Information Technology Services (ITS) recently upgraded to Blackboard Learn version Q2 2018 in order to stay within two versions of the latest offered by Blackboard, which is currently on Q4 2018 and scheduled to release Q2 2019 during the spring 2019 semester. The following are explanations of several new tools and features enhancements.
Recording Feedback in Blackboard
Instructors can create audio or video recordings up to five minutes in length for students when using the grade center. Visit the Blackboard Help website for more information on recording feedback. You can find this tool by opening up the text editor from the feedback to students box and clicking on the record feedback icon.
Once in the text editor, click on the recorder icon, which looks like a microphone in the lower left corner.
A new recorder window will launch, and you may be prompted to enable audio settings on your browser. The default setting is audio only, so add video if you prefer. Once you click stop, a preview window will appear. You can delete or save. A new window will open allowing you to name the video. Once you submit, an icon will appear in the feedback box for students to see.
Blackboard Grade Center
Instructors can enlarge the grade center to full screen mode. Click on the full-screen icon in the upper right corner of the full grade center.
Blackboard Course Availability Toggle Button
An icon is available on certain pages within a Blackboard shell, allowing the instructor to toggle the course between available/unavailable. It looks like a padlock. This will not show on all pages within a shell. For instance, it does not appear on the default course homepage. It does appear on any content pages. Shells must be past the term start date in order to be made available.
Blackboard Grade Center Management
Instructors can 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.
Blackboard Grade Center Standardization
All grade center 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).
Blackboard Dashboards, Forums, and Threads
The main Discussion Board page displays a list of available discussion Forums. A Discussion Board can contain one or more Forums. A Forum is an area where a topic or a group of related topics are discussed. For each Forum, the page displays the total number of posts, the number of unread posts, and the total number of participants. A Forum is an area of the discussion board where participants discuss a topic or a group of related topics. Within each forum, users can create multiple Threads. When your instructor creates a forum, they may or may not let you start Threads. Threads are displayed either in Tree View or List View. To enter a Thread to review related responses, click on the Thread name. If your instructor allows, you can create a new Thread by clicking Create Thread.
Blackboard Discussions: 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.
Blackboard Discussion Board Locations
- On the course menu, select Discussions.
- On the course menu, select Tools and then Discussion Board.
The main Discussion Board page appears with a list of available discussion forums. On this page, you can perform the following actions:
- Select a forum title to view the messages. Forum titles in bold contain unread posts.
- Select a forum to open the thread of posts.
- Select the number in the Unread Posts column for quick access to a forum's unread messages.
Default Created Discussions
The integration of Blackboard Learn and Ellucian Colleague through the Integrated Learning Platform (ILP) has created a situation where both products are auto-creating discussion boards for each new shell. Muting one of these is recommended.
The extra Discussion Board was created by the Intelligent Learning Platform (ILP). An Intelligent Learning Platform tool is used to make connections between Blackboard and Ellucian Colleague running behind the scenes. Intelligent Learning Platforms have been provisioning and assisting courses since the start of the Summer session.
It is not clear whether this extra Discussion Board will be used going forward, but it is there in courses created for fall so far. The Dashboard itself does not cause any particular problem, but the Forum created within the dashboard can be problematic.
The easy 'temporary solution' or fix is to make that Forum unavailable:
- Click into the Discussion Board
- Next, click the context menu for the Forum and select “Edit”
- You can then select ‘No’ in the “Available” dialogue.
Students will still be able to get to the Discussion Board, but they cannot create Forums. You can also delete the Forum, but we are not 100% sure that the Intelligent Learning Platform won’t recreate it if you do. At this point, we ask that you do not delete anything, as that creates issues with the integration.
Improved Rubric Grading in Blackboard
When grading with rubrics, the grader can save feedback and the content will remain saved when changing the rubric's view from in-line to full screen.
Blackboard Chemistry Annotations
Text editors in Blackboard include options in the math editor to reveal a periodic table that can be used to display the symbol for each element.
Click the button with the 'Fx' to open the WIRIS editor. Next, select the tab with the Ohm symbol (fourth tab) marked 'A'. Then to open the periodic table move your mouse over the area marked 'B' and look for the skinny button, then click to make the menu appear.
Box View Annotations in Blackboard
The product roadmap calls for the availability of new features such as downloading annotations, adding Excel annotations, and a summary view. That is the extent of information available at this time, but we will monitor developments and update this space.
Copying and Pasting Text in Blackboard
There are some who want the formatting to remain when the copy text then pastes it into Blackboard.
If you have any questions about Blackboard Learn, please contact the ITS Help Desk.