What is included in this upgrade
A late August update changed the way Announcement emails are processed. If when the instructor creates the announcement they check the box next to "Send a copy of this announcement immediately," the content of the Announcement will be included in the email. If they set a later date for the Announcement to become available, or if they make the Announcement available immediately and do not check the box for "Send a copy of this announcement immediately," only an email pointing to the Announcement will be sent.
We are also seeing reports that some users who access their email through the Outlook desktop client (which would exclude undergraduate students because they use gmail) have an issue with the link in the emails that points to the Announcement not taking them directly to Blackboard. This is a bug Blackboard expects to have remedied shortly.
With this new tool, instructors and staff can mark whether a student is present, late, absent, or excused. The attendance records for each student appear in a single column next to other grades.
You can use attendance as part of calculating grades just as you can for an assignment grade column.
An instructor or grader can create personalized feedback recordings for individual assessment attempts or manual gradebook items. Each recording can be up to 5 minutes long and can be both video and audio. The option appears in the third row of the Content Editor as a microphone icon.
Grade Center Design
With an improved grade center design, instructors will now be able to:
- View full titles of Grade Center columns, making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled items
- View as many columns as the size of their window will allow
- Enter into Grade Center full-screen mode to make the most of their desktop experience
More Responsive and Accessible Design
The new 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 app. This new theme is a first step in improving the experience for mobile users. Instructors and students can access their course materials whether they're at a desk or on the go. With the responsive design, web pages will render well on various devices, window or screen sizes.
The new design follows WCAG 2.0 principles and accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation. ARIA landmarks have been added in courses to the course menu and the content area to define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.
Please be aware that in the new design, in order to enforce accessibility, instructors will not be able modify the course menu color scheme, as it are set to meet contrast and readability standards for accessibility for all users.
When users log in to Blackboard Learn on a mobile device or tablet, screen elements such as the course menu and control panel compress or change position so they stay visible. As the screen gets smaller, modules and tool tiles stack so the user still has access to them at their fingertips.