This page gathers notes, known bugs features and upcoming news.

February 25, 2014
Internet Explorer updates may cause users problems - Brett is running a patch on March 1 which should resolve the problem. Meantime, use an alternative browser.

November 8, 2013
A number of people have contacted me asking about student access to their GradeMark comments. Susan Sivek made a very helpful screencast video that explains the process, now included in the BBLearn wiki. Also, Brett has applied several patches that fix minor bugs and problems.

August 15, 2013
Please note, we've added a number of new how-to's to the wiki regarding the new features mentioned below in SP12.

July 18, 2013
Hey, now I can merge classes myself, I no longer have to forward all such requests to Brett. Yay! Nice to have that capability. We are working on some new how-to documents for the features listed in the link below, which will be available soon. Stay tuned.....

May 21, 2013
Now that we know we are upgrading to SP12 on June 1 (not just 10/11), here's a link that describes some of the neat things coming:

http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/04/24/blackboard-learn-91-sp12-adds-retention-center-inline-assignment-grading.aspx

April 30, 2013
Happy birthday, open web!

Good things are coming to BBLearn on June 1, which is the day we have designated to upgrade to service pack 10/11. Here are two ways to access information about the goodness to come - note we may not get all these features as we have a basic version of BB.

This is from another college:
https://sites.google.com/a/su.edu/blackboard/announcements/newfeaturesinblackboardlearn91servicepack1011
This is from BBLearn:
http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Products/Blackboard-Learn/Features.aspx#calendarexternal image cleardot.gif

March 19, 2013
Brett updated the test server to v.11 and it looks like there are a lot of nice new features included. For example, there's a control area near your user name at the top for quick access to discussion posts and other activities, and there is now inline grading and inline video throughout. This is all still in the testing phase, please keep in mind. Rollout may be as soon as the beginning of summer. For a list of these new features, check out:

https://sites.google.com/a/su.edu/blackboard/announcements/newfeaturesinblackboardlearn91servicepack1011

March 12, 2013
2 things:

1. We are trying to fix a Turnitin Assignment bug now that is a bit of a mystery. If you create a Turnitin Assignment and then delete it, be sure to delete it from the grade book as well before you recreate that assignment using the same name. Otherwise, your content page may show a red "error" message and you won't be able to access that page. So far, we know you can create a new content page and carry on normally, but we don't know why the old content pages no longer work.

2. We are currently testing BBLearn Service Pack #10 on our test server. Changes to 10 and the soon-to-be-released 11 are minor, but Service Pack #12 will be released sometime in May and promises some enticing new features. For example, faculty will be able to roll over courses with calendar dates intact (of course some minor tweaks will still be necessary). Also, the "student view" tab will return. If all goes well with the May release and we encounter no troubles on the test server, we may be able to upgrade directly to v. 12 in time for summer. Otherwise, it will more likely be fall.

December 13, 2012
Note I added links to several help files from Turnitin related to GradeMark to our wiki. If you find Common Core rubrics helpful, I have a zip file I can share with you (just ask) - these are useful, highly thought of and can be easily uploaded to your GradeMark assignments. If you've spent a lot of time developing your own QuickMark notations, you can reuse and share them - no need to recreate the wheel! Feedback from faculty is that at first this method of grading takes a little getting used to, but then it saves time. In some cases, lots of time. The numbers support this anecdotal evidence - EOY 2012 stats for Turnitin and GradeMark show another increase in usage. In fact, usage roughly doubled!

December 6, 2012
If you are DropBox user and you also use BlackBoard Mobile Learn, you can now link your DropBox content to your BBLearn courses. In your BB Mobile Learn course, click the gear icon to link your DropBox account. Once that's done, you can add content directly from DropBox to Assignments, Discussion board postings, etc. You can also add content on your mobile device that is not in DropBox (such as photos).

August 28, 2012
BB9.1 SP8 has been updated to BB9.1 SP9. One of the key improvements is the text editor, which has now been updated to the content editor with a number of new improvements (see here).

Users who are running into size limitations copying their courses using the Archive method may find they have better luck using the Course Copy method. Also, the Bulk Delete tool is returning positive feedback from faculty.

Some users of Firefox are experiencing problems again with PDF files not opening correctly. We know that Firefox 8 works, Firefox 12 does not, and Firefox 14 does work. If in doubt, users can download and install a Firefox fix here:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/pdfjs/

April 17, 2012
New classes (summer on up) can't be seen. We are working on this issue now.

January 13, 2012
Message sent to Mac faculty:

Dear BlackBoard users – I have 3 items to share with you:

1. As most everyone should know by now, our license for BlackBoard 8 expired at the end of December, although we have not yet fully removed access to the BlackBoard 8 server and content. Everyone who wanted to use BlackBoard should now have migrated successfully to BBLearn. Due to various behind the scenes issues such as expiring server software licensing, it has become clear that we'll need to say goodbye to the BlackBoard 8 server by March 1. Please be sure that you have archived any courses and/or materials you wish to save by March 1. If you would like instructions on how to archive your BlackBoard 8 course and either save it or migrate it to BBLearn, they can be found here:

http://blackboardnine.wikispaces.com/How+to+transfer+courses+from+Blackboard+8+to+Blackboard+9

2. You may notice that some students are listed in your course Users list as "not enrolled". These are students who have dropped the course. They will not appear in your grade book.

3. You may notice that the "Help" link at the top of your BBLearn page is not functioning. We are aware of it and working to resolve it – but you can still click on other help links throughout BBLearn that are working properly (especially useful are the contextual help links).

As usual, Mac campus users will need to remember to release their courses when they are ready – please visit the BBLearn wiki to learn how if you have forgotten:

http://blackboardnine.wikispaces.com/How+do+I+make+my+course+available%3F


December 1, 2011
Rob Tanner says we'll be able to both add and remove students from BBLearn courses, beginning the week between Christmas and New Year's. Because completely removing students from courses sometimes results in problems, Brett has asked Rob to render removed users as guests rather than removing students from courses altogether, which means they can't access many parts of the course and are not listed in the grade book.

November 9, 2011
FIRST: Google bblearn. Note where Linfield bblean pages stand - #5 and #6. Our Google juice is strong! And of course, this is with no promotion whatsoever.

SECOND:

Here's some cool BBLearn news (evidently DCE is investing more in
BBLEARN this year) that I just learned in our weekly BBLEARN Admin
webinar:

1. Brett sent out the PO for MediaCast today. He anticipates that we
will be able to have at least the BBLEARN portion installed the 1st
week of December. He'll be meeting with relevant parties in ITS to get
the LDAP part implemented so we can use it outside of BBLearn as well.

2. DCE is buying BBLearn Mobile. That analytics piece that showed iPad
usage with limited access is about to explode, as now BBLEARN will be
available on any mobile device. This will probably happen in January -
meaning we can use MediaCast to stream content on iPad2s and other
mobile devices.

3. Evidently there is a way to open wikis and possibly blogs in
BBLEARN to the world. We haven't learned how yet but Brett has heard
this is coming soon.

4. Brett is exploring licensing options for BB Collaborate. The
license he is looking at right now is an open access license. I
suspect this is going to be pretty big and may require some special
training for us BBLEARN admin types before we can roll it out.

All of these will be announced once they are stable and ready to go
live, with the usual support mechanisms (especially the BBLEARN wiki).

This is pretty great stuff, eh?

November 7, 2011 (from Brett):
I successfully installed the patch for exams Saturday morning, so there “should” be no more issues with saving exams. I’m going to put an announcement in blackboard about clearing cache before taking exams, but if you receive any complaints about exams, make sure as a first step that they clear the cache. I also installed the pdf patch for files, so they should see a link to download file now instead of “no plugin available” error message. Blackboard also suggests for mac users that:

If you have a user that continues to have difficulties displaying the link make sure they have removed the Adobe PDF Viewer plugin from Mac HD/Library/Internet Plugins. The plugin does not work in newer Mac computers and causes quite a few browser stability problems.

Sept. 20, 2011 - Jo and Brett - When working with learning modules, be sure to upload content using the "Item" link instead of "File", and select the choice to open in a new window. Otherwise, the student view will not display correctly.

Sept. 1, 2011 - Jo and Brett
The "fix" for unsupported PDF files in Firefox seems to work sometimes for the same problem in Safari, but not always - even on the same systems, running the same OS, and the same version of the same browser. At present, it's still a mystery as to why this is.

August 26, 2011 - Brett
Note, when you click "delete" in the action link next to a file name, the file is deleted completely. In BB8, the file link only was removed - the file still remained in BB.

August 22, 2011 - Jo
Adding Calendar entries gets a link to the time only. Not very useful, as you need the date too! This appears to be fixed on the test server for SP 6.

Also, tried out the gradable rubrics feature in SP6, and it seems to work. Will require a little work to set up, but will be easy to use after as rubrics can be copied onto other course materials.

August 12, 2011 - Michelle
I've recently looked into a tool that can be used with BBLearn called NookStudy. It is a free download from Barnes & Noble that is available for both Mac and PC. Basically what it does it allows you to keep all of your e-books that you've bought through Barnes & Noble in one place and lets you categorize them into groups or classes. NookStudy has some interesting features but nothing that I haven't seen before. Some feautures that NookStudy has are:
  • Take Notes directly into textbooks with a few simple clicks and allows you to add links. All of this is fairly easy.
  • Insert PDF's and mark them up just like you would an ebook.
  • Easy Lookup tool that allows you to look up key terms by highlighting and clicking Lookup.
  • Multiple book viewing allows you to look at two books/pdf side by side.

This program is interesting however there are a few downsides to NookStudy.
  • ebooks must be bought by everybody. You cannot share the ebook with others unless the book has a lend option.
  • The files that you put into NookStudy will only be available on the computer's NookStudy that you put them on.
  • NookStudy can be downloaded on up to 6 computers but ebook purchases are only accessible on two computers. Information can be synced between these two computers so that they have the same notes.
  • There is a limited selection of textbooks that are in ebook format. I checked to see if any of my textbooks for the upcoming fall semester were available as ebooks and couldn't find one.
  • NookStudy can be used only on computers. It is not available on eReaders, mobile devices, tablets, etc.
  • Some PDF's are not able to use markup for unknown reasons.

NookStudy shows promise but it still needs a lot of work done to it. Students would find this a more useful tool then faculty. I would recommend trying it out but currently I do not think it will be a tool that will be utilized a lot.

August 12, 2011 - Jo
Talked to Brett about merged courses (have had requests). Right now courses can be merged but the requests need to go to him. Faculty need to determine whether they want to keep the individual courses still alive, because once merged, new content and student activity will need to happen only in the merged course. The old course will be useful only to see which students are enrolled in which section.

August 10, 2011 - Jo
Michelle and I are adding lots more how-to stuff nearly every day. Just updated the Quickstart Guide, BB info page, and initial workshop list, found here:

http://www.linfield.edu/blackboard.html

August 4, 2011 - Jo
Talked to Brett - I will be setting up a slew of workshops on BBLearn (and other stuff) for faculty starting on Friday, August 19. Brett will participate in some of them. Brett will also resume our weekly WebEX sessions so that anyone who wants to talk to all of us who support BBLearn at once can get us - kind of our version of the Vulcan mind-meld.

Also, I am drafting a "What to expect" letter for faculty for this fall. The idea is to provide a quick list of things faculty will find it helpful to know in order to get up to speed in BBLearn. These items will go out around August 15.

August 2, 2011 - Jo
1. We know that quizzes and tests copied from BlackBoard 8 over to BBLearn sometimes behave strangely. Students may be able to take the quiz but their grades won't automatically record as they should in the grade book, requiring instructors to manually enter those grades. This usually means the student has exceeded the amount of time allowed for the quiz and this alerts the instructor to this fact - a fix is coming. We also know that when students complete the quiz they are asked to click OK in order to access the grade, but the OK button is greyed out. One work around for this problem is the enable the "My grades" feature so that students can access their grades from that location instead.

2. BlackBoard IM was released recently and serves as a replacement for Wimba Pronto. Not all of the locations in BlackBoard have been updated to include the name change. Blackboard IM works very similarly to Wimba Pronto but small changes have occurred. For instance, users formerly clicked on "Actions" to begin a new group voice chat; now users click on "Tools" instead. We only have access to voice chat at present, not screen sharing, etc.

3. Service Pack 6 has been released and Brett is testing it on the BBLearn test server. Once it is installed, we will see a host of new features, including gradable rubrics. Here's a list of what we've been told to expect.

4. Until the new text editor tool is available (hopefully before fall 2011 semester), users should use the Mashup tool to copy and past Word content. This prevents problematic Word code from being copied inadvertently into your file. Soon it will be possible to copy Word content without losing Word formatting.

5. If you love using the Chrome browser, fear not, BBLearn Service Pack 6 will support it. For Windows users, Chrome will work well for many but not all features, Internet Explorer works well with compatibility mode enabled, and Firefox seems to work well but has come out with so many new additions recently that we can't be sure everything works. For Mac users, if a BlackBoard feature in Firefox or Chrome doesn't work, I suggest trying Safari. This works surprisingly often.

6. Uploading zip files works well for Windows users in the Files area of the Control Panel. For Mac users, not so much. Instead, use WebDAV by setting up a Shared Location (also located in the Files area of the Control Panel).