New Features in Blackboard Arriving May 17th

In March the Office of Instructional Technology spent time testing new service packs 12, 13, and 14 in Blackboard Learn. There are quite a few new features that we will gain by upgrading to service pack 14, some of which are highlighted below.

The move to service pack 14 is scheduled for May 17th. Please contact the Office of Instructional Technology if you have any questions about these features.

Test and Survey Options

Test Availability Exceptions have been added to the Test/Survey Options page. The new settings allow instructors to select one or more groups of students and make a number of exceptions, such as providing an accommodation to a student with a disability.

Instructors can change these settings at any time, even after the test has been attempted by some students. Instructors can create exceptions for:

  • Number of attempts
  • Time (duration) of test
  • Auto submit on or off
  • Availability of test using start and end dates
  • Force completion on or off

Displaying Test Results and Feedback to Students

After students complete a test, results and feedback are available to students. By setting up rules, instructors can set the release of progressive feedback to keep test results secure and prevent cheating.
For example, you can choose to show the students their scores, submitted answers, correct answers, and feedback after the test submission, or after the due date and time of the test.

Test Results Display

Test Access Log

Instructors will now have access to detailed information on student test attempts, including when the test was started, if a network or internet disruption occurred, and time between each question saved.

Test Access Log

Inline Grading

The following tools support the new inline grading feature:

  • Assignments
  • Blogs and Journals
  • Wikis
  • Discussions

Inline Grading for Assignments

Instructors can view student-submitted files “inline,” (in the web browser) without having to download the document, without any plug-ins, or applets. Additionally, tools are available that allow instructors to provide feedback—comments, highlights, and even drawing/annotation—directly on the inline view of the document.

Inline Grading


The new calendar tool allows faculty and students to view color coded course events and personal events in a single calendar view when accessed from the My Blackboard tab. When accessed from a course, instructors can use the calendar as a way to manage and communicate the course’s schedule of events and assignments. Popular calendar entries include:

  • Exams
  • Instructor office hours
  • Due dates for course items

Note: Due dates for gradable items will now have the ability to be marked in the calendar. Also, by clicking on calendar items, instructors can view the associated item, such as an assignment for editing or grading. For example, if an instructor drags and drops a test from one day to another in the calendar, the due date for the test will automatically change to the new date.


Date Management

The new Date Management feature provides instructors with the ability to quickly and easily adjust all of the dates in your course for content and tools. After the adjustment to the dates has completed, the instructor will be able to access the Date Management Review page to see all test dates, due dates, and adaptive release dates. An instructor can adjust dates by number of days, or based on the course start date.

Date Management top

Groups Management

The new Groups Management features provide instructors the ability to:

  • Easily see which students are in which groups, including which students are not in any groups.
  • Easily see and modify group memberships.

Grade Center Improvements

Several long awaited improvements have been made to the grade center, including:

  • Test total points adjustment, updates allowing the ability to adjust total points possible to tests.
  • My Grades Ordering & Design Update, provides a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.
  • Grading schemas greater than 100%, will accommodate extra points allowing instructors to assign an A+ to a score.

For more details on new features in service pack 12 and 14, please visit:

Service Pack 12 New Features
Service Pack 14 New Features

Source: Katherine Mysliwiec, MBA, Course Management System Specialist