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Blackboard Update 2018 for Instructors

Blackboard performed an upgrade to Concordia University’s learning management system (LMS) during the (2017) Christmas break. This article provides important detail regarding the update and changes introduced as part of the new version of Blackboard.

Please review this article carefully as some of the changes may impact your work as an instructor. We recommend you bookmark this page and check back often.

Blackboard Update 2018 Webinar

A webinar covering the Blackboard 2018 updates and demonstrating the changes was presented live to faculty on January 3, 2018 at 1pm (Pacific).

What's New

Drag and Drop Attachments
You can now drag-and-drop files from your computer into the Attach Files hot spot and attach multiple files at once. This enhancement is present for faculty and students within all features that allow for file upload.
  • drag-and-drop2.png

Assignment Submission Receipts
Students receive a confirmation code after successfully submitting to a Blackboard assignment dropbox. Students also receive an email confirmation for their successful submission. Students can save the confirmation code as proof of their submission. Instructors can access receipt information to confirm the date and time an assignment was submitted. For more information, refer to Blackboard's instructor FAQ about assignments.
Note: Submission receipts are provided for Blackboard assignments. This feature does not impact Taskstream or Turnitin assignments.
  • submissionReceipt1.png

Assignment Feedback - Instructor Comments [important]
Blackboard’s inline grading tool (Crocodoc) is being replaced. Blackboard’s new tool ('New Box View') provides a preview of the submission and commenting capability. It includes some improvements in functionality over Crocodoc (students can now upload a broader variety of documents), however some key features of are no longer available.

Note: Instructor commented documents produced by Box ('New Box View') are not compatible with screen readers. If you need to produce a commented document that is accessible, we recommend you download the student submission and provide comment in Microsoft Word. Attach the annotated Word doc to the Feedback to Learner area using the paperclip icon (pictured below, right side of screen).
  • Faculty will find a slightly smaller selection of commenting tools. In Crocodoc, faculty could highlight text, embed comments, strike text, and draw. The new tool does not currently allow for drawing or text strikeout.
  • The student experience in viewing instructor comments will change. Comments will initially appear collapsed, and will expand when hovered over by the mouse pointer.
  • Students will not be able to download a commented version of their submission
  • Why is Blackboard moving from Crocodoc to Box? Blackboard's assignment feedback feature relies on software from a third-party vendor. The software Blackboard used previously (Crocodoc) was purchased by Box.com and has been “sunsetted.” Blackboard was required to move to Box’s new software. Detail of this change was presented to universities in November. Read more on this transition.
  • Your options as faculty: For those who primarily use Microsoft Word’s commenting functionality to provide assignment feedback to students, we recommend you continue with this option until functionality of the New Box View has improved. For those faculty that have relied on Crocodoc tool for assessments, we recommend you review the New Box View's functionality and leverage it if adequate. If your course requires students download commented assignments (EDGR 601), you will need to use Microsoft Word.

Faculty can send notification via email to students who have not submitted assignments or quizzes. The messaging within the email can be customized before sending to students. The message is system-generated and to protect user privacy, their data is not presented.

Known Issues

This is the current list of known issues in Blackboard. This list will be actively updated. Please check back often.

'File is being converted'
Assignment submissions may display a "converting" message when viewing a submission. The timer information displayed is inaccurate.
  • convertingFile_NBV.png
  • Refresh your page to resolve the issue and display the content.

Course menu missing?
The course sidebar menu may auto-collapse when used with smaller browser windows or displays. This is due to the "responsive" updates to Blackboard Learn. We have alerted Blackboard to this issue and are seeking resolution.

Update (1/22/2018): A temporary fix has been implemented. You may be experiencing some relief with the collapsing sidebar, but some other odd behavior has been noted. We're still working with Blackboard on resolution.
  • external image VHohS1r.png
  • The course menu may be restored by moving your mouse pointer to the left hand edge of the screen and clicking on the thin blue vertical stripe. The menu will remain collapsed on smaller screens or browser windows.
  • You may be able to experience some resolution by persistently expanding your browser window to full screen and de-magnify (zoom out) your browser text as much as possible.
    Keyboard shortcuts (Chrome/Firefox): Ctrl +/- on PC, Cmd +/- on Mac.
    • If the blue bar is missing completely, please try resizing your browser window (i.e., maximize, or drag the edge of your browser window to resize).
      external image h2wIsqG.png

'Error: Fail to save message'
After posting to a discussion board, you may not see your post and may see a warning stating Error. Fail to save message.
  • DB_failedToSave.png
  • Please refresh your browser to see your post. You may see the Fail to save message error, but your post should still be present.
  • This is a known issue to Blackboard and resolution is currently being investigated. We will update with further information as it is available.

Can't drag to reorder items?
Reordering content in various areas of courses may not perform as expected. Dragging items within the menu to reorder does not always function.

Extra decimals visible in rubrics/grades
When grading students, or viewing grades and feedback, scores in Blackboard may display multiple extra decimals.
  • external image HRKWggb.png
  • We have escalated this issue to Blackboard as well and have been informed that this issue is known to Blackboard. The issue is slated for resolution in an upcoming release.
  • You may use the inline grading tool rubric pane to grade without the issues the pop-out rubric experiences.

Performance Dashboard: Discussion board issue
When viewing the discussion board posts through the Performance Dashboard, only the Meet your Professor is appearing. This is happening because the starting threads for each of the discussion board posts, other than the Meet Your Professor, are set to "Anonymous".
  • The instructor will need to change their name to the author within the discussion board.
  • Next to the anonymously-authored 'Click here to post a reply' thread, click the chevron and then Change Author.
  • This will set the instructor as the author, which will then make the discussion boards viewable in the Performance Dashboard.

Student Feedback: Error 404: NOT FOUND
Students and Faculty may receive a 404 Error message when opening grade comments with attachments. Students will be able to view comments, however, opening the attachment will throw this error. Sending the attachment as an email is the best work around. Blackboard hopes to resolve this issue in a future release.

Updates on Known Issues

Updates to existing issues will be made available here.

New Box View: Improvements
Some improvements have been rolled out for the New Box View inline grading tool.
  • Instructors can leave point- and highlight-based annotations.
  • Instructors can also draw annotations directly on assignments.