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List of Enhancements

Blackboard Upgrade - Summer 2014



The Achievements tool allows instructors and course designers to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. Students are able to publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside the LMS. Instructors can easily see which students have reached learning milestones.

Date Management

Blackboard has created a new utility that addresses the problem with dates not shifting when course content is copied from one course to another.  Using “Date Rollover,” instructors will be able to have the system automatically “shift” content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way.  After the system makes this shift, the instructor will be able to see all the dates in one place, and further validate and adjust dates in a single user interface

Grade Center Improvements

Blackboard has made several improvements to the Grade Center in this release. We have redesigned the My Grades page providing a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.  Grading Schemas can now have values greater than 100%.  

Groups Management

Groups Management significantly improves the experience of managing Groups with large numbers of students in a course. It adds capabilities to the existing workflows for Group creation and management. This feature applies to both Courses and Organizations.

Course Messages Notifications

Notifications for Course Messages fill a gap in the Notifications framework. Prior to this release, when Messages were sent inside the Messages Course/Organization tool, there was no way for users to know that they had new Messages. Adding Course Messages to the Notifications framework provides visibility and notification in My Blackboard, and in the "What's New" module on both the institutional and course module pages.

Inline Assignment Grading

This update to the inline grading experience improves the user experience of the recently introduced Inline Assignment Grading feature.  Instructors now have the ability to expand the grading window to full screen.

Inline Grading for Tools

The sidebars for grading Blogs & Journals, Discussions, and Wikis have all been updated to present an experience consistent with the Inline Assignment Grading sidebar..

Student Preview

The new Student Preview feature provides the capability for an instructor to see the course exactly as a student would see it. It accomplishes this by allowing the Instructor to easily transition into and out of a system-managed preview account that is automatically enrolled in the course as a student. This provides all the advantages of a “dummy” account while absolving the instructor and System Administrator of the management overhead.

Portfolio Improvements

Blackboard has improved the Portfolio framework to replace Basic and Personal Portfolios. The new framework will automatically convert existing Portfolios so they remain fully accessible in the newly improved and simplified authoring workflow. Portfolios are now tightly integrated with courses providing students the ability to convert course assignments into Artifacts. Instructors may also formally require a Portfolio as a submission to an assignment in a course.

Anonymous and Delegated Grading

Blackboard has implemented a robust Anonymous Grading feature to add another layer of fairness and impartiality to Grading capabilities. Without knowing who submitted the assignment, a Grader is not influenced by a student's previous performance, class participation, conflicts, race, gender, or perceived student aptitude. Delegated Grading promotes reliability and removes bias by using grades and feedback from more than one Grader. These features may be used together or individually to meet grading requirements.

Assessments: Significant Figures

Blackboard has improved Calculated Formula Questions by adding the ability to define the significant figures required and used in the creation of answers and the automated grading process.


Blackboard has enhanced the SafeAssign service to provide a more seamless integration with native Blackboard Learn Assignments and updated the SafeAssign Originality Report interface. With this update, the SafeAssignment content type is removed from the content areas, and SafeAssign becomes an additional feature available when creating native Blackboard Learn Assignments. All Blackboard Learn Assignment features are available in tandem with SafeAssign services with the exception of Portfolio submissions to Blackboard Learn Assignments.

Financial Aid Reporting

The Financial Aid Building Block, released as a standalone Building Block in 2013, is now available with the Blackboard Learn 9.1, April 2014 Release. With increased scrutiny in the awarding of United States Federal financial aid monies to students enrolled in courses, there is a need to demonstrate a student’s substantive academic contribution to a course as a justification for the award of such monies. Blackboard is providing a solution to assist institutions in meeting the reporting requirements for Return of Title IV Funds rules (also known as “R2T4”). The Single and Multi- Course User Participation Report provide data on the student contribution of academic content within a Blackboard Learn course.  These reports are also useful in other regions, as they provide evidence of student activity within courses.