Blackboard logoWhat's New in Blackboard?

We are updating Blackboard on May 8th, 2014. We will be adding a few new tools and features. Here are some highlights:

Accessibility Improvements
Course Messages Notifications
Date Management
Grade Center Improvements
Group Management
Test Availability Exceptions
Show Test Results and Feedback to Students
Exporting Test Questions
Test Access Log


 The Achievements tool allows instructors and course designers to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. Students are able to publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside of Blackboard Learn. Instructors can easily see which students have reached learning milestones. 


Accessibility Improvements

The Quick Links tool allows a user to quickly locate any heading or section within any page in the Blackboard Learn application and jump directly to it. This type of navigation efficiency for sighted keyboard only users is not available in any other application anywhere in the industry.

Located in the top left, the Quick Links icon opens a pop-up window that displays the landmark and navigation links on the page. Any available keyboard shortcuts for the page are also displayed.

Course Messages Notifications

Course Messages has been added to the Notifications framework. The addition of course Messages to the Notifications framework provides all users the ability to:

  • View notifications for course Messages on the Updates page.
  • View notifications for course Messages in the What's New module, both on institutional module pages and on course module pages.
  • View notifications for course Messages using individual email.
  • View notifications for course Messages using daily email digest.
  • Manage notification preferences for course Messages.

Date Management

Date Management gives instructors the ability to have the system automatically “shift” content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way. After the system makes this shift, an instructor sees all the dates in one place, and can further validate and tweak dates in a single user interface, which greatly streamlines the process.


Grade Center Improvements

There will be several improvements to grading and Grade Center in Service Pack 14:

  • My Grades Ordering & Design Update – The page provides a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.
  • Define “Score Attempts Using” setting from the “Options” page – This is a workflow improvement to ensure that instructors know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.
  • Test total points adjustment – This enhancement address several related needs from instructors, all revolving around the total points possible for tests, and needing to adjust the total points possible.
  • Grading Schemas greater than 100% – There is now an enhancement to allow for schema percentages to be greater than 100%.

Group Management

The Groups Management Building Block provides 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. Avatars are now available to distinguish among users.
  • Choose and manage membership for groups sets with an improved workflow.
  • Import and export groups and group memberships.
  • Sort columns, perform bulk actions for deleting groups, and create Grade Center smart views for one or more groups on the All Groups page.
  • Optionally, manage tool availability for all groups on the All Groups page.


Test Availability Exceptions

Test Availability Exceptions—have been added to the Test/Survey Options page, available only after the test or survey is added to a content area. The new settings allow instructors to select one or more groups of students and make a number of exceptions to the already established availability settings. Instructors can use exceptions to provide an accommodation to a disabled student, or provide accommodations for technology and language differences.

Instructors can change these settings at any time, even after the test has been attempted by some students. If conflicts in rules occur, the most permissive settings for that user or group of users is granted. For example, the students would receive the greatest number of attempts, longest availability time, and so on. Individual exceptions override group exceptions when an exception is explicitly added for an individual user, even though that user belongs to one or more groups that have exceptions.

Instructors can create exceptions for:

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


Show Test Results and Feedback to Students

After they 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. Rules occur in the order they appear.

For example, you can choose After Submission to present Score, All Answers, Correct, Submitted, Feedback and Show Incorrect Answers to show students their scores along with all answer options. Student also see their submitted answers marked as correct or incorrect and any feedback provided.

Feedback Mode



Sets the time when test results and feedback are shown to students:

  • After Submission
  • One-time View
  • On Specific Date
  • After Due Date
  • After Availability and End Dates
  • After Attempts are Graded

Shows the final score out of points possible for each question to students. 

Hide the Grade Center column to disable the overall score

All Answers Shows all answer options for certain questions types such as Multiple Choice. 
Correct Shows the correct answers.
Submitted Shows all the student's submitted answers.
Feedback Shows instructor generated feedback message for each question.
Show Incorrect Questions Shows the questions the student answered incorrectly or partially incorrectly. 


Exporting Test Questions

All questions are now retained in exported and imported tests, including questions that originate outside the exported test, such as Question Sets, Random Blocks, and Question Links. When the user exports a test and imports it back into a different course, all questions are now imported irrespective of their origin.

Questions that are linked in question sets and random blocks in the originating test are imported into the new test in question pools. Single questions that were linked in the originating test are imported as “native” (non-linked) questions.


Test Access Log

The access log shows a detailed list of every interaction that students engage in when taking a test. If a student claims to have started a test the log will show the time the test was started. If a network or internet disruption occurred during the test for example, the log would show an unusual gap in the time. This can be found on the Attempts page of the test. 

Access Log