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Blackboard Help

Learn SaaS Release Notes: Through 31 May 2016

Looking for the latest release information? Check out the Blackboard Learn SaaS release notes feed.

More on Learn with the SaaS Deployment | How to enable the Ultra experience

Filter the list of features or view the maintenance items.

You can also see our instructions to create and export a list of Known Issues in Behind the Blackboard.

Qwickly Building Block v3.2.0

Continuous Delivery v3000.3.0 | Release to Production 18 May 2016
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

An updated version of the Building Block, v3.2.0, is preinstalled and available to all clients on SaaS Standard deployments. It is turned off by default. For details, visit Qwickly's website.

Grade Extract

Continuous Delivery—K-12 customers
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience

Maintenance note to K-12 clients utilizing the Gradebook Extract Building Block.

Due to a conflict between solutions included in the SaaS deployment, Gradebook Extract was updated to utilize a new data model. This update will unfortunately result in the disruption of previously scheduled extracts. All configuration pertaining to structure, columns, and files are maintained. Only the scheduler configuration will be lost.

In order to resume the scheduled extracts the administrator must navigate to System Admin > Building Blocks > Installed Tools > Gradebook Extract > Settings > Schedule and Notification Configuration and resubmit the page after reviewing its contents. Any questions or concerns regarding this operation can be escalated to ICM through a Behind the Blackboard ticket.

Group assignments

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016
Ultra Course View

Instructors: now you can create Group Assignments in Ultra Course View. Here are some tips about this new feature.

  1. By default, groups are randomly assigned. The system gives you several default options of group sizes.
  2. If a course is converted, groups in the Original Course View will convert to groups in the Ultra Course View.
  3. By default, students in a group will receive the same grade. Instructors can choose to give students different grades if desired.
  4. After logging in, students can see their group name and the members of their group. One student submits on behalf of the group and that is marked.

Graded discussions

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016​
Ultra Course View

Discussions strengthen students' ability to think critically, clearly express their thoughts, and communicate with peers. Now you can assess these abilities as part of each student's course grade in the Ultra Course View.

To make a discussion count for a grade, select Discussion Settings to open the settings panel. Under Details & Info, you can check the box for Graded Discussion and additional grade settings appear. Set a participation deadline and choose the preferred grade unit. You can also select the Display on the course content page option to have this discussion appear in the same list as the other course materials.

More on graded discussions

Adding media to assignments

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016​
Ultra Course View

Media provide context for students to complete an assignment. Sometimes, instructors also use media as part of the prompt for an assignment.

Now, instructors have the ability to build Assignments that include inline media for students to review before beginning their submissions (or as the basis for the submission). These engaging pieces of content may be viewed or played within the Assignment page without requiring students to download and open image or video files on their computer.

If your browser allows, media files you add to assignments display inline by default. If your browser can't display a media file inline, it appears as an attachment. Files you add from OneDrive behave in the same way.

More on adding media to assignments

Ultra enablement

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016​
Ultra Experience

System administrators now have the ability to manage course view options at the course level, instead of system-wide, which allows more flexibility for instructors. After you enable the Ultra experience for your institution, you can determine the course view option. The setting only applies to newly created courses.

On the Admin panel, navigate to Course Settings > Default Course Properties > Default Course View Option. You will see three options:

  • Original Course View (the system default)
  • Ultra Course View
  • Instructor Choice, which allows the Instructor to preview his course in both views and decide which he prefers to use

More on enabling Ultra

Java 8

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016​
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

Blackboard Learn on a SaaS deployment now runs on Java 8, the latest version of Java from Oracle. This change is on the server only and is unrelated to any Java you or your users may use on devices or browsers. Java 8 is the most currently supported version of Java, which means that Oracle is actively developing and maintaining the platform to ensure quality and security.

More on Java 8

SSO through SAML 2.0

Continuous Delivery v3000.1.0 | Release to Production 3 May 2016​
Ultra Experience, Original Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016, Building Block

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an XML-based data format that can be used to authenticate and authorize users between separate systems. SAML is frequently used as a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution, including for Blackboard Learn. SAML focuses on improved security, improved end user experience, and easier IT administration.

The new SAML 2.0 Building Block simplifies configuration of SSO by allowing the institution to directly connect to SAML 2.0 Identity Providers for initial authentication. It replaces the need for Shibboleth authentication services.

SAML also supports just-in-time (JIT) provisioning of user account creation and course enrollments. This new capability will improve collaboration among institutions by facilitating access to shared courses, training, and other activities provided via Blackboard. The Building Block supports connections with any SAML 2.0-compliant IdP, including SSO using services such as Google Apps for Work, Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Azure, and Office365.

This functionality is preinstalled in Learn SaaS deployments. After you activate the Building Block, a new authentication type appears in the Create Provider list on Admin Panel > Authentication, which allows you to configure the service.

More on SAML

Content Market

Continuous Delivery v2015.11.0 | Release to Production 21 March 2016​
Ultra Course View

Now you can easily find and add external content to your Ultra course, such as materials, assessments, and e-books, from Blackboard publisher partners. The Content Market is designed to be your one-stop shop for educational content. The content you select will be seamlessly presented to your students on their Course Content page.

  1. To explore this new feature from the Course Content page, select the Plus icon, then Content Market.
  2. In the list of content providers, select the one you're interested in. A privacy disclaimer may appear asking you to authorize the provider to access certain user information, such as your name and email address. Your institution may choose to automatically share your user information with content providers.
  3. Select Launch and you're brought to the content provider's site. You may need to log in with credentials provided by your institution.
  4. Browse and add the content you like!

How do I find available publishers?

The Content Market gives you access to many of the same publishers that are part of the Blackboard Partner Cloud, such as Macmillan, Jones & Bartlett, and Chegg Study. Thanks to them, you can pick from a wide array of valuable content that is routinely updated and delivered to Blackboard Learn. Your system administrator works with the publishers to establish the connections. All you need to do is browse providers and find what works best for your course.

More on Content Market

Learning tools interoperability (LTI)

Continuous Delivery v2015.11.0 | Release to Production 21 March 2016​
Ultra Course View

You can also add content to your course through the LTI feature, which gives you access to external content tools. One example is Microsoft OneNote, which you can use to provide a shared class notebook.

Want to add a tool to your course that can be integrated using the LTI standard? Select the Plus icon, then Create, then Teaching Tools via LTI Connection.

You may need to configure parameters required by the tool provider. Depending on your administrator's settings, your institution may also need to approve new tools first.

Books and tools

On the Course Content page, this navigational element offers Instructors and Students access to specialized tools provided by paired publishers (or available through the LTI function).

Currently, some partner content providers are only available in the Original Course View. These include Cengage Learning MindLinks™, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Pearson's MyLab & Mastering, Bookshelf by VitalSource Technologies and WileyPLUS.

More on LTI

Integration with Bb Student and Collaborate

Continuous Delivery v2015.7.0 | Release to Production 1 February 2016​
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

A back-end mobile API change was made to support students whose institutions are using Learn with a SaaS deployment and Collaborate with the Ultra experience. Now Bb Student users can access a Collaborate Ultra session directly from their course on the mobile app, regardless of what Learn version or deployment their school utilizes.

Qwickly Building Block v2.9.2

Continuous Delivery v2015.7.0 | Release to Production 1 February 2016
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

The Building Block is preinstalled and available to all K-12 clients on SaaS Standard deployments. A known issue with the Building Block version causes an “list.appendChild is not a function” error. To resolve this issue, clear the "Allow Asynchronous Loading" option in the Building Block settings menu.

Goal Performance Dashboard

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Building Block, Original Course View, Original Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

A competency-based education Building Block to map goals to courses within Learn. The Goal Performance Dashboard evaluates evidence of competencies individually, allowing for true measurement of mastery.

More on Goal Performance Dashboard

Grades Journey

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

Grades Journey integrates your institution's Student Information System with Learn. Grades Journey allows you to exchange grade information between two separate systems.

More on Grades Journey

Browser support

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

Learn SaaS now supports the Microsoft Edge browser. Some new browser releases no longer support NPAPI plugins. Without these plugins, some Learn features may not render correctly.

More on Browser Support in the Original experience

More on Browser Support in the Ultra experience

HTML5 support

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

The Content Editor now supports HTML5 Audio and Video playback in Chrome and Edge browsers.

SafeAssign

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

The SafeAssign Building Block version 4.0.13 is now bundled with Learn SaaS.

Fixed issues include:

  • The "submit as draft" option can now be cleared on DirectSubmit when canceling action
  • Usernames containing international characters are now able to access DirectSubmit
  • Changed error message to correctly display max file size for uploads
  • Fixed an issue related to copying courses and duplicating assignment connections to SafeAssign

To learn more, visit the SafeAssign release notes on Behind the Blackboard.

Collaborate

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Building Block, Original experience, Ultra experience

When installing or upgrading to Collaborate Ultra on your Blackboard Learn instance, administrators should now contact Blackboard Support. Submit a ticket to finalize the upgrade.

To learn more, visit the Collaborate integrations page on Blackboard Help.

Blackboard Open Content (formerly xpLor)

Continuous Delivery v2015.3.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

For K-12 clients only, the Blackboard Open Content Building Block version 2.0.10.1 is now bundled with Learn SaaS.

Enable Ultra

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Original Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

  • Enabling Ultra: The Administrator workflow was changed. Now, if you want to enable the Ultra experience on your production environment, submit a ticket to Blackboard Support on behind.blackboard.com. A Blackboard representative will contact you.

PowerSchool SIS Central integration

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

As part of the innovative classroom, SIS Central provides bi-directional integration between all Blackboard Learn deployment options and the PowerSchool Student Information System. This integration provides a hands-free, seamless synchronization of users, classes, enrollments, assignments, and grades between Learn and PowerSchool.For K-12 clients only, the SIS Central Building Block version 3.0.0.0 is now bundled with Learn SaaS.

Other new functionality includes:

  • Support for Parent/Child (merged) courses between Learn and SIS
  • A new backend filter for first-time customer setup so that only current courses created in PowerSchool after a certain date are created in Learn
  • PowerSchool 9.0 compatibility with SIS Central is verified

To learn more, visit the release notes for SIS Central.

Mobile Learn

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

The Mobile Learn Building Block has been updated to include new features and resolved issues. This impacts users of Blackboard Learn with a SaaS deployment who are concurrently using a mobile app such as Bb Student.

To learn more, read the documentation on Mobile Web Services release version 94.7.4.

Respondus

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

The Respondus Lockdown Browser Building Block has been added to the Learn SaaS environment. The building block is set to inactive by default. Administrators interested in enabling features of the building block need to set it to active in the Administrator Panel > Building Blocks section and work with Respondus to obtain the necessary registration information for their Blackboard Learn instance. The building block may not function properly without contacting the vendor.

Internships.com

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Building Block, Original Experience, Ultra Experience, Flexible Deployment Q2 2016

This building block was removed at the request of the vendor. Please contact Internships.com for more information.

Learning analytics

Continuous Delivery v2015.2.0
Ultra experience, Ultra Course View

Notifications have been refined to better target students struggling in a course. Inside their course, these students can submit a request to their instructor for a study partner. Students can also volunteer to help if they are performing well in the course.

To learn more about the notifications enhancement, visit the Blackboard Blog.