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Blackboard SaaS Updates

Over the 2019 Winter Holiday break, Blackboard was migrated from managed hosted to SaaS continuous delivery model. SaaS continuous delivery will provide more frequent release, on a monthly basis, which means more opportunities for bug fixes and enhancements made available in Blackboard throughout the year while eliminating Blackboard downtime for these updates.  Please monitor this page for a listing of bug fixes and enhancements.

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.

Blackboard Learn (v3800.2.0 – Available on February 6 2020)

Highlights (please visit Blackboard Release Notes site for complete list)

1. Java 11 JDK - This releases uses a new version of Java (Java 11 JDK).  Java are the libraries on which the Learn application runs and also the libraries that power Building Blocks (which many 3rd party vendors use to intergrate with Blackboard, including Mediasite, TopHat, TurningTechnologies, McGraw-Hill, etc...). To help identify potential incompatibilities between building blocks and Java 11, UNIT is working with Blackboard and 3rd party vendors to confirm and test building block capability with Java 11 in the weeks before 3800 release.

2. With this release, Blackboard Learn will remember instructors’ preferences for the Show attempts that don't contribute to user's grade filter on the Needs Grading page in the Original Course View. By default, the checkbox is unselected and student attempts that don’t affect grades won’t show on the Needs Grading list. When an instructor changes the setting, Learn will remember the preference across that user’s sessions and courses.

Blackboard Learn (v3700.16.0 – Available on December 28 2019)

Highlights (please visit Blackboard Release Notes site for complete list)

1. E-Portfolio submissions display within the Inline Grader Tool (Starting in December 2018, Blackboard did not support E-Portfolio submission displaying within inline grader tool, which meant that instructors had to download zip files to their computers.  This has now been fixed, and e-Portfolio submission will display natively within Blackboard).

2. New Originality Report available for SafeAssign integration (includes updated look and feel, some new information about a submission's overall risk for being copied from another source and it new report interface is also more responsive for mobile devices and more accessible to screen readers than the old design.

Additional Updates from (v3700.16.0 - December 28 2019 Update)

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.

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.

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.

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