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Groups Management Release Notes: Jul 2013

Original Launch: July 17, 2013

Requirements: Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 13 (Build: 9.1.130093.0) and later

This release replaces the groups management workflows in Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 13. After being installed and enabled, the new features cannot be removed or reverted back to functionality that existed prior to the update.

The recent rise of MOOCs indicates that the prevalence of large courses will continue to increase, and being able to provide group experiences in courses with thousands of students is critical to a more personal and user-friendly student experience. Even instructors who do not use large numbers of groups will find value in the many improvements included in this release.

The Groups Management Building Block replicates and improves upon the features of the existing Bulk Group Manager (BGM) Building Block. Although the two Building Blocks can be installed alongside one another, Blackboard recommends that clients who are participating in the BGM limited field trial uninstall the BGM Building Block before installing the Groups Management Building Block.

Release Highlights

The Groups Management Building Block provides 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. Avatars are now available to distinguish among users.
  • Choose and manage membership for groups sets with an improved workflow.
  • Import and export groups and group memberships.
  • Sort columns, perform bulk actions for deleting groups, and create Grade Center smart views for one or more groups on the All Groups page.
  • Optionally, manage tool availability for all groups on the All Groups page. 

How to Install the Groups Management Building Block

  1. Download the Groups Management Building Block from Behind the Blackboard Downloads on the Feature Building Blocks for Learn page. Save the file on a local drive. Unzip the package to access the .war file.
  2. On the Administrator Panel, in the Building Blocks section, click Building Blocks.
  3. On the Building Blocks page, click Installed Tools.
  4. On the Installed Tools page, click Upload Building Blocks on the action bar.
  5. On the Install Building Block page, browse for the Groups Management Building Block .war file.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. In the list of Building Blocks, navigate to Group Management and access its contextual menu.
  8. Select Available.
  9. Click Approve.

How to Make Groups Management Available to Users

After installation, you must make the Groups Management Building Block available in existing courses.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, in the Tools and Utilities section, click Tools.
  2. Locate Groups in the list of tools and select Always On for Course Tool to turn the tool on for all courses. Select Default On to allow instructors to turn Groups on or off in their courses from the Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability.