the virtual environment are recommended to minimize disk contention with other virtual machines sharing the same disk subsystem. Please see the BbAnalytics Disk Configuration Considerations guide for more information on this topic.