Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Q4 2016 Information (Current Version)

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2016 includes multiple new and enhanced features, improved work flows, and technology updates.

Enhancements for this release generally fall into the following five categories:

  • Technology infrastructure improvement to improve performance and security
  • Improved experience for mobile users and updating the look-and-feel of the environment
  • Improvements to save time and effort including file drag-and-drop in key workflows
  • Assessment enhancements in the core teaching and learning tools
  • Reporting improvements

Arkansas State University upgraded to Q4 2016 on May 14, 2017.


  • Learn 2016 Theme

    The Learn 2016 Theme for Blackboard Learn is a modern version of the user interface that incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language including color, fonts, and spacing for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and the Bb Student app. This optional theme is a first step in improving the experience for mobile users. Instructors and students can access their course materials whether they're at a desk or on the go!

    When users log in to Blackboard Learn on a mobile device or tablet, screen elements compress or change position so they stay visible. As the screen gets smaller, modules and tool tiles stack so the user still has access to them at their fingertips. The responsive design elements of the Learn 2016 theme improve the user experience for anyone who wants access to their Blackboard Learn courses on their own schedule.

    Support for Accessibility

    The Learn 2016 theme was designed with WCAG 2.0 principles in mind and follows accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation. The theme will continue to be extended to incorporate modern screen reader navigation approaches such as ARIA landmarks.

    Here's a quick comparison of what to expect.

    FeatureLearn 2012 themeLearn 2016 theme
    PlatformBlackboard Learn 9.1: SupportedBlackboard Learn 9.1: Supported
    BrandingSupportedBanner image is supported

    Custom login pages are supported

    Brand configuration, such as color settings and background image, is supported

    Course themes are not supported

    Mobile BrowserNot optimizedImproved experience

    While the experience is improved, mobile browsers are not a supported technology at this time.

    More about browser support

    Content AreaNot optimized on mobileResponsive

    A content area is responsive when the content it contains is built using responsive practices.

    Login pageNot optimized on mobileResponsive
    TestsNot optimized on mobileImproved experience
    Tabs and ModulesNot optimized on mobileImproved experience

  • Support for Accessibility

    The Learn 2016 theme was designed with WCAG 2.0 principles in mind and follows accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation. The theme will continue to be extended to incorporate modern screen reader navigation approaches such as ARIA landmarks.

  • New Icon Set

    In this release, there is a new icon set for use in courses and organizations, and cancel/submit buttons will always pin to the bottom of the page regardless of device.

    Icons

  • Drag 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 files

    If the browser allows, users can drag a folder of files and the files will upload individually.

    Note: Drag and drop is not yet available in every area of Blackboard Learn where users can attach files.

  • Dropbox Education Integration

    The Dropbox Education integration allows instructors and students to easily link to and upload their Dropbox content into their Blackboard Learn courses.

    • Seamlessly authenticate to Dropbox accounts through Blackboard Learn
    • Access your Dropbox learning content from any device
    • Instructors are able to upload content from Dropbox using the mashup functionality
    • Students are able to upload assignments from Dropbox using any device.

    Instructors wanting more information about using the Dropbox Education integration should contact the Faculty Center at ittclab@astate.edu or (870) 972-2334.

  • Submission Receipts

    Administrators and 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 Receipt

    A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.

    More on submission confirmations

  • Reminders

    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.

    Instructors can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.

    More on how to send reminders for missing coursework

  • 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. 

    More on grading multiple attempts on the Needs Grading page

  • Course Activity Reports

    The Course Activity Overview report has been updated to improve the experience for larger enrollment courses. Instructors can filter the report and break down the calculations of student activity by course groups.

    More on course reports


Note: The Upgrade Preview site has course shells for faculty and staff to use only to preview the Q4 2016 upgrade. The course shells in the Upgrade Preview site are not live Blackboard courses and should not be used to teach online courses. Grades in these courses will not transfer to Banner. The Upgrade Preview site may be down for maintenance often and without warning from the Blackboard Administrator.