What's New in the Blackboard Upgrade

Below you will find an overview of the changes that are coming to Blackboard Learn 9.1.  On December 25, 2013, the University of New England will be upgrading to Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 13.  While most of how you interact and use Blackboard will stay the same, there are new features and enhancements that will make your experience with Blackboard easier and more productive.
Click the links below to learn more about the features and improvements. 

New for All Users

The entry point to My Blackboard is a new Global Navigation Menu. This new menu is available all the time by clicking your name in the top right corner of Blackboard.  It provides one-click access to your Courses, Settings, Blackboard Help, and the new My Blackboard tools.  With this new Global Navigation menu, you can access everything you need quickly and easily, from wherever you are in Blackboard.

Now, the critical information you need to know from across all of Blackboard is consolidated in a simple, modern, easily accessed way with new tools that make up My Blackboard.

New Feature for All Users

The Posts tool in My Blackboard makes it really easy to stay up-to-date and engaged with all the conversations going on across Blackboard. The Posts tool consolidates posts from all of your courses – Discussion Boards, Journals, Wikis, and Blogs – as well as the comments and replies to those posts. And to make it easy to manage the posts, they’re presented in a familiar, chronological stream interface and there are filter options. With the different filters, you can look at all posts, just those that directly involve you, or you can choose to only look at posts from one particular course.

Additionally, with Journal, Wiki, and Blog posts, you can comment right from within the Posts interface or you can click to see the full context of the post in the course environment. With Discussion Board posts, you can click right into the interface in the course environment where you can type your reply. So it’s simple to both stay up-to-date and involved in the conversation.

New Feature for All Users

The Updates tool in My Blackboard consolidates all of your Notifications from across all your courses, so you never miss a thing. This tool updates you on course announcements, when new content or assignments are added to a course, when an assignment or assessment is due, and much more. And instructors can see when assignments and assessments need grading. To make it easy to manage this information, there are filters so you can look at all Notifications at once, only those from one particular course, or just all Course Announcements. You can also change your notification preferences and pick exactly what you want to show up in this tool. With these helpful features, you can ensure you're always up-to-date on important updates from across Blackboard.

New Feature for Students

The My Grades tool found in My Blackboard consolidates all your grades from across all your courses into one view. There's no need to go in and out of all your courses to check your grades. You can quickly see a stream of the latest grades you’ve received, so you never miss a new grade that was posted. When you click on a grade in the stream, you will see additional detail like your instructor's feedback and the class average if your instructor has made it available. You can also click into a course view if you want to see your grades by course. For each course, you can see your current overall grade (if your instructor has made it available to you), as well as graded items in the course, submitted items that haven't been graded yet, and upcoming assignments and assessments. My Grades is the only place you need to go to check your grades.

Enhancement for All Users

A new and improved Calendar significantly enhances the Calendar features in Blackboard. Students and instructors can view items that are past due, due today, or due this week by navigating to the overview capability in My Blackboard.

Calendar events are color coded to indicate which place/entity they are associated. Easily add calendar events by clicking on a date and adding an item. Items with due dates automatically appear on the calendar. Faculty can move calendar events by dragging and dropping them to a new date. The due date on the associated item is automatically updated. Users can click through calendar events directly to the associated item. Calendar honors adaptive release and availability rules. External calendars (such as Outlook and Google) can subscribe to events created on the Blackboard calendar through an iCalendar feed. When reusing content through course copy, archive/restore or import/export, the course calendar events are propagated to the new course.

Enhancement for All Users

The new and improved Content Editor enables simple content creation through an easy to use interface. The editor reads, writes and renders modern HTML – so the content you created in Microsoft Word and the course pages you designed so carefully in Dreamweaver will render with great fidelity within Blackboard. We’ve made sure that the essential functions you need are there – the ability to resize images, find/replace, and simple icons in the toolbar for everyday tasks. And you can easily add rich content by pulling in mashups from YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and more. Another great feature of the new Content Editor is that you can expand it for full-frame editing, giving you a lot more real estate to build rich content.

Additionally, there is a new math editor in Blackboard that simplifies creation and delivery of equations by enabling editing directly from the Content Editor. The new math editor supports saving and copy/paste of equations using mathML.

New Feature for All Users

Video Everywhere is a feature of the content editor. Once installed and activated, you will see a new icon in the content editor that accesses your webcam. The feature provides the ability for instructors and students to:
  • Record a video on the fly using a webcam and have it seamlessly embedded in course materials, interactions, and feedback through the content editor.
  • Reuse previously recorded videos by choosing from one’s own “library” of videos.

New Feature for Educators

The new Item Analysis feature helps you easily refine your tests and quizzes by evaluating the quality and validity of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Ineffective questions can be easily identified and then you can quickly correct them with the Automatic Regrade feature.

Enhancement for Educators

Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard. Instead of requiring Instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, Instructors will now be able to view student-submitted files “inline,” i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plugins, applets, or client-side applications. Additionally, annotation tools will be made available as part of the inline viewer, enabling Instructors to provide feedback including comments, highlights, and even drawings/annotations directly on the inline view of the document.

Enhancement for Educators

The Retention Center provides an easy-to-use data visualization and pre-configured rules for identifying at-risk students in a course. Because it requires no set up on the part of the instructor or administrator, it automatically calls out students who may need the instructor’s attention, making it easy for instructors to catch and respond to risk factors quickly, while there is time to help the at-risk students succeed in the course.