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Significant Blackboard Upgrade

Significant Blackboard Upgrade  

Summer 2013 

by Scott James

Blackboard recently worked with nearly 600 students and 600 instructors from 640 schools to redesign Blackboard. Of course with this redesign we have a new look and feel as well as several enhancements and new features.  The overall theme of this redesign is quicker access to information and several opportunities for enhanced communication. Let’s take a look at what’s new. 

The first thing you will notice will be the different look and feel of the new interface. Don’t worry, though, this redesign is mostly cosmetic and you’ll find your familiar course tools right where you used to find them.



     Global Navigation

The global navigation feature is probably the biggest change Blackboard implemented with this redesign. They created a single dropdown menu that contains a list of your courses as well as access to all your notifications, such as posts (discussion board, wikis, blogs, journals), updates, due dates, grades, and more. Check out the following video on Global Navigation for more information (



Course-to-course navigation

A drop-down menu has been added within a course shell so that you can quickly move from one course to the next without having to click on your “My Courses” menu.

     Content Editor

The content editor (the tool which allows you to type in text) has had a major redesign. Now you can directly code in math equations, paste directly from MS Word or Excel, easily check spelling, and much more.


Another interesting feature included in the content editor is the ability to record video directly from the editor. This video will automatically be uploaded to your YouTube channel.


The calendar has been redesigned and exam and assignment due dates are automatically loaded into the calendar: woohoo!

     Discussion Board

The discussion board received some love too. Check it out.




There have been several changes to the tests area. One major new function is called Item Analysis, which evaluates the quality and validity of each question in your exam. If you find a question to be ineffective you can exclude that question after the students have completed the exam and it will automatically grade the exam reflecting any changes you’ve made.


One more thing: you can now mark questions in an exam as extra credit. J



There are many more changes that I have not mentioned here. To address all of the changes I will be offering workshops so you can get familiar with the new features. Please check your email for workshop opportunities or stop by my office (U83) for a sneak peek. 




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