What’s new in Blackboard? – Summer 2017

upgrade_toolbox_webOver the weekend of July 1/2/3 iSolutions will upgrade Blackboard. 

This upgrade will bring a number of useful feature enhancements, and some important background technological updates. 

Below you will find highlights of new features with links to guides on how to use them.  You can also read about the technological updates. 

With any upgrade some bugs are fixed but some new ones arise, a known issues list summarises any important issues as we become aware of them.

“Floating” Submit button

The submit and cancel buttons allow you to confirm or reject an action you are taking in Blackboard.

To save un-necessary scrolling to view options you won’t use, the submit button remains in position floating at the bottom of the browser screen whilst using relevant features.

Instructor Quick Tools

The Instructor Quick Tools link are for power users managing multiple courses.  They allow you to:

– quickly make multiple Blackboard courses available

– send emails and announcements to multiple courses at once.

View photographs of members of your Blackboard course

You can use the class photo roster to show photographs (where available) of users who have access to your course. This includes users with any role including students, instructors, and teaching assistants.

Where a photograph is not available a placeholder image is used.



Drag and drop files from your computer into Blackboard

When you come to attach files to an entry you are submitting to Blackboard you may see a dotted line around the “attach files” box.  This signifies that if you wish you may drag and drop files from your computer into the box as a faster way to attach files than browsing for them one by one.



Receipts for Blackboard Assignment Submissions


When students make a submission using the Blackboard assignment feature they receive an on screen receipt number.

As an instructor you may view the student receipt numbers from submitted assignments.



Send reminders to students who have not yet submitted ‘Bb assignments’, tests or surveys

If you have a Blackboard Assignment, Test, or Survey, you can send reminders to students who have not yet completed the assessment.

Note this does not apply for Assessed blogs, journals, discussion boards, nor TurnItIn assignments. To do that you could use the email button above the Grade Centre instead.



Norwegian Language Pack


Norwegian is now available as a language pack.  In addition the Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean language packs have been updated.

These may be selected by individuals so that Blackboard’s features appear in that language (course materials are not translated), courses may also be set to appear in those languages, as is current practice in many of our language teaching courses.

Make “Deep Links” into your Blackboard course

A “deep link” is a web link that goes directly to a page within a website.

Usually if you copy a link from Blackboard it would only work if the person who follows the link is already logged in.  Our deep link tool will help you to create a deep link into your Blackboard course that will work regardless of whether the person who follows the link is logged in or not.

You can also make a deep link for guest users (users who do not have accounts).  Your course should have guest access enabled for the link to work.  This can be useful if you wish to give a preview of your Blackboard course to colleagues outside of the University, prospective students, employers etc.

New Turnitin GradeMark Interface

As part of the upgrade, a new interface for Turnitin’s GradeMark feature has been introduced.  You can read more about this updated interface here.

New features from previous upgrade

Review what new features were added in the previous upgrade.

Technology Improvements

databaseBlackboard is a java based application.  With this upgrade Java will be upgraded from version 1.7 to 1.8 which is a more supportable and secure version of Java. 

We have also expanded the disk capacity available to Blackboard.  An extra 1.5 TB has been added for course material storage, making a total of 4.5 TB of total storage.  In addition the Oracle database has been provided with an extra 500GB of capacity, making a total of 1.7 TB available.  This should provide adequate storage for the next three years assuming current usage patterns.

Known Issues

bugsWith any system upgrade new bugs can creep in that cause problems.  As we find and verify them we will post them here.