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May 2018 Upgrade Information

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Q4 2017 includes multiple new and enhanced features, improved workflows, and technology updates.

The latest releases for the Original experience of Blackboard Learn include many new features and enhancements that:

  • Save you time by improving the efficiency and ease of use of completing your daily tasks
  • Provide an improved user experience
  • Improve the accessibility of both your content and Learn functionality
  • Simplify and enhance the assessment and grading capabilities

The planned upgrade to Q4 2017 is scheduled for May 12, 2018 (12:30 am - 12:30 pm).

Faculty and Staff users can preview the Q4 2017 upgrade at https://astate-test.blackboard.com. Use your A-State email address and password to login

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  • From the Blackboard Blog: The Vision for the Original Experience for Blackboard Learn

    Learn VisionAt BbWorld this past summer in New Orleans, Blackboard shared their vision for Blackboard Learn's Original Experience in the areas of

    • Design
    • Engagement
    • Accessibility
    • Insights and
    • Integrations

    Lynn Zingraf, Senior Director of Product Management for Learn shares more about that vision and Blackboard's commitment to the Blackboard Learn Orignial Experience users on the Blackboard Blog.

    Click here to read more.

    "The Q4 2017 release for the Original experience is one step towards delivering on the vision for Learn. We have a lot more in development for the Original experience, as well as our supporting Teaching & Learning tools, that we look forward to making available to you over the next year" - Lynn Zingraf

  • Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) improvements

    LTI 2.0 tool registration 

    Tool providers who use the LTI 2.0 specification can be registered using the proxy service standard. 

    Improved launch experience

    LTI links now open in a lightbox within the course, rather than directing users to a new window or tab. This loads tools within the same window from where they are launched, creating a more consistent and contained workflow for students. 

    LTI Deep Linking

    The Content Item Message specification is now supported, allowing improved integration for tool providers also supporting this standard. When used, instructors and course designers can create links to specific resources without knowing and specifying resource IDs. Instead, they can launch into the tool provider’s user experience, select one or more resources to add to their course, and the individual links are created in the correct place in the Blackboard Learn course. Students clicking the links will be taken directly to the specific resource rather than to a generic tool page for the tool provider.

  • Course availability status and update

    Instructors and other privileged course members can see the availability state of the course and change the state from the main course view.

    All privileged users in a course see an open or closed padlock representing the availability state of the course to students. The new icon is located on the entry page of a course in the course edit management areas with tools such as Student Preview and the Edit Mode toggle.


  • Math Editor Update with Chemistry Notation Support

    The math editor found in the Content Editor has been updated to a newer version of WIRIS.

    This version adds tools specific to chemistry including an embedded periodic table of elements.


  • Add Collaborate Ultra to Groups

    Instructors can add Collaborate Ultra sessions to Groups pages in the Original Course View of Blackboard Learn.

    If instructors allow, students can share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings.


  • Discussion Board Updates - "Replies to Me"

    Keeping up with large Discussion Board forums is easier by giving participants a count and filter to just look at new replies from others to posts made the participant.

  • More Responsive Blogs and Journals Tools

    Blogs and Journals have been better optimized for use on mobile devices. Posts and comments composed with responsive content will render on smaller devices. Options for filtering posts or navigating groups or users will appear below currently viewed posts.

  • Grade Center Updates

    Grade display standardization

    This change standardizes areas of Blackboard Learn where users access grades. Now, all gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades support up to five decimal points, aren't rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).

    More efficient Grade Center cleanup

    Instructors can now more easily clean up their grade books by deleting multiple columns at once. Selected manual and calculated columns are removed completely. Selected columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.

  • New Box View for Inline Grading

    Instructors grading assignments can view documents in-line and annotate the document to provide feedback for students. In prior versions, this used a licensed technology called Crocodoc that will be discontinued on January 15, 2018. This release allows institutions to switch to a replacement service from Box entitled New Box View that offers similar capabilities. Prior documents with annotations will be automatically migrated without requiring action from administrators or users.

  • Mobile device navigation improvements for the Original experience

    This release includes navigation improvements for the system and course menus in the Original experience.

    When users access Blackboard Learn through their mobile devices, the navigation has been moved to a hamburger menu for persistent access from screen to screen. Tabs and subtabs also appear in navigation choices.

    My Blackboard has been incorporated into the system menu for easier access.

    Within a course, the menu opens and closes more easily with fixed location action rather than tab.


  • Top 10 Bug Fixes

    Blackboard is pleased to share the Top 10 bugs fixed in the Learn 9.1 Q4 2017 with Cumulative Update 1 release.  With our 9.1 releases, we are committed to delivering strong product quality and providing a stable, reliable experience for educators and students using Blackboard Learn today.

    Top 10 List

    1. 47306 Show/Hide Course Menu Hidden in Certain Monitor Resolutions Navigation
    2. 43724  Attempts in Grade Center Redirected to Incorrect Student Attempt Grade Center
    3. 43290 Display Dates Cannot be Manually Entered for Content Items Content Management
    4. 43127 Servers with Custom Roles Result in many RuntimeException After Upgrade User Settings
    5. 47401 Unable to Answer Fill in Multiple Blank and Jumbled Sentence Questions Using Mouse Assessments
    6. 42677 Cannot Reorder Grade Center Columns Grade Center
    7. 39473 Cannot edit Module Properties with Assigned Institution Roles System Administration
    8. 45861 Temp Files Received While Sending Email Attachments from the Grade Center Notifications
    9. 46115 2016 Theme Breaks Grade Center Vertical Scroll Bar Grade Center
    10. 38436 Error when Copying a Course Containing Earned Achievements Achievements

    If you would like to see the Top 50 Bug Fixes and more information, please click on the article link.

    Top 50 Bug Fixes

Blackboard Upgrade Preview

The Q4 2017 Upgrade Preview Site is at https://astate-test.blackboard.com/. The Preview Site has been designed to help prepare faculty for the upcoming Q4 2017 upgrade.

Faculty may use their full A-State email address and password to log into the Preview site. Each faculty member has access to blank course shells matching their Spring 2018 courses. Faculty are encouraged to explore the upgrade by importing one of their courses to see how it will look or try the new workflows.

For more information on the Q4 2017 Upgrade, please contact the Blackboard Administrator at blackboard@astate.edu.  

Note: The Upgrade Preview site has course shells for faculty and staff to use only to preview the Q4 2017 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.