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SP 14 Features


Instructors can now align individual criteria listed in the row of a Rubric to course Goals, providing a more granular level of aligning a specific criterion to course Goals using a Rubric.

Admin Console

The Admin Console, delivered as a Building Block in Service Pack 9 was most recently updated in May 2013 and is now bundled with Service Pack 14. It is a diagnostic and troubleshooting tool for Blackboard Learn System Administrators. Its purpose is to make troubleshooting activities easier to initiate from the user interface, either for an administrator starting a self-diagnosis, or for working an issue in conjunction with the Blackboard Support team. The 9.1 SP12+ Admin Console improves previous versions of the Admin Console by adding Blackboard Learn application server CPU utilization monitoring and visualizations.

Groups Management

First released as a standalone Building Block in July 2013, the Groups Management Building Block has been bundled in Service Pack 14. The Groups Management tool has been significantly enhanced to improve the experience of managing large numbers of Groups with large numbers of students in a course. It adds capabilities to the existing workflows for Group creation and management. This feature applies to both Courses and Organizations.

Organizations requires community engagement license.

Groups Management improvements provide the ability to:

  • Easily see which students are in which Groups, including which students are not in any Groups
  • Easily see and modify Group memberships
  • Automatically create Grade Center Smart Views that correspond to Groups
  • Import and export Groups and Group memberships
  • Streamline common actions that previously made Group management cumbersome and time-consuming

Course messages notifications

Notifications for Course Messages fill a gap in the Notifications framework. Previously, when Messages were sent inside the Messages Course/Organization tool, there was no way for users to know that they had new Messages. The addition of course Messages to the Notifications framework provides the ability to:

  • View notifications for Course Messages as part of the "Updates" area in My Blackboard
  • View notifications for Course Messages as part of the "What's New" module, both on institutional module pages and on course module pages
  • View notifications for Course Messages via individual email
  • View notifications for Course Messages via daily email digest
  • Users can manage notification preferences for Course Messages
  • Administrators can include Course Messages notifications as part of notification cleanup
  • All of the above apply to Messages in Organizations as well as Courses*(requires community enhancement license)

Custom theme enhancements

As more features are delivered from Blackboard as Building Blocks, a key barrier to upgrade for some clients has emerged around custom System Themes. If a client has a heavily customized System Theme, in some cases the customization did not extend to new pages delivered by a Building Block that was released via Software Updates and was not bundled with a Service Pack release. With Service Pack 14, the existing tools for downloading, uploading, and customizing a System Theme will include all style sheets for all features, regardless of whether the feature resides in the Blackboard Learn core or in a Building Block delivered by Blackboard. Third-party vendors of Building Blocks can also participate in this capability, but may need to revise their Building Block to conform to the file naming conventions for style sheet files required by the feature.

Date management

First released as a standalone Building Block in September 2013, the Date Management Building Block has been bundled in Service Pack 14. Date Management is a new utility that allows instructors to have the system automatically “shift” content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way. After the system makes this shift, the instructor is able to see all the dates in one place, and further validate and tweak dates in a single user interface, which greatly streamlines the process.

Grade Center improvements

There have been several improvements to the Grade Center in Service Pack 14. See below:

  • My Grades Ordering & Design Update - Based on client feedback, the following updates were made: New “Order By” option in the top-right. The “All,” “Graded,” “Upcoming,” and “Submitted” filters allow the student to narrow down the number of rows they see. The text size and row spacing have been reduced, resulting in more information being displayed on the page at once. Feedback is included right in-line, so the student doesn’t need to click on anything to view it – it just shows up on the page.
  • Define “Score Attempts Using” Setting from the “Options” Page – This is a workflow improvement to ensure that instructors know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.
  • Test Total Points Adjustment – This enhancement allows instructors to adjust the Test total points possible.
  • Grading Schemas Greater than 100% – Previously, the grading schema in the Grade Center had a maximum value of 100%. In Service Pack 14, this is no longer the case and percentages can be greater than 100%, supporting use cases such as extra credit.

Inline Assignment Grading update

First released as a standalone Building Block in March 2013, we have made updates to the tool in September 2013. This updated version is also bundled in Service Pack 14. One of the most significant enhancements in this version is the screen real estate available for annotating and commenting on converted documents has been increased (expanding to a full screen view), making it easier for instructors to grade and provide feedback.

Inline Grading Tools updates

First released as updates to standalone Building Blocks in September 2013, these versions are now bundled in Service Pack 14. We have made updates to the following Building Blocks: Blogs and Journal Building Block, Wikis Building Block, and Discussions Building Block. The sidebars for grading in the various tools (Wikis, Blogs, Journals, and Discussions) have been updated to present an experience consistent with the Inline Assignment Grading sidebar.

Test IP address filtering

In this release, we have included a way to restrict specified Blackboard Tests by location, where locations can be specified by System Administrators to correspond to specified IP addresses or IP ranges. This allows instructors to deliver high-stakes tests to students in proctored lab environments to ensure that students can be identified (using an ID, for example) and monitored while taking a Test.