Blackboard Maintenance Update – What’s New?

Last night, our Blackboard instance went through a scheduled maintenance that brought us to version 9.1 Q2 2017.  While the version may not mean much to you, we wanted to take the time to let you know about what new features you have in store when you return in the new year.

New Features with 9.1 Q2 2017

Additional drag-and-drop locations

File drag and drop are now supported in the following areas:

  • Content Editor – embed attachment
  • Blank Page content type
  • Blog – Create Entry
  • Journal – Create Entry
  • Portfolio – add Artifact

Submission receipts enhancements

Students can receive a notification email for each assignment attempt with information about the submission including attached files. Students can also access receipts at any time on the My Grades page in the submissions filter area. Administrators can optionally disable the email notifications.

Blackboard Ally availability

When you return, you will have access to Blackboard Ally.  As we have told you in our previous newsletter articles, Ally is a service for improving the accessibility of content in the following ways:

  • Ally presents instructors and content authors with an accessibility score and coaches users in ways to improve the accessibility of materials.
  • Ally creates and presents students with automatically-generated alternative versions of uploaded files and creating accessible HTML, digital braille, and audio format files.
  • Ally allows administrators to see accessibility scores of materials across courses and track changes over time to plan, measure, and improve accessibility.

Blackboard Ally how-to

Starting January 4th, we will offer a fully-online course (in Blackboard) where you can learn about Ally, how it works and even earn a “Blackboard Ally” certification.  Enroll today!

Inline grading moves from Crocodoc to Box View

Blackboard’s original way to do inline grading (Crocodoc) has been upgraded and replaced by the owners of that software (Box Inc.) to Box View. Box View offers several improvements over Crocodoc, including improved rendering fidelity and expanded support for new file types.  Check out this list of over 100 different supported file types.

For more information, watch this video from Blackboard.

Aside from these great new features and tools, Blackboard also squashed some bugs that had been pestering us.

Bugs fixed with 9.1 Q2 2017

  • Users not Getting Emails While Subscribed to Discussion Board Forum
  • Temp Files Received While Sending Email Attachments from the Grade Center
  • Embedded Media Controls Unresponsive in Test Questions
  • Embedded Media does not play when used as a Question in Assessments
  • Error when Viewing Test Attempts in Grade Center

Blackboard Downtime 9/2/17

Blackboard Downtime Banner

SHSU Online will need to apply a critical update to Blackboard on Sat, Sept 2, during Labor Day weekend.  As a result, you will not be able to log into Blackboard for approximately 12 hours from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST.

How can I prepare?

  • Shift any assignment due dates to before or after the downtime
  • Reschedule any online examinations around the downtime window
  • Reschedule any synchronous activities you had planned during that time

As is customary, we will post announcements on the Blackboard landing page, in every Blackboard course, as well as on the SHSU Online website.   The SHSU Online Support Desk will be available to answer any inquiries.

What’s New In Blackboard?

What's New in Blackboard Learn - Graphic
On Sunday, August 13, Blackboard was updated to a more recent version(Q2 2017). Though the majority of Blackboard will operate the same as before the update, there are some important new features that we would like to highlight.

These features include:

  • Drag and Drop Files
  • Submission Receipts
  • Reminders
  • Blackboard Instructor App
  • Dropbox Integration
  • Needs Grading Improvements

Below you will find descriptions for each new feature as well as links to thorough documentation on each.

drag_n_dropDrag and Drop Files
When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the “hot spot” in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments. Drag and drop are also supported in the following areas: Content Collection, Content Editor, blank page content type, blogs, journals, and adding an artifact to Portfolios. | For Instructors | For Students |

Submission Receipts
Instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.

Submission Receipts - Instructor view

Students can receive a notification email for each assignment attempt with information about the submission including attached files. Students can also access receipts at any time on the My Grades page in the submissions filter area. Administrators can optionally disable the email notifications. | For Instructors | For Students |

Send ReminderReminders
Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.
| Learn More |

Blackboard Instructor
Blackboard Instructor is a mobile app that enables instructors to view course content, connect with students in discussions, and interact with classes in Blackboard Collaborate. The app is available on iOS and Android mobile devices.
| Learn More |

Dropbox Integration
Students can attach files and submit assignments from their personal Dropbox accounts using this new cloud service integration.

Dropbox Blackboard Mashup

Fewer Needs Grading Items
When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won’t calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon. | Learn More |


Blackboard Maintenance Preparations

In preparation for this evening’s Blackboard maintenance, the Blackboard Administration Team will be performing some tasks on our production servers. They are as follows:

Student Preview1. Set Inactive and Uninstall “Student View” Building Block

The Student Preview is part of the Blackboard core and as such does not need to be duplicated as a Building Block.  When you login to Blackboard Thursday morning the student preview button will show up in the upper right hand side of your course’s content frame.

2. Delete all “bb_demo” users from system (6765 users)

These were accounts that the old Student View Building block placed in your course(s) every time you used the Student View.

3. Delete all SHSU faculty “_std” accounts. (1217 users)

These are student accounts for faculty that we retained from our “Blackboard Classic” days prior to 2011.  These ARE NOT your instructor accounts. We used to leverage them to view our courses as students.  The Student Preview functionality takes care of this for us now, so there is no reason to have 2 things that operate the same way.


Blackboard Maintenance (Downtime)

System MaintenanceBlackboard will be undergoing maintenance from 10pm on Wednesday, December 17th until 10am on Thursday, December 18th, 2014.  Blackboard will be unavailable during this time.  This maintenance will address the accessibility, security, performance and scalability of the platform as well as other known issues.

We are posting this announcement now to allow for any changes in due dates and schedules in your course(s). Please do not log in or try to do any work during the maintenance window.  During the downtime, please visit the SHSU Online Blog for more information.

E-mail if you have any questions.

The SHSU Online Blackboard Team

Blackboard Maintenance Complete – What’s New?

Great news!  Blackboard maintenance completed almost 3 hours early.  SHSU is now running Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 11. Updating to SP11 will allow the following new features/enhancements to be available to the SHSU Bb community:

New Global Navigation Menu
Always present in the top right corner, the new navigation menu is the entry point to My Blackboard and also provides one-click access to your Courses, Organizations, Settings and Help features.

My Blackboard
A completely new, modern user experience that consolidates critical information from all of your Courses and Organizations. Students can update their profile, respond to discussion posts, see course updates, and view My Grades for all courses in one location.

New Content Editor
The new Content Editor  vastly improves the user experience for entering text, pasting content from Microsoft Word, and adding content to all areas of Blackboard. Simply bring your course materials to life.
Content Editor Instructors – more info
Content Editor Students – more info

Assessment Item Analysis
Educators can now easily refine their assessments by evaluating the quality of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and students who do not. Ineffective questions can be easily identified and then quickly corrected with the Automatic re-grade feature.
Item Analysis Instructors – more info

Video Everywhere
Use the content editor in Blackboard to create video using your webcam. Upload your recordings directly to YouTube using your registered Google account and YouTube channel.
Video Everywhere Instructors – more info
Video everywhere Students – more info

The new Calendar feature allows instructors and students to view institution level, course and personal events in a single calendar view.
Calendar Instructors – more info
Calendar Students – more info

Discussion have been updated in two ways: the thread detail page has been redesigned but still maintains current functionality and instructors can now require students first post to a forum before they can view other posts.
Discussions Instructor – more info
Discussion Students – more info

Course Menu
The course menu has been modified. Once collapsed, it will only stay that way during the current session and only in the course that you are currently in.

Rubrics Update
A rubric on Blackboard now includes the Percentage Range along with the Points Range. This allows a single rubric to work for any assignment.