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 Highlights of New Features & Enhancements - Teaching & Learning

  • Calendar - Calendar is significantly enhanced in Blackboard Learn. It allows instructors and students to view institution level, course and personal events in a single calendar view. This was first released as a standalone Building Block and has been bundled and enabled in this release.
  • Retention Center - The Retention Center is an instructor-only tool that enables instructors to give focused attention to students who need it. It replaces the Early Warning System feature with easy workflows, while retaining all existing Early Warning System data and rules. This was first released as a standalone Building Block and has been bundled and enabled in this release.
  • Discussions - The Discussion Board user interface has been updated in two primary ways: the thread detail page has been thoroughly redesigned while maintaining all of its current functionality and instructors can now require students to first post to a forum before they can see other students’ posts. This was first released as a standalone Building Block and has been bundled and enabled in this release.
  • Inline Assignment Grading - Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, instructors will now be able to view student-submitted files “inline,” i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plugins, applets, or client-side applications. Additionally, annotation tools will be made available as part of the inline viewer, enabling instructors to provide feedback including comments, highlights, and even drawings/annotations directly on the inline view of the document. This was first released as a standalone Building Block and has been bundled and enabled in this release.
  • Tests and Surveys - The core capabilities of Tests and Surveys in Blackboard Learn are robust, but this release provides additional enhancements and improved workflows. The updates include group and user deployment exceptions, granular feedback control for Tests, improved handling of late submissions and more.
  • Quick Links:

    The Quick Links tool will help significantly improve the navigation experience for sighted, keyboard-only users. This tool can be quickly accessed on any page using a link at the very top of the page or a keyboard shortcut (Control+Alt+L). It will aggregate a list of all of the landmarks and headings on a page and allow a user to select one and jump directly to that location within the page. It will also collect and highlight any keyboard shortcuts that exist for the current page or tool, providing another method for quickly completing key tasks within the application.

  • Content Editor - WIRIS Updates:

    WIRIS provides the Math formula editing capabilities of the Content Editor introduced in Blackboard Learn Service Pack 10. SP12 brings a new WIRIS editor that is based on JavaScript. This removes dependence on Java and, as a result, enables full math-editing capabilities on platforms that cannot run java in browsers e.g.: iOS. This extends the functionality of the WIRIS math editor to all platforms capable of running a JavaScript enabled browser.

Availability of Features

Features

Description

Integration

Avatars

If you enable avatars, users can upload an image from their computer or select an image from the institution’s library. Blackboard Learn displays avatars in course Rosters, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Wikis, and Journals. Avatars also display within Notification Modules such as What's New, Needs Attention, To Do, and Alerts.


System Admin > Tools and Utilities > Avatars

  1. No system avatars (Disables avatars for the entire Blackboard Learn system.)
  2. Allow user to upload avatar image (Users can upload an image from their computers.)
  3. Allow user to select system generated avatar (Users can select an image from the set provided by the institution.)

System-wide (ALL campuses)


 

Calendar

The Calendar Building Block replaces the "My Calendar" module.


How to Access the Calendar

  1. On the course menu, click Tools.

  2. On the Tools page, select Calendar.

    -OR-

    On the My Institution tab, select Calendar in the Toolspanel.

    -OR-

    From the global navigation menu, select Calendar.

Building Block

Discussion Boards

Upgrade, all or nothing. Can turn off?

Building Block

Enterprise Surveys & Course Evaluations

Trying to figure out if we can give campus specific access.

System-wide

Inline Assignment Grading

Instructors can view student-submitted files “inline,” i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plug-ins, applets, or client-side applications. Additionally, annotations tools are available as part of the inline viewer, enabling Instructors to provide feedback – comments, highlights, and even drawing/annotation – directly on the inline view of the document.

Building Block 

Item Analysis

 

 

My Blackboard

We disable spaces and messages per role.

 

Available at Node level

Retention Center

We can turn off the retention center, but instructors will see the retention center in their My Blackboard.

 

Social Learning

Facebook Twitter on or off site wide.

 

Test Enhancements

 

 

Video Everywhere

 

Building Block

Development


  • Released by Blackboard: April 24, 2013
  • Installed in DEV: May 13, 2012
  • Installed in TEST: May 17, 2013
  • Installed in PROD: August 17-18, 2013
  • CP8 Installed in PROD: 9/11/13

Cumulative Patches (CP)


Resources


 

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32 Comments

  1. QCC Upgrade to SP10/SP11/SP12 (we are open to any upgrade plan)

    SP12 has many positive changes for faculty – (inline grading, discussions, retention center, accessibility, etc.)  If we implement the striped down version of SP10/11 then we would like SP12 in production as soon as possible.  We understand that change is difficult for everyone because it is difficult for our campus.  QCC needs time to train our faculty members and students to be ready for the fall semester.

    Below are bold and underlined 4 features (building blocks) that would benefit QCC faculty and students.  Our preference (QCC) would be to have them installed with service pack 10/11 on June 8 (they are built into service pack 12) OR before.

     4/24/2013

     

    Service Pack 12

    4/23/2013

     

    Social Learning Tools

    3/13/2013

     

    Inline Grading

    3/13/2013

     

    Retention Center

    3/13/2013

     

    Blackboard Drive 1.6

    2/13/2013

     

    Calendar

    1/30/2013

     

    Discussions

    12/27/2012

     

    Service Pack 11

    11/28/2012

     

    Video Everywhere

    11/5/2012

     

    Service Pack 10

     QCC has three 2 week periods that upgrades should not happen due to the end of the semester:

    • End of Spring 13 semester - May 2 - 16
    • End of Summer 1 semester - June 19 - July 1
    • End of Summer 2 semester - August 1 - August 15

    During June, July, and August, QCC has no classes scheduled on Friday.  Best weekday to schedule upgrades is on a Friday.

    QCC Staff/Faculty Training

    Monday May 20 is the start of workshops scheduled to train our 130 Distance Ed Faculty and any other faculty member interested in using Bb Learn (about 70 have expressed an interest up to 400).  These workshops are scheduled Monday through Thursday primarily in the day time hours from May through August.  We are also planning to train staff to provide services for our online students through Blackboard Learn.

    Bottom Line

    This group needs to make a decision on the timeline of implementing SP10/SP11(with what features) and/or SP12 .  It is difficult to plan for training and communication without implementation dates.  We also need access to training materials for faculty and students as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

    Pat S.

  2. I agree with Pat comments, but we are very flexible not time constraints we just need these service packs features asap.

    Thanks, Lynn

  3. Any decisions on the upgrade dates to SP10, SP11, building blocks and SP12?

  4. Thank you for updating TST to SP12.  Is PROD going to be updated t SP12 on June 8 weekend? 

  5. Of course we would very much like all of these features. We are currently very busy getting courses ready for the start of our summer session on May 28, many of these running in Blackboard Learn for the first time. It is not practical for us to develop and deliver custom training in all of the SP12 enhancements between May 28 and June 8 for the 300 instructors who at that point will be in the 2nd week of their summer classes. If SP10/SP11/SP12 has to be done all at once, we would prefer the July 20 date.

    1. Gene -

      I understand - I had set aside time this afternoon (and a few others) to start testing for the new PROD environment.  I am just looking for the plan (it needs to be finalized soon).  I need to communicate the changes to students and faculty.  We have uploaded the SP12 training courses in PROD and they look good - I want to change the availability date and get the faculty enrolled - I do not want to waste anytime with the SP10 training courses if we are going with SP10-SP11-SP12 upgrade (That will actually save us time and effort if we do one big upgrade).

      Thanks, Pat

       

  6. Pat:

    I did not think you could upload SP12 training into PROD since PROD is not on SP12. How did you do that? Were you planning on putting faculty through the full 7-10 hours for each of the 7 modules?

    Gene

    1. Gene,

      Below you can see the two emails we rec'd when we created the a SP12 training course.  I did not realize we were going to have SP12 in TST so fast.  We(QCC) needed to get the training courses into an environment for us to plan for the SP12 training.  We are going to do minimal training for SP10 because we can't handle two big trainings this summer.

      We are going to have a shell for SP12 training courses in PROD with faculty enrolled with an availability date the next day after the SP12 upgrade.  When we move to SP12 in PROD we will take our course export from TST - SP12 and import it into PROD - SP12 training course that has everyone enrolled and ready to go.

      Pat S.

       

      TST - SP12

      Import: QCC_LMS_101_01_SP12

      The operation has completed. The imported course or organization is now ready for access.

      The results of the process are shown below.

      Warning: The user who submitted the Announcement entitled "COURSE OVERVIEW" could not be located within the package. Therefore the Announcement will appear to have been submitted by the System Administrator.
      Warning: Could not validate resource 4657_1 with guid null
      Warning: Could not validate resource 4657_1 with guid null
      Warning: Could not validate resource 5999_1 with guid null
      Status: The operation import has completed.

      PROD - SP9

      Import: QCC_LMS_101_01_SP12

      The operation has completed. The imported course or organization is now ready for access.

      The results of the process are shown below.

      Warning: An error occurred while persisting a tool setting entitled "bgsg-Send Two-Way SMS". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log.
      Warning: An error occurred while persisting a tool setting entitled "bb-item-analysis". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log.
      Warning: An error occurred while persisting a tool setting entitled "bb-vtbe-tinymce-videorecorder". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log. Warning: An error occurred while persisting a navigation setting entitled "cp_course_survey_analyze". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log.
      Warning: An error occurred while persisting a navigation setting entitled "bgsg-Send Two-Way SMS-nav-1". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log.
      Warning: An error occurred while persisting a navigation setting entitled "bb-item-analysis-nav-1". The problem is most likely due to a mismatch between the set of Building Blocks installed on the source and destination systems.
      For more information, consult the detailed log.
      Warning: The user who submitted the Announcement entitled "COURSE OVERVIEW" could not be located within the package. Therefore the Announcement will appear to have been submitted by the System Administrator.
      Status: The operation import has completed.

  7. The upgrade to the TEST environment using the most recent PROD data took approximately 7 hours. Looking forward, do we want to have:

    1. One 7-hour downtime window for SP10, SP11, and SP12? or
      1. If so, do we stay with June 8th or go with another date like July 20th?
    2. Two 7-hour windows: one for SP10 and SP11 on June 8th and one 7 hour window on July 20th.

    1. I like option one (SP10 is big change for students - SP12 has options that will improve teaching)  Much easier for us to handle on June 8 than late August. 

      We only have to prepare one training package for students and faculty rather than two this summer. 

      Pat S.

    2. In order of preference:

      • One 7-hour downtime window on July 20th
      • Two 7-hour windows
      • One 7-hour downtime window on June 8

      Actually the first 2 are both fine, I'd go with whatever everyone else wants. The 3rd is much more challenging.

    3. Hi Stefanie,

      I spoke with my team, and the Lowell Campus' preference is Option #1 above: One 7-hour downtime window for SP10, SP11, and SP12, on June 8th.

      Thank you!

      Lisa

  8. We would prefer the one 7-hour window for June 8th, although we'd settle for the two 7-hour windows if needed.  The one 7-hour window for around July 20th wouldn't be good for us.

    We really, really, really need the course reports / tracking features back (specifically for students with IEP's or learning disabilities, in addition to generally), and have been waiting since January for the SP11 fix for them.

    Obviously the SP12 building blocks (and SP12 bug fixes) would be great to have, but student information provided by course reports is a much higher priority.

  9. All of the features installed by SP12 can be disabled after they're installed, correct? If so, then one downtime to install 10,11 and 12 would be ideal for us (Option 1). That way the features are ready to go whenever we are prepared to make them available to our users, and it won't require a second downtime.

  10. Unless I am able to test SP12 with disabled features June 8 is not acceptable. Also waiting for access to F2F training materials and test server.

    1. Blackboard Training Support does not have an ETA for the F2F training materials. I've pressed them once again to give us a sense of when the F2F materials will be available. Stefanie

  11. I had a long conversation with Tim today about the cloud features and SP12.  It doesnt look like this can be turned off; however, it can be made available based upon institutional roles.  So for example if UMA doesnt want to use this new feature, Tim will exclude the UMA institutional role.  I have also tested the retention center and this can be turned off at the node level.  

    What is the roll back to SP9 plan if there is a problem with upgrade?

     

  12. I want to know that we can temporarily turn off:

    • Inline Grading
    • Social Learning Tools
    • Video Everywhere

    These are features that require us to create custom training. I think we can easily get faculty and students to adapt to discussions. The current calendar is not in our template and the new one shouldn't be difficult to figure out. And instructors can ignore the retention center if they don't want to learn it. Changing the workflow for assignments, even if for the better, is going to mean an adjustment for a lot of people. Social Learning tools is an interesting but radical departure. You may not have noticed that the VTB editor is very different when you add Video Everywhere.

    I want all of this for fall with all cloud features and would be glad to enable it mid-summer. But not without time and resources to create training and not the second week of the new semester to 300 faculty.

    Gene

  13. I'm on the same page as Gene - visually, we're looking for minimal impact on the users who are mid-course during the upgrade time which I hope can still be achieved if upgrading to SP12 on 6/8 by disabling most new stuff. Most likely once all of summer is wrapped up we'll have had time to document the changes and open up the new features for Fall (and be prepared).

  14. We did some testing with SP12 on the tst server and so far really like the fixes and enhancements. Especially high priority for us is working course reports, ability to easily extend time limit on tests for a specific student, inline grading for assignments and improved discussion interface. June 8 roll out would be best for us to take advantage of these improvements.

    1. Hi Alena - I welcome you to share any of your testing efforts on the SP12 Testing Plan page. Thank you!!

  15. Just an idea for a roll out.  Figure out which new features/ enhancements that come with SP12 can be turned off.  At the campus node level turn all the features on, but create a child node for summer where you can turned off the enhancements.  Make another child node for training where you release some of the features so new  instructors can start seeing/learning about the new features included in SP12. 

    1. Ryan:

      Good thinking! But I'd like a training node with all the features turned on if it's possible for faculty to access that as instructors.

      Gene

      1. Hi Gene.

        This is possible. The tool availability is based on the tools that are enabled per node. So for this instance you create two child nodes one for SMR13 that contains all your summer courses with many of the SP13 features disabled and a training node with all the tool enabled.  You enroll the instructor into their summer course and a training course.  The tool sets will be different for each course because the courses are in separate nodes.

        Hope this makes sense.

        1. Ryan:

          Absolutely this makes sense and would be very useful for training and implementation. I just want a demonstration and trial of a "disabled" SP12 node before signing off on a June 8 upgrade.

          Gene

          1. I think the only problem could be the cloud feature.  Since this is based upon institutional role this might be more difficult to manage.  You might have to create a new institution role that has all the same features as your main institution role.  That way Tim can limit who on your campus can see this feature.

             

            1. Maybe we could turn it off for those with our secondary umb_faculty and umb_student institution roles?

              Gene

    2. Great plan, Ryan! It would be great to capture which features campuses want enabled/disabled; this will also help with identifying which ones are system-wide only.

  16. I like that idea Ryan - Pat S.

  17. Hi Stef,

    We are not interested in having any child nodes for our institution.

     

    Pat D

  18. From what we learned today about enabling/disabling I would have to choose a conservative option:

    • June 8 - SP10/SP11 (7hrs) + additional patches (2hrs)
    • July 20 - SP12 (7hrs)

    An example: you can't disable "Inline Assignment Grading" for a campus. Unless you want to turn off the assignment tool altogether. That would be true with the calendar (we don't use the current one) and discussions. I don't think you could remove Video Everywhere from the text editor. Yes, I know this isn't rocket science. Maybe our faculty members are different from yours.

    BTW, it would be good to know which set of rules we are operating under for each of our meetings. When discussing the May 17 date, one campus was able to exercise a veto based on their own needs. No further discussion needed. Today it's majority rule. We've had a well-planned, well-executed migration so far with adequate time to train and prepare faculty to teach their redeveloped courses. I'm not looking forward to explaining to them that we're making changes to the system for which we are unprepared. Course Reports are great, they're just not our top priority and we haven't been holding our breath waiting for them.

  19. I agree with Gene on the concerns he has expressed. At UMB annual Ed Tech Conference on May 16th, many faculty expressed concern regarding getting adequate training before a major upgrade.