What's New in Blackboard 9.1
Blackboard has upgraded it's interface in keeping with recent Web 2.0
technologies incorporating more drag and drop type functionality as well
as integrating controls into task-specific contexts within the course
- Control Panel
- Contextual Menus
- Drag-and-Drop functionality
Control Panel functionality available from left menu area
Instructors can now access the Control Panel functionality directly from
the a course page. Located just beneath the Course Menu, instead of
clicking a Control Panel button to go off to a dedicated screen, the
Control Panel now expands to reveal its functionality.
Blackboard has also reorganized and relabeled some of the functions within
the Control Panel. For example, "Assessments" is no longer a
category in the Control Panel. "Tests and Surveys" can now be
found under "Course Tools" and the "Grade Center" is
its own category.
Contextual menus make adding content a more efficient process
Buttons for "Build Content, Create Assessment, Add Interactive Tool,
Assign Textbook" are exposed at the top of a course page when
"Edit Mode" is turned "ON". When moused over, each
button expands to expose available options for adding content, tools, and
assessments. Included in this version are some additional content, page,
and tool types (e.g. syllabus, module page, journal).
Contextual menus associated with the Course
Menu make adding content areas a more efficient process as well.
New "Drag and Drop" functionality added
Drag and Drop functionality makes changing aspects of the course easy and
efficient. With "Edit Mode" turned ON, instructors are able to
reorder the course menu and content items directly by dragging content up
or down to a desired location.
New Content Types
Blackboard's "Syllabus" is essentially a template that
instructors can use to structure, present, and modify their syllabus in a
A Lesson Plan is a special content type that combines information about
the lesson itself with the curriculum resources used to teach it. The
default lesson plan sections include the instructional level, grade level,
objectives, and subject area of the lesson. Additional sections can be
added to the Lesson Plan, arranged to display in any order and optionally
displayed to students.
Blackboard provides several informational and web application resources
(modules) that can be added to a Module Page. Module Pages
present/organize these information sources and web applications in
discrete boxes or modules. Instructors can select and arrange modules on a
Module Page for students to access. Currently the available modules
include: Alerts, Calculator, Dictionary, Announcements, Calendar, Tasks,
Report Card, Textpad, Thesaurus, To Do.
New Grade Center Features
Additional Default Grade Center Views
Blackboard 9.1 provides 3 default Smart Views of the Grade Center directly
from the Control Panel: the original "Full Grade Center" view
and the new "Assignment" view and "Test" view.
Instructors can use these new views to efficiently view and navigate the
Grade Center spreadsheet data.
An "Allow Additional Attempt" option is new in that it provides
instructors with a way to give more than one additional attempt to a
specific student or for assignments and tests.
Group Assignments and Grades
Instructors can create and grade group assignment(s) and can give one
grade to a group which is then applied to all individual members of the
A Journal is a self-reflective tool for students. Only the student and the
instructor are able to comment on journal entries. However, journals can
be made public by the instructor so that all enrolled users can read
entries on a topic. Group journal entries can be read by all group members
and the instructor.
Blogs are a lightweight tool for facilitating student interaction and
provide an easy way for students to share ideas. By default Blogs are open
to all enrolled users in the course, but instructors have some options for
controlling this setting.
A Wiki is a tool that facilitates collaboration and provides students with
an easy way to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related
A Rubric is a tool that lists evaluation criteria for an assignment.
Rubrics can help students organize their efforts to meet the requirements
of an assignment. Instructors can use Rubrics to explain their evaluations
Added Functionality for Groups
More options for enrolling students into groups
Instructors can use the "random enroll" function to form groups
randomly or provide the option for students sign up to self-enroll and
form their own groups.
Added functionality for creating group assignments and grading group
Instructors are now able to assign group assignment(s) to specific groups
in Blackboard 9. The group assignment will be shown in the related group
page under the Group Assignment section. Also, the instructors can give
one grade to the group which will be applied to all group members
File exchange, blogs, and journals available for groups
Instructors can set up additional tools to support group work with file
exchange, blogs, and journals.
Where did it go?
Digital Dropbox is No Longer Available; Use Assignments Instead
Instead of using the Digital Dropbox, which did not organize or associate
submissions with student information in the Grade Center, Instructors can
now use the Assignments tool which does
help with organization, association of student submissions with the
student name, and with an easier way to download, provide feedback, and
upload student work.
When an instructor creates an "Assignment," a Grade Center
column is added automatically to the spreadsheet. Students can access the
assignment through the content area where the instructor added the
assignment and the instructor can monitor student submissions through the
Grade Center spreadsheet view.