New Features

Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 provides Blackboard Vista clients with an exciting step into our next generation teaching and learning platform. Let’s take a deeper look at what’s new in Release 9.1. Release 9.1 focuses on fostering student engagement and supporting educator efficiency.

Fostering Student Engagement

In Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1, there are exciting new social learning and teaching tools that foster more logical, visually impactful, and active learning opportunities for students, helping them stay connected to their educational experience 24 hours a day.

Accessibility: Increase Accessibility

Blackboard is committed to delivering software that is accessible to everyone.  Release 9.1 includes advanced accessibility options that are Gold Level certified by the National Federation of the Blind for Non-Visual Accessibility.  Blackboard has improved accessibility to enable a blind person to interact more effectively interact with the application.

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Blackboard Mobile

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app allows students and educators to access teaching and learning wherever and whenever they want through two-way interactions on mobile devices. The Blackboard Mobile Learn app extends and enriches the course experience of the Blackboard Learn™ platform, the leading web-based teaching and learning platform, in native mobile applications for the most popular mobile platforms, including Android™, iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad®, BlackBerry® and Palm® webOS™.  Click here to learn more about Blackboard Mobile Learn. Students and Faculty, download the app here!

What can you do with Mobile Learn?

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Assignment due? Class canceled? This is the place where instructors go to post the news students need to know. Students have instant, on-the-go access to the latest announcements, and instructors can post announcements anywhere, anytime.

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Want to know how you did on the midterm or your last homework assignment? Students can view their grades right here.

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Read blog posts and interact with classmates by posting comments and uploading media as attachments on blogs (Android and iOS) as well as uploading non-media files (Android).

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Wondering who’s in your class? With the class roster, you can quickly see your full class list, making organizing study groups a whole lot easier.

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Read and reflect on your Journal posts and those of your classmates. Both students and instructors can comment on Journals.

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Students can access music, videos and images uploaded by their instructors and experience directly from their mobile devices using the appropriate media-specific software.

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Help students track and manage the progress of various tasks, from turning in homework assignments to reminders to pick up a midterm or purchase a textbook. Tasks allow students to mark when they’ve started a project, when it’s in progress, and when complete.

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The Discussion Board is a key course communication tool for engaging students and promoting learning. It’s the place students ask and answer questions, and where instructors can respond to one student for the benefit of all. With Blackboard Mobile Learn, instructors and students can review and post to threaded discussions, as well as create new threads, all while on the go. Additionally, students can upload media files (Android and iOS) as well as other file types (Android) to discussions.

Mashups: Integrate Visually Engaging Content

Easily integrate rich media learning content using Web 2.0 resources from Youtube, Slideshare, and Flickr. Faculty can deliver more engaging course content in a convenient and powerful way by searching, finding, and inserting in a few clicks. Blackboard has added an accessible wrap around the YouTube player to make it accessible to everyone.

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Echo 360: Allow Instant Access to Lectures and Learning Material

Blackboard has partnered with Echo 360 to provide a lecture capture solution for instructors to record and publish their lectures right in their course. Instructors can also create supplemental instruction, tutorials, and other communications using this solution.  Personal Lecture Capture from Echo360 enables students to access published recordings of lecture materials in their Blackboard course. Since students can view lectures captured during classroom time on-demand, they can concentrate on understanding the topic and not taking down notes.  Note: this feature requires activation by the institution.

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Wikis: Promote Active Collaboration

Wikis enable active collaboration around course content and group projects. Users collaborate on a document using only a web browser.  Educators can see the process and evolution of the work and even participate. Furthermore, educators can see each participant’s contributions and grade accordingly.

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Blackboard Learn Toolbar: Aid in Powerful and Relevant Searches

The Blackboard Learn Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox enhances the browsing experience for learners.  It facilitates research using context aware decision support information rather than raw search results. Learners can use the toolbar to discover resources using the Microsoft Bing Decision Engine. Combined with this new way to search are notifications your students use every day from the Blackboard Learn software. Reach students with course updates where they already are – browsing on the web.  Any time their web browser is open they are connected to your institution and getting notifications from classes.  Note: this feature requires activation by the institution.

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Supporting Educator Efficiency

In Release 9.1, Blackboard has made great strides in supporting educator efficiency. By continually improving the course workflow, Blackboard enables educators to minimize the time they spend on course building and delivery tasks, freeing up their time and energy to focus on student success, achievement, and retention.

Improved Grading: Grade in Context with More Options

Grading in Blackboard is more flexible and consistent, enabling grading to be done in line with the review process. You no longer need to go to the grade center to enter the grade. Now you can enter wiki, blog, and journal grades directly in the assignment and grade question by question or anonymously. Overall, Blackboard has enhanced the Grade Center and made the management of grading easier so you can grade the way that works best for you.

Save Grading Preferences: Efficiently Manage Grading

Educators with courses that contain a large numbers of students with many grade item columns in the Grade Center are faced with managing a high volume of data and information.  Educators need ways to efficiently manage grading in Blackboard without having to scroll or multi-click their way to the task at hand.  In Release 9.1, any Smart View can be designated as a “favorite” which makes it instantly accessible from the class’s front page.  Imagine a scenario of an educator creating a Smart View that displays students who are falling under a certain grade threshold.  By designating that Smart View as a favorite, the educator can access it from the front page Control Panel and instantly view those students and immediately take the appropriate action.

Customize Your Grading View: Develop a Personalized Workflow

The Grade Center has been enhanced in Release 9.1 to include a dynamic filter that enables an educator to instantly view grade data by selecting a category and status criteria.  Using the filters, an educator can easily change the Grade Center view to show all tests that need to be graded, for example.  With just a few clicks, the educator can switch to view of all complete assignments.   The filters are designed to enable an educator to instantly view the Grade Center data they need.

Grade Center screen shot

Course Files: Manage Content at the Course Level

Course files eliminate redundancy and simplify the management of content updates. An in-course file storage structure makes it easier to keep track of documents used in courses, similar to the type of file and folder structure that is used on your PC. The new table of contents allows students to see and navigate the organization of the set of content on the same page as the materials.  A new thumb nail view and drag and drop upload applet make it quick and easy to get files into Blackboard and to view the image files.

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Assessment Manager: Create Assessments in Less Time

The Assessment Manager now includes improved search, which reduces the amount of time needed to create assessments. The Assessment Manager includes new filtering and search features, multi-question selection, and a ‘staging area’ to easily peruse what questions have already been selected to streamline the assessment creation process. Random blocks have been updated to display all of the questions that can potentially be shown to test takers so that assessment designers can better anticipate the student experience.

Learning Modules: Provide Intuitive Online Structure

Learning Modules offer a simple and intuitive means for instructors to organize and structure course content with hierarchical organization so students can navigate through content in a logical, sequential way. Overall, it is a great tool for both designers and students because it offers new ways to structure and navigate content.

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Content Management: Ease Management of Learning Content

Release 9.1 includes content management module enhancements that enable you to easily upload and manage content across courses and organizations.

Content Management screen shot