Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Share Print Page Decrease Type Size Increase Type Size TEXT SIZE:

Blackboard Learn Upgrade

What is happening?
 Blackboard will be upgraded to Service Pack 13.

When? Blackboard will be taken offline Nov. 28 - Dec. 1 (Thursday through Sunday) to perform an upgrade to Service Pack 13.

What's new in the upgrade?

A few features in the Blackboard upgrade:

  • My Blackboard: This feature introduces a completely new, modern user experience in Blackboard Learn that consolidates critical information from all your Courses and Organizations as well as your school-wide academic network. The new tools in My Blackboard - Posts, Updates, and My Grades, - were developed to meet the needs of today's active learner and enhance student engagement. For educators like you, My Blackboard allows you to easily monitor activity across your courses and organizations and rest-assured that your students are up-to-date and engaged in the online learning experience.
    • Profile & Profile Card
    • People
    • Posts
    • Updates
  • New Global Navigation Menu: Always present in the top right corner, the new navigation menu is the entry point to My Blackboard and also provides one-click access to your Courses, Organizations, Settings, and Blackboard Help. Additionally, the new menu will tell you how many items in My Blackboard are new or need your attention, so you never miss a thing.
  • New Content Editor: The new Content Editor vastly improves the user experience for formatting text, pasting content from Microsoft Word, and adding content to all areas of Learn. Simply bring your course materials to life. Blackboard has also replaced the old math editor with a new mathML equation editor.


  • Item Analysis: Now you can easily refine your assessments by evaluating the quality of each question and that question's ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Ineffective questions can easily be identified and then quickly corrected with the Automatic Regrade feature.


  • Retention Center: This is a new feature for educators who use Blackboard Learn. The Retention Center highlights retention factors and student engagement, quickly alerting educators to potential risk and allowing them to take immediate action. Easy-to-understand views and pre-configured rules make it simple to identify at-risk students within a course, and it requires no set up on the part of the instructor or administrator. However, instructors can also modify these rules to suit their individual teaching methodologies and approaches.
  • Interactive calendar: The calendar has been completely rebuilt, giving users a much more modern tool - both in terms of look and functionality. This new version allows personalization and customization. Users can select views (month, week, day) and color-code the events to differentiate courses and personal items.


  • Streamlined assignment grading: Inline Assignment Grading is an improvement to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, instructors will now be able to view student-submitted files "inline," i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plug-ins, applets, or additional applications. Supported document types that can be converted are Word (.doc, .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), Excel (.xls,.xlsx), and PDF (.pdf). Formatting and embedded images of the original document are preserved in the conversion.


  • Improved discussion boards: With this enhancement, Blackboard has thoroughly redesigned the Discussions interface while adding some new functionality as a direct response to instructor feedback.


  • New options to analyze test results: Tests in Blackboard Learn have been updated in response to enhancement requests. These enhancements make specific improvements to how tests are designed and deployed, and will help meet specific scenarios that frequently arise.


  • Quick Links: The Quick Links tool will help significantly improve the navigation experience for sighted, keyboard-only users. This tool can be quickly accessed on any page using a link at the very top of the page or a keyboard shortcut (Control+Alt+L). It will aggregate a list of all of the landmarks and headings on a page and allow a user to select one and jump directly to that location within the page. It will also collect and highlight any keyboard shortcuts that exist for the current page or tool, providing another method for quickly completing key tasks within the application.