New in Blackboard: Various improvements

This article is the last of a series of articles explaining the new features and changes that will be introduced as part of the Blackboard upgrade coming up 20-21 July.

The Blackboard upgrade includes various other changes to benefit staff and students. These include:

Ability to navigate between sites quickly

Screenshot of an option to navigate between site in Blackboard, a window coming down from the chevron next to a houseAfter the upgrade you will be able to navigate between the same tool in different sites quickly. For instance, you can jump from the Grade Centre in one site to the Grade Centre in another site without returning to the top level of shuspace. There is a chevron symbol next to the house icon in the top left of the screen that will allow you to choose a different site to enter immediately.

Improved statistics

Many staff have been asking for improved statistics about how their students are using the Blackboard site. The new upgrade will include additional statistics reports becoming available to staff. You will be able to see reports for individual students as well as overall site level statistics. An estimation of the amount of time the student has spent on different activities will also be included. Keep in mind that it cannot be 100% accurate as students could be browsing other websites while accessing Blackboard, which might result in longer times than students who download work and view it offline. Note that due to space and performance issues, we can only guarantee statistics will be available for the past 30 days.

Integrated YouTube videos, Flickr photos and Slideshare presentations

Screenshot of the YouTube integration into Blackboard, showing a video from TED about using video for education

Example embedded YouTube video

If you have found a video on YouTube before and been frustrated by how hard it can be to embed in your Blackboard site, then you will be excited to learn that the next version of Blackboard allows you to easily embed that video into your Blackboard site with a variety of options. You can choose how you embed it, either as a standalone item or incorporated into the text on your site. Note, this feature does not work with unlisted Blackboard videos right now. Photos from Flickr and presentations shared on Slideshare can both be integrated in a similar fashion. 

New SCORM player

Blackboard has included a new SCORM player in its most recent version. SCORM is a standard for creating and sharing packaged content files. If you find reusable content items in a repository such as JORUM, then you may wish to include it in your Blackboard site. Having a working SCORM player will facilitate the use of these content packages, which have been particularly popular in HWB.

A (slightly) different look

Blackboard sites will look slightly different after the upgrade, and shuspace will be rebranded so it fits the new University branding guidelines. We do not predict that either of these changes are substantial enough so as to cause confusion for staff or students when using them.

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