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Blackboard Upgrade - new features

The UofT Blackboard Online Learning Portal has new features.

Here are the highlights of some of the recent new features in Blackboard.


Student Preview

The new Student Preview feature allows the instructor to see the course from a student’s point of view. By clicking on the Student Preview icon in their Portal course, an instructor can easily transition in and out of a system-generated student preview account. With Student Preview an instructor can interact in their Portal course as a student by taking a Test, submitting an Assignment or post to the Discussion Board.

Student Preview Icon


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:





Anonymous and Delegated Grading

Updates have been made to the Grading Options section of the Assignment tool to include Anonymous and Delegated Grading. Instructors can enable the Delegated Grading option and designate course roles such as Teaching Assistants or Graders to grade assigned student submissions. More than just hiding user names from the Grade Center, these new tools improve grading workflow and decrease bias, especially in courses where multiple people are accessing the Grade Center such as teaching assistants and co-instructors.



New Portfolio Creation Tool

The new Portfolio framework replaces the current Basic and Personal Portfolio outline. The process for creating a Portfolio is simpler and cleaner.





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:




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