Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blackboard 9 Service Pack 9

Upgrade Date: 5/11/2013

What you need to know: On May 11th we will be moving from Service Pack 7 to Service Pack 9. This new version of Bb affords us a small amount of new features. Blackboard will simply be down for 6-8 hours while this happens. Then, the Blackboard team will do our testing before we make Bb available for everyone. During the downtime you will be redirected to a blog post about the upgrade and the upcoming features.

Reminder:  Bb will be down on 5/11/13( Saturday)  through 5/13/13 (Monday).  Please do as much course development before the upgrade date so you are ready for the start of summer on 5/14/13.

What’s New Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 9: Blackboard Learn, Version 9.1, Service Pack 9 (SP9) includes a new look and feel that will enhance the experience for instructors, students, and administrators. Users already familiar with Bb 9.1 will be pleased with the additional functionality that SP9 offers. Download the PDF with new features.

  • New features affect Bb’s user interface, which is now more in line with today’s Web 2.0 experience.
  • Workflow functionality is improved, including course navigation, course structure, and course theme enhancements.
  • Grading features are improved to better support instructor’s efficiency in the grading process.

To learn more about a specific feature click on its corresponding link from the list provided below.

:::Vendor Support Resources:::

The next four links will take you to the Blackboard Tutorial Center on the vendor’s website: Look for SP8 or SP9 – those are the new tutorials and they pertain to the May 2013 upgrade, or are tools/features you currently use. Please disregard all “SP10″ tutorials.

>>>Working in the Course Environment

Course Environment Tutorials – Building content, Setting Permissions , Course Reports

>>>Communicating and Collaborating

Tutorials for Discussion Board, Managing Groups, Blogs, Journals, Wikis, Announcements, Scheduling

>>>Assessing Learners

The Grade Center, Tests/Surveys/Pools, The Assessment Tool, Student Performance

>>>Blackboard Instructor User Manual

:::New Features with accompanying video and/or PDF or screenshot:::

screenshotNew Action Bar Functions in

Content Area Have Been Renamed:Instead of adding tool links from the Build Content button, you can now add these links from a new action button called “TOOLS.” All tools are available. Please see the screenshot.

Simplified Options in the “Create Navigation” (+ icon) area: Simplified options now include the following: Content Area, Blank Page, Tool Link, Web Link, Course Link, Subheader and Divider.screenshot Please see the screenshot.

Course-to-Course Navigation: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
SP9 allows users to jump from a page or tool in one course to that same page or tool in another course! For example, instructors are able to jump from the Grade

Center of one course to another course’s Grade Center, or the Discussion Board of one course to the DB of another course. As well, students can jump from one course’s Announcements page to another. Please see the screenshot.


Course Structures: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO) (PDF)
In SP9, you can choose between a wide variety of pre-built course structures. These course structures have a predefined navigation setup, such as menu tool links and content area. They “add” to your course and never overwrite anything (e.g. a menu item you created). Basically, they will help you improve your navigation and course design setup depending on the purpose of your course. You’ll go to Control Panel / Customization / Teaching Style.

Negative Marking: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
Negative marking allows instructors to apply negative point values for wrong answers on test questions. This allows them to prevent (by penalty) guessing or the selection of egregiously wrong answers.

Automated Regrading: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO) (PDF)
Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid question directly and having all necessary updates flow automatically to the Grade Center. For any given question, Blackboard now allows instructors to drop, give full credit, change point value, or change the correct answer. After the question has been updated, Blackboard recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, and provides notification to both the instructor and optionally to the student for all impacted submissions. Note: Instructors have the option of saving as new when editing a question in a pool. Please see the screenshot.

Needs Grading Tool Enhancement: TUTORIALS > (PDF)
Discussion Board activity can appear in Needs Grading status in the Grade Center and on the Needs Grading page. Instructors will choose how many interactions will place the item in Needs Grading status.

Activity Reports: TUTORIALS > (VIDEO)
Two new course report formats are added into the Course Reports under Evaluation on Control Panel in each Bb course site: Course Activity Overview and Student Overview for Single Course. The Course Activity Overview displays overall activity within a single course, sorted by student and date. Data includes the total and average time spent per user and the total amount of activity the user had in the course. The Student Overview for Single Course report displays an individual student’s activity within a course, sorted by date. Data includes the total overall time the student spent in the course as well as detailed information about the student’s activity.

screenshotPaste from Word Mashup:

Microsoft Office products use a proprietary form of mark up (code) that for the most part, only MS Office understands :-). As many of you know, it does not play well with Blackboard. We have installed a new “mashup” called “Paste from Word” that changes all WORD code to standard HTML. No more formatting nightmares! The Paste From Word mashup tool is accessed from the Bb textbox editor. This can be used when creating content, announcements, etc. The last button in the third row of the textbox editor contains the mashup tools. Please see the screenshot. Note: You need to make this feature available by going to Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability > Word > Click the box to turn it on.

Adding a Textbook information to your Course: TUTORIAL > (VIDEO)
Add the ISBN number, search by title or author to provide your students with the textbook(s) you plan to use in the course. Students CANNOT purchase books thru this option. It’s only intended for informational purposes.







Additional Resources