Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to

Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to
Understanding the Change from
Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to
Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
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Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 2
Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 9
Fostering Student Engagement .......................................................................................... 9
Supporting Educator Efficiency .......................................................................................... 9
Delivering Open and Extensible Learning ........................................................................ 10
Available Tools and Resources ........................................................................................... 11
Blackboard Upgrade Center ............................................................................................. 11
Preview Accounts and the Project NG Playground .......................................................... 11
Upgrade Services ............................................................................................................. 11
Blackboard Learn Upgrade Kits........................................................................................ 11
On-Demand Learning Center ........................................................................................... 12
Blackboard Learn Help ..................................................................................................... 12
Blackboard Learn Technical Details ................................................................................. 12
About This Document ........................................................................................................... 13
Product Naming and Terminology .................................................................................... 13
Course Delivery Features ........................................................................................................... 15
Removed Features ........................................................................................................... 16
Accessibility .......................................................................................................................... 17
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 17
Adaptive Release .................................................................................................................. 18
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 18
Announcements .................................................................................................................... 19
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 19
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 19
Assignments .......................................................................................................................... 20
What's New in this Release? ............................................................................................ 20
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 20
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 21
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 21
Blackboard Connect Integration ......................................................................................... 23
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 23
Blogs and Journals ............................................................................................................... 25
Journals ............................................................................................................................ 25
Blogs ................................................................................................................................. 25
Grading Blogs and Journals ............................................................................................. 25
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 26
Branding and Customization ............................................................................................... 27
Single Login Page ............................................................................................................ 27
Brand Customization ........................................................................................................ 27
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 27
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 28
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 3
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 29
Calendar ................................................................................................................................. 31
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 31
Course Customizations ........................................................................................................ 32
Direct Access to Course Management Tools ................................................................... 32
Multiple Methods of Content Presentation ....................................................................... 32
Increased Options for Course Design and Style .............................................................. 32
Simplified Tool Management ............................................................................................ 33
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 33
Course Files ........................................................................................................................... 34
Using Course Files for Basic Content Management ........................................................ 34
Attaching Files to Course Content and for Re-Using Files ............................................... 34
Uploading Files ................................................................................................................. 35
Managing HTML ............................................................................................................... 35
Viewing Images as Thumbnails ........................................................................................ 35
Course Files with the Content Collection ......................................................................... 35
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 36
Course Navigation and Content .......................................................................................... 39
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 39
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 41
Course/Organization Role Customization .......................................................................... 42
Creating Custom Course/Organization Roles .................................................................. 42
Custom Course/Organization Roles with Community Engagement................................. 42
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 42
Discussions ........................................................................................................................... 44
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 44
Email and Messages ............................................................................................................. 45
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 45
External Links ........................................................................................................................ 46
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 46
Glossary ................................................................................................................................. 47
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 47
Grade Center – Instructor Views ......................................................................................... 48
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 48
Feature Change ................................................................................................................ 49
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 49
Grade Center – My Grades ................................................................................................... 50
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 50
Groups.................................................................................................................................... 51
What's New in this Release? ............................................................................................ 51
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 52
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 53
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 4
Learning Modules ................................................................................................................. 54
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 54
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 55
Lesson Plans for HigherEd and ProEd Clients .................................................................. 56
Creating Customized Lesson Plans ................................................................................. 56
Controlling Visibility .......................................................................................................... 56
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 56
Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients ............................................................................................. 58
Creating Customized Lesson Plans ................................................................................. 58
Controlling Visibility .......................................................................................................... 58
Aligning Content to Learning Standards ........................................................................... 58
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 58
Mashups ................................................................................................................................. 60
Uploading Mashups Content ............................................................................................ 60
Filtering YouTube Content................................................................................................ 60
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 60
My Places ............................................................................................................................... 62
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 62
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 63
Notifications .......................................................................................................................... 64
What's New in this Release for Instructors? ..................................................................... 64
What's New in this Release for Students? ....................................................................... 64
What's New in this Release for Administrators? .............................................................. 65
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 65
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients ................................................................................ 69
Importing Standards into Blackboard Courses ................................................................. 69
Aligning Content to Standards .......................................................................................... 69
Updating Standards .......................................................................................................... 70
Running Standards Coverage Reports ............................................................................ 70
Creating Custom Standards ............................................................................................. 70
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 71
System-Wide Changes ......................................................................................................... 73
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 73
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 73
System Administration ......................................................................................................... 75
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 75
Feature Change ................................................................................................................ 75
Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools ................................................................................... 76
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 76
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 77
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 77
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 5
Text Editor ............................................................................................................................. 78
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 78
Textbook ................................................................................................................................ 79
Tracking Reports ................................................................................................................... 80
Web Services and Proxy Tools............................................................................................ 81
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 81
Feature Loss ..................................................................................................................... 83
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 83
What’s New Module .............................................................................................................. 85
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 85
Wikis ....................................................................................................................................... 86
Supporting Collaborative Learning ................................................................................... 86
Creating and Editing Wikis ............................................................................................... 86
Versioning and Comparing Pages .................................................................................... 86
Grading Wikis ................................................................................................................... 86
Viewing Participation Summaries ..................................................................................... 87
Commenting on Wiki Pages ............................................................................................. 87
Creating Wiki Links as Course Content ............................................................................ 87
Using Adaptive Release ................................................................................................... 87
Importing and Exporting Content ...................................................................................... 87
Aligning Wikis with K-12 Standards .................................................................................. 87
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 87
Community Engagement Features ............................................................................................ 89
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 89
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 89
Content Management Features .................................................................................................. 91
Building Content ................................................................................................................... 92
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 92
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 92
Passes and Permissions ...................................................................................................... 93
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 93
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 93
Recycle Bins .......................................................................................................................... 94
Providing Individual Recycle Bins for Users, Courses, and Organizations ...................... 94
Scheduling Recycle Bin Retention and Purging ............................................................... 94
Setting the Recycle Bin View Policy ................................................................................. 94
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 94
Search Content ...................................................................................................................... 96
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 96
Views and Navigation ........................................................................................................... 97
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 97
Feature Change ................................................................................................................ 97
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
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Outcomes Assessment Features ............................................................................................... 98
Artifacts .................................................................................................................................. 99
Feature Enhancement ...................................................................................................... 99
Frequently Asked Questions ............................................................................................ 99
Batch Operations ................................................................................................................ 101
Feature Enhancement .................................................................................................... 101
Frequently Asked Questions .......................................................................................... 101
Criteria List Operators ........................................................................................................ 103
Feature Enhancement .................................................................................................... 103
Frequently Asked Questions .......................................................................................... 103
Deployments ........................................................................................................................ 104
Feature Enhancement .................................................................................................... 104
Frequently Asked Questions about Deployments .......................................................... 105
Gradable Content Alignment ............................................................................................. 106
Feature Enhancement .................................................................................................... 106
Frequently Asked Questions .......................................................................................... 106
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1) ............................................................ 108
Course Delivery Features ................................................................................................... 109
Community Engagement Features .................................................................................... 111
Content Management Features ......................................................................................... 112
Outcomes Assessment Features ...................................................................................... 113
System Administration ....................................................................................................... 114
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3) ............................................................ 115
Course Delivery Features ................................................................................................... 116
Community Engagement Features .................................................................................... 118
System Administration ....................................................................................................... 119
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4) ............................................................ 120
Course Delivery ................................................................................................................... 121
Support for Common Cartridge ...................................................................................... 121
Learning Tools Interoperability ....................................................................................... 121
Assessments .................................................................................................................. 121
Community Engagement .................................................................................................... 122
Discovering Modules ...................................................................................................... 122
Outcomes Assessment ...................................................................................................... 123
Curriculum Maps ............................................................................................................ 123
Distribution Lists ............................................................................................................. 123
Blackboard Connect ........................................................................................................... 124
Country Codes Available ................................................................................................ 124
System Administration ....................................................................................................... 125
Data Sources .................................................................................................................. 125
Search and Select All ..................................................................................................... 125
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 7
Support for Google Analytics™ ...................................................................................... 125
Resource Governor ........................................................................................................ 125
Global XSS Filtering ....................................................................................................... 128
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 5 (SP5) ............................................................ 129
Default Maximum Upload Limit....................................................................................... 129
Known and Resolved Issues .......................................................................................... 129
Course Files Move Utility ................................................................................................ 129
Security ........................................................................................................................... 130
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 8
Introduction
Introduction
st
Challenged with meeting the expectations of their 21 -century learners, educators are constantly
trying to find ways to make their instruction more engaging.
Faculty spend a lot of time on non-teaching administrative activities, such as grading, data-entry,
paperwork, and Course management, that distract from learning activities which help retain and
keep students engaged in academics.
Colleges, schools, and departments often spend significant amounts of time and resources on
manual processes to align what is happening in the classroom to department, program or overall
institutional objectives.
Clients are trying to navigate a time of significant demographic shifts and technology innovation
while maintaining the integrity of the academic process, accessibility, service quality and
accountability to leadership.
Blackboard Learn™ Release 9.1 will help you to meet these challenges by fostering student
engagement, supporting educator efficiency, and delivering open and extensible learning.
Fostering Student Engagement
The exciting new social learning and teaching tools available in Release 9.1 foster more logical,
visually impactful, and active learning opportunities for students, helping them stay connected to
their educational experience 24 hours a day:
•
Learning Modules Table of Contents view
•
Wikis for Courses, Organizations, and Groups
•
Mashups
•
Integration with Blackboard Connect
•
Student Notifications and Dashboard
•
Group area and Group tools
•
Accessibility
•
Web 2.0 user experience
Supporting Educator Efficiency
Many of the new features and enhancements in Release 9.1 save educators and organizational
leaders time and effort and make it easier to focus on student achievement and retention:
•
Learning Modules Table of Contents view
•
Improved grading capabilities
•
Course Files area for managing content
•
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
•
Customizable Teaching Roles
•
Instructor Dashboard
•
Web 2.0 user experience
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 9
Introduction
Delivering Open and Extensible Learning
With free access to partner technologies, expanded content partnerships and hundreds of
building block extensions to choose from in Release 9.1, Blackboard Learn’s open platform is
designed to meet the learning needs of an institution at enterprise scale with an open architecture
that supports agility and extensibility.
•
Mashups
•
Building Blocks and the Blackboard Developers Network
•
Web Services
•
Themes
•
Accessibility
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 10
Available Tools and Resources
Available Tools and Resources
Transitioning to a platform can often be an expensive proposition. Institutions and organizations
face many costs including content conversion, end user training, and project management.
Institutional and organizational leaders have to evaluate the financial costs as well as the cost to
end users when making the decision to move. For Release 9.1, Blackboard is delivering tools,
resources, and services to reduce the change management costs of transitioning to Release 9.1,
both in terms of educator or facilitator time and institutional and organizational resources.
Blackboard Upgrade Center
The new Blackboard Upgrade Center was created to help you find all the information you need to
make the upgrade process as simple as possible. This site is designed for Blackboard
administrators, system administrators or anyone involved in the process of upgrading Blackboard
from a technical or procedural standpoint.
Preview Accounts and the Project NG Playground
Reading about a new release and experiencing it are two different things. We know that you
probably want to get a feel for Release 9.1 before you go through the work of setting up a pilot or
test instance. Sign up for a preview account that will give you instructor level access in a
Release 9.1 Course hosted by Blackboard. You can investigate Release 9.1 and invite others at
your institution to access the software and contribute to the development of your upgrade plan.
This account is available for 30 days and can be renewed at the end of its term.
Blackboard wants to share some of our newest ideas for Blackboard Learn and get your feedback
to help shape future releases. The Project NG Playground Program is an exciting way to get a
sneak peek at functionality while it's still in the experimental stages. Try the newest features on
our hosted playground server and experience them from a student, teacher, and instructional
designer perspective.
For more information, go to Step 1.2 – Preview and Play on the Upgrade Center.
Upgrade Services
Experience tells us that some institutions would like additional support and assistance in
upgrading, so we've developed a host of custom services offerings and assistance that work as
your virtual upgrade team. Let us help you with the upgrade by taking advantage of the expertise
of the Blackboard Consulting Services team.
For more information, go to Step 2.4 – Preview and Play on the Upgrade Center.
Blackboard Learn Upgrade Kits
To assist in the upgrade process, Blackboard has produced an Upgrade Kit comprised of
documentation resources specific to your upgrade path. For a detailed list and explanation of
each document, see the ReadMe.txt file included in the Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Upgrade Kit available on the Upgrade Center or Behind the Blackboard.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 11
Available Tools and Resources
On-Demand Learning Center
The On-Demand Learning Center provides access to Quick Start Guides and Video Tutorials for
many features in Release 9.1. In addition to accessing the site directly, users with the
appropriate roles can access the site from the My Institution tab, the Course Panel, and the
Administrator Panel.
Blackboard Learn Help
A full suite of reference materials for Blackboard Learn 9.1 is available Blackboard Help is
available to everyone through Blackboard Learn and at http://help.blackboard.com.
Blackboard Learn Technical Details
The full technical details for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, including the Release Notes,
Supported Technologies and Browsers, the Resolved Issues from previous releases, and Known
Issues in the current release, are available on the Maintenance Center on Behind the Blackboard.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 12
About This Document
About This Document
Release 9.1 includes exciting new product innovations, and Blackboard is committed to providing
the tools and resources necessary to help you plan and prepare for your upgrade.
This document is designed to give the users a comprehensive look at the features and functions
of Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, and how they compare to the Blackboard Academic Suite,
Release 8. This document includes information about the following:
•
Course Delivery Features
•
Community Engagement Features
•
Content Management Features
•
Outcomes Assessment Features
•
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Features
•
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 Service Pack 3 (SP3) Features
•
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 Service pack 4 (SP4) Features
Product Naming and Terminology
Blackboard Learn is the new name of the Blackboard Academic Suite. It represents the singular
purpose of the software suite and will help resolve some of the confusion around product names
and terminology that are holdovers from the Blackboard-WebCT merger.
Blackboard Learn features and functions are grouped into sets of capabilities. The table below
identifies the product and names for sets of capabilities that are used to define Blackboard Learn.
Na me
De s cr ip t ion
Blackboard Learn
Blackboard’s flagship product for enabling teaching and learning
online.
Course delivery capabilities
Includes features and functions for creating online Courses.
Prior to Release 9.0, this was known as the Learning System.
Content management
capabilities
Includes tools for storing, managing, and presenting content as
well as tools for collaborating on content with other users. Prior
to Release 9.0, this was known as the Content System.
Community engagement
capabilities
Includes features and functions for building out a vibrant and
diverse learning community as well as tools for delegated
system administration. Prior to Release 9.0, this was known as
the Community System.
Outcomes assessment
capabilities
Includes features and functions to measure the success of
institution learning initiatives. Prior to Release 9.0, this was
known as the Outcomes System.
Building Blocks
Building Blocks is the catch-all name for the program and
interfaces used to integrate tools and outside systems with
Blackboard Learn.
Basic Edition
An entry-level version of Blackboard Learn that includes a
subset of the features available with the Course delivery
capabilities.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 13
About This Document
Na me
De s cr ip t ion
Enterprise Edition
The standard version of Blackboard Learn. This term is used to
differentiate it from the Basic Edition. Other capabilities are
licensed separately.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 14
Course Delivery Features
Course Delivery Features
Blackboard Learn 9.1 includes many innovations that are grouped in the following categories:
•
Accessibility
•
Adaptive Release
•
Announcements
•
Assignments
•
Blackboard Connect Integration
•
Blogs and Journals
•
Branding and Customization
•
Calendar
•
Course Customizations
•
Course Files
•
Course Navigation and Content
•
Course/Organization Role Customization
•
Discussions
•
Email and Messages
•
External Links
•
Glossary
•
Grade Center – Instructor Views
•
Grade Center – My Grades
•
Groups
•
Learning Modules
•
Lesson Plans for HigherEd and ProEd Clients
•
Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients
•
Mashups
•
My Places
•
Notifications
•
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
•
System-Wide Changes
•
System Administration Changes
•
Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools
•
Text Editor
•
Textbook
•
Tracking Reports
•
Web Services and Proxy Tools
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 15
Course Delivery Features
•
What’s New Module
•
Wikis
Innovations in each of these areas represent the confluence of best-of-breed features and
functions from earlier Blackboard products.
Removed Features
Electric Blackboard
Now Students can use Journals to complete these same tasks —it is also much more fully
featured than the Electric Blackboard tool. For more information, see Blogs and Journals.
Digital Dropbox
The more robust Assignments tool and the Group File Exchange feature meets the needs of
individual users and groups for completing and managing Course work. These functions made
the Digital Drop Box obsolete. For more information, see Assignments.
Student Homepages
Student homepages are no longer needed because the new Blogs tool enables Students to
express their thoughts and reflect on learning within a Course and the My Places tool allows
Student to post their avatar system-wide (instead of limited to the Course environment) and
includes additional functionality and a customizable set of links to frequently accessed information
as well as tools to personalize a user's own experience. For more information, see Blogs and
Journals.
eCommerce
This add-on product line is no longer available with Blackboard Learn.
Offline Content
Offline Content can no longer be added to a Course. The Offline content type will no longer be
available when uploading content. For more information about available Content Types, see
Course Navigation and Content.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 16
Course Delivery Features
Accessibility
Accessibility
Most of what makes Blackboard Learn so easy to use for all users, including those with assistive
technologies, is under-the-covers with a combination of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and
semantic markup (that is, well formed HTML). Additional accessibility features include:
Keyboard Accessible Reordering: The Keyboard-Accessible Reordering component provides
the user with an alternate method to reorder content groupings in columns and rows that would
otherwise be completed using Drag and Drop. This component is positioned as a secondary
emphasis page-level action.
Personal styles accepted: Users can adjust the font size and other style elements in their
browser regardless of the style sheet that is in place. These adjustments will remain as long as
the user is logged into the system.
Embedded and optional help: The embedded help throughout the application helps users with
and without disabilities easily access the features of Blackboard. The personal setting to hide or
show help until the user chooses to call upon it again helps users from both perspectives: it
removes text from the application that may be distracting, or it adds text to the application that
helps them without forcing them to leave what they are doing. The Personal setting is found in My
Places, and the on-the-fly change can be executed using the help icon in the top right corner of
any page with help available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No. Every capability of Blackboard Learn is designed to support accessibility.
Are there any changes to existing workflows?
Note that this release has a significant impact on the workflow of nearly all tasks for the purpose
of improving the usability. Overall these change result in a positive change with a more intuitive
user interface, but this is most challenging to learn for the blind or visually impaired user, because
they have memorized the pathway to all of their activities. The structure provided in Release 9.1
is drastically improved to help guide them to easy discovery.
Is everything accessible and highly usable in Release 9.1?
No. Accessible users should be aware of the following issues:
•
Virtual Classroom: Although the Accessible Chat alternative is provided, this is not
considered “equal access” to all users.
•
JavaScript Requirement: The requirement of JavaScript to use Blackboard is
sometimes considered not accessible. However, the login page of Blackboard recognizes
if the user does not have JavaScript enabled and informs the user of the requirement.
This means that for all users (sighted, not sighted, one who understands browsers or
not), Blackboard responds in the same way – by informing them of what needs to be
done.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 17
Course Delivery Features
Adaptive Release
Adaptive Release
The function of Adaptive Release for Course content is the same as the previous release with a
few minor enhancements and an improved user experience.
Feature Enhancement
 Content Notifications
Students are notified when content is made available via Adaptive Release.
 Fewer Clicks to Create and Manage Adaptive Release Rules
Managing adaptive release rules is immediately visible in the contextual menu.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 18
Course Delivery Features
Announcements
Announcements
The features in the Announcements tool are very similar to those in previous releases of
Blackboard Learn. While the announcements filter has been removed, faculty and administrators
will enjoy a number of new flexible options for displaying announcements.
Feature Enhancement
 Multiple Display Options
Announcements can be displayed on both a Course Announcements page, a portal
Announcements module and in a Course specific Announcements module giving the Instructors
added flexibility over how the information is presented.
 Priority Ordering
Instructors have the ability to re-order the display of announcements so the most important
information will appear first.
 Options to only Display Course Announcements
Instructors may select to only display Course announcements in their Course, and not display
system announcements. This enables Instructors to reserve Course announcements for pertinent
information and reduces the noise level of announcements within the Course.
 Login Page Announcements
Administrators can communicate critical information to users before they login by placing
Announcements directly on the login page. Institutions should develop and communicate
business rules for displaying announcements prior to login.
 Advanced Filtering Options
Advanced filtering options to display All, Course only, and System only announcements enable
users to easily find important announcements and recover critical details.
 Notifications
Notifications of new Course Announcements will appear on users’ dashboards and may be sent
via email according to the user’s personal preferences.
Feature Loss
-
Announcement Filter
Users are no longer able to view just the announcements posted from the current day.
Communicate to the faculty the increased flexibility provided with new reordering capabilities to
ensure that Students are getting the most important information and are not missing
announcements due to date filters.
-
Announcement Text in Email
Email notifications for announcements include a link to the announcement, but do not include the
full body of the announcement text.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 19
Course Delivery Features
Assignments
Assignments
The features of the Blackboard Learn Assignment tool allow groups of Students to work on and
submit assignments together, as well as individually. This provides Instructors with the ability to
assign a single grade to all of the Students in the group without losing the ability to override an
individual's grade if necessary. This tool facilitates an interactive learning process by providing
faculty with the ability to permit multiple attempts of the same assignment. This allows Students to
edit, add to, and improve their original effort and allows Instructors to provide a grade and
feedback for each submission.
Users will enjoy a number of new enhancements to the Assignments feature, such as the ability
for Students to submit multiple attempts of an assignment when the Instructor would like to see
iterative progress. Instructors can also allow Students to turn in additional attempts of an
assignment for exceptional cases or submissions. Additionally, faculty has more flexibility when it
comes to submitting grades for their Students.
What's New in this Release?
Instructors can deploy Assignments to all Students individually or to groups of Students. If an
Instructor selects to deploy Assignments to groups of Students, the Instructor will be able to
choose which groups receive the Assignment. One group member will submit the assignment for
the whole group. The Instructor provides one grade to the submission and all members of the
group receive the same grade automatically. Instructors can provide individual members with a
separate grade if necessary.
Instructors can allow Students to submit multiple attempts for the same assignment. Each of
these attempts can be graded and commented on individually. Both Students and Instructors can
track progress throughout the assignment. Instructors can specify how many attempts are
allowed or allow an unlimited number of attempts. If the specific number of attempts were
completed by a Student, the Instructor can allow an additional attempt if required.
Students can attach a file and include additional information and hyperlinks in their assignment
attempt using a Submission field instead of simply attaching a file.
Feature Enhancement
 Multiple Attempts
Instructors can allow Students Multiple Attempts at the same assignment. The Instructor can
grade each attempt individually. This promotes the learning process and allows Instructors to
track progress.
 Additional Attempts
Instructors have the ability to give specific Students an additional attempt at an assignment in
order to accommodate extenuating circumstances.
 Submission Field
Students have access to a submission field in addition to attachments to provide text and links to
online documents and websites.
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Course Delivery Features
Assignments
 Submission History
The Submission History provides a quick recap of the submission content, feedback, comments,
grades and participants of each submission. This allows Students to see what they have
completed and allows Instructors to view the progress made throughout the lifecycle of the
assignment.
 Release Assignments to Groups
The Assignments feature has been expanded to Groups so that a set of Students can work
together on one deliverable.
 Group Grades
If a Group completes an Assignment, the Instructor can grade one Student’s submission and
submit the same grade to all Students within the Group. The Instructor also has the ability to
provide each Student an individual grade overriding the group grade.
Feature Loss
-
Digital Drop Box
The functions of the new Assignment tool made the Digital Drop Box obsolete. The workflows in
the new Assignment tool enable users to accomplish the same tasks as the Digital Drop Box.
The existing Digital Dropbox content remains accessible via a URL. The URL opens a window
(login may be necessary) with a list of all the Courses that contain Dropbox files for that user. The
download interface does not provide any data about who sent the file and when, it is purely a
place to get the files from before they are recycled. The window has no navigation points to the
rest of Blackboard Learn. The Course hyperlinks all of the files for that Course will be displayed
and can be downloaded individually.
The URL to access these files is
http://<hostname>/webapps/blackboard/execute/ddb (where the <hostname> is
specific to the Institution). This is not a file system location. The URL must be accessed via a web
browser.
For more information about retrieving legacy files, please visit
http://kb.blackboard.com/display/KB/Blackboard+Learn+Release+9+and+the+Digital+Dropbox.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
Assignments can be added to any content page within Courses and organizations.
Are there any changes to existing workflows?
Yes. Previously, Academic Suite users would simply submit their assignment and then wait for
their feedback and grade from their Instructor. Now Students can submit their assignments
multiple times or receive an additional attempt to submit before receiving their final grade.
Likewise, Instructors can provide a grade and feedback for each attempt of a single assignment,
rather than simply grading the individual submission for an assignment.
Group Assignments also provide a new workflow. Only one Student within the group has to
submit the assignment for the whole group and similarly the Instructor has to submit only one
grade for the group, which is given automatically to all of the members in the group.
The Instructor does have the option to override individual grades.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Assignments
Where is the Digital Dropbox?
The Digital Dropbox does not appear in Release 9.1. The Assignments tool now provides a
significantly improved submission workflow.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Blackboard Connect Integration
Blackboard Connect Integration
Clients who have licensed both Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Connect can now integrate the
two products. This integration includes the following features:
•
The ability to “push” user data from Blackboard Learn into a new Blackboard Connect
installation.
•
The ability for Blackboard Learn system administrators to send System Announcements
by SMS text message or text-to-voice phone calls through Blackboard Connect.
•
The ability for Blackboard Learn users to receive Notifications (the same kind of
Notifications supported in 9.0 through email or the Learn web interface) by via SMS text
message or text-to-voice phone calls through Blackboard Connect. Users still have the
ability to select which types of Notifications they will receive and through what media
(web, email, SMS, voice call).
For more information about Blackboard Connect, see the Blackboard Connect documentation
available on Behind the Blackboard or contact your Blackboard Client Manager.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. Clients must license both Blackboard Learn Enterprise Edition and Blackboard Connect.
Where does this feature appear?
If the integration is enabled, the Announcements page accessed through the Administrator Panel
is updated to reflect the additional SMS and text-to-voice options. The Notifications Settings page
will display two additional columns (SMS and Voice) in addition to the existing columns (Web and
Email) for users to select the mode for Notifications.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
The SMS and text-to-voice options are simply additional options available to System
Administrators when creating System Announcements and Notifications.
Is the integration automatic?
No. The integration must be activated for the client by the Blackboard Connect Client Care team
in the Blackboard Connect central service. Once enabled, the System Administrator has to
enable the Blackboard Connect proxy tool in Blackboard Learn.
At that point, the data between the two systems needs to be synchronized. If it is a new
Blackboard Connect implementation, the Blackboard Learn System Administrator can “push” the
user data from Blackboard Learn into Blackboard Connect. However, if there is an existing
Blackboard Connect installation on campus or if the campus wants to use a system other than
Blackboard Learn as the data source for Blackboard Connect, additional services work may be
required.
At what phone number will the users receive the SMS messages or voice calls?
How the phone number is configured will vary from institution to institution. The phone number
needs to be a part of the Blackboard user record (most likely using the existing fields in Personal
Information), but there is no requirement that the phone number fields be managed through
Blackboard Learn. As an alternate example, the phone numbers could be populated into
Blackboard Learn through an SIS (Student information system).
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Course Delivery Features
Blackboard Connect Integration
What if Students do not want to receive SMS messages or voice calls from
Blackboard Learn?
Users must explicitly indicate that they want to receive Notifications (and Announcements) in
these modes.
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Course Delivery Features
Blogs and Journals
Blogs and Journals
Blogs and Journals are new features for Academic Suite clients. Blogs are an effective means of
sharing knowledge and materials created and collected by the group with the rest of the Course.
Blogs and Journals provide Students and Instructors with a social learning tool for expressing
their thoughts and reflecting on their learning, either privately (with the Instructor) or publicly (with
others in the Course). These tools empower all Course users to create and share ideas, while
Instructors maintain the ability to edit or remove any inappropriate material.
Multiple blog types, including Course, group and individual blogs are available. Instructors can
assign a journal to each user in a Course or Course group that is accessible by only the user and
the Instructor. Journal entries can also be made available to the rest of the users in a Course.
Faculty needs to be educated on the new tool and best practices.
Journals
Individual Journals allow Students to record their Course experiences and what they are learning.
These thoughts can be a private communication between a Student and the Instructor or shared
with everyone in the Course. Journal entries can be commented on by the author and the
Instructor. Others are able to read public Journals, but they cannot comment on them.
Group Journals allow groups of Students to reflect collaboratively on their Course work and
comment on their fellow group members' findings. To maintain privacy, Journal entries may be
added anonymously by group members.
Blogs
Individual Blogs provide each Student with his or her own area to publicly share thoughts and
work with others in the Course and to receive comments and feedback on entries. Avatars added
by Students will be displayed in their public space to help personalize the page.
Course Blogs allow all users in the Course to share their thoughts and work in one common area
that everyone can read and comment on. All entries are posted to the same page to help promote
collaboration among all Course members. Users can add entries and comment on entries
anonymously to maintain privacy.
Group Blogs allow groups of Students to collaboratively post thoughts and comment on each
others’ work while all other users in the Course can view and comment on their entry.
In each of these cases, users create entries, which are added to their Blog or Journal. The entries
can be saved as drafts or published and then edited later. When entries are added to the Blog or
Journal, they are added automatically to an index organized by date. A "New" indicator is
displayed on entries and comments that the user has not yet displayed. Entries also can be
marked as "New" again to create a reminder.
Grading Blogs and Journals
Instructors can enter grades for Blogs and Journals for individuals and for Groups within the Blog
and Journal areas without having to navigate to the Grade Center, or they can enter them directly
in the Grade Center. This enables Instructors to enter grades within the Blog or Journal so that
the grading process is completed in context. All grade entries made within the Blog and Journal
areas are automatically added to the Grade Center.
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Course Delivery Features
Blogs and Journals
In addition to entering a grade, Instructors can enter grading notes and submit feedback to the
Student. The grade and Instructor feedback is visible to Students, but the grading notes are not
visible. For Group Blogs, Instructors can assign a Group-wide grade that applies to all Group
members or assign individual grades for each Student. Instructors also have the flexibility to
override the Group grade for particular Students.
Students can view their grades for Blogs and Journals within the Blog and Journal areas or in My
Grades. Students will see their grade as well as any feedback provided by the Instructor.
This feature appears along the right hand margin of the Blog or Journal in the About this Journal
or About this Blog section under the Student's name. Instructors can also grade Blogs or Journals
from the Grade Center. Instructors will be able to set a Blog or Journal as gradable on the Create
or Edit Blogs or Journals pages, which are accessed from the Control Panel by clicking
Course Tools and then Blogs or Journals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do these features appear?
Blogs and Journals exist as tools within the Course environment. Instructors can access them
from the Control Panel under Tools. Instructors can provide access to Students through tool links
on content pages, the Menu, and the Tools page. Students access Group Blogs and Journals
from within a Group space.
What is the difference between a Blog and a Journal?
A Journal is an on-going reflection or record of events by an individual or set of individuals. A
Blog is a commentary by an individual or set of individuals that is for public consumption and
comment.
Can I make Blogs and Journals public?
No. The privacy of Students' Course work needs to be respected. Opening these tools to the
outside world may violate privacy laws.
Can Instructors grade individual Blog and Journal entries?
No. Blogs and Journals are only gradable in Release 9.1 as a single grade per Student as
opposed to an individual grade for each entry.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
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Course Delivery Features
Branding and Customization
Branding and Customization
Institutions will enjoy numerous customization options available to a larger user community
alongside an improved user experience. Administrators should consider the Institution’s need and
best practices when using these features.
Single Login Page
In response to client feedback from current administrators of all products, we have made
improvements to the user experience on entry to the Blackboard Learn software. Administrators
can choose whether users begin on a gateway page that includes the login form, or directly on
the My Institution tab that includes a login module. Administrators can publish system
announcements directly to the gateway page using familiar announcements tools, and Enterprise
Edition clients can customize it extensively using a simple template.
Brand Customization
Release 9.1 provides an extensive set of user interface themes that can change the entire look
and feel of the system. The Blackboard default theme uses modern rounded edges and a soft
blue and yellow color scheme. To help ease the transition to Release 9.1, themes inspired by
each of the legacy LMS products (CE 4, CE 8, Vista 8, and Academic Suite 8) are available, as
well as a Schoolhouse theme designed to appeal to younger learners and a Brushed Metal theme
with clean lines, drop shadow, and neutral colors.
Fifteen separate color palettes will also ship with Release 9.1, each of which can be overlaid on
top of any theme to change the set of colors used throughout the system.
For clients who want even more flexibility, the colors of the most common interface elements can
be customized individually beyond the color palette offerings. For example, an administrator can
set the button color throughout the system to an institution-defined value.
Release 9.1 also allows Enterprise Edition clients with technical expertise to download and
customize the entire package of style sheets for each theme, or the single style sheet for all
colors in the color palette, and upload those changes for use on their system.
Institutions will enjoy a large number of new customization options available to the larger user
community alongside an improved user experience. Administrators should consider their specific
institution’s needs and best practices when using these features.
Feature Enhancement
 Simple Upload/Download Template for Login
Administrators will be able to use a simple upload/download template mechanism for customizing
the login page using a single template. This new process allows them to use simple HTML tags in
a single template file to tailor the look and feel. Please speak to your client manager about
licensing at the Enterprise level to gain access to this feature.
 User Login Directly from First Loaded Page
All users will be able to log in from the first page. A gateway page is not needed.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Branding and Customization
 Post Announcements directly to the Login Page
Administrators can create HTML or text announcements posted to the login page directly from the
Announcements tool. This will ensure that users see the most important information even before
logging in. Note that the tool used to customize the information on the login page may be used
without changing the template.
 Themes and Color Palettes
Administrators can apply themes and color palettes to the entire system, including a “Blackboard
Classic” theme, inspired by Release 8. Applying a look and feel is useful for easing retraining
anxiety or for creating a bold new look.
 Customize individual Colors
Custom individual colors in common use throughout the system can be changed using the
standard color picker. For example, the Administrator could match the tabs to the rest of their
institutional design. This enables institutions to customize the interface to match ‘corporate’
branding.
 Modify the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
Staff with technical expertise can fully customize all aspects of the user interface with
downloadable CSS themes through the Theme and Palette library tool. Please speak to your
client manager about licensing at the Enterprise level to gain access to this feature.
 Color Picker
A new more accessible color picker is used throughout the system that allows users to select any
color and uses color names and hexadecimal codes to identify colors in use.
 Translation
Great Britain English, Finnish, Swedish, and Russian Language Packs, will be available with
Learn 9.1.
Feature Loss
-
Login Page Customizations
Existing customizations to the login template may need to be re-applied. The tags used in the
login template in prior releases of Blackboard Learn have been superseded, so some
customizations may need to be re-done.
-
Numerous Changes to Text
A lot of text throughout the system has been modified which will require updates to existing
customizations.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Branding and Customization
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. All licenses will have the ability to choose a single theme and palette and set individual color
settings to be shared by all users.
The following features are available only with the Enterprise Edition:
•
Customize the login page.
•
Download and upload custom themes and color palettes requires an Enterprise Edition
license.
The following features are available only when the community engagement capabilities have
been licensed:
•
Customize a portion of the login page differently for different hostnames (for example,
bizschool.myinst.edu).
•
Create Tab Groups to organize related content.
•
Associate different themes, palettes, and settings with different host names or user
communities.
For more information, see Community Engagement Features.
Where do these features appear?
F e at u re
L o c at i o n
Tabs
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Tabs and
Modules. On the Tabs and Modules page, click Tabs.
Login Page
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes. On the Brands and Themes page, click Customize Login
Page.
Themes
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes.
Gateway Page
On the Administrator Panel, under Security, click Gateway Options.
Announcements
On the Administrator Panel, under Tools and Utilities, click
Announcements.
Themes
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes.
Are there any changes to Existing Workflows?
•
Tabs and Modules > Tabs: Available only if the community engagement capabilities
have been licensed. The Tabs inventory list contains one row for each tab on the system,
and can be used by administrators with tab management privilege, including any domain
administrators with management privilege for a subset of tabs, to manage default layout,
content, personalization and other settings of the tab. Controlling visibility, position order
and membership of a tab within a tab group moves to the new Tab Group manager tool,
which is controlled by a separate entitlement. Clients with the community engagement
capabilities will see no change in existing tab management capability.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Branding and Customization
•
Tab Menu Column: The Release 8 tab layout options included the ability to manage a
menu column on the left with a fixed set of possible menu modules with a separate color
scheme theme, and a one-column or two-column layout of modules. The Release 9.1 tab
layout options allow one-column, two-column or three-column layouts of modules, all of
which use the same theme. The Tool Panel, Sponsorships, Course Search, Organization
Search and Hot Links menu areas have been converted to modules, and can be
managed from the Administrator Panel under Communities by clicking Tabs and
Modules and then Modules. The contents of these modules continue to be managed
from the Administrator Panel under Communities by clicking Tabs and Modules and
then Tabs. In upgrading from Release 8, the existing menu modules will still appear on
the same tabs and in the same position in the layout where they did, but they will adopt
the theme of the rest of the modules on the page, and, if the tab can be personalized,
they will be repositionable as the other modules on the page via drag and drop.
•
Manage Brands > Tab Rounding: Changes to the HTML in the top frame (to facilitate
accessibility and customization) led to support for tab rounding only with Firefox and
Safari browsers. IE browser users will always see square tabs. Custom colors and
themes will be available to all users.
•
Brand Management: The number of interface settings that can be customized for a
brand has been dramatically increased in Release 9. These customizations have been
bundled into “themes,” or packages of style and layout directives, similar to the Language
Packs. A theme can be associated to the default brand, or for clients who license the
community engagement capabilities, to any brand on the system. Within a theme, the
color palette has been extracted and can also be associated to a brand, either in lockstep with the theme, or independently. The available palettes roughly correspond to the
module colors available when customizing or personalizing a module tab, but they
encompass many more colors on the system. Even beyond the theme and color palette,
some individual colors and navigation settings can be set for a specific brand, including
all of the top frame settings that were previously settable per-brand, and a few more
besides. All choices may be previewed within the new Brands and Themes tool before
being applied to the system. Existing brands are set to the Blackboard default theme on
upgrade.
•
Login Template: The default login page template and the login tag syntax have changed
in Release 9.1. It is possible that some login template customizations will need to be
redone for Release 9.1. Both brand-specific customizations that formerly resided on the
gateway page and system-specific login template changes will be feasible in Release 9.1.
Do I Have to Know CSS to Customize Blackboard Learn?
No. Administrators who are comfortable with the Blackboard Learn interface can use the theme
and palette library that ships with Release 9.1 to choose one of more than 100 combinations of
theme and color palette for their system. If the community engagement capabilities have been
licensed, Administrators can apply distinct combinations to any campus community they choose,
by institution role, hostname, or both. Furthermore, with the new Blackboard Learn color picker,
more than 16 million color choices are available for any of the 21 commonly used color elements
in the system.
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Course Delivery Features
Calendar
Calendar
The function of the Calendar is the same as the previous release of the product. All users will
enjoy an improved user experience.
Feature Enhancement
 Duration of Activity Displayed on Calendar
The duration of activities is displayed on the Calendar, which allows for easier planning and
enables users to view overlaps and conflicts between entries.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Customizations
Course Customizations
Direct Access to Course Management Tools
All Course management tools will be immediately available upon Course access for Instructors,
teaching assistants, and other users with the appropriate entitlements. Course management tools
in the Control Panel and Course content editing capabilities have been organized into common
tasks.
Instructors will have direct access to edit and organize their Course Menu. They also have the
ability to add content areas, tool links, sub-headers, and visual separators to the menu. The
ability to rearrange the order of menu items using drag and drop or a keyboard accessible
method of organization is also included. More intelligent handling of empty content areas, such as
hiding them from the Student's view of the Course if they do not contain at least one visible piece
of content, will keep the Course clean and organized.
Multiple Methods of Content Presentation
Course Module pages can be added to a Course to provide easy access to a variety of
information. By default a Course homepage will be created that contains modules such as
“Course Announcements,” “What's New,” “Calendar,” and “Tasks.” Any community engagement
module can be displayed within a Course by the system administrator. Modules that typically
display roll up information (Announcements, Tasks, What's New and so forth) will only display
content relevant to the Course when displayed on a Course module page. Any module which can
be displayed within a Course can also be added to a group home page and will further filter the
display to reflect information applicable to the specific group. The Instructor will have the option to
allow the individual user to personalize Course module pages giving them the ability to add
additional content at their own discretion.
The content layout options previously available in all Learning System products as well as a new
layout option will be available:
•
Icon Only (Vista 8 and CE 8)
•
Icon with Text (legacy Academic Suite)
•
Text Only (new)
Instructors can make use of all three layout options within a Course to ensure the content for any
given area is being presented in the most appropriate manner for their users. Content in all
layouts can be repositioned using drag and drop or using a keyboard accessible method.
Increased Options for Course Design and Style
Instructors will have the ability to design and style their Course to reflect the individual needs of
their subject and material:
•
Select the menu color and style of the Course menu (including the option to use text or
buttons to represent individual items.
•
Create a customized page banner (using the Text Editor).
•
Select the color scheme displayed on each Course module page.
•
Upload a Course banner image to be displayed on the page designated as the “Course
Entry Point.”
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Course Delivery Features
Course Customizations
All of these options provide the Instructor with added flexibility to determine the presentation of
their Course.
Simplified Tool Management
Instructors can manage the availability of all Course tools in a single interface. They will have full
control over how tools are presented to users. Tools can be added as direct links on the Course
menu, embedded in line with other Course content or made available on a central Tools page for
easy access.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on license?
A core set of Blackboard modules (including Announcements, Calendar, Tasks, What's New,
Needs Attention, To Do List, and Alerts) will be available for inclusion on Course module pages.
Clients who have licensed the community engagement capabilities will also have the increased
ability to make any module available for display within a Course.
Are there changes to any existing workflows?
Default Course and organization menu for new Courses: The default menu for new Courses
has been changed, based on client feedback and best practices from across the client base.
Menus in Release 9.1 will support dividers and subheadings. Existing Course menus will not be
changed on upgrade and all color and styles choices will be maintained. Default menu
customizations made by system administrators in Release 8 will be logged during update so that
they can be manually restored if necessary. This includes the default text and background colors
on the menu.
New organization and placement of the Control Panel: The Control Panel is now available to
Instructors and other privileged Course users on any Course page, as a menu below the
navigation area, rather than as a standalone page. It has also been reorganized to more clearly
group tasks related to building out, designing or customizing a Course, as distinct from tasks
related to teaching or administering a Course.
New user enrollment tool within a Course: User management (previously controlled from
multiple pages) has been simplified into a single, easy to use interface allowing Instructors and
other privileged users to quickly and efficiently enroll users, manage their Course permissions
and remove users from the Course list.
Observer access to Course tools: Observers will still have access to the Calendar Items,
Tasks, and Grades of the user they are observing. The dedicated Observer Tools landing page
will no longer be available - observer users will access the tools either from the main tools page
(if enabled) or directly from the Course menu, just as Student users do.
What do Administrators need to know about Course Modules?
Any system module can be made available for display in Courses and organizations. If the
module shows roll up information when displayed on a tab it will be filtered to display information
specific to the Course or organization when viewed in that context. Permission to view modules is
still controlled by institution role so modules which have limited access (such as Faculty only) will
only display to users with the selected institution role(s) even when viewed in Courses or
organizations.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Course Files
Course Files
Using Course Files for Basic Content Management
The new Course Files feature provides basic content management features and functions within
a Course as a core part of the Course delivery capabilities of Blackboard Learn. These features
and functions were previously available only to clients who licensed the content management
capabilities.
Instructors will have the ability to more effectively use (and reuse) content stored in Course Files
(or in the Content Collection if the content management capabilities have been licensed) when
building a Course without any significant impact on their customary workflows and practices. New
capabilities for uploading, managing, and using content in a Course are available to support
Instructors when using the Course Files feature or the Content Collection.
In previous versions of Blackboard Learn, when an Instructor attached a file to a Course content
item, that file would be placed in a “hidden” file system on the Blackboard server where it was
invisible to the Instructor. Blackboard Learn now provides a Course Files area that allows
Instructors or any user with an appropriate Course-authoring role to view and manage all files
related to their Course content.
Attaching Files to Course Content and for Re-Using Files
The current process for attaching files to Course content remains basically the same, but with a
few important additions that Instructors should note:
•
When attaching a file, an Instructor can select a file from the local computer or the
Course Files area of their Course. If the content management capabilities have been
licensed, an Instructor can select a file from any available Content Collection.
•
Instead of attached files being stored in a “hidden” file system, files attached from the
local computer are uploaded automatically into the Course Files area. If the content
management capabilities have been licensed, attached files can be placed in any
available Content Collection. This allows Instructors to see, manage, and re-use the files
in other parts of their Course. An Instructor can now upload a file once and use it in
multiple areas of the Course.
•
When attaching files to content items, Instructors can select multiple files from multiple
folders in the Course Files area. If the content management capabilities have been
licensed, Instructors also can select multiple files from any available Content Collection.
•
Because a file may be re-used in a Course (or across Courses if the content
management capabilities have been licensed), the new 360⁰ View lets the Instructor see
all of the places that any given file has been used as well as the full path in the Course to
that content item.
•
The organization of files in Course Files has no impact on how they appear when linked
to from a Course.
•
A link to a file can be included in one or more areas in a Course.
•
When a link to a file in Course Files is deleted from a Course, the file is not deleted.
•
When a file in Course Files is renamed or moved, any links to the file will remain intact.
•
Files uploaded by Students are not automatically added to Course Files.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Files
Uploading Files
In addition to adding files by attaching them directly to Course content items, Instructors can
upload files directly to Course Files or to any available Content Collection if the content
management capabilities have been licensed.
Instructors can upload a single file from the local computer using Browse, or they can upload
multiple files or entire folders from the local computer using Browse or by dragging the items from
the desktop to the interface. Instructors can also upload a package of HTML files to be
unpackaged automatically into Course Files.
Managing HTML
In Blackboard Learn, an HTML Object (formerly known as a “Snippet” in the Content Collection) is
an HTML file created in Blackboard Learn that has some additional, Blackboard-specific
properties associated with it.
Instructors can create HTML Objects in two ways:
•
The Create HTML Object action in Course Files (or the Build > HTML Object action if
the content management capabilities have been licensed) will bring up a WYSIWYG
editor that allows the Instructor to create an HTML file.
•
The Save as HTML Object option in the WYSIWYG editor of content items or folders will
allow the content that is created in the WYSIWYG editor to be saved to Course Files as
an HTML file for re-use.
If the content management capabilities have been licensed, the Save as Reusable Object option
that appears in every WYSIWYG editor allows the same capability, but for many more types of
content. The Content Collection also has a Discover Content capability that allows for the
discovery of HTML Objects and other types of Reusable Objects.
HTML files, whether uploaded or created as HTML Objects, are presented more effectively in
Release 9.1. If an HTML file is linked to from within a Course or from the Table of Contents for a
Learning Module, when a user clicks on the HTML file it will be displayed inline inside of the
Blackboard Learn interface, instead of opened separately.
Viewing Images as Thumbnails
In Course Files (and the Content Collection if the content management capabilities have been
licensed), users can switch between View List, which lists the files in a directory, and the new
View Thumbnails, which shows a resizable thumbnail of image files. All non-image files will
display the appropriate icon for the file type.
Course Files with the Content Collection
For clients who have licensed the content management capabilities, Course Files fully integrates
individual Course content with the Content Collection. Course Files encourages the sharing and
reuse of content by allowing users to access and manage all of their files in the Content
Collection from within a Course and across Courses. The additional features available include:
•
Cross-Course sharing of content
•
Institutional content repositories
•
Personal content repositories
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Course Delivery Features
•
Reusable Objects
•
Metadata for content
•
Version control
•
File locking
•
Tracking user interaction with an item
•
Sharing of comments
•
Advanced search function
•
Permissions and passes control
•
e-reserves
•
e-portfolios
•
Portfolios
•
Integration with the outcomes assessment capabilities
Course Files
In addition, administrators can change the default directory for an individual Course by clicking
Properties under Customization in the Course Control Panel. Administrators can also change
the default directory for an individual Course or multiple Courses using a command line tool.
If a client who licenses only the course delivery capabilities later decides to license the content
management capabilities, the Course Files feature will integrate seamlessly with the Content
Collection.
For more information, see the Course Files topics and Content Management topics in Blackboard
Help or contact your Blackboard Client Manager.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No.
Where does this feature appear?
For clients who have not licensed the content management capabilities, Instructors or other users
with the appropriate Course role can access the Course Files area by clicking Files in the Control
Panel on the left side of the screen. Clicking on a directory in the Files panel displays its contents
(files and folders) in the right-hand content panel of the Course environment.
For clients who have licensed the content management capabilities, users will see the traditional
Content Collection view that displays all available Course Files and content management
functionality, including individual Course Content (which is equivalent to the content on the Files
panel seen by users who have not licensed the content management capabilities), My Content,
All Courses Content, All Organizations Content, and Institution Content.
For all clients, Course Files can also be accessed when attaching files to a content item. The
Browse My Computer button, which allows the user to browse their local computer for files, is
now accompanied by a Browse Course Files button to select files from Course Files (or any
Content Collection if the content management capabilities have been licensed). The Browse
Course Files button brings up the Course Files interface in a pop-up window for file selection.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Files
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
Yes, there are several workflow changes.
Attached Files Location: Prior to Release 9.1, for clients who had not licensed the content
management capabilities, the only way to add a file to a Course was to upload that file from the
local computer and attach that file to a content item (or question or forum post, and so on). When
an Instructor took that action, the attached file was placed in a “hidden” files system within
Blackboard Learn. Although the workflow for uploading that file from the desktop remains the
same, all files uploaded by an Instructor will be placed automatically in Course Files.
Selecting Files: For all clients, the workflow for attaching files now allows users to:
•
Select items to attach from the local computer or from the Course Files area (or Content
Collections if the content management capabilities have been licensed).
•
Select multiple files from multiple directories (or multiple Content Collections if the
content management capabilities have been licensed) without having to attach each file
separately.
Unpackaging Files: Prior to Release 9.1, if an Instructor had created a website to add to a
Course, the Instructor would have to 1) make sure that the website used relative links, 2) zip up
the files, 3) attach the zip file to a content item, 4) unpackage the files to the “hidden” file system,
and then 5) select a launch page. If the Instructor wanted to edit that website, the previous
attachment had to be deleted and the entire process repeated.
With Release 9.1, this approach has been streamlined. Instructors 1) upload a zip package
directly to Course Files, 2) unzip it, and then 3) create a link from the content item to the index
page in Course Files. If the Instructor wants to make a change to the site, the affected files can
be edited and uploaded to Course Files individually.
What's the difference between Course Files and the Content Collection?
Course Files is available to all Blackboard Learn clients and provides basic file management
capabilities within a Course. In short, Course Files does not change a lot about what you can do
with uploaded files in a Blackboard Learn Course, but it changes how you do those things by
providing more control and management capabilities to the Instructor.
The content management capabilities provide a much wider array of content management
capabilities within the Course and across the institution.
What happens to content created in a previous release of Academic Suite or
Blackboard Learn when we upgrade?
By default, when an earlier version of Academic Suite or Blackboard Learn is upgraded to
Release 9.1, nothing changes. For existing Courses, the files used in the Course will still be
stored in the existing, hidden server-side file system that is not visible or exposed to Instructors.
Any new files added to an existing Course will be added to Course Files. For new Courses
created after the upgrade, all files will be added to Course Files.
Release 9.1 provides tools to move files from the old, hidden file system to Course Files.
If Instructors will be recreating their Course content, the content does not need to be moved.
If Instructors will be reusing their Course content from the earlier version, the content should be
moved.
Administrators and Instructors can move content for an individual Course using the user interface.
Only Administrators can move the Content for multiple Courses using the command line.
For more information, see the Course Files topics in Blackboard Help.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Files
What happens with content added to Course Files if we upgrade our Blackboard
Learn system to include the Content Collection?
If a client licenses only the Course delivery capabilities and later adds the content management
capabilities, no additional action is necessary to continue using Course Files. Because Course
Files is built on the same underlying file storage system as the Content Collection, the Course
Files directory and a Course’s Content Collection are one and the same. The Instructor will now
be able to take advantage of the full Content Collection view and the expanded Files panel
(described above).
Can you set a default “landing” directory for the file picker when launched from
Course Files?
No. The file picker defaults to the current Course Files directory.
If the content management capabilities have been licensed, administrators can change the
default directory for an individual Course by clicking Properties under Customization in the
Course Control Panel. Administrators can also change the default directory for an individual
Course or multiple Courses using a command line tool.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Navigation and Content
Course Navigation and Content
All users will enjoy an enhanced Course navigation experience as well as a number of content
enhancements. Before using the new Course environment, faculty will need to be educated on
the functions and best practices of the following features.
Feature Enhancement
 Easily Accessible Control Panel
All options in the Control Panel are now available from the main Course menu. Instructors no
longer have to navigate to a separate area of the Course to access these options.
 Presentation Options
Items in specific content areas can be displayed in “Icon View”, “Icon with Text” or “Text Only” for
increased flexibility in Course creation. This increased flexibility for content presentation allows
Instructors to build Course content areas that suit their unique pedagogical needs.
 In-line Add, Edit, and Drag and Drop
In-line actions and drag and drop results in quicker Course Menu set up and management.
Instructors no longer have to navigate to multiple areas of the Course to access these controls
and they can complete each action with fewer clicks.
 Display of Tool Links is not dependent on Tool Availability
Tool availability is no longer linked to the display of tool links in Course content areas, on tools
page or in the Course menu. Available tools can be displayed in a content area, on the tools
page, in the Course menu or in any combination of the three options. The display of the link to
Instructors (in the Edit – ON view) is independent of the availability of the tool.
 Course Module Pages
Course module pages provide the Instructor with another way to present Course related
information to Students. When building or updating a Course Instructors should keep in mind this
new page type, the kind of material that can be added to it and the personalization options
available for Students if they enable it.
 Reorganization of Course Management Actions
Course Management features, such as the Control Panel and action bars, have been reorganized to align with the day-to-day tasks performed by Instructors, increasing efficiency and
becoming more task-appropriate.
 Edit Mode for Additional Tools
Edit Mode now provides the Instructor with access to management capabilities for additional tools
such as the discussion board, calendar and announcements rather than requiring them to go to
the Control Panel.
 Hidden Content Areas
Empty content areas will be hidden from the Student view of a Course, which allows the Instructor
to build out the Course content while only displaying areas that contain information pertinent to
Students. Students will not waste time clicking on empty folders to see if it contains content.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Navigation and Content
 Dividers and Sub-Headers
Instructors now have additional organizational elements in the Course menu that enable easy
restructuring of the menu in a way that matches the presentation of the Course material.
 Notifications
Notifications enable users to access content that is new or that they need to take action on. Users
view this information and can access the content directly from the Notifications module within a
Course, through email, and if the community engagement capabilities have been licensed, from
the Notifications Dashboard.
 Tools Panel
There is no longer a separate Tools panel in the Course Menu. “Course Tools” and
“Communication Tools” have been combined into a single Tools area that appears within the
default Course Menu. This enables faculty to have more flexibility over tool management and
presentation of tools in the Course menu than previously available.
 Tool Management
Tool management for content tools, communication tools, and building block tools has been
combined into a single interface. This will improve Instructor efficiency because all the tools can
be managed from a single, easy to use area.
 Upload Content Using New Content Types
Multiple content types provide Instructors with extended flexibility when building and structuring
content within a Course. Instructors can add different types of content to a Course, including
videos and images as well as packaged content, such as IMS and SCORM. Instructors also have
numerous options for organizing this content, such as Content Folders, Lesson Plans, and
Learning Modules.
Several content types for uploading content to an area within a Course have been changed or
added:
•
Audio: This new content type provides a separate method of adding an audio file. This
content type includes fields for accessibility.
•
Image: This content type was available in Release 9.0, but the user interface for adding
this type of file has changed.
•
Video: This new content type provides a separate method of adding a video file. This
content type includes fields for accessibility.
•
URL: This content type was available in Release 9.0, but the previous name “External
Link” has been changed to “URL.”
•
Learning Module: This content type was available in Release 9.0, but it has changed to
include a hierarchical Table of Contents. For more information, see Learning Modules.
•
Lesson Plan: This new content type provides a new type of content container (similar to
a folder) that has a tabbed format to add different content items. This feature is designed
to allow Students to view content with a lesson profile and instructional objectives.
For more information, see the appropriate section for your license: Lesson Plans for
HigherEd and ProEd Clients or Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients.
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Course Delivery Features
Course Navigation and Content
•
Blank Page: This new content type provides a method to add an HTML page to a
Content Area or the Course Menu.
•
Mashups: This new content type enables Enterprise Edition clients to pull data from the
following third-party application content into Blackboard Learn: YouTube videos,
SlideShare presentations, and Flickr photos. For more information, see Mashups.
The available content types are listed in the Build area of the Action Bar when uploading content
to an area within a Course.
Feature Loss
-
Offline Content
Offline Content can no longer be added to a Course. The Offline content type will no longer be
available when uploading content.
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Course Delivery Features
Course/Organization Role Customization
Course/Organization Role Customization
Creating Custom Course/Organization Roles
Administrators can now create custom Course/Organization roles based on the standard
Course/Organization Roles that ship with Blackboard Learn. Standard and custom roles can be
made available to specific Courses and with special privileges. Custom roles inherit their parent
role privileges by default, but these privileges can be changed.
Administrators can permit or restrict the more than 100 privileges available for standard or custom
roles to best fit the needs of their institutions. As a result, users will have more granular
permissions that align more closely with what they are expected to do in Blackboard Learn.
This flexibility focuses on separating Course design privileges from teaching privileges. This is
particularly important to institutions that have strict expectations about the responsibilities of
different types of faculty and staff. For example, some institutions designate a set of users as
designers who are responsible for creating Course templates. The Courses are then passed to
another set of users whose sole purpose is to teach the Course. This capability enables such
institutions to enforce this separation of responsibilities. These privileges may, for example, allow
a school to create a Manager role that is available only in organizations and has fewer privileges
than an Instructor in a Course as well as an Assistant role that has no privileges to add or delete
content in Course.
The Snapshot tool and the Batch and GUI enrollment tools fully support custom roles.
Custom Course/Organization Roles with Community Engagement
If the community engagement capabilities have been licensed, standard and custom roles can be
made available separately to specific organizations. This allows an institution to treat Courses
and the relationship among their enrolled users differently than those in organizations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. Enterprise Edition clients have no restrictions for this feature. Basic Edition clients can
review available privileges, but they cannot create custom roles or grant or revoke privileges.
Where does this feature appear?
Administrators can configure these roles from the Administrator Panel under Users by clicking
Course/Organization Roles. Roles that can be copied to create new roles will have a Copy
option in the role’s contextual menu.
Privileges can be added from the Administrator Panel under Users by clicking
Course/Organization Roles and then clicking Privileges in the contextual menu for the role.
Can all standard roles be used to create new roles?
The following are the default roles that can be copied to make new roles:
•
Course Builder/Organization Builder
•
Grader/Grader
•
Instructor/Leader
•
Teaching Assistant/Assistant
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Course Delivery Features
Course/Organization Role Customization
Can the privileges for all standard roles be changed?
No. The privileges for the Student and Guest roles cannot be changed.
How will the Quick Enroll capability be impacted?
The Quick Enroll capability will not be impacted by any new roles created. It will continue to
function as before.
Are all privileges available to be added to Course and organization roles?
In this release, only a subset of privileges will be made available to be granted or revoked.
The following are the product areas that are impacted:
•
Course Content
•
Course Files
•
Adaptive Release
•
Standards Alignments
•
Discussion Board
•
Groups
•
Course Settings Management
•
Course Tools
Privileges associated with the Grade Center have not been made flexible. Any access that the
source role has to the Grade Center will be inherited by the derived role and cannot be changed.
How are System Roles impacted by the additional privileges?
System Roles can also be granted the new privileges that have been made available. This means
that a given user with a System Role does not have to quick enroll into a Course to get the
privileges of a particular Course role as long as they have been granted the corresponding
privileges.
Can the same Course or organization role have different capabilities based on the
Course or organization it is enrolled in?
No. Each Course or organization role has the same privileges regardless of which Course or
organization they are enrolled in. An administrator would have to create as many unique custom
roles (with their associated privileges) to cover all of the unique Course-level capabilities desired.
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Course Delivery Features
Discussions
Discussions
The function of Discussions is the same as the previous release of the product. All users will
enjoy an improved user experience.
Feature Enhancement
 Notifications
Users may receive notifications of new Discussion Board posting activity. In-system notifications,
such as in the What’s New module, include links directly to the forum.
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Course Delivery Features
Email and Messages
Email and Messages
The function of the Email and Messages tools are the same as the previous release of the
product.
Feature Enhancement
 External Emails for Observers
Instructors can select and send external emails to users with the Observer role. This allows them
to communicate with Observers who are not logged in.
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Course Delivery Features
External Links
External Links
The function of External Links is the same as the previous release of the product. All users will
enjoy an improved user experience.
Feature Enhancement
 Add External Links to the Course Menu
Instructors can manage External Links that appear in the Course menu using inline options. They
no longer have to navigate to a separate area.
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Course Delivery Features
Glossary
Glossary
The function of the Glossary is the same as the previous release of the product. All users will
enjoy an improved user experience.
Feature Enhancement
 Easier Glossary Entry
An improved workflow enables Instructors to add entries to the Glossary with more ease and
fewer mouse clicks.
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Course Delivery Features
Grade Center – Instructor Views
Grade Center – Instructor Views
The function of the Grade Center feature is the same as the previous release of the product, but a
number of Grade Center enhancements have been included in Release 9.1.
Feature Enhancement
 Grade Blogs and Journals
Journals and Blogs can now be graded for individuals and for Groups. For more information, see
Blogs and Journals.
 Rubrics for Grading and Completing Assignments
Instructors can create a Rubric to provide guidelines for grading an item. Instructors can
associate the Rubric to a grading column and view the Rubric while assigning a grade. The
Rubric needs to include how many entries will be required, the minimum length of entries, and the
grading criteria.
This feature is accessed through the Course Tools menu.
 Anonymous Grading
Instructors can grade assignment and test attempts while information identifying the Student
remains concealed. Only after the grade for the attempt has been submitted will the identity of the
Student be exposed.
The objectives of grading anonymously include creating a grading workflow that is less prone to
bias or favoritism on the part of the Instructor. It also serves as a protection for Instructors who
may be subject to a complaint of unfair grading.
The Instructor will have the option of selecting to grade anonymously before beginning the
grading process for the item. The order of the attempts is scrambled during the anonymous
grading process to address scenarios where an Instructor may have a class somewhat
memorized by alphabetic order.
This feature is accessed through the column contextual menu in the Grade Center. In addition, it
can be activated when grading by test attempt as well as when grading by question.
 Grade by Question Attempt
Question-by-question grading accommodates Instructors whose preferred workflow for
assignments and assessments is to enter grades by question for all Students as opposed to by all
questions by Student. For example, an Instructor may want to gain an overall feel for how the
class has answered an essay question by moving through all of the Students' attempts at that
question before moving to the next question. Question attempt grading also provides great
efficiency for the grading process by enabling Instructors to immediately start grading without
having to open each assessment or assignment.
This feature is accessed through the column contextual menu in Grade Center.
 Smart Views
Instructors can use Smart Views to view specific information and data as desired in the Grade
Center. The system views include viewing only Assignments, Assessments, Blogs, Discussion
Boards, or Journals. These views can be customized so that Instructors may select criteria of
categories, status types, or users.
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Course Delivery Features
Grade Center – Instructor Views
Instructors can also create custom Smart Views with different variations on these configurations.
Instructors can designate any system or custom Smart View as a favorite, which will result in it
displaying in the Control Panel. By doing this, Instructors can directly access their preferred views
from the Control Panel without having to enter the Grade Center and then select a Smart
View. By default, Smart View favorites for Assignments and Tests are available on the Control
Panel. In addition, the Full Grade Center is now accessible from the Control Panel.
Instructors can instantly manipulate the Grade Center grid display by selecting category and
status filters that have been placed on the main Grade Center page. This feature enables
Instructors to quickly view specific categories and status types, such as assignments that need to
be graded, without having to configure a Smart View.
The Smart View feature is accessed in the Manage menu of the Grade Center. After Smart Views
have been created and designated as favorites, they are accessible either through the Control
Panel or in the Smart View list under the Manage menu. The Category and Status filters are
located on the main page of the Grade Center.
 Grade Center Row Display
The Grade Center structures itself automatically to the available browser space but the user can
define a minimum number of rows to display regardless of browser size or screen resolution.
Feature Change
Action Bar Menu Items
Action Bar options have been re-organized to fall in line with the task oriented categorization of
action bars across the system. Instructors should to be informed of the changes to the action bar
menu and the increases in efficiency gained by task oriented organization and naming standards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No.
Where do these features appear in the Product?
•
Rubrics for Grading: This feature is accessed through the Course Tools menu.
•
Anonymous Grading: This feature is accessed through the column contextual menu in
the Grade Center. It also can be activated when grading attempts.
•
Grading by Question Attempt: This feature is accessed through the column contextual
menu in Grade Center.
•
Selectively View and Filter Grade Center: The Smart View feature is accessed in the
Manage menu of the Grade Center. After Smart Views have been created and
designated as favorites, they are accessible either through the Control Panel or in the
Smart View list under the Manage menu. The Category and Status filters are located on
the main page of the Grade Center.
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Course Delivery Features
Grade Center – My Grades
Grade Center – My Grades
The function of the My Grades feature is the same as the previous release of the product. Users
should be made aware of the new notifications feature.
Feature Enhancement
 Notifications of New Grades
Students will receive notifications of new or changed grades posted by the Instructor.
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Course Delivery Features
Groups
Groups
Collaboration through social interaction allows Students to share their personal experiences and
understand those of others. Working with peers as a Group enhances Student motivation by
increasing their personal involvement in the learning process. A Group area and Group tools
provide the platform for this social interaction to take place.
The Group area provides Students with a forum to meet and connect with their peers, which they
may not have in a large Course environment or through distance education. The Group tools
allow Students to communicate and collaborate effectively. The customizable space provides
Students with a sense of ownership within the Course. The new Group tools provide Instructors
with more insight into individual Student participation within Group activities. These features will
aid in creating problem-based learning exercises as well as developing constructivist learning
environments.
The Group creation options are great time savers, allowing Instructors to easily create and enroll
Students into any number of Groups at one time. Instructors also can empower Students to
create their own Groups so that they can take advantage of the robust Group tools available in
the absence of Instructor participation or if they wish to create their own study Groups.
What's New in this Release?
Instructors can create any number of Groups at once and provide default settings and description
for each Group. Students can then be automatically enrolled in those Groups, manually enrolled
at a later date, or asked to sign-up up for a Group themselves. These Groups then can be
managed collectively or individually.
Group Members can access a customizable Group area where they will communicate and
collaborate with their Group members using the Group tools available on the page. Group
assignments and notifications will be listed within the modules provided, and Group material can
be saved and authored collectively from this location. The Group area provides a one stop shop
for Group work.
Group Tools: Group members can create their own Discussion Board forums that allow them to
conduct ongoing conversations. Group members are able to Blog thoughts and ideas for the rest
of the Course to comment on or add Journal entries for private reflection within the Group. Group
members can create Tasks to track the progress of their deliverables. These tasks can be
conducted and completed by any of the members in the Group.
Building Blocks can be Group aware and made available to Groups within their Group area.
Students can create their own Groups in the absence of Instructor participation to take advantage
of the robust Group communication and collaboration tools provided. Students can provide a
description of the Group and limit the number of Students able to enroll in the Group. Instructors
always have the option of modifying or restricting access to Groups created by Students.
Instructors should be educated about the new features and best practices for using them in their
Courses.
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Course Delivery Features
Groups
Feature Enhancement
 Group Creation Options
There are more ways to create Groups with Release 9.1. Students can sign up for Groups they
would like to join. Alternatively, Instructors can create sets of related Groups and manually enroll
users or randomly distribute all Students amongst the Groups.
 Student Created Groups
Students have the ability to create their own Groups that other Students can sign up for without
any involvement by the Instructor.
 Bulk Management of Groups
Instructors can manage Groups and their properties in bulk upon Group creation.
 Quick Access to Group Areas
Students will have access to their Group area from the Groups palette in the Course Menu and
the Notifications module.
 Group Module Page
The Group area is a module page that provides access to new and existing Group modules. The
page also allows Group members to add any additional modules that will help with Group work.
 Customizable Group Area
Groups can customize their Group area to create their own space with its own look and feel.
 Group Assignments
Instructors can create Assignments to be completed by an entire Group and then give one grade
for the Group while still allowing individual grades to be overwritten. (See the Assignment feature
for additional details).
 Blogs and Journals
Groups can have their own Blog for the rest of the Course to view and comment on, or a Journal
for private communication within the Group.
 Tasks
Groups can create tasks to track the progress of the Group deliverables.
 What’s New Group Modules
Groups will have access to modules that provide Group specific data about new material and due
dates.
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Course Delivery Features
Groups
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
All Group areas can be accessed from a palette in the Course Menu. Each Group in which the
Student is enrolled will be listed.
How can Students collectively author and submit an assignment?
If a Group member saves a file to the File Exchange tool within their Group area, each of the
members will have access to that file. The Students then can use the communication tools to
collaborate. The file then can be updated by any member of the Group until it is complete. A
Group member then can attach the file to an Assignment and submit it. The submission will be
associated automatically with each member of the Group.
What is the difference between a Group and a Group Set?
A Group is a collection of Students. A Group Set is a collection of Groups. Originally, all of the
Groups within the Group Set will contain the same default settings and description. Groups within
a Group Set can then be managed in bulk or modified individually to customize the settings or
description for a specific Group.
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Course Delivery Features
Learning Modules
Learning Modules
Learning Modules from Blackboard Learn Release 9.0 has been enhanced in Release 9.1 to
incorporate the navigable table of contents available in Learning Modules in CE and Vista.
These enhancements help Instructors present material in a more meaningful and engaging way
to keep Students organized and on track with Course materials. Release 9.1 provides enhanced
capabilities for all user roles:
•
Faculty and Instructional Designers will use Learning Modules to organize and present
content to Students in their Blackboard Learn Courses. These enhancements will provide
a way to select how material is presented and how Students proceed through the
material in the most appropriate way for the content being used and how the Instructor
plans to teach.
•
Students will use Learning Modules to access Course content and navigate Learning
Module content using the Table of Contents.
Feature Enhancement
 Drag and Drop Reordering
Instructors can easily re-order content items and folders in a Learning Module using the drag and
drop feature.
 Table of Contents View
The Instructor can choose whether to present the content contained in the Learning Module in a
hierarchical, outline-style format. Using this view, a Student will be able to navigate through the
Learning Module in the manner prescribed by the Instructor. If the Table of Contents is selected,
the Instructor can also select the numbering or lettering format to be used in the Table of
Contents.
Instructors may create folders and sub-folders within Learning Modules and populate them with
content. As the Learning Module is populated, the Table of Contents will be created accordingly
and numbered or lettered automatically in the format selected by the Instructor. New content
items in Release 9.1, such as Mashups and Lesson Plans, can be incorporated into Learning
Modules.
The Table of Contents can be manipulated by Instructors and Students to accommodate
individual viewing preferences. It can be minimized and oriented on the left side or along the
bottom of the screen.
 Content Folder Structure
Instructors may create folders and sub-folders within Learning Modules and populate them with
content. As the Learning Module is populated, the Table of Contents will be created accordingly
and numbered or lettered automatically in the format selected by the Instructor. New content
items in Release 9.1, such as Mashups and Lesson Plans, can be incorporated into Learning
Modules.
 Sequential Navigation of Content
When an Instructor chooses sequential navigation, items in the Learning Module will become
viewable as users progress through the content. Without sequential navigation, all content items
in the Learning Module are viewable and users may navigate the content at will.
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Course Delivery Features
Learning Modules
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No.
Where does this feature appear?
Instructors access Learning Modules from the Build action bar button as a content creation menu
item.
Students access Learning Modules from Content Areas in the Course Menu.
Can Learning Modules contain Folders?
Yes. The only kind of content a Learning Module cannot contain is another Learning Module.
Can Learning Modules support direct file uploads?
Yes. You can upload individual files directly to Learning Modules and folders from the Create File
and Create Item pages. To upload multiple files, your must use the Create Item page.
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Course Delivery Features
Lesson Plans for HigherEd and ProEd Clients
Lesson Plans for HigherEd and ProEd Clients
The Lesson Plan feature enables Instructors and Course designers to create a structured unit
plan with distinct and customizable sections that provide a means of documenting information
such as description, learning level, delivery instructions, and so on. Lesson Plans also include
content designed for an individual unit using any type of content or tool enabled in the Course.
This feature will meet the challenge of developing unit plans and incorporating content in blended
environments where classroom Instructors use Blackboard Learn as an instructional tool in the
classroom as well as for online teaching. Another challenge that Instructors have is reducing the
time spent planning and creating materials to focus on instructional activities. As a planning tool,
the Lesson Plan feature will benefit Instructors who can centrally plan and consolidate materials
and resources. Instructors will also have a streamlined means of selectively exposing information
and resources to Students as part of the planning process.
Creating Customized Lesson Plans
Each section of a Lesson Plan can be individually renamed and reorganized however the
Instructor wishes. There is a high degree of variation in institutions as to what information and
details are required in Lesson Plans. The Lesson Plan feature has maximum flexibility to
accommodate these variations.
Controlling Visibility
The Lesson Plan feature enables Instructors to select which Lesson Plan sections are visible to
Students. This enables Instructors to include non-Student-facing instructional information (such
as instructions for delivery in the classroom, comments, suggestions for use, and so on) in the
Lesson Plan while also including Student-facing information (such as learning objectives,
materials needed, Student team assignments, and so on). In effect, Lesson Plans provide a
planning tool for Instructors and Course designers as well as a tool for organizing Student-facing
instructional materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No.
Where does this feature appear?
The user will be able to create a unit plan from any content area or content list page within a
Course or an organization.
Can the administrator change the names of the lesson sections for all users?
It is expected that institutions may have specific terminology used in lesson plans and
instructional materials. As with any text within Blackboard Learn, system administrators can use
the language pack editor to change the pre-defined unit plan sections and provide Instructors
familiar section titles. Changes made within the language pack will apply to all instances of the
Lesson Plan feature. For more information about the language pack editor, see Working with
Language Packs available on Behind the Blackboard.
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Course Delivery Features
Lesson Plans for HigherEd and ProEd Clients
Can the administrator define templates for lessons?
Release 9.1 does not provide an explicit template tool as part of the Lesson Plan. However,
Instructors or Course designers may create shells by constructing Lesson Plans with the
appropriate sections, section titles, and organization, and then use the Course or item copy
functionality to reuse the defined format and structure for additional Lesson Plans within this or
other Courses. These pre-defined lesson plans could be included by default in a Course shell.
Can I copy a lesson?
Lesson plans, their included content items, and all standards alignments will be maintained during
a full Course copy, Course archive, or Course export operation. In addition, Instructors can share
individual or groups of Lesson Plans with colleagues. Although there is no explicit export feature
for individual Lesson Plans, the Course export operation can be used to accomplish this task. To
do so, create Content Areas containing one or more Lesson Plans, use the Course export
operation to export those Content Areas, and then upload the resulting .ZIP packages into
another Course or email the packages to other teachers with whom you want to share resources.
Content that is owned by the Lesson Plan as well as all standards alignments will be included in
the export. Links to content not explicitly owned by the Lesson Plan (such as Assignments, Tests,
Surveys, and content linked using Course links) will be included, but the original content items will
not. If the referenced content items do not exist in the destination Course, the links will be broken
and the content will need to be recreated.
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Course Delivery Features
Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients
Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients
The Lesson Plan feature enables teachers to create a structured lesson plan with distinct and
customizable sections that provide a means of documenting information such as description,
grade level, delivery instructions, and so on. Teachers may also incorporate any kind of content
type or tool enabled in the Course within an individual lesson.
Developing Lesson Plans and integrating them into the instructional process has traditionally
been a time consuming, paper-based exercise. The Lesson Plan feature will meet the challenge
of developing Lesson Plans and incorporating content in blended environments where classroom
teachers use Blackboard Learn as an instructional tool in the classroom as well as for online
teaching. Another challenge teachers have is reducing the time spent planning and creating
materials to focus on instructional activities. As a planning tool, the Lesson Plan feature will
benefit teachers who can centrally plan and consolidate materials and resources. Teachers will
also have a streamlined means of selectively exposing information and resources to Students as
part of the planning process.
Creating Customized Lesson Plans
Each section of a Lesson Plan can be individually renamed and reorganized by the teacher.
There is a high degree of discrepancy in schools, school districts, and states as to what
information and details are required in lesson plans. The Lesson Plan feature has maximum
flexibility to accommodate these variations.
Controlling Visibility
The Lesson Plan feature enables teachers to select which Lesson Plan sections are visible to
Students. This provides a means for teachers to include non-Student-facing instructional
information (such as instructions for delivery in the classroom, comments, suggestions for use,
and so on) in the Lesson Plan while also including Student-facing information (such as learning
objectives, materials needed, Student team assignments, and so on). In effect, the Lesson Plan
feature provides a planning tool for teachers, curriculum specialists, and Course designers as
well as a tool for organizing Student-facing lessons and instructional materials.
Aligning Content to Learning Standards
Lesson Plan content items may be aligned to learning standards. Content built inside the Lesson
Plan can also be aligned to standards independently from the Lesson Plan. There is no
correlation or transfer of standards alignment of the Lesson Plan and its content. Each must be
individually aligned. For more information about Standards Alignment, see Standards Alignment
for K-12 Clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. Aligning content to learning standards requires a Blackboard Learn for K-12 license.
Where does this feature appear?
The user will be able to create a Lesson Plan from any content area or content list page within a
Course or an organization.
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Course Delivery Features
Lesson Plans for K-12 Clients
Can the administrator change the names of the lesson sections for all users?
It is expected that school districts and institutions may have specific terminology used in Lesson
Plans and instructional materials. As with any text within Blackboard Learn, system administrators
can use the language pack editor to change the pre-defined Lesson Plan sections and provide
teachers familiar section titles. Changes made within the language pack will apply to all instances
of the Lesson Plan feature. For more information about the language pack editor, see Working
with Language Packs available on Behind the Blackboard.
Can the administrator define templates for lessons?
Release 9.1 does not provide an explicit template tool as part of the Lesson Plan. However,
teachers or curriculum specialists may create shells by constructing Lesson Plan s with the
appropriate sections, section titles, and organization, and then use the Course or item copy
functionality to reuse the defined format and structure for additional Lesson Plans within this or
other Courses. These pre-defined lesson plans could be included by default in a Course shell.
Can I copy a lesson?
Lesson plans, their included content items, and all standards alignments will be maintained during
a full Course copy, Course archive, or Course export operation. In addition, K-12 teachers and
curriculum specialists can share individual or groups of Lesson Plans with colleagues. Although
there is no explicit export feature for individual Lesson Plans, the Course export operation can be
used to accomplish this task. To do so, create Content Areas containing one or more Lesson
Plans, use the Course export operation to export those Content Areas, and then upload the
resulting .ZIP packages into another Course or email the packages to other teachers with whom
you want to share resources.
Content that is owned by the Lesson Plan as well as all standards alignments will be included in
the export. Links to content not explicitly owned by the Lesson Plan (such as Assignments, Tests,
Surveys, and content linked using Course links) will be included, but the original content items will
not. If the referenced content items do not exist in the destination Course, the links will be broken
and the content will need to be recreated.
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Course Delivery Features
Mashups
Mashups
Increasingly, sites and services on the Web offer the means for end-users to consume and re-use
the site’s content outside of the site itself. In Web 2.0 applications, the term “Mashup” refers to
displaying data from one third-party application in another application. For example, a real estate
listing service that maps the homes-for-sale listing data onto Google Maps.
In educational settings, this ability to consume and re-use external content offers the opportunity
for Instructors to incorporate content generated and hosted elsewhere into instructional or
learning activities.
The new Mashup integrations with popular services allow Instructors and Students to discover,
select, and embed content from those services without ever leaving the Blackboard Learn
interface. This provides a seamless, easy-to-use experience that does not require the user to
jump between Blackboard Learn and other sites or to have any particular knowledge about or
comfort with HTML codes.
The Mashup tools, which are delivered as Building Blocks, are available by default. As long as a
Mashup tool remains available, Instructors can add that Mashup type anywhere in a Course and
Students can add Mashups anywhere the text editor is available to them, such as when creating
Discussion Board or Blog posts.
Uploading Mashups Content
This release supports the uploading of Mashups content from the following third-party services:
•
YouTube: YouTube enables users to share videos.
•
Flickr: Flickr enables users to share photos.
•
SlideShare: SlideShare enables users to share presentations.
Building Block Developers can also take advantage of new APIs to create their own Mashup
integrations.
Filtering YouTube Content
Administrators can configure the YouTube Mashup to filter out videos that have been flagged as
inappropriate by YouTube users. This setting can be especially useful for K-12 clients.
Note
Because YouTube users flag content based on their perceptions, inappropriate content
may still appear in search results even when this option is enabled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. Uploading Mashups content requires an Enterprise Edition license. Basic Edition clients
cannot upload Mashup content.
Where does this feature appear?
Users can add Mashup content using the action bar menu in content areas or through the text
editor (VTBE).
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Course Delivery Features
Mashups
The action bar item is available only to Course roles with the ability to add content to a content
area. Each individual Mashup will have its own content handler under the main Build Content
action bar button. Clicking this button presents a drop-down to choose the specific type of
Mashup.
The VTBE action is available to all users anywhere that a VTBE is displayed, as long as the third
row of buttons has been enabled.
If created from the action bar, Mashup content will appear as its own content item. If created
through the VTBE, Mashup content will appear within a content item.
System Administrators manage Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel under Building
Blocks by clicking Building Blocks and then clicking Installed Tools.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
This feature introduces new search, select, and embed workflows for third-party content. It does
not change any existing workflows.
Can anything be a Mashup?
No. Mashups are not automatic. A developer has to create a Mashup building block to pull the
third-party service's content into Blackboard Learn. Also, not all services have APIs that allow that
sort of integration to occur.
Why didn't Blackboard build a Mashup with _____________?
For this release, Blackboard targeted stable, free, web-based services that focus on sharing user
generated content. Mashups may be possible with other types of services, but the goal was to
provide an easy and effective way to incorporate user-generated content from these services into
Blackboard Learn.
In addition, not all services allow for use of their public APIs in commercial products.
Can we build our own Mashups?
Yes. The APIs necessary to take advantage of the Mashups deployment points in the action bar
and VTBE and the Mashups framework are available as part of the Release 9.1 Building Blocks
APIs. For more information, see http://www.blackboard.com/Support/Extensions.aspx.
Will Blackboard build more Mashups with other services?
Blackboard may build additional Mashups, but the hope is that the client base will be proactive in
creating new Mashups using the Building Blocks APIs.
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Course Delivery Features
My Places
My Places
My Places is an expansion of a best-of-breed tool from the CE product line that provides the user
with quick and easy navigation to a variety of places within Blackboard Learn. It is always one
click away in the top frame, and contains a customizable set of links to frequently accessed
information as well as tools to personalize a user's own experience. All users should be educated
about the new features.
Feature Enhancement
 One Click Access to Common Links and Preferences
Users can navigate to commonly accessed places within the system, such as Courses they teach
or participate in, without having to return to a common starting point.
 Customizable List of Commonly Accessed Links
Users can define which links are displayed in My Places. These may include Courses,
Organizations, Bookmarks, and Outcomes Places. The types of links available depend on the
institution’s Blackboard licenses.
All users can choose to display a list of Courses and organizations that have been accessed in
the last [X] number of days. The value for [X] is 30 by default but can be changed by the user.
If the content management capabilities have been licensed, users can also choose to display a
list of their Content Collection bookmarks (taken directly from the list of book marks in Content
Collection).
If the outcomes assessment capabilities have been licensed, users can also choose to display a
list of Place affiliations.
If the community engagement capabilities have been licensed, users will have a link to the
Notifications Dashboard if it is enabled.
All System Administrators will have a direct link to the Administrator Panel from My Places.
 Manage Notifications Settings
From My Places, users will be able to manage notification settings for all Courses and
organizations they are enrolled in as well as other personal and privacy settings including
updating their name, address and contact information, determining what information is public,
who can view it, and who can email them.
 Personal Avatar Image
Avatars are a personal image which can be used to represent the user throughout their online
experience. Administrators can enable avatars on the system and either allow a user to upload an
image of their choice or select an institution approved image to display. Avatars are displayed in
My Places, Blogs, Journals, and within Notification Modules including: What's New, Needs
Attention, To Do, and Alerts. Users will have quick access to accessibility options including how
to enable the Blackboard interface to display according to operating system settings for high
contrast and how to increase the browser font size. If avatars are enabled by the System
Administrator, the additional function will include policies for image selection and upload.
 Quick Access to Personal Settings
Users can access personal settings such as email and privacy settings in one click, no matter
where they are in the system.
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Course Delivery Features
My Places
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. Content Collection bookmarks will be available for display in My Places only if the content
management capabilities have been licensed.
Links to Outcomes Places will be available for display in My Places only if the outcomes
assessment capabilities have been licensed.
Organization links and the link to the Notifications Dashboard will be available for display in My
Places only if the community engagement capabilities have been licensed.
Where does this feature appear?
All users will access My Places from a direct link in the top frame. Administrators can manage
avatars from the Tools and Utilities section of the Administrator Panel.
Are there changes to existing workflows?
My Places contains all of the links that are also available through Personal Information. Direct
access to the Personal Information tool is still available from the Tools module.
What does the System Administrator need to know about Avatars?
Avatars can be enabled or disabled by the system administrator at any time, for the entire
system.
If enabled, the administrator has the option to allow users to upload their own image or select
from a system approved image.
User-uploaded images do not go through any approval or moderation process, but they are
stored in a specific file system location and the avatar file name contains the user's user ID, so
files can be deleted or otherwise managed as needed.
If the administrator opts to have users choose a system approved image, the admin will need to
upload the set of images to the Blackboard system and define the location in the settings pages
for Avatars.
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Course Delivery Features
Notifications
Notifications
Notifications recognizes that Instructors do not live in Blackboard and delivers their Course
information to them via email in a format that draws them back into Blackboard to view or act
upon the Notification.
Notifications provide an excellent reference point for Instructors to keep abreast of their Students'
Course related activities on a daily basis. Combined with the Early Warning System, Notifications
give Instructors insight into which Students may be at risk and provides a mechanism for
communication with their Students.
The customization of Notifications gives users increased control over their experience within
Blackboard and provides a way for System Administrators to decide which aspects of the
Notifications system they will provide to their users.
What's New in this Release for Instructors?
Blackboard Learn provides timely and actionable Notifications of Instructor's Course information,
including when new content becomes available, when Students meet Early Warning System rules
criteria and when Student submitted assignments and tests are available for grading. Notifications
are displayed in modules within Blackboard Learn and are delivered by email, either as individual
email notes or as a daily Notifications digest.
While not new to Blackboard Learn, Instructors should consider several things when creating
Course content to take full advantage of Notifications:
•
Content Availability, which can be controlled by the Display As Of dates in the content
properties
•
Adaptive Release rules, which will be respected by Notifications
•
Early Warning System rules
The user experience is much improved with this centralized view of Course related activity. If the
community engagement capabilities have been licensed, Instructors are no longer required to
keep track of their Students' activities inside each Course. Instead, they will have easy access to
notifications across all of their Courses. The format of the display automatically segments by
urgency, further automating the process of determining which of the multitude of events require
immediate attention, or which can be deferred.
What's New in this Release for Students?
Blackboard Learn provides timely and actionable Notifications of Student's Course information,
including when new content becomes available and Due Dates of Assignments and Tests.
Notifications are displayed in modules within Blackboard Learn and are delivered by email, either
as individual email notes or as a daily Notifications digest.
Notifications will make Students' online learning experience much nicer. Instead of hunting
around for all of their new content and wondering when Assignments and Tests are due, this
information will be given to them in an easily consumable format. Using the context menu to
navigate to the appropriate action page (that is, Assignment Due notification will take the Student
to the Submit Assignment page and Survey Available notification will take the Student to the
Survey), Students will have a more intuitive way to navigate Blackboard Learn.
If the community engagement capabilities have been licensed, the To Do List on the Notifications
Dashboard gives Students a single source of all of their upcoming Due Dates, allowing for more
efficient management of their time.
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Course Delivery Features
Notifications
What's New in this Release for Administrators?
Release 9.1 provides timely Notifications of what is happening in the user's Courses, including
newly available content and surveys as well as assignment and test due dates.
The Notifications subsystem can be customized on several different levels:
•
User-level personalization of Notifications
•
System-wide settings, including general availability of Notifications
•
Default Notifications settings that affect newly created Courses and organizations
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on license?
All Blackboard Learn licenses provide on-line Notifications within Courses and through email.
The community engagement capabilities provide an additional Notifications Dashboard, which
shows Students a roll-up of their Notifications across all of their Courses and Organizations.
Where does this feature appear?
Notifications modules can be made role-specific and can reside on any Modules page in the
system. By default they appear on the Home Page within Courses and, if the community
engagement capabilities have been licensed, on the Notifications Dashboard tab of My Institution.
Four Notifications modules are available to users:
•
To Do List shows future due dates as well as any due dates they may have missed.
•
What's New shows all Course content as it becomes available and any unread posts to
Discussion Boards, Blogs, and Journals.
•
Needs Attention shows Student submissions that are ready for grading. This is an
excellent place for Instructors to get a sense of what needs to be done today.
•
Alerts show Students who have not submitted work as of its due date and Early Warning
System rules. It provides a good sense of which Students may be falling behind in their
Course work.
Students can access their Notifications Settings through a button on each of the Notifications
modules and through My Places. Students can choose, on a Course-by-Course basis, which
types of Notifications they want to receive and whether they want to receive Notifications by
email.
Administrators can access the various notifications settings from the Administrator Panel.
For Course administrative settings, under Courses, click Course Settings. For Organization
administrative settings, under Organizations, click Organization Settings. Administrators can
access the general notification settings from the Administrator Panel under Tools and Utilities by
clicking Notifications.
Are there any changes to existing workflows?
The What's New module has been removed in favor of Notifications module.
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Course Delivery Features
Notifications
How do Instructors create Notifications and when will Students receive
Notifications?
Most Notifications are tied directly to the creation of Course content. When creating Course
content, Instructors can control the delivery of Notifications in several ways:
•
Display As Of date range: Content Availability Notifications will be sent to Students
based on these dates. If there are no Display As Of dates on the item, Notifications will
be delivered immediately.
•
Adaptive Release Rules: Any content that is subject to Adaptive Release rules will send
Notifications to the appropriate Students if and when they meet the criteria of the
Adaptive Release rules.
•
Announcements: When creating Announcements, email Notifications can be forced to
Students by email, regardless of what personalization settings the Student may have.
This is an excellent way to send emergency Notifications, such as when a class is
canceled.
Some Notifications are created by the actions of Students, as when a Student submits an
Assignment or Survey, or when posts are made to Discussion Board forums, Blogs, and Journals.
How can Students use Notifications to take action?
Notifications, both on-line and in email, include links to pages where Students can take
appropriate actions. For instance, Notifications for unread Discussion Board postings contain
links to the Course Discussion Board and Notifications for Submitted Assignments contain links to
the Assignment Submission page. Most Notifications also provide a quick way to send an email to
the Instructor or Course Group members pertinent to that Notification.
Many Instructors use Announcements as a way to notify Students when
Assignments are due. Do Announcements generate Notifications to Students?
Students will receive Notifications when Course Announcements become available to them.
However, Instructors will discover that Students are also receiving Notifications when
Assignments become available and are due and will quickly learn they can rely on Notifications to
keep Students up to date.
How can Instructors take advantage of Notifications to determine at-risk
Students?
The Alerts module displays information about which Students that may be at risk. For example, if
a Student misses a Due Date for an Assignment, a Passed Due Notification displays in the Alerts
Module.
The Alerts module also displays Early Warning System rules created by the Instructor. The Early
Warning System is an excellent way to search for at risk behaviors. Rules can be created based
on a Student's last access to the Course, on specific Grade Center columns or on specific Due
Dates. Once a day, these rules will collect the latest information about which Students meet the
rule criteria. Results of Early Warning System rules are displayed in the Alerts module.
How can Instructors communicate with Students?
Each Notification has a contextual menu. For many types of Notification this menu provides,
among other actions, a quick way to communicate with Students or Groups by email.
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Course Delivery Features
Notifications
How can Instructors track Course activity on a daily basis?
The Needs Attention module displays all Student Submissions that are ready to be graded. Not
only can Instructors easily see which Students have submitted each assignment, they can use
the Notifications' context menu to navigate directly to the submission page where they can view
and grade the submission. Submission Notifications even tell the Instructors if a submission came
in after the due date.
The To Do List shows the due dates of Assignments and Tests. What if a Student
wants a few days advanced notice?
Students can set up Reminders by email for Due Date Notifications by defining how many days in
advance they would like to receive them.
Are Notifications only for Course content?
Notifications cover Course and Organization content, but not System Announcements. Students
can have different personalization settings for each of their Courses and organizations.
How do Students receive email Notifications?
Email Notifications are turned off by default. If the System Administrator has turned on email
Notification, Students can select which types of Notifications they would like to receive in email
form.
Students can also elect to have their email Notifications come individually (one email note per
notifications) or as a daily digest of all new Notifications.
Is the Notifications System enabled by default?
No. The System Administrator will need to turn on Notifications before any Course/Organization
Notification data will be collected.
The Notifications System is on and users receive Online Notifications, but are not
receiving Email Notifications. Why?
Email is turned off by default on the user level as well. The System Administrator can turn on
email Notifications to give users the ability to choose if they want individual email or a daily digest
of their notifications. However, users still need to opt-in to email notifications by editing their
Notifications Settings.
Is there a way to clear out old, unneeded notifications?
Many Notifications have known life cycles. For example, an Assignment Due Date Notification will
be removed from your display once you have submitted the Assignment.
Others, such as new Content Available Notifications do not have an obvious life cycle. These
Notifications can be removed, individually or en mass, using the Dismiss option from a context
menu.
When Students personalize their Notifications via Edit Notifications Settings, they can also set up
an Aging option, which will automatically dismiss older Notifications. Due Date Notifications are
not dismissed by this setting.
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Course Delivery Features
Notifications
Both the System Administrator and individual users can control how long to keep old notifications:
•
The System Administrator can set the number of days in which to retain Notifications.
This is a good way to clear out Notifications from previous semesters.
•
Individual users can choose to dismiss their older notifications by setting their own
number of days to retain them. However, a user's setting cannot exceed that of the
System Administrator.
Based on these settings, Notifications that are not Due Date specific will be deleted X number of
days after creation. Also, any Notification can be dismissed (removed from the users display)
manually.
Will too many Notifications pose performance concerns?
Notifications will increase overall load on system, particularly just prior to and early in the
semester when Course content, and therefore the Notifications, are being created. After the
semester gets underway, expect online performance issues to be limited to a bit of a hesitation
when loading pages where the Notifications modules reside.
What options are available to ensure performance?
Administrators can turn off email Notifications all together. They can also force users to get their
email Notifications as a daily digest. There is a setting that determines when digest email
Notifications are processed. This can be set to a low usage time of day to alleviate some of the
pressure on the server. Finally, the display of notifications is cached and the each module
indicates when the data was last refreshed. Users can choose to manually refresh any time or let
the system refresh the display at regular intervals (the default interval is 30 minutes).
What can users modify?
Users can decide on a Course-by-Course, Organization-by-Organization basis which types of
Notifications they want to receive and whether or not they want to receive them by email.
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Course Delivery Features
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
K-12 instruction is based on meeting standards of learning that are determined at the state level.
Districts engage in a complex process of associating curriculum resources, lesson plans, and
assessment items with specific state standards to ensure that instructional programs (Course,
Unit, and Lesson Plans) are in alignment with those standards. Although state learning standards
are unique from state to state, there is considerable overlap. Also, standards are hierarchical in
nature. That is, each state learning standard has two or more levels of description. In practice,
most alignment happens at the deepest level, but this relationship rolls up to inform general
alignment at all levels.
The problems encountered by teachers and administrators include time consuming and error
prone processes, constrained collaboration because of voluminous paper-based resources and
materials, and limited use of web-based and electronic tools.
The problems are exacerbated because state standards change periodically and realignment is
often necessary. Districts create their own scope and sequence for teaching to the standards and
often identify “power standards” to emphasize priority based on instructional programs and
alignment. They must establish a relative priority and consistency must be maintained through
standards changes.
Schools and institutions are challenged by not having data available to assist with guiding
instructional resource development. Curriculum and instructional resources are often dispersed
and inconsistently maintained thereby making it difficult to accurately assess what materials are
available and how those materials support the learning of specific standards.
Release 9.1 includes a number of new features that enable learning standards to be incorporated
into Blackboard Learn Courses and ultimately to align Course content with specific standards.
This is part of an overall effort to support standards-based learning within the Blackboard Learn
environment. The following sections describe the major components of this effort.
For more information than is included in this document, see Standards and Alignments for K-12
available on Behind the Blackboard.
Importing Standards into Blackboard Courses
All published Learning Standards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be available
for use in Release 9.1. The System Administrator can download the desired Standards from
Behind the Blackboard and import them into Blackboard Learn.
Curriculum specialists with system administration privileges can import state learning standard
documents into Blackboard Learn and make the standards available at the Course level for the
purposes of content alignment. The standards are presented in the system in a structured
manner that uses each state’s language, numbering schema, and organizational framework to
maintain familiarity to users.
Curriculum specialists can associate specific Courses to a set of learning standards so that
during the content alignment process, users may have starting points of standards commonly
associated with content used in those specific Courses. This does not limit users in any way to
what standards can be aligned within a Course.
Aligning Content to Standards
Curriculum specialists and teachers can browse and search for standards that have been
imported into Blackboard Learn. Content items within their Courses or organizations can be
specifically aligned to one or multiple standards. Users may also align Grade Center columns
individually to standards.
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Course Delivery Features
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
Updating Standards
When users download a new version of any standards document from Behind the Blackboard, it
includes a map between the previous version and the current version. This significantly reduces
the time spent comparing standards and understanding what has changed.
In addition, a user can create a map between any two standards documents that exist in
Blackboard Learn. This enables users to map state standards to national standards and
standards from one state to those in any other state that has been imported. Additionally, users
can create cross-discipline maps for areas of study that may fall in science and math, for
example.
Running Standards Coverage Reports
The data contained in the Standards Coverage Reports help teachers, curriculum specialists, and
district administrators to focus curriculum development efforts. This data shows Course content
alignments and helps identify gaps in coverage of standards.
Administrators can run a number of reports from the Standards Documents pages on the
Administrator Panel that show content alignments for standards across all Courses, all available
Courses, or all unavailable Courses. These reports include:
•
Full Standards Coverage Overview: This report shows coverage across all imported
standards for a specific state and document type showing both Covered standards and
Gaps in coverage.
•
Discipline Coverage Overview: This report shows coverage overview of standards for a
specific discipline broken out across all its learning levels, such as Math 2004 for
Grade 5.
•
Learning Level Coverage Detail: This report shows detailed coverage information for
the standards within a specific Learning Level, such as for Grade 5.
•
Learning Standard Coverage Detail: This report shows detailed coverage information
for a single standard within Blackboard Learn.
In addition, teachers can run a Course Coverage Detail report from the Evaluation section of the
Course Control Panel that shows detailed coverage information for a single Course.
Creating Custom Standards
Many school districts and institutions incorporate their own learning standards into their
respective states’ published standards to enhance or extend the state standards and define
learning goals and objectives that exceed state expectations of Student learning. With the K-12
Standards feature, school district administrators can create custom standard line items that are
integrated into their respective state learning standards.
Note
Release 9.1 does not include the functionality to enable a district to create custom sets of
standards.
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Course Delivery Features
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on license level?
The Standards Alignment feature requires a Blackboard Learn for K-12 license.
Where does this feature appear?
System Administrators download the desired Standards from Behind the Blackboard and import
them into Blackboard Learn.
System Administrators manage standards availability, active/inactive status, Course association,
and document mapping from the Administrator Panel under Tools and Utilities by clicking
Standards Documents.
Instructors and Course designers align content using content contextual menus and column
contextual menus in the Grade Center.
Am I allowed to have standards from other states installed on my Blackboard
Learn system?
Yes. All published Learning Standards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be
available for use in Release 9.1. System Administrators can download the desired Standards
from Behind the Blackboard and import them into Blackboard Learn. There are no limitations on
the standards that can be downloaded providing districts and institutions with the ability to
integrate standards from multiple states into a single Blackboard Learn environment.
Can I report against performance metrics from my standards alignments?
In Release 9.1, the focus is on integrating the standards with the content created within the
Course and allowing both teachers and district administrators to review standards coverage data
for a single Course or across multiple Courses. Reports focusing on performance against the
state standards are not available in Release 9.1, but the foundation for this kind reporting has
been provided. Performance data is available in the Grade Center (in which columns can be
explicitly aligned to state standards), the Early Warning System, the Assessment Statistics
reports, and the Performance Dashboard.
Blackboard is continuing to investigate standards performance reporting and the specific needs
surrounding it for possible inclusion in a future release. The Blackboard reporting framework also
provides the ability for custom report development and can be leveraged to develop additional
reports to address specific reporting needs you may have.
Is there any additional cost for getting state standards into my Blackboard Learn
system?
No. There are no additional fees for downloading any of the standards available on Behind the
Blackboard. All state standards are included in the current Blackboard Learn license fee.
Can I share already aligned content with other schools or districts?
Yes. Alignments can be optionally included in any Course copy, Course export, or Course import
operation provided that the specific content items have also been included. All content alignments
are automatically included in any Course archive or Course restore operation. The visibility of
imported or restored alignments depends on the availability of the appropriate state standards in
the destination system.
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Course Delivery Features
Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients
Can my district develop its own set of standards?
Custom standards line items may be authored and incorporated into the existing state standards
framework. There is no capability for creating and incorporating an entirely new set of standards
within Blackboard Learn.
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Course Delivery Features
System-Wide Changes
System-Wide Changes
All users will enjoy a number of changes in Blackboard which impact the entire system.
Feature Enhancement
 Embedded Help
Embedded help throughout Blackboard helps users with and without disabilities access the
features of Blackboard easily. The personal setting to hide or show help until the user chooses to
call upon it again helps users from both perspectives: it removes text from the application that
may be distracting, or it adds text to the application that helps them without forcing them to leave
what they are doing. Institutions also have the option to customize this help text to meet their
specific needs.
 New User Interface Design
Users will enjoy not only a new look, but advanced user interface functionality such as drag and
drop, inline edit capabilities and consolidated page layouts.
 Inline Confirmations Everywhere
Instead of separate receipt pages, inline confirmations are used throughout the system for more
seamless workflows.
 Fewer Clicks Everywhere
Users will enjoy using fewer clicks to navigate the system and complete tasks.
Feature Loss
-
Electric Blackboard
Now Students can use Journals to complete these same tasks —it is also much more fully
featured than the Electric Blackboard tool. For more information, see Blogs and Journals.
-
Digital Dropbox
The more robust Assignments tool and the Group File Exchange feature meets the needs of
individual users and Groups for completing and managing Course work. These functions made
the Digital Drop Box obsolete. For more information, see Assignments.
-
Student Homepages
Student homepages are no longer needed because the new Blogs tool enables Students to
express their thoughts and reflect on learning within a Course and the My Places tool allows
Student to post their avatar system-wide (instead of limited to the Course environment) and
includes additional functionality and a customizable set of links to frequently accessed information
as well as tools to personalize a user's own experience. For more information, see Blogs and
Journals.
-
eCommerce
This add-on product line is no longer available with Blackboard Learn.
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Course Delivery Features
-
System-Wide Changes
Offline Content
Offline Content can no longer be added to a Course. The Offline content type will no longer be
available when uploading content. For more information about available Content Types, see
Course Navigation and Content.
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Course Delivery Features
System Administration
System Administration
Administrators will find that there have been a number of changes to the administrative tools
available in previous releases of Blackboard. New features include a smart user interface that
only shows the features available to the user and an overall reorganization of the Administrator
Panel for easier access to features.
Feature Enhancement
 Administrator Panel Personalization
Users can drag and drop modules on the Administrator Panel to personalize it for their needs
 Users See Only the Options Available
Users will only see those options that are available to them in the Administrator Panel. Options
that are not available based on license and permissions do not appear.
Feature Change
Administrator Panel Organization
The Administrator Panel is streamlined with intuitive placement of like settings and tasks.
Outcomes Assessment Privileges Do Not Appear by Default
Privileges related to Outcomes do not appear in the Privileges management area unless the
outcomes assessment capabilities have been licensed.
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Course Delivery Features
Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools
Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools
In Release 9.1, Instructors and Course Builders have expanded question management
capabilities available for use when creating Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools. These changes
allow for more centralized control over question content and reduce the amount of time required
to make global edits.
Feature Enhancement
 Question Finder
Instructors and Course Builders have a new interface from which to discover questions.
Instructors and Course Builders can create Tests, Surveys, and Pools by reusing questions that
have been collected in the Question Finder repository. The list of questions available under “Find
Questions” can be filtered by Test, Survey, or Pool, or by such attributes as question type,
category, topic, or level of difficulty. As the user selects these attributes, the list of questions
updates dynamically. The filtering capability is further enhanced by a search capability, which
allows the user to refine the filtered list.
The discovery process is also aided by a new section in the user interface that acts as a staging
area for questions. The user can peruse and select or deselect as many questions as they want.
When they are finished, this collapsible staging area will contain their selected questions. The
staging area allows users to keep track of how many questions they have selected.
 Link to Questions
Instructors and Course Builders can choose to link to or copy questions from any Test, Survey, or
Pool within a Course. Linking to a question ensures that any changes to the original question are
reflected in all links. Copying a question creates a separate question that is not affected by
changes to the original question. Questions can be copied between Courses, but they cannot be
linked across Courses.
 Question Sets
In addition to Random Blocks, Instructors can use Question Sets to randomly select a set number
of questions to appear on a Test that are pulled from a specific group of questions selected by the
Instructor. Instructors can select to include questions from one or more existing Tests and Pools.
From this set, the Instructor specifies how many questions to display on the Test. The specific
questions displayed are chosen randomly each time the Test is taken. This provides Instructors
and Course Builders with a better idea of what will be displayed to Students than when using
Random Blocks. This will make it easier to review the appropriateness of questions and help
reduce the need to recreate Question Sets.

Random Block Improvements
The process to create or edit Random Blocks includes more capabilities.
 Batch Deletion and Point Updates
Instructors and Course Builders can perform basic actions such as question deletion and point
updates as batch actions, which can be targeted by question type. Users can update points for
individual questions as well as points per question and number of questions to display for
Random Blocks or Question Sets directly from the Canvas page. Taken together, these changes
improve Instructor productivity and allow them to edit tests in less time.
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Course Delivery Features
Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools
 Copy Test, Surveys, and Pools
Instructors and Course Builders can now copy a Test, Survey, or Pool directly from the List page.
This addresses a common scenario in which an Instructor needs to provide a pre-test and posttest and needs to create two assessments that have more or less the same form. This capability
also allows users to easily create new, smaller pools that contain a subset of questions of a larger
pool. It is a much faster way to create similar tests compared to the import feature, which requires
more steps.
 Reorder Questions
Instructors and Course Builders can change the order of questions in a test or survey using the
new drag and drop feature.
 Fewer Clicks in All Workflows
Instructors and Course Builders will enjoy more efficient workflows with fewer clicks for creating,
managing, and deploying tests and surveys.
Feature Loss
-
Files Cannot Be Attached to Assignments from the Content Collection
Instructors cannot attach files from the Content Collection to Assignments. These files can be
downloaded from the Content Collection to the Instructor’s local desktop and attached to
Assignments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
No.
Where do these features appear?
The Question Finder interface can be accessed from the Canvas page for a Test, Survey, or
Pool. For example, [Course Name] > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests >
Test Canvas: [Test Name].
Questions Sets can be created and questions can be added from the task bar of the Canvas
page. Click Reuse Question and then select the Create Question Set option or the Find
Questions option. Both options will display the new Question Finder interface.
How has the question discovery and revision workflow been changed?
The process to discover and update questions that will be added to a Test, Survey, or Pool has
been consolidated. The user is able to perform these tasks either directly on the Canvas page for
the Test, Survey, or Pool, or at most only one more click away. Previously, the user had to
navigate through several pages to perform the same task.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Text Editor
Text Editor
The user experience has improved and the Text Editor includes several enhancements.
Feature Enhancement
 Accessibility improvements
Users requiring assistive technology can easily and quickly access the text area of the Text
Editor.
 Availability
The Text Editor is now available in more areas of Courses.
 HTML Markup Validation
Users can quickly run a check against the HTML markup included in the Text Editor to ensure
accuracy.
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Course Delivery Features
Textbook
Textbook
A new button is available in a Content Area that enables Instructors to add a textbook to a
Course. Instructors can manually add textbook information to the Course, or they can locate
Textbooks in an external source, searching by title, author, subject, and ISBN.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Tracking Reports
Tracking Reports
The usability of the Tracking Reports feature has been greatly improved in Release 9.1. Please
note that this feature was formerly referred to as Course Statistics.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
Web Services and Proxy Tools
Web Services and Proxy Tools
Feature Enhancement
 Web Services Administration
Clients moving to Release 9.1 will be able to administer a set of Web Services across all nodes of
their system from a single interface, including granular access control (per-service, per-tool, peroperation, and by access IP address or range). The Web Services Administrator Panel allows
Administrators to upload new web services (.jar files) and delete previously uploaded web
services.
In Release 9.1, a number of web services have been created, including web services to:
•
Retrieve and manage announcements, including system, Course, and organization
announcements.
•
Retrieve and manage calendar items, including Course, institution, and user calendar
items.
•
Retrieve and manage content, including files, links, and tables of content.
•
Retrieve and manage Courses, organizations, Groups, Course categories, and Course
cartridges.
•
Modify Course membership, Group membership, and Course roles.
•
Retrieve and modify user information, system roles, institution roles, address book
entries, and observer information.
•
Retrieve and modify grade book columns, assignment attempts, and assignment grades.
Note
Release 9.0 had an experimental grade book web service. In Release 9.1, this
web service is now official. The 9.1 web service is not backward-compatible with
the 9.0 web service.
 Web Service Code Samples Published for Java and .NET
Developers can now download sample code in Java and .NET from the Proxy Tools link on the
Administrator Panel. These code samples will help developers, especially .NET developers who
can no longer use .NET APIs and Building Blocks, understand how to use the new web services.
 Additional Support for Emerging LTI 2.0 Standard
The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification, published by IMS Global, defines a
standard way for Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to securely connect to external tools
and resources. Individuals and organizations can use existing web development practices to
create LTI-compliant, web-based learning tools that can then be embedded into the user
experience of any LMS that conforms to the LTI specification.
By adding incremental support for the LTI specification as it evolves, Blackboard is in a better
position to support the final specification when it is released.
In Release 9.0, Blackboard was the first LMS to support early versions of the LTI 2.0
specification.
In Release 9.1, Blackboard Learn supports the new naming conventions and formats found in the
LTI 2.0 standard. No new features have been added, but Blackboard is now closer to supporting
the final version of LTI 2.0 when it is released. All changes are backward compatible.
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Course Delivery Features
Web Services and Proxy Tools
 Building Blocks – Proxy Tools
Clients moving to Release 9.1 will be able to write custom integrations that can run remotely and
access the system using well-defined Web Services interfaces.
Third parties writing such integrations will be able to negotiate for specific permissions to retrieve
data, write data, or execute code on the Release 9.1 server, which can be approved and
monitored by the administrator.
Proxy Tool code and Web Services documentation is available from http://www.edugarage.com.
 New Bundled Building Blocks from Premier Partners
Blackboard has worked closely with key partners to deliver valuable new functionality through its
Building Block infrastructure. Four new Building Blocks will ship with Release 9.1 and be available
to both Enterprise and Basic Edition clients:
•
Horizon Wimba-Pronto - Instant messaging, online collaboration client
•
Acxiom - Identity verification for use in managing the delivery of tests
•
Echo 360 - Lecture capture
•
NBC - Rich media content from NBC for use in the Course
Institutions must register each Building Block with the respective vendor before using it.
 Improved Command Line Building Block Management Tool
The B2Manager command line tool now includes all of the functionality that is available on the
Building Blocks page accessible from the Administrator Panel.
All clients can use this tool, but because Basic Edition clients do not have access to the Building
Blocks page, the command line tool enables them to manage their Building Blocks.
Administrators will be able to do the following using the B2Manager tool:
•
List all installed Building Blocks.
•
Install and remove Building Blocks.
•
Change the system availability and default Course availability of a Building Block
•
Retrieve a URL to the configuration page for each Building Block.
For more information, see the Administrator topics in Blackboard Help.
 Additional Touch Points for Building Blocks Exposed
Building Block developers can now register Building Blocks to be displayed in new places within
Blackboard Learn, including:
•
The User context menu on the User List page
•
The Course context menu on the Course List page
•
The Manage Grade Center menu
•
The Mashups Menu on any content page
•
A button on the Visual Text Box Editor (Mashups only)
For more information, see the Blackboard Learn Building Blocks API specifications available on
Behind the Blackboard.
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Course Delivery Features
Web Services and Proxy Tools
Feature Loss
-
.NET APIs and .NET Building Blocks Deprecated
Blackboard no longer supports the .NET APIs and .NET Building Blocks.
Blackboard has found that most institutions were using .NET Building Blocks to automate
administrative tasks such as creating users and Courses. These tasks can be accomplished
using the new Web Services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. The Premier Partner Building Blocks are available to all license levels including Basic
Edition, but they are limited to specific market licenses as defined in the following table.
N AH E
K- 1 2
P ro Ed
INT L
W imb a- P ro n t o
Ac x i om
E cho 36 0
NB C
Where do these features appear?
System Administrators manage Web Services from the Administrator Panel under Building
Blocks by clicking Web Services.
System Administrators download Java and .NET sample code from the Administrator Panel under
Building Blocks by clicking Building Blocks and then Proxy Tools.
System Administrators manage Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel under Building
Blocks by clicking Building Blocks.
Does Blackboard Learn fully support LTI 2.0?
No. It is currently impossible to support the full LTI 2.0 specification because it is still in draft form
and constantly changing. The improvements bring Blackboard Learn closer to what the
specification will be when it is complete.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
Existing tool integrations managed formerly from the Administrator Panel under Building Blocks
are now managed from the Administrator Panel under Building Blocks by clicking Building
Blocks and then Installed Tools. At the Course and organization level, tool integrations
managed formerly from the Control Panel by clicking Manage Tools and then Building Blocks
Tools, are now managed from the Control Panel by clicking Customization and then Tool
Availability.
All tools are managed from the same interface. The Instructor or Course builder does not need to
know whether the tool is an installed tool, a proxy tool, or a native Blackboard tool.
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Course Delivery Features
Web Services and Proxy Tools
Why choose a Proxy Tool?
•
Remote administration (many NG installations, one central service) or just segregation of
service (SIS system stays separate from NG system)
•
No Java required
•
Data can be hosted remotely
•
Potential for access without requiring a logged-in user (once authorized)
•
More transparency of administration and less potential to interfere with core
Why choose a Building Block?
•
Need to use an API not yet exposed via Web Services
•
Need backward compatibility to Academic Suite Release 8 or older
•
Easier integration with NG Look and Feel and user/session management
•
Need to deploy module content
When do I need Proxy Placements for my tool?
•
To place links in the Control Panel, Administrator Panel, or Student or Group tools
•
To handle content types in Courses
•
To have NG users initiate calls out to your service, rather than just having your service
initiate
Do Proxy Tools have to be written in Java?
No. Unlike installed Building Blocks, proxy tool code can be written in any language that can
support SOAP-based Web Services protocol.
Are there performance concerns?
While Building Blocks run directly in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on the Blackboard Learn
server, Proxy Tools run on remote machines. As a result, the risk of memory leaks impacting
Blackboard Learn performance is minimal, but there is the potential of increased network traffic to
the Blackboard Learn server from Proxy Tools. As with any third-party code, if it is poorly written it
could impact performance. Proxy tools can be blocked individually, at the service or operation
level, or constrained to a particular IP address or range using the administrative interface.
What Services are supported?
Release 9.1 ships with a number of services. All operations of each service are documented (and
can be enabled or disabled) from the administrative interface.
Blackboard Consulting should be able to provide additional services as needed to expose any
operation that can be accomplished by an installed Building Block using the Blackboard Learn
Java API.
What protocols do the Web Services support?
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is supported. Representational state transfer (REST)
protocol is not.
The Services themselves are deployed over the Apache foundation’s Axis framework
(http://ws.apache.org/axis/) with proprietary Blackboard extensions for session management and
authorization negotiation.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
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Course Delivery Features
What’s New Module
What’s New Module
The What’s New module in Release 9.1 has been enhanced to provide users with easier access
to notifications and new content.
Feature Enhancement
 Course and Organization Information
In previous releases the module displayed new content that had been added to Courses in which
the user was enrolled. In Release 9.1, the What’s New Module shows new Course and
Organization content, providing links directly to the item. Performance has also been enhanced
for this feature.
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Course Delivery Features
Wikis
Wikis
The new Wiki tool allows Instructors to create Wikis for Courses, organizations, and Groups to
host collaborative content and group projects.
Course and organization Wikis allow the entire Course or organization to participate. Group Wikis
allow a subset of the Course or organizations members to work on collaborative projects.
Instructors specify whether and when Students are allowed to view or edit a particular Wiki.
For the Wiki feature to be available in Courses, the administrator must enable the Wiki Building
Block.
Supporting Collaborative Learning
For clients who have licensed only the Course delivery capabilities, Wikis provide a collaborative
area for Course content that allows Student participation and contribution. Both Students and
Instructors can easily create content within the Wiki such as study guides and shared notes. For
clients who have licensed the community engagement capabilities, Wikis provide organizations
with a powerful collaborative editing tool that can be used for any content that requires
collaboration and change tracking, such as meeting minutes, by-laws, or simple pieces of
content.
Instructors can also use the Wiki for collaborative group projects where the Wiki’s history and
participation summary tools give the Instructor more in-depth insight when assessing individual
contributions of the Students while grading as well as throughout the collaborative process.
Students can use the Wiki to collaborate on content for the Course as well as for group projects.
The Wiki's collaborative capabilities and history features help Students see what other Students
have contributed and help avoid overwriting each other’s work. For Groups, the Wiki can be used
to simply share ideas or to host the final output of a group project.
Creating and Editing Wikis
Wikis are created and edited using the same Visual Editor (VTBE) that is used throughout
Blackboard Learn. Users do not need to learn a special Wiki markup language.
Users can create multiple pages in a Wiki as well as create multiple Wikis. Users can link
between Wiki pages to make it easy to interconnect pages. Page navigation is provided to quickly
navigate between the pages of a Wiki even if the users do not add links within page content.
Versioning and Comparing Pages
Versioning at the page level allows for complete tracking of content changes in the Wiki. Users
can view a comparison of two versions of a Wiki page to see the specific changes that a user
made to a Wiki page.
Grading Wikis
Instructors can grade Wikis without having to leave the Wiki and go to the Grade Center.
Students can be given group or individual grades to allow grading based on individual
contribution.
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Course Delivery Features
Wikis
Viewing Participation Summaries
Instructors are provided with a summary of Student participation in a Wiki that allows them to drill
down to detailed views to help assess each Student’s contribution. Instructors can view a
summary of participation as counts and percentages of words and saves for each Student.
Instructors can then drill down for each Student to see a summary and details for that Student’s
contributions. Instructors also can compare a Student’s saved version with the previous version of
the page to evaluate that Student’s contribution. Grading is integrated at this level to help
Instructors grade based on an individual Student’s contribution.
Commenting on Wiki Pages
Users can comment on the pages of a Wiki to give feedback and facilitate collaboration.
Creating Wiki Links as Course Content
Instructors can link to a Wiki or Wiki page in Course content.
Using Adaptive Release
Wikis support the standard Adaptive Release options.
Importing and Exporting Content
Wikis support standard Blackboard Learn content exchange to export/import and copy with
Courses.
Aligning Wikis with K-12 Standards
Wikis support the K-12 Standards and Alignment functionality available in Release 9.1. For more
information, see Standards Alignment for K-12 Clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any exceptions based on licensing?
Yes. This feature requires an Enterprise Edition license. Wikis are not available for Basic Edition
clients.
Where does this feature appear?
The Wiki appears as a tool in Courses and organizations as well as a tool that can be made
available for Groups. In addition, it is possible to add a link to a Wiki or Wiki page in Course
content.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
No. The Wiki is a new feature.
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Course Delivery Features
Wikis
Will the Blackboard Learn Wiki feature affect clients who use third-party Wiki
products such as Learning Objects TeamsLX Wiki?
No. Clients may continue to use other Wiki products such as Learning Objects TeamsLX.
Why would someone use the Blackboard Learn Wiki feature versus a third-party
Wiki tool?
The Blackboard Learn Wiki feature offers basic Wiki functionality with strong tools for assessing
individual contribution and grading Wikis. It has the advantage of being integrated in the
Blackboard Learn environment and providing users with a familiar user experience.
Is the Wiki a Building Block? If so, can it work with older releases?
The Wiki is a Building Block, but it will not work in previous releases because it relies on
infrastructure that is new to Release 9.1.
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Community Engagement Features
Community Engagement Features
All clients will benefit from the following new branding features if they license the community
engagement capabilities of Blackboard Learn.
Feature Enhancement
 Tab Groups
Grouping tabs organizes related content in a way that improves user experience and saves
screen real estate.
 Customized User Communities
Administrators have the ability to brand separate schools, or provide one user experience for
faculty (or a subset of faculty), and one experience for Students by applying separate themes,
palettes and color customizations. For example, the Administrator may select to use the
BbClassic theme for one set of users at their institution. This theme is inspired by Release 8 and
designed to make users comfortable in their online environment.
 Customize Login Page
A section of the Login page may be customized for each supported host name. This allows the
Institution to brand the entry point for separate schools differently by URL.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do these features appear?
F e at u re
L o c at i o n
Tabs
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Tabs and
Modules. On the Tabs and Modules page, click Tabs.
Login Page
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes. On the Brands and Themes page, click Customize Login
Page.
Themes
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes.
Gateway Page
On the Administrator Panel, under Security, click Gateway Options.
Announcements
On the Administrator Panel, under Tools and Utilities, click
Announcements.
Themes
On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, click Brands and
Themes.
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Community Engagement Features
Do I have to know CSS to customize Blackboard Learn?
No. Administrators who are comfortable with the Blackboard Learn interface can use the theme
and palette library that ships with Release 9.1 to choose one of more than 100 combinations of
theme and color palette for their system. If the community engagement capabilities have been
licensed, Administrators can apply distinct combinations to any campus community they choose,
by institution role, hostname, or both. Furthermore, with the new Blackboard Learn color picker,
more than 16 million color choices are available for any of the 21 commonly used color elements
in the system.
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Content Management Features
Content Management Features
All users who have licensed the content management capabilities of Blackboard Learn will enjoy
a more powerful experience when managing their content in Release 9.1.
The following content management features have been enhanced:
•
Building Content
•
Passes and Permissions
•
Recycle Bins
•
Search Content
•
Views and Navigation
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Content Management Features
Building Content
Building Content
Feature Enhancement
 Upload Multiple Files or Folders
As in Course Files, Instructors can upload multiple files or entire folders from the local computer
into the Content Collection using Browse or by dragging the items directly from the desktop to the
interface. Instructors can also upload a package of HTML files to be unpackaged automatically
into the Content Collection. The same options for defining certain settings and metadata that
currently exist when uploading a single file will be available during the process and can be
applied to multiple files.
 Create Folders In-Line
Instructors can create a new folder in the Content Collection without being taken to a separate
page. When an Instructor clicks Create Folder on the main page, the name of the new folder can
be typed in the text box that appears. To add the folder using the default folder settings, the
Instructor clicks Submit. To add the folder using customized folder settings, the Instructor clicks
Create and Customize.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did this feature change any existing product workflows or behavior?
Yes. Instructors upload multiple files at once using is a new option that is separate from the
upload a single file option. In addition, Instructors now create folders on the main Content
Collection page.
What technology is used to support the ability to Upload Multiple Files and
Folders?
This capability was implemented as a Java applet with the same client-side requirements as
currently exists for the Virtual Classroom feature of the Course delivery capabilities.
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Content Management Features
Passes and Permissions
Passes and Permissions
Feature Enhancement
 Create Passes to Content that Allow for Deletion
Administrators can now optionally create a pass that allows for Read/Write/Delete permissions on
the associated content. The default setting has not changed and is still Read only.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did this feature change any existing product workflows or behavior?
Yes. In previous releases, ticket permissions were Read-Only and Read/Write. Adding the Delete
permission allows for full collaboration between users via passes.
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Content Management Features
Recycle Bins
Recycle Bins
Recycle Bin improvements include the following:
•
Replacing shared Recycle Bins for Users, Courses, and Organizations with individual
Recycle Bins for each User, Course, or Organization
•
Scheduling Recycle Bin retention and purging
•
Setting the Recycle Bin View Policy
Providing Individual Recycle Bins for Users, Courses, and Organizations
The Recycle Bin capabilities have been improved to replace shared Recycle Bins for Users,
Courses, and Organizations with individual Recycle Bins for each User, Course, or Organization.
If the administrator has enabled the Recycle Bin feature for an area, the Recycle Bin folder will be
located within each User, Course, or Organization folder.
Users will be able to empty their own Recycle Bins.
Scheduling Recycle Bin Retention and Purging
To better manage the growth of the Content Collection and related hardware costs, system
administrators can now define a system-wide schedule for purging old files from the Recycle
Bins. Administrators can define both the number of days that deleted files will be kept in the
Recycle Bins and the specific time of day to perform the purge.
Setting the Recycle Bin View Policy
The Recycle Bin View Policy setting enables administrators to control default read access to
Recycle Bin folders. Administrators can allow only the owner of the parent folder or both the
owner and the user who is deleting the item to view the contents. Regardless of the option
selected, users will retain existing permissions on the item being deleted but will not gain
permissions on other files. This setting is especially useful in cases where many users share a
common content area, such as the Institution folder. In these cases, it may be beneficial to define
an explicit set of users.
This setting also applies differently to shared Recycle Bin folders than to individual Recycle Bin
folders. When the Recycle Bin View Policy is set to No Special Permissions, shared Recycle
Bins are visible to all users while individual Recycle Bins are visible only to the owner of the
Recycle Bin and to users with explicit permissions on that folder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
Recycle Bins for each Content Area are enabled from the Administrator Panel under Content
Management by clicking Content Area Management and then Manage Recycle Bins. Clients
who already have the Content Collection and are upgrading to this release will see an additional
option for activating user, Course, and organization Recycle Bins.
Recycle Bin retention and purge settings are configured from the Administrator Panel under
Content Management by clicking Content Area Management and then Recycle Bin Settings.
The Recycle Bin View Policy setting is configured from the Administrator Panel under Content
Management by clicking Content Area Management and then Recycle Bin Settings.
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Content Management Features
Recycle Bins
The quota for the individual Recycle Bins is shared with the quota for the parent folder, which is
set from the Administrator Panel under Content Management by clicking Content Area
Management and then Default Folder Creation Settings.
Did this feature change any existing product workflows or behavior?
Users already using Recycle Bins will not notice any significant changes to the experience. What
users will notice is that the behavior of managing individual Recycle Bins is more in line with their
expectations.
Recycle Bins are more secure than in previous releases. Recycle Bin is now a special folder and
does not function the same as other folders. When files are moved into a Recycle Bin, their
permissions are changed to inherit the permissions from the Recycle Bin itself. Only those who
can manage the Recycle Bin, the original owner of the file, and the user who recycled the file may
restore the file. All other users can only see the file listed. This prevents other users with access
to a Recycle Bin from viewing or restoring files to which they did not originally have access.
How does the new Recycle Bin affect existing Academic Suite or Blackboard
Learn clients?
For clients who are licensing the content management capabilities for the first time or upgrading
from systems where the Recycle Bins had not been activated, individual Recycle Bins will be
created when Recycle Bins are activated.
For clients who have previously activated Recycle Bins for Users, Courses, or Organizations, the
Recycle Bin behavior will not change automatically. Administrators will have the option to activate
individual User, Course, or Organization Recycle Bins from the Administrator Panel under
Content Management by clicking Content Area Management and then Manage Recycle Bins.
After Individual Recycle Bins have been activated, any existing content in the shared Recycle
Bins will not be purged automatically. Users can still access the shared Recycle Bins. Existing
permissions are respected and users will be able to restore files from the shared Recycle Bins.
Administrators will need to use existing capabilities to determine their plan for moving or deleting
that content.
As an existing Academic Suite or Blackboard Learn client, can I go back to shared
Recycle Bins after I've turned on the new functionality?
No. Once the new individual Recycle Bins have been activated for an area, it is not possible to
revert to shared Recycle Bins.
After Individual Recycle Bins have been activated, can users still access the
original, shared Recycle Bins?
Yes. After Individual Recycle Bins have been activated, users can still access the shared Recycle
Bins. Existing permissions are respected and users will be able to restore files from the shared
Recycle Bins.
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Content Management Features
Search Content
Search Content
Feature Enhancement
 Improved Discovery of Shared Content
Users can now more easily search for shared content directly from the Content Collection tab.
Clicking Search Content in the left-hand frame provides access to Basic, Advanced, Portfolio,
and previously Saved Searches.
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Content Management Features
Views and Navigation
Views and Navigation
Feature Enhancement
 Elevation and Persistence of Breadcrumb Trail
The Breadcrumb trail was moved to the very first line of the screen to make it easier for users to
navigate the Content Collection. Unlike in Release 8.0, the breadcrumb is consistent across all
screens so that the user can navigate anywhere in the Content Collection for any location.
 New Thumbnail View
As in Course Files, users in the Content Collection can switch between View List, which lists the
files in a directory, and the new View Thumbnails, which shows a resizable thumbnail of image
files. All non-image files will display the appropriate icon for the file type. Clicking a file’s icon
displays a new quick view of the file including its image, file size, enabled features, and
comments.
 Collapsible Menus
The menus in the left frame of Content Collection are now collapsible. Users also have the ability
to hide individual features. This allows users to hide the areas that they access less frequently.
Feature Change
Separation of Line-Item Functions and Stand-Alone Functions
•
The Add Item, Start Workflow, and Add Folder functions were moved to the more
prominent page header of the Content Collection.
•
Line-item functions such as Copy, Delete, and Move were moved close to the grid for a
tighter integration between files and folders and their immediate functions.
File/Folder-Specific Functionality Consolidation
Line-item functionality has been moved from various places within the grid to one contextual
menu per file or folder. Everything that you can perform against a file or folder is now located in
this one common area to make for a much simpler and easier user experience. The contextual
menu significantly reduces the number of clicks required to complete file management tasks.
Better Placement of the Short-cut View
Users may switch between a folder view and a shortcut view of their folder listing in the menus in
the left frame of Content Collection. This allows users to hide the areas that they access less
frequently. In Release 8.0, this link was buried at the bottom of the menu. This link has been
elevated to an icon at the very top of the menu to make switching between views much more
user-friendly.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Outcomes Assessment Features
All users who have licensed the outcomes assessments capabilities of Blackboard Learn will
enjoy a more powerful assessments experience in Release 9.1.
The following outcomes assessments features have been enhanced or added to Release 9.1:
•
Artifacts
•
Batch Operations
•
Criteria List Operators
•
Deployments
•
Gradable Content Alignment
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Artifacts
Artifacts
Artifact template builders now have more control over the appearance of artifact templates and
Students will have a more intuitive interface to respond to artifact requests.
Feature Enhancement
 Additional Artifact Management Capabilities
Artifact Template builders can choose to reveal or hide certain sections of the request from
recipients. This capability allows users to provide the proper amount of information to Students.
In particular, unused sections can be hidden so that the recipient does not view a cluttered page.
In addition, request instructions can now contain rich text attributes such as italicized text,
ordered lists, and multimedia elements such as video, images, or audio. This provides builders
with the flexibility that they need to create instructions that will help recipients successfully submit
the artifact.
The preview tool has been updated to provide a faithful reproduction of how the request will
appear to recipients. This is a vital enhancement that allows builders to quickly iterate through
intermediate versions of a template. It will also save time by eliminating the need for builders to
send sample requests to themselves for review.
The disclaimer text that appears to recipients can now be customized. This enhancement allows
the institution to create disclaimers that are appropriate for each request and is especially
important when Institutional or Educational Review Board oversight mandates specific disclaimer
language.
Finally, the builder has additional control over when recipients can resubmit an artifact. To save
clients the effort and time of accidentally reviewing extraneous artifact submissions, builders can
choose to not allow resubmissions after an evaluation of the Artifact has been saved or
published.
 More Intuitive Interface Artifact Response Interface
Artifact recipients can view and respond to an Artifact request from one page. Additionally, all of
the content sections are expanded by default so that essential tasks can be scanned quickly. This
makes it easier for Students to understand what is required of them and should result in higher
response rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
Outcomes Artifact Templates are accessed from the Unit, Program, Course, Educational
Experience, and Workspace context homepages that are found on the Outcomes tab.
Outcomes Artifacts can be accessed under the Portfolios link on the Content Collection tab.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
The tasks required to complete and submit an Outcomes Artifact have been consolidated onto
one page.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Artifacts
Which sections can be hidden from recipients?
The following sections can be hidden from artifact recipients:
•
Collect Evidence
•
Associated Standards, Objectives, and Goals
•
Rubrics
These correspond to the Build, Associated Standards, Objectives, and Goals and Rubrics tabs,
respectively, that are displayed to the Artifact Template Builder.
Can the disclaimer be customized for each Artifact Template?
Yes. Disclaimer customization occurs per Artifact Template. This is an improvement over the
previous capability in which any changes made to the language pack editor affected all Artifact
Templates.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Batch Operations
Batch Operations
The Outcomes batch operations have been enhanced to allow administrators to be even more
productive.
Feature Enhancement
 Batch Delete Outcomes Entities Directly from the User Interface
Outcomes administrators now can batch delete Outcomes entities directly from the user interface
without having to contact the Blackboard Managed Hosting. This new operation will save clients a
great deal of time and is as simple as the other batch operations (add and edit) available to them
in previous releases.
 Batch Processing Notifications
Administrators no longer have to wait for Blackboard Learn to process a batch file before
continuing their work. For all add, edit, and delete batch actions, Outcomes administrators will
receive immediate feedback that an uploaded batch file has been queued for processing. They
then can continue to perform other tasks in the system. When the batch operation is complete,
they will receive an email indicating the processing status (success or failure) for each record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do these enhancements appear in the Product?
Batch deletion is available from the Administrator Panel under Outcomes Assessment by
clicking Batch. The Batch Delete option is located in the contextual menu of each Outcomes
entity.
The message that tells the user that their file has been queued for processing appears at the top
of the same page after the batch operation has been submitted.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
This feature introduces a new capability that allows batch deletion. The practical impact to users
is minimal because the workflow is enabled by selecting the Batch Delete option in the
contextual menu of the Outcomes entity. Additionally, the System Tasks Status page (available
from the Administrator Panel under Tools and Utilities by clicking Logs and then System Tasks
Status) will now list batch actions that are in process or have been completed.
Which Outcomes entities can be batch deleted?
Batch deletion is now available for the following Outcomes entities:
Cont ex t s
P er so n Re co rd s and
Af f i li at i o n s
St and a rd s,
O bj ect iv e s an d
G o a ls
Units
Person Records
Standards
Courses
Memberships
Programs
Course Sections
Affiliations
Standards Categories
Educational
Experiences
Memberships
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M embe rsh ip s
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Cont ex t s
P er so n Re co rd s and
Af f i li at i o n s
Batch Operations
St and a rd s,
O bj ect iv e s an d
G o a ls
M embe rsh ip s
Courses
Educational Experience
Sections Affiliations
Unit Goals
Programs
Memberships
Course Sections
Programs Affiliations
Program Goals
Units Memberships
Educational
Experiences
Units Affiliations
Course Objectives
Workspaces
Memberships
Educational
Experience
Sections
Educational Experience
Objectives
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Criteria List Operators
Criteria List Operators
Outcomes administrators will have more flexibility when creating distribution lists. A distribution
list builder can create criteria lists using the new sub-string match and logical negation operators.
Feature Enhancement
 New Sub-String Criteria List Operator
The sub-string operator matches attributes that start with, end with, or contain a user supplied
text string. The text search operators will allow users to take advantage of naming conventions
that are used to categorize Course Sections, Programs, and other components in the institutional
hierarchy.
 New Negation Criteria List Operators
The logical negation operators will allow more complex criteria logic. The negation operators
available to the user depend on the attribute type that is selected. For example, attributes of value
type Unique ID have only the Does Not Equal negation operator available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
Criteria are defined for existing Criteria Lists from the Outcomes tab by clicking Discover,
Distribution Lists, and then Criteria in the contextual menu for that list.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
The change in workflow is very minimal. Users will now see additional operators in the operator
drop-down lists when creating criteria lists
Are these new operators available to all attributes?
No. Numeric and date attributes do not have an associated negation operator because the
preexisting operators allow for negation.
Is the sub-string match case sensitive?
No. The sub-string match ignores case.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Deployments
Deployments
Users now will be able to deploy assessment instruments with less effort and be confident that
they are reaching the intended recipients.
Feature Enhancement
 Schedule Deployments and Reminders
Users can specify a future start or end date for a deployment. The deployment settings can be
changed later if the deployment has not started or ended.
Reminders can be scheduled to be sent to recipients who have not yet completed a deployed
instrument. The reminder start time can be a specific time and date or made relative to the
deployment start or end dates. Additionally, users can specify that a reminder be sent on a
recurring basis after the initial reminder is sent.
These improvements reduce the amount of time required to manage a deployment and allow
users to focus on more important tasks such as creating messages for deployment recipients.
 New “Wizard-like” Deployments Process
Users now have a tabbed interface with which to create a deployment. Each tab is focused on a
set of related sub-tasks. Users can access each tab in any order and have the option to save,
exit, and return to their work.
The new tabbed interface makes it easier for the user to focus on specific deployment sub-tasks.
This results in a less overwhelming experience and will lead to fewer user errors.
 Message Preview
Users can preview deployment messages to see them as a recipient would. In preview mode,
placeholder variables are replaced with the value (if known in advance) that recipients will see.
The system will generate a warning if any placeholder variables are overwritten.
This preview capability provides an additional layer of quality control for users. This will result in
less errors and fewer resent deployments.
 Recipient Verification
Users can review the email addresses or names (if available) of deployment recipients before a
deployment starts. In a small scale deployment, this capability allows the user to quickly identify
whether an intended recipient is missing or an unintended recipient has been included. For larger
deployments, this capability can be used to spot check if the recipients have been correctly
identified.
Users also have the option to send an email to themselves and other Outcomes users that
contains summary information about the deployment. Users with the proper entitlements will also
be able to view the email addresses of deployment recipients.
Finally, a deployment manager can add new deployment recipients after a deployment has
started. If any duplicate recipients are mistakenly added after a deployment is running, the
system will not send out duplicate instruments.
These capabilities are safeguards that decrease the likelihood of erroneous deployments and
their unintended consequences.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Deployments
Frequently Asked Questions about Deployments
Where does this feature appear?
This feature is accessed from the same touch points (instrument creation tabbed interface,
instrument landing page, and deployment list page) that led to the single-page deployment
process in previous releases.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
Deployment tasks no longer exist on the tabbed interface used to create an instrument. When the
instrument is complete, users are taken from the instrument creation interface to the instrument
deployment interface. The interface separates the tasks over four tabs.
Which messages have the preview capability?
The Notification Method and Automated System Response messages have preview capabilities.
What happens if there are many names in the deployment when the user chooses
to review the recipient list?
The recipient list is displayed in a scrollable popup window.
What are the ways in which a new recipient can be added to an already running
instrument deployment?
New recipients can be added using an uploaded file (survey deployments only) or an existing
criteria distribution list.
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Outcomes Assessment Features
Gradable Content Alignment
Gradable Content Alignment
Instructors can align content items with Outcomes goals and objectives. Instructors will have the
option to align gradable content found in their Courses to Outcomes Course objectives. An
assessment director will be able to create reports that provide a snapshot in time of how learning
goals are being addressed.
This feature lets an institution show how desired learning goals are being addressed and in which
classes this is being done. It replaces current manual processes that are labor intensive and
difficult to enforce. Additionally, this feature is a prerequisite for the evidence collection capability
that most clients have requested. By allowing this capability now, clients will have the opportunity
to create a wealth of alignments from which to draw evidence of learning outcomes.
Feature Enhancement
 Course Delivery Content Aligned to Outcomes Course Objectives
Instructors can now align Outcomes Course objectives to individual Course delivery Course
content. The objectives come from the Outcomes Course Sections that have been associated to
the Course. Instructors can filter by Outcomes Course Section and Course objective type to make
the appropriate alignment.
 Course Objectives Report
Instructors can access a Course Coverage Detail report. This report shows the Instructor which
objectives have been made available to the Course and how many of them have been covered. It
also shows which content types are used to cover the objective.
 Program Goals Report
Outcomes managers have access to two new coverage reports. In the Program Coverage
Overview report, for each program goal in a program, the report displays how many of the Course
objectives that are aligned to that goal are covered or not covered for a given Course delivery
Course. This is done for each Course delivery Course that the program connects to indirectly.
The Program Course Overview report provides the same information as the Course Coverage
report, but it spans all Courses that are aligned to the Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does this feature appear?
Instructors can align gradable content to Outcomes Course objectives. The objective alignment
interface can be accessed from the content object’s contextual menu. Completed alignments are
viewable in the Edit View.
Can Students view aligned Course objectives?
Yes. Instructors can enable or disable this privilege.
Which content types can be aligned to Outcomes Course objectives?
The following content types can be aligned to Outcomes Course objectives:
•
Assignments
•
SafeAssignments
•
Self and Peer Assessments
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Outcomes Assessment Features
•
Surveys
•
Tests
•
Test Questions
•
Blogs
•
Journals
•
Discussion Forms
•
Discussion Threads
•
Wikis
Gradable Content Alignment
Users can align to objectives from the content’s contextual menu or from the Grade Center
column that corresponds to the gradable content.
Did this feature change any existing workflows?
This feature introduces a new workflow that allows the user to align gradable content to
Outcomes Course objectives.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Gradable Content Alignment
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1
(SP1)
This addendum is designed to supplement Understanding the Change from Blackboard
Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 in order to provide information on the features and
functions of Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 1 (SP1) includes enhancements and innovations that are
grouped in the following categories:
•
Course Delivery
•
Community Engagement
•
Content Management
•
Outcomes Assessment
•
System Administration
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Course Delivery Features
Course Delivery Features
Assessments
Creating and taking Tests have several enhancements to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
•
Test-takers are reminded to submit answers before they are allowed to leave a test.
•
Random Blocks and Question Sets are both available for instructors to add groups of
questions to tests. Random Blocks pull questions into a test from a pool based on certain
criteria. They are dynamic and reflect changes to the question pool. Question Sets are
static and are made up of specific questions selected to be in the Question Set used in
the Test.
•
Question and response statistics are displayed for each question on the Tests Statistics
page. For K12 licensed clients, Standards that are aligned to test questions are viewable
from this centralized location.
Copying and Moving Items
Move and Copy are now two distinct options for content items. This allows items that cannot be
copied such as Tests, Surveys, and Assignments to be moved to another location.
Course Links
When Course Links are created, the link and the location are automatically populated, providing
consistency across the link name and location.
Discussion Board
The Discussion Board has two enhancements to streamline grading and create consistency
across all collaborative tools.
•
Instructors can clearly identify and grade users who are members of Groups participating
in group discussions.
•
Instructors can enter grades, comments, and feedback when viewing Discussions similar
to the experience in Wikis Blogs, and Journals.
Grade Center
The Grade Center has been enhanced to improve grading efficiencies and reduce errors.
•
Instructors are prompted to save or delete specific Grade Center columns when deleting
a Group with gradable Blogs, Journals, Wikis, or Discussion Forums or Threads.
•
Instructors navigating away and then back to the Grade Center in one login session are
returned to the last scroll point they viewed or graded in the grid.
•
Instructors can color code Grade Center cells that meet certain criteria such as grade
threshold, exempted grade and so on. This new feature helps instructors spot trends and
action areas in large Grade Centers.
Learning Modules
Items hidden in the table of contents in Learning Modules are made unavailable so they cannot
be accessed directly. Additionally, Learning Modules have been enhanced so that when they are
copied, links to any tests, assignments, or surveys, are created.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Course Delivery Features
Mashups
Mashup links are now visible when the Text Editor is off.
Standards and Alignments
Standards that have been aligned to test questions can be viewed from the Test Statistics page,
providing teachers with a centralized location to view question and response statistics as well as
alignments.
Text Editor
The text editor allows users to select right-to-left or left-to-right language orientation of text.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Community Engagement Features
Community Engagement Features
Modules
Availability and role settings, as well as custom layouts for modules and tabs, are preserved upon
upgrade. The following user defined settings are preserved:
•
Tabs
•
Tab Groups
•
Modules
•
Tab Modules – default layouts
•
Tab Modules – user layouts
Administrators have the ability to fix modules to the top row of a page, ensuring high-priority
modules will always appear in the desired location. Fixed modules cannot be moved or deleted
by users, even on user-customizable tabs.
Administrators can control the availability of modules by date and time, allowing for time sensitive
content to be scheduled for release, removing the need to set availability manually.
My Organizations Module
The My Organizations module now has all the same customization features as the My Courses
module.
Users have the ability to re-order their courses or organizations in the My Courses and My
Organizations modules, adding another level of personalization to the modules.
Notifications
Notifications are now processed in priority order. For example, Due or Past Due notifications are
sent before the thousands of "new content" notifications. The priority of a notification is
determined internally based on factors such as due date and message type.
RSS Support
Blackboard Learn now supports updated RSS infrastructure including support for contemporary,
as well as legacy syndication formats including RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom 0.3, and Atom 1.0.
User Identification and Avatars
When logged in, users now have a visual indicator that display’s their name and avatar if avatar’s
are available in the system.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Content Management Features
Content Management Features
Navigation and Shortcuts
The Shortcut View takes up less space vertically to reduce scrolling. A Bookmark link has been
added for immediate access to bookmarks. Jump To... and Search Content have also been
added to the left side for consistency and improved access.
Breadcrumb Navigation uses the separator between folders as an active button to open a dropdown menu. Items in the drop-down include all the folder’s associated subfolders, making
navigation in the folder hierarchy much faster. The Content Collection breadcrumb brings users to
the “top” folder where they can select any of the content areas.
The current folder name is not displayed in the title with the content area name, and basic
operations such as edit, set permissions, and bookmark can be performed from a contextual
menu on the current folder.
Sharing Content using Email
When emailing content to users has the To, CC, and BCC labels are now buttons that allow
selecting individual users, courses or organizations, a group, or roles within the course or
organization.
The system will now check that recipients have access to the emailed files or folders. Users will
be warned if recipients do not have access to read the files. If recipients do not have access to
read the files, the system can automatically set read permissions after confirmation with the user.
WebDAV
Instructions for setting up and using WebDAV have been improved to be clearer and give specific
operating system instructions where possible.
Automatic Web Folder opening has been restored for Windows Internet Explorer on Windows XP
and Windows Vista with SSL (HTTPS). Users may have to re-authenticate in the Web Folder
client. Users with Windows 7 cannot open Web Folders due to a Microsoft bug. Users that are not
connecting with SSL have instructions provided in the user interface.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Outcomes Assessment Features
Outcomes Assessment Features
Batch Uploading
Course-to-program associations can be made using a batch file. Standards, objectives and goals
can be aligned using a batch file.
Adding and modifying system data can be done with the same batch file operation.
Curriculum Maps
Curriculum Maps are now easier to navigate and edit. A warning appears to users if they attempt
to navigate away from an open curriculum map before saving their work. Curriculum Maps can
now be moved and copied. Comments entered in Curriculum Map cells now appear in 360o
Reports.
Evaluation
The evaluation process is now much easier for users who rate artifacts and portfolios. The list of
submissions now has contextual information about existing evaluations including how many
evaluations there are, who last evaluated the submission, when it was last evaluated and on in
progress evaluations. The Evaluate page includes the rubric directly on the page along with the
artifacts being assessed.
Improvement Project Templates and Modules
Improvement Project templates can be more fully customizable, putting all aspects under users’
control.
Improvement Projects and Initiatives listed on Unit pages link to their respective project and
initiative pages.
Moving
Users can copy and move improvement initiatives to locations to which they have permission to
do so.
Users can copy and move improvement projects to locations to which they have permission to do
so.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 1 (SP1)
System Administration
System Administration
Building Blocks
Developers can improve Building Block performance and data persistence by adding requests for
installing Building Block specific database objects to their Build Blocks. A tool which allows the
System Administrator to approve or deny installation of Building Blocks which request creation of
database objects is also provided.
Administrators experience improved dialog notification for Build Block management actions and
retention of persisted data and location of upgraded Building Blocks.
Improved Disk Storage Information
System Administrators are provided with an improved display of disk storage information.
Open Database Schema
Database Schema information can be automatically generated by the Learn application allowing
system administrators to perform more affective troubleshooting, reporting and analytics on their
institutional data. For more information see the System Administrator Manual available from
Behind the Blackboard.
Search
Administrators can more easily find users and courses using two new search fields, Student ID
and Data Source Key.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3
(SP3)
This addendum is designed to supplement Understanding the Change from Blackboard
Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 in order to provide information on the features and
functions of Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3).
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes enhancements and innovations that are
grouped in the following categories:
•
Course Delivery
•
Community Engagement
•
System Administration
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Course Delivery Features
Course Delivery Features
Adaptive Release
Instructors can now set Adaptive Release rules using a calculated column. Categories for each
item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list. This helps
instructors better use adaptive release rules for teaching and learning such as a scenario of
deploying selected remedial content to students that do not pass 70% threshold in a calculated
column.
Announcements
New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements
can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list. Students do not see the bar.
Assessments
Instructors now have the ability to view question numbers while building and editing assessments.
Questions can be referenced by number throughout the assessment and can be used to
sequence questions in an assessment.
Early Warning System
Instructors can now set Early Warning System rules using a calculated column. Categories for
each item in the Grade Center appear in the Select a Grade Center column drop-down list. This
helps instructors better use Early Warning System settings for teaching and learning by using
calculated columns for measuring groups of gradable items or monitoring specific progress points
in a course.
Grade Center
Several features in the Grade Center have been enhanced to improve communication between
the instructor and students and make navigation easier.
Feedback and Comments
To augment the existing ability to download columns from the Grade Center and grade offline,
Instructors can now include comments in the download. Comments can be added or edited
offline, and are associated with the grade when the column information is uploaded to the Grade
Center.
The full features of the Text Editor are now available for feedback to users and Grading Notes
from the Grade Details page and within the Grade Center. The Text Editor can also be used for
feedback on Tests, Assignments, Group Assignments, Blogs, Wikis, Journals, and posts to the
Discussion Board. Incorporating all the features of the Text Editor allows instructors to leverage
the full range of functions for formatting text and adding external links, attachments, images,
Mashups, and multimedia to Feedback and Grading Notes.
Students are able to view the feedback added using the Text Editor on their My Grades page.
Needs Grading Page
Instructors can access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs
Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading
page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items.
Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing.
Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Course Delivery Features
Smart Views
Smart Views added as Favorites appear as an indented list in the Grade Center section of the
Control Panel.
Column Delete Alert
When groups with graded Blogs, Journals, Wikis, or Discussion Boards are deleted, an alert
appears prompting the instructor to save or delete the corresponding Grade Center columns.
Managing columns for groups becomes part of the same process as deleting groups.
Text Editor
The symbol font is removed from the Text Editor and a symbol picker has been added.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Community Engagement Features
Community Engagement Features
Modules
Users can browse and search for modules to add to their My Institution Page and Notifications
Dashboard.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 3 (SP3)
System Administration
System Administration
Course Quota Updates
Course Quota changes can now be made through the Quotas page accessed from the contextual
menu next to a course name in the Courses list on the Administration Panel. Options are now
available for Course Quota and Legacy Files.
Different values can be entered for Courses and Legacy Files. The value will also appear in the
Content Collection or Course Content Quota page for each course. The value can be changed
from those pages and the change will appear from both the Course page and the Administration
page. The value entered from the Administration panel is the default for newly created courses
once the value is set.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
System Administration
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4
(SP4)
This addendum is designed to supplement Understanding the Change from Blackboard
Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 in order to provide information on the features and
functions of Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4).
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 4 (SP4) includes enhancements and innovations that are
grouped in the following categories:
•
Course Delivery
•
Community Engagement
•
Outcomes Assessment
•
Blackboard Connect
•
System Administration
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
Course Delivery
Course Delivery
Support for Common Cartridge
Common Cartridge 1.0 and 1.1 are integrated into Blackboard Learn. Course content packages
saved in this standard can be imported into Blackboard and course content created in Blackboard
can be exported as Common Cartridge packages.
Important Note: Cartridges exported from Blackboard are automatically exported in Common
Cartridge 1.0 unless the Export as Common Cartridge 1.1 box is checked. In which case, the
export is saved as Common Cartridge 1.1.
Learning Tools Interoperability
The Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is an IMS derivative of the full Learning Tools
Interoperability specification that provides a simple integration for instructors to install external
learning tools and applications anywhere within their courses. Users do not have to sign in to
multiple tools. External content and tools are added to a course the same way a URL is added.
The tool or content is launched by clicking the link.
Developers can add Basic Learning Tools Interoperability extensions to their Building Blocks,
increasing their market value.
Assessments
Feedback for each answer is now available for Multiple Answer questions.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
Community Engagement
Community Engagement
Discovering Modules
Users can locate modules to add to their My Institutional page more easily using categories and
search. Modules can be categorized by the system administrator. Search is based on key words
in the module title and description.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
Outcomes Assessment
Outcomes Assessment
Curriculum Maps
The workflow for creating and building a Curriculum Map has been improved to reduce the
number of clicks so that users go directly to the build tasks from the creation page.
Distribution Lists
The workflow for creating a distribution list and adding criteria to it has been combined into one
workflow.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
Blackboard Connect
Blackboard Connect
Country Codes Available
Blackboard Learn and Connect are now integrated and support international phone codes.
Integration automatically populates email addresses and phone numbers from Learn to Connect.
A default country code can be used in the event that no code is provided from Blackboard Learn.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
System Administration
System Administration
Data Sources
System Administrators can navigate to Administration Panel > System Reporting > Data
Sources to create new data sources and open existing data sources to view details about each
type of record currently associated with that data source. Existing keys can also be modified or
deleted. Records can be disabled and purged as well.
Search and Select All
A large list of items, such as users or courses, is often returned from a search that uses the filter
Not Blank or a generic character in the filter Contains. This list is displayed on multiple pages, the
number of which is based on the setting of number of items to display on a page. Checking the
top Status box selects all the items displayed on the page, but now gives you the additional
option of selecting all items returned in the search. This option allows you to select the entire set
so you do not have to go to each page and select all, or set the number of items displayed on the
page to a very high number, causing performance problems.
Support for Google Analytics™
Google Analytics™ is a free service offered by Google for mining web traffic data to a website or
application. The process for setting up Google Analytics is the same for each Blackboard Learn
codeline including 9.0 SP5 and 9.1 SP4 and beyond.
1. Register with Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/)
Identify a test server outside your firewall and note its domain name
Create a Google Analytics Account
Register the domain name of your server through the Google Analytics setup
pages
Save the script provided by Google Analytics
2. Open sharedDir"/web_analytics/googleAnalyticsSnippet.vm (For example
c:/blackboard/content/web_analytics/googleAnalyticsSnippet.vm),
paste your script, and save the file.
3. You can restart Blackboard Learn Services for the changes to take effect immediately or
wait until the .vm file cache is refreshed, once every 12 hours.
For information on Secure and Non-Secure sites, visit
http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55483
Resource Governor
A new command line feature that allows certain performance intensive database operations to
run at a lower priority so that they do not consume CPU resources is shipped with SP4. This
feature, a resource governor, is turned off by default.
To Activate
First contact Blackboard support. Next, navigate to the main configuration file:
/blackboard/config/bb-config.properties and locate this property:
bbconfig.database.query.prioritization.enabled, which is set to False. Follow
the instructions from support to activate.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
System Administration
Once activated the resource governor is added to the Blackboard database. The resource
governor regulates the CPU utilization of connections configured to run at a lower priority. Until
activated, there is no impact on the system.
The resource governor is only installed on systems that use the following databases:
•
Oracle 10 Enterprise Edition
•
Oracle 11 Enterprise Edition
•
SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition
It will not be installed for any other versions, and the low-priority connection feature will not take
effect on those systems, even if enabled.
To Disable
Set the bbconfig.database.query.prioritization.enabled property to False. The
resource governor can also be turned off at the database level. This does not remove the
resource governor from the database, but disables it. It can be enabled at any point.
For Orcale:
1. Log on as the sys dab
sqlplus "/ sysdba"
2. Turn off the resource manager by setting it to an empty plan
alter system set resource_manager_plan = ''
For SQL:
Bring up the SQL Server Manager.
1. Navigate to Management > Resource Governor
2. Right click on Resource Governor and select Properties
3. Change Classifier Function Name to “None”
The 9.1 SP4 uninstaller does not remove the resource governors. This will be addressed in
future service packs. Until it is, the follow artifacts will be left behind after the uninstaller executes:
Oracle
1. A resource plan, called BB_PLAN
2. Two consumer groups: OLTP, and BATCH
3. The database's RESOURCE_MANAGER_PLAN will be set to BB_PLAN
SQL Server
1. A workload group, called groupLowPriority
2. A classifier function, called get_priority_workgroup
3. The resource governor is updated to point to the get_priority_workgroup function
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
System Administration
To Delete
Delete the Resource Governor if you think it is causing issues on your system that disabling it will
not address or if you uninstall your SP4 Learn environment and want to remove the resource
governor as well.
For Oracle:
1. Log on as the sys dab
sqlplus "/ sysdba"
2. Disable the BB_PLAN resource plan
3. Remove the plan and all its descendants by executing the
following code:
alter system set resource_manager_plan = '';
exec dbms_resource_manager.create_pending_area();
exec dbms_resource_manager.delete_plan_cascade('Bb_plan');
exec dbms_resource_manager.validate_pending_area();
exec dbms_resource_manager.submit_pending_area();
For SQL:
In a production environment, wait for all sessions that are using low-priority connections to
complete or simply kill those sessions before attempting to uninstall the resource governor.
Otherwise, the drop will fail.
1. Delete the low priority resource group
2. Disable the resource classifier
3. Delete the resource classifier function
DROP WORKLOAD GROUP groupLowPriority;
GO
-- Update the Resource Governor in-memory configuration
ALTER RESOURCE GOVERNOR WITH (CLASSIFIER_FUNCTION=null);
GO
ALTER RESOURCE GOVERNOR RECONFIGURE;
GO
DROP FUNCTION dbo.get_priority_workgroup;
GO
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 4 (SP4)
System Administration
Global XSS Filtering
To prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, Blackboard Learn now can globally filter user HTML
input. The filtering changes the greater-than sign, “>” to “&gt” and the lesser-than sign, “<” to ”&lt”.
This applies to all data entered using HTML forms, such as submitting a Create Discussion Board
Forum Message form. Global XSS filter is also applied to file uploads, and will be apparent when
rendering the contents of a form submission back to the screen.
Global XSS filtering only occurs for un-trusted user roles such as students. Trusted users, such
as course instructors are allowed to post data and will not have their HTML filtered.
Global filtering can be turned on and off for the entire server using the
bbconfig.global.xss.enable property in bb-config.properties. This property is ON
by default starting with 9.1 SP4. This property is OFF by default in 9.1 SP1 through 9.1 SP3.
Global filtering can also be turned on or off selectively by URL. When global xss filter is ON for
the entire system (bbconfig.global.xss.enable=true), filtering can be turned off for
specific URLs. This option could be used in the case of a Building Block that allows any user, with
trusted role or not, to submit HTML content. To prevent the global xss filter from changing the
HTML, the developer can modify the code to get the unfiltered data using the new APIs, or create
an exception text file.
To create an exception file, add the URL prefixes, one per line, in a text file named in the
config/internal/bb-xss-global-filter-exceptions.txt.
For building blocks, the BBUID is embedded in the URL (and is VI specific), so the placeholder
{bbuid} can be used in the prefix. This will get replaced by the actual BBUID when URLs are
being compared against the prefix.
For example /webapps/bb-my-b2-{bbuid} would get changed to /webapps/bb-my-b2BBLEARN
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 5 (SP5)
Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 5
(SP5)
This addendum is designed to supplement Understanding the Change from Blackboard
Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 in order to provide information on the features and
functions of Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, Service Pack 5 (SP5).
Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 5 (SP5) focuses on bug fixes, course files, and security.
Default Maximum Upload Limit
The default size limit for content uploaded through the user interface has been raised from 250
MB to 2.5 GB. When attempting to upload files larger than 2.5 GB, Web Folders must be used.
Known and Resolved Issues
Many critical client-reported issues have been resolved. For a detailed list, see the Resolved
Issues Page of the Maintenance Center.
The list of known issues in Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 is available on the Known Issues page
of the Maintenance Center. The Known Issues page provides a list of the issue ID, description,
and resolution path. This page is updated regularly with new client-reported issues.
Course Files Move Utility
Course Files migration is an integral part of the recommended upgrade path to Blackboard Learn
9.1. Full support and a renewed recommendation for using the Move Files Utility for all customers
upgrading has been restored.
With the release of Learn 9.1, file management and storage was fundamentally changed. A new
file storage system was implemented through the Control Panel of a course and is called "Course
Files". Course Files gives users a way to manage their content files, file uploads, and
attachments. It also provides a way for users to manage who has permission to see and change
files stored here. Course Files provides a very basic file management interface.
For clients with a Content Collection license, Course Files is a window into their Content
Collection files through the course Control Panel. All the functions of the Content Collection
remain, but easy navigation to and from a course is available.
The Move Files Utility was created to populate the new file storage system with the course files
from a legacy course. Since Blackboard Learn 9.1 GA was released, problems related to files
moved using the utility after upgrading to 9.1 were discovered. With this release, we have
holistically addressed this key area and can renew our recommendation for use of the Move Files
Utility for all customers.
Restoring legacy courses in Blackboard Learn 9.1 without using the Move Files Utility places the
files in a legacy storage area that is not revealed to users, although the files remain accessible in
the course. New material developed after the course is upgraded is stored in the Files or Content
Collection area. This does not give a consistent user experience managing files for a course. By
using the Move Files Utility to move course files during an upgrade, legacy files are placed in
Course Files, providing a consistent way to manage files in a course.
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Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 5 (SP5)
System Administration
Security
Service Pack 5 addresses three key security vulnerabilities.
•
Cross-site Request Forgery – Cross-site Request Forgery is an attack that attempts to
execute actions on behalf of a user authenticated into Learn. SP5 provides further
hardening of Learn Release 9.1 from cross-site request forgery by protecting key parts of
the application such as the Grade Center.
•
Cross-site Scripting Attacks – Cross-site Scripting is an attack where malicious scripts
are injected into Learn. This occurs when specially crafted values are entered into a
variable of a web page or stored and displayed by the application. Oftentimes, an
attacker would need to convince an authenticated user to access a malicious web page
or record in order for the attack to occur. Key parts of the application are now protected.
•
Authorization Vulnerabilities – authorization vulnerabilities in the Address Book,
Calendar, Grade Center, Portfolio Comments and Display, and Tasks have been
eliminated.
Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1
©2011 Blackboard Inc. Proprietary and Confidential
Page 130
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