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Blackboard Learn is moving to cloud hosting for the Fall 2021 term.  The cloud infrastructure (Blackboard Learn SaaS) boosts overall system performance, scalability, and allows for zero-downtime updates and fixes. We'll always be on the most up-to-date version of Blackboard 9.1 and any technical bugs can be addressed without disruption to teaching and learning.

What's Different?

This is the same version of Blackboard that has been used for previous iterations of Blackboard courses, except that it will be in a more responsive, cloud-based environment. Instructors and students alike will notice minimal interface changes.  

At the same time, we are updating to the most recent version of Blackboard Learn and there are some minor improvements and bug fixes that will come along with that upgrade (to Blackboard Learn 9.1 v. 3900).

Users should generally notice faster performance, such as page load times, file transfer, and task processing within the Blackboard tools.


Improved Content Editor. The content editor has been simplified while expanding several options.  Users will see a new icon set, more accessibility options, an enhanced spellcheck tool, new special characters searchable library, among other changes. View Blackboard's documentation for more details: Content Editor Quick Guide and Content Editor Comparison Guide

Bug Fixes. Several issues will be addressed by upgrading and moving to the Blackboard Cloud. Many are backend bugs and existing administrative issues, but some are front-facing:

  • Random re-ordering of assignments will no longer occur
  • Enhancements to BB Annotate for file mark-up and security
  • Proxy errors and performance load issues mitigated
  • Content collection loading delays for certain roles resolved


Are Past and Current Blackboard Courses Affected?

All previously taught Blackboard courses as far back as Fall 2018 will be restored to the Blackboard cloud environment.  Everything else is archived in accordance with our retention policy.

Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 course archives will be moved over and be available in the cloud once the respective terms have concluded and grading has finished.

Courses moved to the Blackboard Cloud should appear as they do in the current environment.  The same tools and functionality are installed in the new Blackboard cloud instance.  Additionally, some externally-integrated tools (VoiceThread, WileyPLUS) will be taking advantage of the upgraded version of Blackboard and have newer versions replace what is in the current system.

Other Considerations?

On August 20th, we are shifting to the Blackboard Cloud as the live environment.  The URL to the Blackboard Cloud ( will be switched to the previous login page URL ( and there will be only one Blackboard environment.

For instructors who use certain integrated tools, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Publisher content. Since some publisher content can not be integrated with two production environments at once, some integrated content for Fall 2021 will need to be configured after the August 20th switchover date. This includes McGraw-Hill Connect, Examsoft, and other "deep" integrations with Blackboard. WileyPLUS will have a new integration installed ahead of time and will be configured before the switchover.
  • Turnitin. Turnitin is available now to begin creating assignments in the Blackboard Cloud.  However, assignments copied from a course hosted in the previous system will not work in the new system, so those assignments will need to be rebuilt in the cloud.
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. The Collaborate video conferencing tool will not be available in the cloud until it is configured after 8/20.
  • VoiceThread. VoiceThread users will start using the New VoiceThread assignments beginning May 14, when they are turned on in both Blackboard environments. Additionally, there will be a behind-the-scenes update from VoiceThread 1.1 to VoiceThread 1.3 which will provide a full integration, roster-syncing, and other administrative benefits.

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