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Blackboard Service Pack 11/13 Upgrade

New Features in Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 11/13


New Global Navigation Menu -  New Feature for All Users

The entry point to My Blackboard is available all the time in the top right corner of the Learn interface and provides one-click access to your Courses, Settings, Help, and the new My Blackboard tools. You can see the new My Blackboard tools going down the left-hand side of the menu in the screenshot below. And the numbers in red tell you if there's something that’s new or needs your attention – so you never have to worry about missing anything. With this new Global Navigation menu, you can access everything you need quickly and easily, from wherever you are in the Blackboard Learn.

New Global Navigation Menu
More information regarding global navigation.

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

Calendar Update
For more information regarding the New Calendar watch this.

New Content Editor – Enhancement for All Users
The new and improved Content Editor enables simple content creation through an easy to use interface. The editor reads, writes and renders modern HTML – so the content you created in Microsoft Word and the course pages you designed so carefully in Dreamweaver will render with great fidelity within Blackboard Learn. You can easily add rich content by pulling in mashups from YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and more. You can expand it for full-frame editing to build rich content.

New Content Editor 

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

New Math Content Editor
Watch a video on using the new Content Editor.

Item Analysis – New Feature for Faculty
The new Item Analysis feature helps you easily assess and refine your tests and quizzes by evaluating the quality and validity of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Ineffective questions can be easily identified and then you can quickly correct them with the Automatic re-grade feature. As an educator, you will be able to access an at-a-glance summary of your Blackboard assessments (see below). This summary provides insight into student performance on that assessment and how the question items performed.

Item Analysis

Item Analysis
And from this summary page, when you scroll down, you can see a list of questions sorted in order of discrimination – with the most ineffective listed on top. A simple red dot next to a question tells you if the question requires review.

Item Analysis detail

Item Analysis detail
After examining the question, you can see whether it was poor wording, vague answer choices or some other factor. If you decide to change or update that question, you can immediately take action right from this page by clicking the “Edit Test” button. You will be taken directly to the assessment where you can use the automatic regrading feature to either update or delete the question and regrade it – even if students have already completed the assessment. And the updates flow automatically into the Grade Center. In summary, with the new Item Analysis feature, you can quickly and easily ensure that your assessments are successful discriminators of student performance.
Watch a video on item analysis.

Fill in the Blank Question Enhancement – Enhancement for Faculty
Instructors can now take advantage of using "contains" and "pattern match" logic when grading Fill in the Blank questions. That means you no longer have to rely upon an exact match for Blackboard Learn to automatically grade these questions. So you no longer have to enter multiple answer choices when creating a Fill in the Blank question in order for Blackboard to grade the question for you.

For example, let's say your test question is "Who was the first president of the United States?" Instead of trying to enter all possible correct answers for the blank (George Washington, Washington, President Washington, President George Washington, etc.), you can simply select "contains" and type Washington. 

In addition it also includes flexibility for special needs students by allowing them extra time. 

Fill in the Blank Question Enhancement 

File Picker Enhancement – Enhancement for All Users
A new and improved File Picker will be available everywhere you attach files. The goal is to de-clutter the page, remove unnecessary functionality and make the primary action of choosing a file as easy and simple as possible. The new File Picker will be available for both direct file attaching, as in Assignments, or attaching files via the Content Editor.

File Picker Enhancement
File Picker Enhancement

Video Everywhere – New Feature for All Users
Video Everywhere is available in the Content Editor is. Users will be able to record video and upload it directly to YouTube safely. The feature provides the ability for faculty and students to record a video on the fly using a webcam and have it seamlessly embedded in course materials, interactions, and feedback through the content editor and reuse previously recorded videos by choosing from one’s own “library” of videos. All you need is a webcam.

Video Everywhere
For more information regarding Video Everywhere is available here

Inline Assignment Grading:
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.

Image illustrating associated text

Grading Schema Alignment
The new Grade Schema default will be A, B, C, D, F instead of  A+, A, A-, B+, ....... that is more aligned with CCC Grading System. Instructors can still edit and make changes according to their needs.

Automated Re-grading
Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid question directly and having all necessary updates flow automatically to the Grade Center. For any assessment question, Instructors can drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct. After the question has been updated, Blackboard Learn recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, and provides notification to both the Instructor and optionally to the Student for all impacted submissions.

Test Availability Exceptions
Test availability exceptions are a set of new settings on the Test Options page, available only after the test is added to a content area. Select one or more groups of students and make a number of exceptions to the already established availability settings. Exceptions can be used to provide an accommodation to a disabled student, or provide accommodations for technology and language differences. Exceptions can be created for:

  • Number of attempts
  • Timer
  • Availability
  • Force completion

Exporting Test Questions
All questions are now retained in exported and imported tests, including questions that originate outside the exported test, such as Question Sets, Random Blocks, and Question Links. When the user exports a test and imports it back into a different course, all questions are now present irrespective of their origin.

Test Access Log
Instructors and proctors can verify student activity or lack of activity during a test using the new Access Log. The Access Log is available from the Attempts page of a test and provides detailed information on student's test attempt interactions.

Negative Marking
Negative Marking allows Instructors to apply negative point values for incorrect answers on assessment questions.

Achievements Tool
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.
  • Students are able to publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside of Blackboard Learn.
  • Instructors can easily see which students have reached learning milestones.
  • Printable certificates can be awarded for course completion.