Blackboard Upgrade 2014 – What’s new for Students?

Following the upgrade to Blackboard there are a number of exciting new features available along with an updated interface. This page summarises what Students who use Blackboard at the University of Southampton need to know. A shorter summary is available on our blog at

While we have updated more than 100 of our Blackboard guides we still have more work to do and will be updating all our pages to account for the updates and changes to Blackboard over the coming months.

Watch this 6 minute video for an overview of some of the changes

Below is a summary of the main changes. On the left is the information you really must know. On the right are the links to where you can find instructions on using the new features.

Web Browser / Operating System Compatibility List for Blackboard

Find out what web browsers are supported for using Blackboard.

Learn about the updated interface

Watch two videos showing you how the interface has been updated to remove on-screen clutter.

Badges, Certificates and Achievements in Blackboard

As you use your Blackboard course you may find that you received achievements in the form of certificates or badges.If allowed by the course instructor you may publish your achievement to the third party Mozilla Backpack service. This is maintained by Mozilla foundation and is not a University service. Publishing your achievements to Backpack allows you to keep a record of achievements earned at the University of Southampton as well as achievements from other providers such as MOOCs, professional training, and charities. You can publish your badges from Backpack to your LinkedIn profile to increase your visible potential to future employers.


You can now upload a picture to be used as your Blackboard avatar (150×150 pixels). This is shown at various parts of the course.

Updated Assignment submission screen

There are a number of ways to submit assignments in Blackboard, one is called the Blackboard assignment feature which is different from eassignment and TurnItIn. Here are instructions showing the updated process of submitting assignments.

Checking Assignment Results

The process of viewing assignment results has also been updated for “Blackboard Assignments”. Check out the guide here.

Getting Help

How to get get help with University IT Services.

Using Blackboard's Global Navigation

Blackboard’s “Global Navigation” is an area that is always shown at the top right corner wherever you are in Blackboard. Beside your name a number appears telling you how many notifications there are for you to view regarding news about and changes to your Blackboard courses.

New Text Editor

The text editor has been updated to use “true HTML” and have much better handling of tables and other elements. A “full screen” mode is also available. The text editor also supports copy and paste from Word without requiring the special “Paste From Word” mashup.

Video Everywhere

Blackboard now allows you to create videos using your web cam and post them within the text you are writing. The system does this by linking into your YouTube account and using this to create an “unlisted” video that is only known to you and those with whom you share it, e.g. other people on your Blackboard course.

New Discussion Board

The look and feel of the discussion board has been refreshed and looks much more contemporary. User avatars are shown beside discussion board posts. Instructors can set their discussion board so that students must post an introductory message before being permitted to view the rest of the forum, to encourage interaction.

The Retention Centre

Your course instructors have a new feature called the Retention Centre that they can use to monitor student usage of their course. It is in your interests to be aware of what can be done with this feature.

Other New Features for Instructors

Find out about what other new features staff now have at their fingertips and may use on their Blackboard courses. Every Blackboard course is different and the responsibility of the staff teaching that course. This means that while some courses might use one feature, it is not used on other courses. You may find it informative to be aware of the potential uses of Blackboard.