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Online and Distance Education at OISE

Blackboard Upgrade - new for 2014

The UofT Blackboard Online Learning Portal has new features.


Bb MaintenanceA quick setup guide for OISE faculty - Getting Started with Blackboard (docx)
Top 10 Portal Essentials - UofT Blackboard Course Essentials
OISE Online/Distance Education help getting started with Blackboard - Blackboard Starter Kit
Online Webinar in your course - Blackboard Collobarate


On May 10th & 11th 2014, UofT will be upgrading Blackboard to version 9 sp14.  There are a many additional changes outlined on the UofT Portal Info Site, but we wanted to highlight things that will have the most impact on OISE users, specifically the Discussion Threads and Assignment Grading.

Please also browse our updated Bb How-to Videos section for more great new features.


The New Discussion Threads

When you view the thread page, all posts and the thread description appear on one page. Thread descriptions are often used as prompts for discussion, so they are now visible where users are posting.  Individual posts can be expanded and collapsed, no more clicking on each indivudual post to read them one at a time.

To help make replying easy, the content editor appears immediately below the message you are replying to. You can refer to any post on the page.

Image illustrating associated textA. Use Expand All and Collapse All to manage the visibility of posts on the page.

B. Action bar functions appear at the top, such as Search and Refresh.

C. Click the number of unread posts to view a page containing only the unread posts in a thread.

D. When viewing threads, a badge appears next to a forum manager or moderator's name.

E. View dates for posts, which appear as relative dates, such as "7 days ago." When you point to the relative date, you can view the absolute date of creation or editing, and the number of views.

F. Blue icon = unread. White icon = read.  Mark posts as read by expanding or as you scroll down the page after a slight delay. Posts are not automatically marked read by scrolling quickly. Click the icon to manually change the status. You can also flag posts.

G. Point to a post to see Reply, Quote, Expand/Collapse, and other available functions. Click Collapse to fold up a post. This increases the vertical screen space available for viewing posts.

H. If enabled, view the average rating for a post. When you pointing, it changes to show Your Rating.



A quick 1 minute video showing how threads are now displayed:


For further details and more information about the Discussion Board Forum in Blackboard, please consult the Blackboard site:




New Assignments Grading

On the Grade Assignment page, you can annotate directly within the browser on files uploaded and converted for display in the inline viewer. You can assign a grade, provide feedback, and make notes for yourself.

You can use the functions on the action bar to:

  • Navigate to other attempts using the arrows next to a user's name.
  • Hide user names so you can grade anonymously.
  • Jump to another attempt to view or grade.

The Grade Assignment Page

Image illustrating associated text
A. Expand the assignment instructions.

B. You can comment, highlight, draw, strikeout, and zoom. You can also download a copy of the file after you annotate it.

C. Submitted files open within the grading screen (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF). Original formatting and images are preserved.

D. Add your comments wherever needed.

E. In the grading sidebar, grade the submission, view the assignment details, the grading rubric, and each attempt. After you assign a grade, return to this screen to review the grade and comments.

F. Type feedback for the student.

G. Format your comments, attach a file, and check your spelling.

H. Add notes and files that only you can see.

I. Download the original file.


A quick 2 minute video showing how in-line assignment grading works:


For further details and more information about Assignment Grading in Blackboard, please consult the Blackboard site:




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