An upgrade of Blackboard Learn will make it unavailable to users of the learning management system from 7 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 1, but will result in new features and enhancements that simplify many everyday tasks; offer a better mobile experience; and improve accessibility, assessment, and grading.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning highlights some of the benefits:
For all users
- Improved mobile experience. When accessing Learn on your mobile device, look for the new hamburger icon that makes navigating even easier; plus, many tools are now mobile-friendly including blogs, journals, and discussion boards.
- Additional drag and drop locations. Now you can drag and drop content in more places — the content editor, blogs, journals, and portfolios.
- Web conferencing tools for groups. If instructors or organizers set up groups in a site, the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra tool is now available as a tool choice offered for groups, which enables live video, chat, content sharing, and whiteboarding.
- Discussion board “Replies to me.” Keeping up with discussion posts is simpler with unread replies to your own posts called out.
- Accessibility improvements. ARIA landmarks have been incorporated in the course menu and the content area to better define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.
- Submission receipts enhancement. Students can receive a notification email for each assignment attempt with information about the submission including attached files. Students can also access receipts at any time on the My Grades page.
- Login page updates. After the upgrade, the UWindsor Blackboard Login page (https://blackboard.uwindsor.ca) will offer new authentication fields (username and password) consistent with some other UWindsor apps (e.g. Gmail, Finance). Users will be required to change passwords every 120 days for enhanced security protection.
For instructors and organizers
- Course availability status. An open or closed padlock icon on the main course page makes it easy to see the availability of the course to students, and with one click you can quickly change the status.
- More efficient Grade Center cleanup. You can now delete multiple gradebook columns at once making managing the gradebook even easier.
- Grade display standardization. To provide greater consistency, all gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades now support up to five decimal points, are not rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).
For more detailed information about further features available within the upgrade, visit the Blackboard Upgrade page at http://apps.medialab.uwindsor.ca/ctl/bbproject/updates.html. Training workshops and one-on-one support sessions are listed at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbworkshops.
Users who experience any difficulties using Blackboard after the upgrade may access help by submitting a service request ticket at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp.