Blackboard SaaS Updates

Blackboard Winter Maintence 

Beginning on December 26th at 330AM/EST, Blackboard will be unavailable due to a system upgrade.  Blackboard Learn will be migrating from managed hosted to SaaS continuous delivery model. SaaS continuous delivery will provide more frequent releases which means more opportunities for bug fixes and enhancements made available in Blackboard throughout the year while eliminating Blackboard downtime for these updates.

The downtime needed for this upgrade is 72 hours. While the system will be available periodically from December 26th through December 29th, please be advised that Villanova staff will be making additional changes to the system until December 29th. We advise that no changes be made by faculty or students during this time.

In compliance with updated university policies regarding data retention, CIT will archive old courses from Bb Learn.  Additionally, the license for storage in Bb is finite and requires us to purge courses from the system to stay within our limit.  All courses in the following terms to be archived: Spring17, Summer17, Fall17.  These courses will be stored offline for a period of five years. The policy for Blackboard courses can be found here.

If you have any questions, please email your Blackboard Learn coordinator or email CIT.


New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration

We've updated the design of the SafeAssign Originality Report in Blackboard Learn SaaS environments. The new Originality Report uses Blackboard's Ultra design philosophy and includes some new information about a submission's overall risk for being copied from another source. This new report interface is also more responsive for mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design; we will be seeking VPAT compliance for this new design soon!

Additional Updates to the User Interface

  • In an Original course, if instructors delete a content folder in a content area that contains graded items with no attempts, the corresponding columns are also deleted from the Grade Center.
  • When students open an assessment, the Submit button is disabled until they add content or answer at least one question.
  • When a student or instructor uses Box View in an assignment, it opens by default and displays using more screen space.
  • We've added a display warning to help administrators identify when they are enabling a feature that may send data outside the specified compliance boundary. This allows administrators to make more informed decisions about the features they enable.
  • We've changed the height of the Institution Page banner image to 160 pixels. Because screen size width varies on wider screens, the banner image crops the top and bottom of the image as the content area gets wider.

Course Role for Facilitators

Facilitation privileges have been long requested functionality in Blackboard Learn's Original Experience. We’re excited to bring this ability to both the Original and Ultra Experiences.

3600.0.0 marks the culmination of previous content lockdown releases with the introduction of the Facilitator role. This course role contains a set of default privileges regarding course calendar, discussions, gradebook, announcements, materials, and groups. Course members can be granted this role to help maintain the pace of the course throughout the term or as needed.

This release includes two new privileges to grant a user the ability to create or delete a discussion in the Ultra Course View.

Additionally, the privileges list shows when certain entitlements are inherited by other privileges. For example, the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Material Availability privilege is automatically granted to a user who also has the Course/Organization (Content Areas) > Edit Materials privilege. We’ve made this association clearer in the user interface.

  • If your environment already contains a custom course role with FACILITATOR as the Role ID, you may notice errors after the 3600.0.0 update. We're working on addressing this issue before the release reaches Production servers. To troubleshoot, copy your custom role, rename it to eliminate FACILITATOR, apply it to the appropriate users, and remove the old custom role.

Miscellaneous Updates

  • This release resolves an issue where the Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor app weren’t compatible with Session Fingerprint settings. Session fingerprint settings to Create New Session When Fingerprint Changes are now compatible with the mobile apps’ mBaaS architecture.
  • When you access individual students' attendance record in the Ultra Course View, the date column has been renamed Meeting and now appears first. 
  • An updated version of the Vital Source Building Block (v3.101.2018040483) is bundled with this release.
  • To accommodate Microsoft Azure SAML requirements, we’ve added the option to keep the SAML session age unlimited.
  • When viewing assessments that were graded using a rubric more than a year ago, users may have noticed a discrepancy between rubric totals and the grade displayed in the Grade Center. Raw data was not affected. We fixed the issue.
  • Grade Journey wasn’t consistently displaying optional data when the extraction was initiated from merged courses. We fixed the issue.
  • Users may have encountered an error when attempting to download a file package in the Content Collection. We fixed the issue.
  • When a student submission was deleted, attached files were orphaned and retained in storage, sometimes unnecessarily. We fixed the issue. 
  • When an Ultra assessment was set to assign automatic zeros, the system wouldn’t log a zero score in the gradebook when a student had saved a draft but not submitted work. We fixed the issue.
  • Importing a Canvas course to the Ultra Course View resulted in missing content. We fixed the issue.

Contact Us

University Helpdesk

Call Us: 610-519-7777
M-Th 8am-7pm
F 8am-5pm

Walk-ins: Falvey Memorial Library, First Floor
M-Th 9am-7pm
F 9am-5pm

TechZone @ The Commons
Chapter Hall
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School of Law Helpdesk

Call Us: 610-519-7700
Walk-ins: Law Library Rm 104
M-F 9am-5pm

Classroom Technologies Hotline