What's New - December 2013

Blackboard was upgraded between the 15 December 2013 and 16 December 2013. There are some minor changes that will mainly affect staff.

Here are the main changes in Blackboard from 16 December 2013:

Staff and students

Quick Links

Click the Quick Links button in the top left of the screen Quick Links icon or press Shift-Alt-L on the keyboard to see a list of headings on the current page. This is a quick way to jump to a section of the page and is particularly useful for sighted keyboard-only users.

Quick Links page

Students only

Blackboard assignment submission

Blackboard assignments are an alternative to Turnitin that do not carry out a plagiarism check and accept any file type.  If you are submitting work to a Blackboard assignment, it will look different after the upgrade.


Bb assignment submission - sp11

After the upgrade:

Bb assignment submission - sp13

Staff only


There are several new options for creating and implementing tests in Blackboard.

Creating a test

Currently when you add a question to a test, it will be added to the bottom of the list and you have to move it to your chosen position.  There is a new Add Question button that allows you to add a new question in your chosen position before or after an existing question.
Add question
Also when you have added a question, there will be the option to Submit and Create Another.

Test options

There are several new test options:

  • Use different options for selected students or groups by creating Test availability exceptions. You can allocate different completion times or numbers of attempts for a test.
  • Prevent students from taking a test if the due date has passed. If you allow them to take the test after the due date then it will be much more obvious that the test was taken late.
  • More control over feedback shown to students. You will be able to set two rules to show different feedback at different times.

Students will always be able to see their score unless you hide the column in the Grade Centre. This is true even if you don't tick the option to show the Score in the feedback.

Test Access Log

The Test Access log shows the activity for a student in a test, for example when they opened the test and which questions they answered. This will be useful to show whether a student has started a test and which questions were answered in case of problems.

Test Access log

Group Management

Blackboard have improved the way groups are managed, so the Batch Allocate Groups option will be removed. From the Control Panel > Users and Groups > Groups page, you will be able to:

  • See a list of groups including the number of members and, optionally, the tools available
  • See a list of students and which groups they belong to.  This will enable you to spot students who are not a member of any group and add them to a group.
  • Create new groups and add students to groups by importing a .csv file
  • Create a Smart View for a group as you create the group

Maths editor

  • The WIRIS maths editor will no longer use Java, so you won't have to accept the Java runtime before using it and it will work on a wider range of operating systems, including iOS. 
  • You will be able to enter LaTeX commands into the editor and they will display correctly as formulae.

Blackboard assignments

When you view students' work that has been submitted to a Blackboard assignment, it will look very different from the current view.


Bb assignments - sp11

After the upgrade:

Bb assignments - sp13


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