Blackboard Learn was updated to version 9.1 SP14 on May 27, 2014. The new features are highlighted below.


Achievements rewards student progress in an individual course, such as completing an assignment or scoring well on an exam.  Achievements can be based on course completion, milestones or an instructor can create their own custom achievements and award badges or certificates to their students.

Create and Issue Awards for Achievements

  1. To get started, click on Achievements under Control Panel, Course Tools (See Fig. 1).

    Figure 1: Achievements

  2. Include a title for the Achievement, the location in the course where the student will view that badge or certificate, what type of achievement it is (Course Completion, Milestone, or a custom designed achievement), and whether or not students can see the potential to receive an achievement award before they actually earn it (See Fig. 2).

    Figure 2: Completed Assignments Badge
  3. Define the Triggers that will allow the student to earn the Achievement award. First pick a column on which to base an Achievement award (see Fig. 3).

    Figure 3: Define triggers for earning achievements
  4. Choose the criterion by which the Achievement will be awarded (Fig. 4). Notice, you can make a single Achievement based on more than one criterion.

    Figure 4: Choose criterion of achievement
  5. Choose the Award to be displayed. Note that the duration of time to display the award can be set (Fig. 5). You may upload custom badges by clicking the Browse button and selecting the image from your computer.

    Figure 5: Award to be displayed.
  6. When students meet the criteria or triggers set, they see the award displayed under the Achievement menu button (if added to the menu by the instructor) and displayed in the Achievement location chosen.

    Figure 6: Display of the Achievement in the student's view.

For more information, see Create and Manage Achievements in Blackboard Help.

Date Management

In the Course Tools section of the Control Panel you will now find a Date Management tool. This tool allows you to automatically adjust all of the Due Dates in your Blackboard site, or conveniently display all Due Dates on one screen for manual adjustment (Fig. 7).

Figure 7: Select Date adjustment option.

Grade Center

  • The Grading Schemas which allow Blackboard to determine letter grades now accepts an upper limit range greater than 100%. In previous versions students who received extra credit which caused their total grade to go above 100% did not receive a letter grade when using the Letter display.
  • Using Edit Column Information for an automatically created Quiz column now allows you to manually override the Points Possible field (Fig. 8).

    Figure 8: Manually override the calculated total.
  • When viewing a Quiz attempt instructors now have an Access Log for each student's attempt. This log will show the time at which each question was saved. To access the log instructors will need to view the quiz attempt, click Test Information to expand that section, then click Access Log (fig. 9).

    Figure 9: Grade Center access log.

Group Management

Improvements to Group Management include the ability to more easily see which students belong to which groups, to import and export groups and group members to other courses, and to bulk delete groups. Creating Smart Views (See Fig. 10) for use in the Grade Center is a new choice on the Groups creation page.

Fig. 10: Group Management Options

Once the groups are created, choose Show Tool Availability to display which tools are enabled in each group (See Fig 11). Any unavailable tool can be made available by simply clicking on the red X.

Figure 11: Groups Tool Availability.

By choosing All Users, student membership in groups can be managed – e.g. adding multiple students or deleting students. For more information, see importing/exporting groups in Blackboard Help.

Figure 12: All Users.

Inline Grading

Inline Grading is now available for grading Blogs, Journals, Wikis and Discussion Board postings in addition to Assignments. The Inline Grading feature allows an instructor to view, comment, assign a grade and add personal notes all on one page.

For more information see inline grading in Blackboard Help.

My Grades

The students' view of the grade center is now initially presented in the Course Order. This is the order in which the instructor has used in his or her view of the Grade Center. Students may elect to change views.

Figure 13: My Grades Student View with Course Order Option

Student View

Figure 14: Go to Student View

In addition to switching Edit Mode ON and OFF to check the student view of your Blackboard site, instructors can now also use the Go to Student View feature located in the top, right section of the site.

This feature automatically creates a fake student which is unique to this Blackboard site and switches the instructor to this student's view. This student appears in the Grade Center with the name "Demo User".

When the instructor is ready to exit the student view, they can click Return to Teacher View located in the top, right section of the site.

Test Exports

Exporting a test which uses Random Blocks or Question Sets will now export all questions. When importing these tests, question pools are created to hold the Random Block and Question Set questions.

Test Options

Several new or enhanced options have been added in Test Options for deploying Blackboard tests.

  • In the Test Availability section, when instructors allow Multiple Attempts, instructors may now set Score attempts using in the Test Options (see Fig.15). In previous Blackboard versions instructors were required to set this attribute in the Grade Center after the test had been deployed.

    Figure 15: New option labeled Score attempts using.
  • Blackboard allows instructors to restrict students to particular locations when taking exams.

    Figure 16: Restrict access by filtering IP locations.

It may be possible to narrow the location(s) allowed to a particular room or even a single computer using the Custom IP Filter selection. Assistance from a departmental IT Pro may be required to help identify the appropriate IP addresses.

  • A Test Availability Exceptions section (See Fig. 17) has been added to Test Options which allows instructors to change the options for a particular student or group. This new feature allows instructors to change the Availability settings in order to accommodate students with disabilities who need extra time, or students who need to take the test outside of the normal availability range.

    Figure 17: Test availability exceptions.
  • The Due Date feature can now control access to the test (see Fig.18). Instructors have the option to prohibit students from starting the test if the Due Date has passed.

    Figure 18: Test Due Date.
  • Instructors have greater control over the Test Results and Feedback which are shown to the students (see Fig. 19). New options allow instructors to control when particular feedback is released. Instructors can set up to two rules for releasing feedback.

    Figure 19: Show Test Results and Feedback.

    Options for the first rule are:

    • After Submission
    • One-time View
    • On Specific Date
    • After Availability End Date
    • After Attempts are graded

    Options for the second rule are:

    • On Specific Date
    • After Due Date
    • After Availability End Date
    • After Attempts are graded