UMBC's Blackboard site now receives monthly updates.

Please review this related FAQ -> What's new in the Ultra Experience?

AS OF SU2018

FeatureDescriptionTo Learn More
New Course Landing & base navigation dashboard

Upon logging into Blackboard, faculty and students will notice a new look for Blackboard. The Ultra Experience update in May 2018 modernized the overall dashboard with the new Ultra Experience base navigation. 

 Central site navigation for courses, organizations, tools, etc. is relocated to the left menu and there are no more tabs. Courses and all of these menu functions will open in a layer over the base navigation.

Read more about the Ultra migration.

How does the Ultra Experience change Blackboard's dashboard?

How are courses organized on the Courses page? 

Additional attempts in Anonymous Grading

Instructors can now grant an additional attempt for scenarios when the student needs one and the prior attempt can't be cleared because it is in an anonymous state.

Allow Additional Attempt only appears if a student has already submitted the maximum number of attempts allowed for that assignment. You can continue to offer opportunities to resubmit attempts each time a student reaches the maximum number. You don't have to grade previous attempts to allow a student to submit again.

Review Blackboard's documentation on allowing multiple anonymous grading
Insert recordings via content editor in assessment feedback

Instructors can record video and audio using the editor in assessment feedback.

The feature is available for Original and Ultra courses.

How do I add video or audio feedback to a student grade?

AS OF WT2018

FeatureDescriptionTo Learn More
New System Theme

The Learn 2016 theme for Blackboard Learn is a modern version of the user interface that incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language including color, fonts, and spacing for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and the Blackboard mobile apps for Instructor and Student roles.

Can I override the new Bb system theme?
Course availability

Faculty can quickly change the availability of a course from the course's Home Page by clicking on the Make Available/Unavailable tool. The icon looks like a lock and is located at the top management area between the Enter Student Preview and Edit Mode icons.

How do I make a course available or unavailable to students in Blackboard?

Updated Math Editor

The math editor found in the Content Editor has been updated to a newer version of WIRIS. This version adds tools specific to chemistry including an embedded periodic table of elements.

AS OF FA2017

FeatureDescriptionTo Learn More
Enable Bb Collaborate for Group Projects

You can now enable Bb Collaborate for student groups.

How do students use Collaborate for group projects in an Original course?

Standardized Grade Center DisplayAll gradebook columns (online and downloads) and My Grades support up to five decimal points, aren't rounded, and are consistent for all display types (score, percentage, letter grade).
Bulk Delete Grade Center Columns

Instructors can now more easily clean up their grade books by deleting multiple columns at once. Selected manual and calculated columns are removed completely. Selected columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.

Bulk delete grade center columns example

"Replies to Me" Notification on Discussion Board

Keeping up with large Discussion Board forums is easier by giving participants a count and filter to just look at new replies from others to posts made the participant.

Replies to Me example

AS OF SU2017

FeatureDescriptionTo Learn More
Bb Collaborate Ultra Dashboard

You can now schedule Collaborate sessions, assign roles, and view reports.



Assignment Submission Receipts

When students submit assignments successfully, the Review Submission History page appears with information about their submitted assignments and a success message with a confirmation number. Students can copy and save this number as proof of their submissions and evidence for academic disputes. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission. Students will also receive an email with a confirmation number and other details for each submission. 

Faculty can access all students' confirmation numbers from the Grade Center. Access the Reports menu and select Submission Receipts. On the Submission Receipts page, view information for each assignment, such as who submitted and when. Group assignments are also logged and the Submitter column lists who submitted for the group. In the Submission column, view if a student submitted a file or wrote the submission in the assignment's editor.

How can I access assignment submission receipts in an Original Blackboard course?

Send Reminder

Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Instructors receive a success message at the top of the screen when the email is sent. Reminders can also be sent for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.

NOTE: Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if assigned. This email cannot be modified by the instructor or the Bb system admin.



Fewer Items in Needs Grading

The Needs Grading page automatically displays only the attempts that need grading based on which attempt you chose to grade – first or last.

You can choose to display all of the attempts from each student or group. Select the check box for Show attempts that don't contribute to user's gradeand then select Go. The total number of items you need to grade increases to include the previously hidden attempts.

Grade Center improvements

When you allow multiple attempts, you may not need to grade all of them. In the grade cell's menu, each attempt appears with one or two icons. If you chose to use the first or last attempt for the grade, the attempt you need to grade appears with only one icon – the Needs Grading icon. The other attempts in the grade cell's menu appear with the Does not contribute to user's grade icon and the Needs Grading icon.

You can also use a Filter to control which attempts (e.g., all vs. only those that contribute to the grade) appear in each grade cell's menu.

Other Updates

  • Blackboard uses new icons for tools and functions
  • The Cancel/Submit buttons will always pin to the bottom of the screen regardless of the device or screen size
  • Instructors can run a report on student activity in groups
  • Instructors can exclude non-submitters from evaluation for Self & Peer Assessments
  • Individual audio / video uploads are no longer available since Blackboard is not a streaming server. Files larger than 500 MB cannot be uploaded to Blackboard. Please use UMBC Box.

Discontinued Tools & Features

  • Course themes are no longer available since they are not accessible to users with disabilities

  • The Syllabus tool is discontinued.

AS OF WT2017

FeatureDescriptionTo Learn More
Bb Collaborate Ultra

Users do not have to install Java or a launcher. Sessions are browser-based with superior audio and video.

 Note: Moderators must use Chrome and must install a Chrome extension to share desktop/apps.



Goals Performance DashboardA competency-based education tool to map goals to courses within Bb Learn. The Goal Performance Dashboard evaluates evidence of competencies individually, allowing for true measurement of mastery. Instructors who would like to use this tool should consult with the Instructional Technology office and the Faculty Development Center to ensure outcomes are formatted appropriately for the project and the Blackboard system.



VALUE Rubrics

As part of the Association of American Colleges & Universities' (AAC&U’s) Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, the VALUE rubrics contribute to the national dialogue on assessment of college student learning. Educational professionals from over 100 higher education institutions collaboratively developed VALUE rubrics to use the most frequently identified characteristics for measuring success in key learning outcomes.

AACU Website

Other Updates

  • Users can navigate from thread to thread without having to return to the main Discussions page.
  • When creating an announcement, "Not Date Restricted" is now selected by default.
  • When a user uploads a file to Learn and the filename contains special characters (such as / \ : ? * " < > | ), the system replaces the special character with an underscore ( _ ).
  • The Content Editor spell check option is now ON by default.

Browser Support

  • Blackboard now supports the Microsoft Edge browser. 
  • The Content Editor now supports HTML5 Audio and Video playback in Chrome and Edge browsers.
  • Some new browser releases no longer support NPAPI plugins. Without these plugins, some Learn features may not render correctly.

Accessibility Support

  • Forum descriptions are read on the Create Thread page. This improves accessibility for users with screen reader technologies.
  • When creating a hot spot question, an Image Alternate text box is now available. This improves accessibility for users.
  • The default heading size for all of the embedded headings has been increased so they are properly read in both the view and edit state in the Content Editor.