New in Blackboard for Winter 2014

Blackboard has been redesigned to be simple, intuitive, and focused on you.
How you learn. How you teach. How you grow as educators.

Behind the scenes for the past year, Blackboard has been transforming the user experience with additional tools such as the My Blackboard global navigation menu, social profiles, updated discussions, in-line assignment grading, retention center, and more. In January, educators will discover even more new features, including test availability exceptions, test access logs, and achievements.

Workshops are offered in February for interested faculty, teaching assistants, and staff. Please register by clicking here.
If you have any questions, please call the IT Service Desk at (859) 218-HELP (4357) or email

Quick Links

The Quick Links tool allows a user to quickly locate any heading or section within any page in the Blackboard Learn application and jump directly to it. Located in the top left, the Quick Links icon opens a pop-up window that displays the landmark and navigation links on the page. Any available keyboard shortcuts for the page are also displayed. Click to find out more about Quick Links.


The achievements tool allows you 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, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. Students are able to publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside of Blackboard Learn. You can easily see which students have reached learning milestones. Click to find out more about Achievements.

Groups Management

Improvements to groups allows you to easily see which students are in which groups (including students that are not in any groups), modify group memberships, and manage group tool availability more efficiently. Click to find out more about Groups Management.

Date Management

After you have copied a course, speed up the transition of old dates to new one relevant for the new course using Date Management. From Date Management you can adjust availability dates, due dates, and adaptive release dates within a course. You can choose to update the dates automatically or manually from one convenient location. To learn more, see Date Management.

Inline Grading Updates

For interactive tools and assignments, you can now view, provide comments, and grade student-submitted items without leaving the tool page. While assigning grades, the inline grading sidebar allows you to view information about gradable items, navigate between users and attempts, and view and use associated rubrics inline.

To learn more, please see the following topics:

Test Enhancements

The first change makes it easier to create a new question in the desired location with respect to other questions that have already been created. Instructors can now add a question in the middle of the test exactly where they want it to go. Click to find out more about Creating Tests and Surveys.

New settings allow you to select one or more groups of students and make a number of exceptions to the already established availability settings. You can use exceptions to provide an accommodation to a student with a disability or provide accommodations for technology and language differences. Click to find out more about the new test and survey options.

A source of frustration for students, instructors, and test proctors is the inability to confirm whether students began a test or ran into problems during a test. Teachers and proctors have no way to verify student activity or lack of activity during a test. The Test Access Log provides detailed information on student test attempt interactions. Click to find out more about the Test Access Log.

Video Everywhere

The new Video Everywhere capability allows you to record, embed AND reuse video all throughout a course. This feature can be accessed through the content editor – so anywhere you add content within a course, you can add video. For more information, please see Video Everywhere