On December 18th, 2014 we will be upgrading Blackboard to the April 2014 Release. This new version of Blackboard retains the current look and feel while adding several new and enhanced features including web-based or inline grading, a true student preview mode, enhanced calendar functionality, enhanced discussions, and date management for course copied materials. Our current version of Blackboard, Service Pack 11, is out of support so we are taking this opportunity to upgrade to the newest, stable release of Blackboard. Blackboard will be unavailable all day on Thursday, December 18th while we upgrade.
A summary of new and enhanced features is below. Instructional videos and links to detailed instructions may be found at “What’s New in Blackboard“. The Faculty Resource Center staff will be happy to meet with you before the upgrade to show you these features on our test server. Please contact us if you have questions about using these features.
Inline Assignment Grading
Instructors are now able to view, comment on and grade assignments “inline”, i.e. in the web browser, rather than having to download them to a computer for grading. Files that have been submitted electronically to Blackboard, may be displayed in the inline viewer and annotated directly within the browser. The tools available for annotation are: Comment, Draw, Highlight, Text and Strikeout. See the detailed instructions on using Inline Grading.
The calendar now displays a consolidated view of all course calendar events for a user. Instructors can use the calendar course tool as a primary way of managing and communicating the schedule of events and assignments in the course. The calendar supports due dates, if set, for gradable items and repeating events, such as class meeting times. Clicking on calendar items allows an instructor to view or edit the item, or grade attempts on the associated item. See the detailed instructions on using the new Calendar.
There is now a built-in true student preview mode in every class. You can submit assignments, take tests and view grades as a student. See the detailed instructions on using Student Preview.
The Thread Detail page is thoroughly redesigned yet maintains all of its existing functions. All of the posts in a thread are now visible at the same time on one page, thereby maintaining the context of posts and replies to one another. You can still collapse threads. See examples of the new discussion layout.
Use the Date Management tool to easily adjust all content and assignment dates in your course. Accessed via the Control Panel > Tools you can choose to adjust dates automatically or individually from one convenient location. See detailed instructions on using the date management tool.