Significant Changes and Improvements in Blackboard 9
- Blackboard 9 uses a Web 2.0 interface to drag-and-drop items on the screen, select drop-down menus, and access contextual help on some pages.
- Blackboard 9 offers support for content re-ordering and style sheets, significantly increasing Blackboard's accessibility.
New course home page
- Each course opens to a course home page that contains modules such as My Announcements,
What's New, and To Do. This
automatically-updated home page provides students with information on what has
changed in the course since the student last visited, what items require the
students' attention, and what items are past due or are due in the near future.
- Instructors can modify the home page, add/remove/reposition the home page modules, or select a different course entry point (the page users see when
entering a course.)
Improved course management workflow
- Blackboard's course content creation and editing tools (e.g., upload a file,
create an assignment, post a link to an external website) are embedded throughout the
course and no longer require instructors to go to a separate Control Panel. Instead,
instructors can click the Edit Mode switch in the top right corner of
any Blackboard course page.
- All options in the Control Panel are now available from the main course menu.
- Instructors no longer need to navigate to a separate area of the course to use
- Instructors can edit and organize their Course Menu and can, in Edit Mode,
drag-and drop the Menu's items to change their order.
- Course Menu items that contain no content are automatically hidden from the students' view but are always visible to the instructors in Edit Mode. Once
content is added to a Course Menu item (e.g., when a syllabus is uploaded or
content is added), Blackboard automatically makes that Menu item visible to students.
- Course Tools and Communications Tools have been combined into a single Tools
area that appears in the default Course Menu. This gives instructors easier
control over the tools they want to enable and disable.
Updated Grade Center
- Instead of displaying a separate receipt page every time a user does something
(the old OK button), Blackboard 9's confirmations display on the same page
where the user was working.
Significantly improved file collection and exchange
- Instructors can enter results, scores, percentages, and other forms of grading
directly into the Grade Center page. This inline editing process is similar to
entering grades into a spreadsheet. Each grade entered into the Grade Center is
- The Grade Center automatically records the grading history. If an instructor or
a TA changes a student's grade, Blackboard's grade history will show the new grade,
the old grade(s), when the grade(s) changed, and who made the change(s).
- Instructors can create Smart Views to categorize students based on
- This is helpful with merged course rosters to view and enter student grades
based on the students' original course sections. It's also helpful for
instructors with multiple TAs and want to divide the management of student
grades among them.
- Instructors have the ability to create and print grade reports-such as final
grades-to hand to students or add to the instructors' files.
- The Grade Center now supports average grade and minimum/maximum grade
New private blog and journal creation tools
- Blackboard's Assignment Tool lets instructors create a separate upload area for
each assignment. Instructors can download all of one assignment's student files
in a single zip file, and Blackboard will automatically rename each student's
file to include the assignment's name, the student's username, and the filename
the student originally submitted. For example, if Stan Student [sstudent]
submitted a paper for Assignment 7 with the file name of
ourfriendthemollusk.doc, Blackboard would automatically rename the file
- Blackboard 9 also offers a Group File Exchange tool for small groups to share
Self and peer assessments tools
- Blackboard 9 has built in private Blog and Journal tools that let students
create and share ideas with their instructors or other students enrolled in a
class. To respect the privacy of the students' work, Blackboard 9's blogs and
journals are private and cannot be viewed outside of the course in which they
- Individual journals allow students in a course to record their course
experiences and what they are learning. These thoughts can be a private
communication between a student and the instructor or shared with everyone in
the course. The author or the instructor can then add comments.
- Group journals allow groups of students to reflect collaboratively and comment
on their group members' findings. To maintain privacy, group members may add
journal entries anonymously.
- Individual blogs provide each student in a course with an area to share thoughts
and work with others in the course and to receive comments and feedback on
- Course blogs allow all users in a course to share their thoughts and work in one
common area that everyone in the course can read and add comments.
- Group blogs allow groups of students in a course to post thoughts
collaboratively and comment on others' work, while everyone else in the course
can view and comment on the group's entries.
Easier group creation
- Blackboard 9 supports the creation of self- and peer-assessments of text,
images, and digital-based information. Instructors can create an exercise with a
list of questions for the assessor as well as a variety of grading or marking
criteria. The instructor distributes the assessment and chooses if students will
assess their own work or the works of other students. In turn, the students
submit the work to be reviewed by the instructors.
Automatic update notification
- Instructors can create any number of groups at once.
- Students can be assigned randomly to groups, manually assigned by the
instructor, or masked to sign-up for a group themselves.
- Students can create their own self-enrollment groups, although instructors have
the option of modifying or restricting access to these student-created groups.
- Students and instructors will be notified automatically via a nightly email
digest if something changes or is updated in a course.
Minor Updates and Improvements
- Instructors can change the display order of their announcements.
- Announcements are displayed on the Home Page with other modules.
- Instructors can choose to deploy Assignments to all students individually or to groups of students. This allows instructors to assign a single grade to all of
the students in a group and also to override that group grade and assign a
student a different grade.
- Instructors can allow students to submit multiple attempts for the same
- Each attempt can be graded and commented on individually.
- Instructors have the ability to give specific students an additional attempt at
an assignment to accommodate extenuating circumstances.
- The Personal Information > Edit Personal Information links point to custom pages
for users to change their last name, address, and telephone numbers for Bb
- Blackboard's Electric Blackboard tool has been renamed Journals and
offers more features than the old Electric Blackboard did.
- Blackboard replaced the Student Homepage tool with the Blog tool that
lets students better express their thoughts and reflect on learning within a
Tests, Surveys, and Questions
- Instructors can add a start time and stop time for each Calendar event.
- Instructors can reorder questions in a test or survey using the new drag-