So, hopefully by now my Palomar faculty have noted that we have moved to a new (and very different) version of Blackboard starting with the Spring 2011 courses. (If that comes as a shock, try visiting the Academic Technology web site once in a while, for both our sakes!) For those who have already gone through training on that new version… there is an update to Blackboard with some improvements that weren’t around for the previous training sessions.
Looking through the “New Features and Enhancements” list for Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 3, here’s what I consider the good stuff:
- Announcements – New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list. Students do not see the bar.
- Assessments – Instructors now have the ability to view question numbers while building and editing assessments. Questions can be referenced by number throughout the assessment and can be used to sequence questions in an assessment.
- Needs Grading Page – Instructors can access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
There are other entries on the list, but they mostly either do not matter to us or are what I’d consider to be “fixes” rather than enhancements. But given that I’ve had requests from faculty in the last two months for all three of the things I listed above, these seemed worthy of note. (See, Blackboard does listen to user requests. Amazing, isn’t it?)
The system with Spring 2011 courses on it is not updated to this new version as of post date (although a new post will certainly go up on this blog when the update has occurred), but I thought it important to let faculty know what should be changed by the time courses go live in January.