Monday, February 06, 2006

Improvements in Blackboard 6.3

This page is here for historical/archival purposes, and lists the improvements which were made to Blackboard when it was upgraded to version 6.3 in early 2006. The current version of Blackboard is 7 and has many further improvements and changes beyond these which are listed at this link.

Improvements in Blackboard version 6.3

Multi-Language Support by Institution, Course and User
Institutions can run multiple languages on the same system. To support cross-border education as well as foreign language courses, Instructors can set the language of the course independently from the language setting of the overall system. Institutions can offer the Blackboard Academic Suite in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Portuguese. The entire system can be set in a specific language, or a language may be offered as a preference for users.(more details)

Adaptive Release
Course content does not always apply to all users in the course. Using Adaptive Release of content, Instructors can display content to certain users for a limited period of time, or only after users meet (or fail to meet) predetermined requirements. Some content might be applicable to all users in the course, while other content should be audience-specific. Adaptive Release allows an Instructor to create custom learning paths through course content and activities. Content items, discussions, assessments, assignments, or other activities can be released to Students based on a set of criteria including: date and time, specific users, group membership, institution role, grades or attempts on a particular test or assignment, or Review Status of another item in the course.(more details)

Review Status
Outcomes based tracking is an important feature to most Blackboard clients. Today, Instructors can track item hits on a user-by-user basis, but Students have no automated way of explicitly notifying Instructors when they review an item. If Review is enabled for a content item, users see a Mark Reviewed icon from the course view. When users have completed their review of the item, they click the Mark Reviewed button. The item then displays a Reviewed icon. The Instructor can view progress from the Performance Dashboard or the User Progress page in the Control Panel.(more details)

Syllabus Builder
The Syllabus Builder is a new content item in courses and organizations. It guides the Instructor through a very simple process for building a syllabus without knowledge of HTML. The tool automatically generates lesson shells and the Instructor either chooses a pre-formatted style or creates a new one.(more details)

SCORM 2004
A number of changes to the Content Player have been implemented in response to key developments in the marketplace and client requests. These changes include:

· Support for SCORM 2004, the newest specification for SCORM packages
· Name Change: The Blackboard Content Player is now the Open Standards Content Player
· Updated Gradebook Item functionality to allow Instructors to view user attempt data (such as response to questions and time spent) from the Modify Grade page
· Users may select a package stored in the Content Collection if Copy file from Content Collection (also new in Application Pack 3) is available
· Updated look and feel to the Content Player
· Faster load times for the content

Application Pack 3 also includes a new feature called simple sequencing that branches to content based on user interaction. In addition, Application Pack 3 includes improvements on Gradebook interaction and user Tracking Data related to SCORM. Instructors can view tracked user information such as completion status and length of time an item was viewed.(more details)

Performance Dashboard
The Performance Dashboard is a course tool that allows Instructors to see key information and outcomes for all course users. It displays the last time users logged in, their course role, Adaptive Release criteria, Review Status for content items, and grades.(more details)

Advanced Assessment Questions
When creating Assessments in the Blackboard Learning System, Instructors may choose from ten additional question types, including: Calculated Questions, Numeric Response Questions, File Response Questions, Hot Spot Questions, Multiple Fill-in-the-Blank Questions, Jumbled Sentence Questions, Opinion Scale Questions, Short Response Questions, Either / Or Questions, and Quiz Bowl Questions. (Calculated Formula Questions, Calculated Numeric Response Questions, File Response Questions, Hot Spot Questions, Fill in Multiple Blank Questions, Jumbled Sentence Questions, Opinion Scale/Likert Questions, Short Answer Questions, Either/Or Questions, Quiz Bowl Questions)

Gradebook Null Option
Current Gradebook calculations for Total and Weighted Total include items that have not been taken or graded. A new option to exclude untaken or ungraded items when calculating the Total and Weighted Total appears in Application Pack 3. The Running Total and Running Weighted Total columns display Student performance only on completed items.Calculating Total and Weighted Total in the Gradebook ) Assessment Question Completion Status Students may skip questions that they may wish to come back to in a question-by-question assessment. This feature allows Students to clearly identify which questions they have actually completed from the ones that they have skipped as they progress through the assessment.(more details)

Randomize Multiple Choice Answers
Instructors have the option to randomize the answers in multiple choice questions. The answers are randomized for each assessment attempt, which helps prevent student cheating (settings under CONTROL PANEL - TEST MANAGER - TEST CANVAS - TEST CREATION SETTINGS)

Advanced Course Menu
Two views of the Course Menu are now available to users; the Quick View (the original menu design) and the Detail View. The Detail View lets users expand and collapse the Course Menu, and displays a clickable link to each item in the course. If allowed by the Instructor, users may toggle between these two views. In addition, commonly used tools are separated from the Course Menu to make them easier to find and use. The Course Map has been completely redesigned for Application Pack 3. It displays new icons based on the item or tool, and shows only the content available to the current user.(more details)