Notes from Blackboard Teaching and Learning Roadmap #BbWorld16

These are my notes from the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Roadmap. I apologize for how rough they are – Jim Chalex and David Hastie really flew through these!

Blackboard identifies 3 components of their Teaching and Learning Platform: Learn, Collaborate, and Bb Student mobile app

And, Blackboard’s 1, 2, 3 deployment options: 1 LMS (Bb Learn), 2 Experiences (Original and Ultra), and 3 Deployments (Self-hosted, Managed hosted, and SAAS)

Learn original experience

Updates to the Learn original experience (9.1) are continuing with Q2 and Q4 releases, cumulative updates.

Image credit @blacktimelord


  • Quality and infrastructure – hundreds of bug fixes, updated technology, simplified releases
  • Technology Support – Oracle Java 8 JDK available now, SQL Server 2014 in development
  • REST APIs available as of Q2 2016
  • Bb Student App – currently available, advancements coming
  • Responsive theme for Original experience (inspired by Ultra experience), available as of Q2 2016
  • Responsive optimization – Improved navigation on mobile, improved tool use, and improved management by educators (tasks that faculty/instructors need) all in development
  • Efficiency – focusing on workflow improvements to improve the experience, such as
    • assignment submission receipts for students (came from voting on ideas for enhancements on the Bb Community site)
    • Drag and drop file upload
    • Dropbox integration
  • Redesigned integration for Collaborate available now
  • Enhancements for CBE in development – enhanced course dashboard, improved program dashboard, personal learning plans
  • Attendance tracking in development
  • Reporting enhancements in development – improve the course activity report to filter by group, calculate group, and new user activity overview for admins (including user session time, time in courses, users who didn’t log in)
  • Improved student activity reporting on tests available now in SaaS, in development for other hosting models

Learn Ultra

Made lots of improvements as a result of the educator preview, including rich media/content, graded discussions, group assignments, tests, and much more.

Image credit @blacktimelord


Roadmap for Learn Ultra

  • Assessment
    • Adding more question types for tests
    • Adding more settings options for tests, starting with timer and working through other frequently used features
    • Adding SafeAssign integration
  • Course Design
    • More granular course copy, down to individual content objects as opposed to types of content
    • Content availability (comparable to adaptive release) – near the top of the list in a recent survey to the members in the Educator Preview, such as using groups or performance on assessments
    • SCORM support
  • Communication
    • Institution pages (similar to tabs/modules in original experience)
    • Audio and video built in (such as providing assessment feedback)
  • Integration
    • LTI 2.0
  • Analytics
    • Attendance tracking
  • Worldwide use
    • Locale & language selection – planning for localization and working towards language selection to allow the interface to be localized by language

Preview Ultra Experience for Learn at

Blackboard Collaborate

More details at session on Thursday

Collaborate is a scalable, reliable foundation for world-class web conferencing. Designed specifically for education, with a modern, intuitive browser-based experience, and supports fully inclusive learning (high-quality accessibility).

Initial Release in May 2015 was optimized for office hours and meetings (audio/video, sharing content, recording features)

Back to School release in August 2016 offers more features to enable virtual classroom use (polling, breakout groups, attendance reports, etc.)

Moving forward, working on expanding session scale for large webinars, targeted for 2nd half of 2016

New features are released every month, usually the first Saturday of the month, but they understand that we look at adoption based on academic terms.

Roadmap for Collaborate Ultra

All of the following are in beta, development or research

  • Goal is to enhance the virtual classroom
    • Persistent content in session
    • View chat in a recording
    • Support large classes/lectures
    • Set attendance records in Learn 9.1 gradebook
    • Leverage Learn course groups for breakout groups
    • Persist and save whiteboards
    • Chat privately with participants
  • An even better user experience and interface is in beta
  • Follow session chat along with recording is in development
    • Each message synchronized with timeline
    • Navigate recording using chat messages
    • Download chat and caption transcripts
  • Host larger classes lectures and webinars in development
    • First step is to accommodate ~250 participants
    • Second milestone: 1,000 participants (goal by the end of 2016)
    • Provide moderators easier view into chat and participants
  • Leverage grades in Blackboard Learn
    • Post collab session attendance as a mark in Learn gradebook
    • Configure points to post in gradebook
  • Collab mobile experience for instructors
    • Optiized for tablets, as part of Bb Instructor
  • Adding a new layout for using sign language interpreters via video
  • Also looking at features to enable institutional adoption, like reporting, analytics, authentication, assistive technology, and mobile presenter functions


Moving forward with persona-based apps: BbStudent and BbInstructor

BbStudnet – iOS, Android, Windows; supports 27 languages and available in 100+ countries, compatible with 9.1, Ultra, and all deployment models

Second half of 2016 is focusing on accessibility, availability in global markets, and increased functionality. New features released every month.

Roadmap for BbStudent

  • Breakout groups in Collab
  • Right to left language support

Bb Instructor

In development

  • Collaborate with Ultra Experience for instructors
  • Grading – view, grade, provide feedback for student submitted assignments and tests, similar to functionality in BbGrader

Bb Planner & Blackboard Advise

Expected to launch in 2016, more details in session on Thursday

Blackboard Community Site

Submit ideas and enhancements at the Blackboard Community Site – Blackboard actively monitors it for enhancement requests!

Future Roadmap Webinars

Roadmaps given every quarter, so keep up to date at Behind the Blackboard to register for upcoming events




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s