by George Rosa

The 2018 Fall Blackboard upgrade was completed on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. This maintenance upgrade introduced some new features for faculty and students.

A New look
Blackboard now has a new look whose style matches more closely with Blackboard Ultra, the advanced version of Blackboard that could eventually replace our current version, Blackboard Learn. Locations of tool links and functionalities are basically the same, but it is possible that if you used a custom theme and buttons in your previous course that the look won’t copy correctly into the new course, because many themes as well as buttons have been eliminated. If your course theme did not translate well into the new look, then you should set the style back to default by going, in the Control Panel, to:
Customization > Teaching Style,
then choose the Default theme.

Easier “Make Course Available” Button
FInally there is an easier way to make your Blackboard course available to students than navigating to the Properties section. On the top right in the course next to the Edit Mode button is the Make Available button, which looks like a padlock. By default the course is unavailable to students, and the padlock will appear red, and “locked”. When it’s time to make the course available. just click on the button, and the padlock will appear to “unlock” and its color changes to black. The course is now available to students.

Attendance tool
With the attendance tool instructors can mark whether a student is present, late, absent, or excused for each class meeting. The attendance records for each student appear in a single column next to other grades.  On the Attendance page, profile pictures appear so instructors can easily identify students.  Instructors can use attendance as part of calculating grades in the Grade Center. There is a short tutorial on the attendance tool on page 10 of this newsletter.

Integrated cloud storage for all users
Now faculty and students can attach files to content from cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive using a browse button. To use this you will need to have set up an account with one of the cloud storage services and sign into it to retrieve the file that you plan to insert. Students can also now attach files from their own cloud services to assignments, blogs, discussions using the Browse Cloud Storage.



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