Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blackboard Won't Be The Same System On May 20

Blackboard Maintenance Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blackboard (Bb) will be unavailable on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. until Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. due to maintenance to the system. This will include the upgrade to the latest version.

Upgrading to Blackboard Learn 9.1

As spring semester comes to an end, we are in preparation to upgrade to the latest service pack for Blackboard Learn. On May 17, 2013 there will be a maintenance window to upgrade Shenandoah University to Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP11/12.  The majority of the functions will remain the same as our current version (SP9), however, there are several new features that are noted below.
Blackboard's new release:
  • Builds on the student engagement tools in earlier releases.
  • Improves the performance of the software.
  • Enhances the entire user interface to make it easier to use, more intuitive, and extends drag and drop simplicity along with context sensitive menus.
  • Brings new features for faculty and student to improve teaching and learning.
As Blackboard continuously improves the system, the following features are included within this service pack:
  • My Blackboard and Global Navigation – An overlay when you first login to Bb will provide awareness of new features.  There will be a new profile tool that includes avatar support for blogs, journals, wikis, and the discussion board. (VIDEO)
  • New Content Editor with advance features for editing HTML and style. (VIDEO) Compare New versus Legacy Textbox Editor (READ). SU has been running a pre-release of the new Content Editor over the last year. Bb has used the feedback from the early adopters to produce an advanced Content Editor.
SP11 New Content Editor  
  • New Discussion Board with increased accessibility for screen readers. (VIDEO)
  • Expanded Social Learning Tools for students to better communicate.(VIDEO)
  • New Calendar will allow for iCal support and drag-n-drop functionality aligned with due dates entered. (VIDEO)
SP11 New Calendar
  • Video Everywhere tool enables personalized and just in time feedback for students utilizing YouTube accounts. (READ)
  • Enhanced Assignment Grading features (to be able to grade and annotate online). (VIDEO)

SP11 Inline Assignment Grading

  • Retention Center to better monitor student performance. (VIDEO)
  • Enhanced Item Analysis – Provides additional statistics on test performance and individual test questions. (VIDEO)
  • Pattern Matching Fill-in-the-Blank – Fill in the blank questions can be automatically scored using a pattern matching feature. (VIDEO)
  • Expanded Accessibility – New accessibility improvements include the ability to skip links, ARIA Markup, Forms Markup, My Blackboard, My Grades, and enhancements in the accessibility of tests.

  • Improved Help Site: Blackboard Help
New Features Information Sessions
As we embark on teaching & learning with the improved Bb version this summer, we recommend that you take the time to explorer Bb after the upgrade and before your first class. The Center For Teaching & Learning (CTL), along with Institutional Computing will be holding overviews sessions and demos to help users get comfortable with the latest changes. Watch the Sun-e and your email & the Bb System News for details about these advents. These session are opportunities to (1) learn about specific changes and (2) get general questions on Blackboard answered. You can also learn about these new features by watching the videos on SU's Atomic Learning site by clicking here (login with your SUNet user/password).

We anticipate this should be a fairly smooth transition.  We appreciate any feedback or concerns as we move forward. Please email

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