What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 SP11

Blackboard Course Management System will be updated to version 9.1 service pack 11. Blackboard 9.1 SP11 takes Blackboard closer to the cloud and introduces a modernized user interface more in line with most common websites and apps as well as numerous functional refinements.

Click on this link to view a Quick Introduction to BB 9.1 Service Pack 11.
Click on this link to view an Introduction to SP11 Webinar Recording (Using Blackboard Collaborate).*
* Please note, not all features mentioned in the webinar will be available to VCCS users at deployment.  Cloud and Profile features are up for legal review by VCCS Legal Department. Here is the list of the new features, updates and enhancements:

New Features

Global Navigation Menu: Global Navigation refers to the set of links that appears at the top right of the Blackboard Learn window, streamlined to become the entry point to My Blackboard. Links to all your classes or organizations are organized in one place to provide a consistent, quick, and easy way to find information. View the Global Navigation and My Blackboard video.

My Blackboard: My Blackboard aggregates information from across the Blackboard Learn system for users. Users access My Blackboard by clicking their names at the top of the screen. My Blackboard has a navigation panel that quickly connects to different tools in the system. Here is how to Use My Blackboard (Document was retrieved from Rappahannock Community College on March 18, 2013).

New Content Editor: The newly designed Content Editor vastly improves the user experience for adding text and other forms of digital content to Blackboard Learn. The new Content Editor is based on an industry standard editor. The new Content Editor makes it simpler to copy/paste from Word than ever, and more predictable too. It handles the HTML of the web much better.  There are new tool bars for formatting text and you can even embed video direct from a web camera if you so choose (see Video Everywhere below).  This will be a great tool for students and faculty alike.

Content Editor Video

Video Everywhere: It is a feature of the Content (text) editor.  This is the new icon in your text editor that will access your webcam.  It will allow you to record a video on the fly and have it embedded in your course materials, interactions or even assessment feedback.  You can even reuse previously recorded videos from your own “library” in the course.

To use this feature, you need to do the following steps:

Log in to MyVWCC account, go to your student email (e.g. yc253@email.vccs.edu), then go to YouTube (via the More menu), then go to your channel page in YouTube; this process essentially initializes your account with YouTube. Then go back to Blackboard and start doing video everywhere.

Note: It is especially important to put in a correct date of birth (or at least something over 13 years old), or you will be locked out of all Google services (a domain admin must go into the C-panel to correct the birthdate to unlock the account).

Video Everywhere Video
PDF Tutorial

New Calendar: This is one of the most redesigned parts of Service Pack 11.  Now it looks much more like your standard Outlook or Google Calendar.  You can group ALL your course events together and even have private entries for yourself. The calendar is available not only in a course but also through the My Blackboard interface.  NOW when you put a Due Date on an assignment, it automatically shows in a really useful calendar and students (or faculty) can see ALL their due dates in one central location across classes.

New Calendar Video

Updates and Enhancements

Discussion Board: Redesigned to be more useful and user-friendly than ever before.  Not only equipped with the new content editor and video everywhere, but also a new layout. The thread detail page has been redesigned but still maintains current functionality and instructors can now require students first post to a forum before they can view other posts. .

Discussion Board Video

Assessment Item Analysis: Item Analysis provides statistics on overall test performance and on individual test questions to help instructors improve questions for future tests or to adjust credit on current attempts. Ineffective or misleading questions are identified easily, corrected in the Test Canvas, and are re-graded automatically.

Item Analysis Video

Item Analysis – more info

Assessment Fill-in-the-Blank Question Enhancement: These questions now offer contains and pattern match (using regular expressions) as grading options for answers. Instructors no longer have to rely only on exact match for grading and manually enter every possible correct answer. Instructors can also make the answers case sensitive.

Assessment Fill-in-the-Blank Question Video

Retention Center: Retention Center is basically an upgrade to the Early Warning System. It provides an easy way for instructors to discover which students in their courses are at risk. Instructors can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.

Retention Center Video

Retention Center – more info

Assignment Inline Grading: Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring Instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, Instructors will now be able to view student-submitted files “inline”, i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plugins, applets, or client-side applications. Additionally, annotation tools will be made available as part of the inline viewer, enabling Instructors to provide feedback including comments, highlights, and even drawings/annotations directly on the inline view of the document.

Assignment Inline Grading Video

File Picker: The method of attaching files has been standardized to look and work identically across Blackboard. The new File Picker is available both for direct file attaching, as in Assignments, or attaching files via the Content Editor.

Copy Course File Attachments: To cut down the number of file attachments that are duplicated during a course copy, a new option has been added to the course copy function for course files. Previously the entire Course Files directory was included in the package when users elected to include copies of course files. With this new option, users can decide to copy the entire folder of files or only those files that are actually linked to course content.

New User Warnings for Deleting or Moving Linked Folders or Files: Two new warnings help users avoid inadvertently creating broken links to files in their courses. A warning occurs when a user deletes a folder that is directly linked to course content or that contains files that are linked to course content. A warning occurs when a user moves a file linked to course content, a folder that is directly linked to course content or that contains files that are linked to course count, to the recycling bin. This helps prevent broken links because most users are unaware that the recycling bin may be set to automatically purge.