Friday, May 9, 2014

Blackboard Upgrade to Service Pack 14 (SP14) - May 21st!

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Blackboard will be upgraded to Service Pack 14 on May 21stBlackboard will be unavailable during this upgrade beginning at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, May 21st with an expected completion time of 1:00 PM on Thursday, May 22nd.  

New Blackboard Features Available with SP14:  Achievements, SafeAssign and Grade Center Improvements

The Achievements tool allows instructors to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards. Students are able to publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside of Blackboard.

For more information on Achievements, click here.

SafeAssign (Turnitin will not be available as of Summer 2014)
SafeAssign, which replaces Turnitin, is a plagiarism prevention service offered by Blackboard. This service helps instructors prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also includes features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content.
For more information on SafeAssign and how it compares to Turnitin, click here.

Grade Center Improvements
Several improvements have been made to grading and the Grade Center:
  • My Grades Ordering & Design Update – The page provides a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.
  • Instructor can define the “Score Attempts Using” setting from the “Options” page for tools (assignments, tests) that allow multiple attempts – This makes it easier to select the scoring option on an assignment that has multiple attempts. This is a workflow improvement to ensure that instructors know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.
  • Test total points adjustment – This enhancement addresses several related needs from instructors, all revolving around the total points possible for tests, and needing to adjust the total points possible.
  • Grading Schemas greater than 100% – There is now an enhancement to allow for schema percentages to be greater than 100%.
For more information on the Grade Center updates, click here.