What's New - August 2013

Four changes were made to Blackboard on 28 August 2013. The most obvious change is a new version of the Discussion Board.

Here are the changes in Blackboard from 28 August 2013:

Staff and students

Discussion Board

The Thread Detail page in the Discussion Board where you read and reply to messages has been redesigned to make it easier to use.

Before After
Old thread page - small

New thread page - small

To reply to a message, move your mouse over the message and click on the Reply button that appears.

Reply to a message

To make it easier to scroll through a long list of messages, you can hide the messages, leaving only the author and title. To do this, click Collapse All at the top of the screen.  To show all messages, click Expand All.

Expand and Collapse All

You can also expand and collapse individual messages by moving your mouse over the message and clicking on Expand or Collapse.

Expand message


There is a new version of the Blackboard Calendar that allows you to export a link so that you can see the Blackboard calendar from Outlook or Google.

There will no longer be a My Calendar section on the Blackboard Home page, instead you can access the Calendar from the Global Navigation Menu on the top right of the screen:

Global Navigation Menu

Choose whether to view a day, a week or a month at a time:

New calendar views

To create a new event, click on a day or click the plus sign above the calendar:

Add event

To export a link that you can use in another calendar, such as Outlook or Google, click the Get External Calendar Link on the bottom left.

ICalendar link

Staff only

Retention Centre

The Retention Centre aims to help tutors spot students who may need attention by highlighting those who have missed deadlines or aren't accessing Blackboard as expected.  It replaces the Early-Warning System.

  1. Access the Retention Centre by choosing Evaluation > Retention Centre from the Control Panel
  2. You will see a list of students with a coloured bar at the top indicating students 'at risk'.
    Retention centre
  3. You can click in the sections of the coloured bar to see more information.  You can also click the dot in a student's cell to see more information and add notes for the student.
    Retention centre - more details
  4. You can choose to Monitor selected students, or contact them by email using the Notify option.
    Retention centre - monitor and notify
  5. At the bottom of the page, the Your course activity section shows information on the tutor who is currently logged in.  No-one else will see this information except you.

For more information, see Blackboard's help pages.

Reusable Objects

Reusable Objects are pieces of content that can be shared across many different course sites.  These may be information relevant to many different courses, such as policies or departmental contacts.  You may also have online resources that have taken time to create that may be useful to share with other people.

To create a Reusable Object, go to the Content Collection and choose an option from the Build menu, for example Course Content or External Link

Reusable content - build

To use Reusable Content in your course site, click the Discover Content button in the course site and browse to find the content you wish to use. However to use a shared link, you have to create a content item then browse the Content Collection.

Reusable content - discover

For more information, see Blackboard's help pages:


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