Summer 2016 Blackboard Upgrade

This Blackboard upgrade will be a fairly minor one – many of the updates are happening on the back end, which won’t impact the student and instructor experiences at all. However, there are a few highlights we’d like to bring to your attention.

Tool Changes and Improvements

  • Announcements
    • When creating an announcement, “Not Date Restricted” is now selected by default. This should make it easier to quickly create an announcement.
      Durration set as Not Date Restricted
    • The From header now includes the sender’s full name in course announcement emails. It will be very obvious to students that an announcement is from you, the instructor.
      Email header showing From instructor's name
  • Discussion Boards
    • Forum Descriptions are now readable on Create Thread Page so students can see the prompt when they begin their post.
      Create thread screen with Forum Description followed by Message subject and body
    • Users will be able to navigate to the next or previous thread in a discussion from the Thread Detail page without having to navigate back up to the Discussion Forum page.
      Top of thread page showing navigation arrows
  • Special Characters in Assignment Titles– When a user uploads a file to Learn and the file name contains special characters (such as / \ : ? * ” < > | ), the system replaces the special character with an underscore ( _ ).
  • YouTube– Since Google removed YouTube’s Record from Webcam feature, the Content Editor has been updated with the following changes:
    • The YouTube icon image has been changed.
    • The Alt Text now reads Browse My YouTube Videos.
    • The Record tab has been removed and all users are now defaulted to the Browse tab to search existing videos.
      YouTube icon showing "Browse My YouTube Videos"
  • Browser Support– The Microsoft Edge browser is now supported. However, we still recommend Chrome and Firefox.
  • HTML 5 Support- The Content Editor now supports HTML5 Audio and Video playback in Chrome and Edge browsers.

Accessibility Features and Improvements

  • Assessments– When creating a hot spot question, an Image Alternate Text box is now available (a best practice in using images online).
  • Content Editor– The default heading size for all of the embedded headings has been increased so they are properly read in both the view and edit state in the Content Editor. When you use them now, they will appear the same to you in the edit window as it does for students when they view it. Using headings helps students using screen readers to navigate the material better.

Fixed Bugs

  • Grade Center Columns are Duplicated- If you’ve ever found that you have multiple Total or Weighted Total columns when you look in a new course, this will resolve that.
  • SafeAssign Option Turns Off After Editing the Assignment– SafeAssign will no longer unintentionally turn itself off when you edit an assignment.
  • Gradable Discussions Cannot Use Rubrics– Rubrics should now be usable on all discussions.
  • LTI Tool Link Can Give Errors if Description is on Multiple Lines– If you’ve set up a Chalk and Wire link and heard us say “You can’t put a description in that box”, well, Blackboard has finally fixed that. You can now put your assignment details or other content into the description of any LTI link (to Chalk and Wire, VoiceThread or publisher content).