What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 SP11
As of August 4, 2013, The University of Denver will be running an upgraded version of Blackboard. Service Pack 11 includes several enhancements and bug fixes to DU’s Blackboard system. The following new features are the most significant changes from the perspective of instructors:
New Content Editor:
Blackboard’s content editor has been the source of many problems for instructors, especially when trying to copy and paste text from Microsoft Word documents. The editor has been streamlined, and will now accept text from Word while preserving formatting and excluding the background formatting code that previously caused problems in Blackboard. More information about the new content editor can be found here: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_10_and_SP_11/Instructor/010_Blackboard_Learn_Environment/002_Working_with_Text/001_Using_the_Content_Editor
The Calendar in Blackboard Learn has been significantly enhanced:
- When accessed from the Tools menu on the My DU tab, the calendar displays a consolidated view of all institution, course, organization, and personal calendar events for a user. Calendar events are color coded by course.
- When accessed from a course, instructors and students see the course calendar from the course menu on the Tools page. Instructors can use the calendar course tool as a primary way of managing and communicating the schedule of events and assignments in the course. Calendar supports due dates, if set, for gradable items. Clicking on calendar items allows an instructor to view or edit the item, or grade attempts on the associated item.
- Students can use filtering options to selectively view only course level items. They can then click on an item to view item details, and if supported, create an attempt against the item.
More on the calendar can be found here: http://youtu.be/pTdGOMAZhQY
The thread page is thoroughly redesigned yet maintains all of its existing functions. All of a thread’s posts are now visible at the same time on one page. Larger avatars help you easily identify the author.
A. Expand All and Collapse All manage the visibility of posts on the page. All of the batch actions are still available.
B. Functions appear when you point to the page – point your mouse anywhere on the thread page, and action bar functions such as Search and Refresh appear at the top. When you point to a post, the Reply, Quote, and Expand or Collapse functions appear. This increases the vertical screen space available for viewing posts.
C. Click the number of unread posts to see a collection of only the unread posts in the thread.
D. Inline replies provide the content editor on the same page, within the context of the discussion. You are not taken to a new page to post a reply.
E. Posts made by forum managers and moderators highlight the user’s course role and forum role. If your school has custom roles, they are displayed. Role highlighting is available only in the discussion board; highlighting of discussion board posts within the Bb Stream will be available in a future Learn release.
F. New Mark as Read indicator. The icon is blue when the post is unread and white when it has been read. Posts are marked as read as you scroll down the page, after a slight delay. Only posts that are viewed on-screen and expanded are marked as read, so posts are not automatically marked read by quickly scrolling down the page. You can manually change the status of a message by clicking the Mark as Read icon.
G. Post dates are displayed as relative dates such as “7 days ago.” When you point to the relative date, the absolute date of creation or editing and the number of views displays.
H. Overall Rating shows the average rating for a post, if the Rate Posts feature is turned on. When you point to the rating area, it changes to show Your Rating.
Inline Grading for Assignments
This feature has been requested by DU faculty for a long time. You can view, comment, and grade student-submitted assignment files without leaving the Grade Assignment page. When you view a document submitted in an assignment, that document is converted to a format that is viewable inside the web browser. Supported document types that can be converted are Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX), and PDF (PDF). The converted document is displayed in a viewer on the Grade Assignment page. Formatting and embedded images of the original document are preserved in the conversion.
A. Review and comment directly in the document.
B. From the inline viewer toolbar you can zoom the contents of the document in or out, open the annotation tools menu to comment in the document, download the document and move from page to page.
C. Grade the submission from the inline grading sidebar. From here you can view the assignment details, the grading rubric and each attempt. You can type an overall grade and grades for each attempt as well as provide feedback to your students without leaving the page.
More on Inline Grading can be found here: http://youtu.be/3X9Rerz0VX0
For more information about Service Pack 11, you can peruse Blackboard’s Official Help Site: https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_10_and_SP_11/Instructor or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to schedule a training.