By now most of you have read about the upgrade to Blackboard, scheduled for December 29 through December 30. (Be sure to plan for this outage: you won’t be able to access Blackboard during the upgrade.) Below is a description of some new features that come with the upgrade. We’ll follow up in the spring semester with tutorials.
Student Preview for Faculty. Blackboard will generate a strawman student account for you, so you can interact with the course exactly as your students do (a much-awaited capability!). You’ll be able to test certain functionalities before they go live; for example:
- Take tests
- Submit assignments
- Create blogs and discussion posts
- Make wiki entries
- View the gradebook as your students see it
The Edit Mode Off/On will still be an option.
Grading. With the new delegated grading feature, you will be able to assign grading privileges to a TA or other user in the course.
The new anonymous grading feature allows you to grade assignments or tests without knowing who made the submission.
Bb Grader App for iOS. You will be able to grade assignments on selected iOS mobile devices:
- iOS, iOS7, iOS8
- iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad 2, 3, or 4
SafeAssign will no longer be a discrete function. Instead, it will be an option in the Assignments submission set up.
Tips for the Transition
You will probably want to explore the new features before the spring semester gets underway (and if you’re teaching in Winter Session, as soon as the upgrade is released), so you’re not surprised by any features (like the changes in SafeAssign) mid-semester.
You should also be sure and make archival or export copies of your courses now, before the upgrade. There shouldn’t be any data loss during the transition, but it is a good end-of-semester practice to archive the current semester’s online materials, for future reference.
Happy holidays from CTL!